Curiosity is Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Naira Musallam, PhD - Oct 10 2019

“Curiosity is the most superficial of all of the affections; it changes its object perpetually; it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness and anxiety”

– Edmond Burke, Irish Philosopher and Statesman

Throughout human history curiosity has been a key element in evolution. Curiosity has been recognized as a critical driver for learning, understanding, problem solving, and innovating across all societal contexts ranging from child development, scientific discovery, and into the commercial realm.

George Loewenstein, an American educator and economist explained that curiosity arises when attention becomes focused on a gap in one’s knowledge. All of those information gaps produce a feeling of deprivation. This is an aversive psychological state, subsequently triggering motivation to resolve things by gaining the missing information.

Regardless of your business context, if you are curious, that means you are driven to explore, learn and ultimately understand your respective audiences and the business challenges you are presented with.

When a culture of curiosity exists amongst your consumer insights team, you ignite thirst for knowledge, and you create the following competitive advantages:

Why

Curiosity leads with “why”. As a direct result you create the space and framework to ask questions that are critical to your business tasks such as, why your consumers are unsatisfied, why consumers prefer the products and services they do, why consumers behave the way they do, and the list goes on. 

Explore Uncharted Territory

If you don’t know the classic story, the inspiration for the Polaroid instant camera was a result of a question posed by the 3-year-old daughter of the inventor Edwin Land, who got impatient to see a photo her father had just taken. When Edwin explained that the film needed to be processed, his daughter asked “why do we have to wait for the picture?”

Curiosity leads to challenging the status quo of current business processes, products, and services, and invites teams to disrupt and innovate.

Treat your Data and Analytics Differently

Data is the most valuable commodity in your business. Some say it’s the new oil. The question is what to do with it. Curiosity leads to the critical practice of examining the data in various ways, until some insight is uncovered.

It is no secret that while overall results are a useful signal, the value of your dataset comes to its true fruition when you start dissecting and rotating it in different ways.

By applying a range of analytics to uncover those hidden gems that will drive business decisions, you turn that oil into digital gasoline for your business.  But without curiosity the analysis will fall flat. 

Brilliant consumer insights teams and marketers will continue to lead the revolution in curiosity. They will hire talent with curiosity, they will develop the curiosity skill among their staff, they will create a culture of curiosity, all leading to a better and smarter world.


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