“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” This Albert Einstein quote reminds us of the power of curiosity. It is a tool that allows us to understand current events, people & trends – as well as empowering us to be creative and innovative.
There are a number of reasons why curiosity is so important in the modern day; chiefly the speed of change & development of technology combined with the scale of mobility and continuing diversification of demographics. What this means is marketers need to be able to learn and adapt to new environments and challenges, and necessitates a requirement – be curious and open to new perspectives and skills in order to be successful.
A Harvard Business Review survey found that “only about 24% reported feeling curious in their jobs on a regular basis, and about 70% said they face barriers to asking more questions at work.” But why is this actually an issue, what are the tangible benefits of curiosity I hear you ask. Let’s dive in!
Firstly, one of the primary benefits of a curious workplace is an increase in innovation and creativity as employees can be freed from the fear of failure, and are able to discover new solutions or better ways of working. A field study by INSEAD quantified this, and found that a one-unit increase in curiosity (for instance, a score of 6 rather than 5 on a 7-point scale) was associated with 34% greater creativity. By unleashing curiosity, employees can explore different avenues which then lead to the creation of new ideas. And importantly, curiosity also allows people to uncover and avoid their biases by exposing us to new perspectives and sources. For example, when curiosity is triggered we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias and to stereotyping others – thereby reducing decision making errors.
Additionally, research conducted by Professor Todd Kashdan of George Mason University found that employees who are more curious at work reported higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement when compared to less curious employees. So apart from curiosity being beneficial to work outputs, it also makes work more enjoyable!
Not only is it hugely important for us as people to be curious, but there are also proven benefits for brands and companies to encourage curiosity to ensure they have their finger on the pulse of the nation, create effective campaigns that connect to their audiences, and ultimately deliver novel and interesting results.
Sources: The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, Harvard Business Review: The Business Case for Curiosity (2018); Forbes: Curiosity: Why It Matters, Why We Lose It And How To Get It Back (2021); BBC: Curiosity: The neglected trait that drives success (2022)