Curiosity means granting our own minds full permission to wonder and wander.
Not only about the world in which we work, but also about ourselves. The penchant to explore and investigate our bizarre and unique thoughts, the passion to treat our feelings with curiosity rather than with fear, these things matter. Even from a revenue standpoint.
Curiosity is what separates us from the average marketers who treat business as a plug and play, set it and forget it activity.
Like most things in life, this curiosity simply requires intention and attention. Each of us can deepen our curiosity about what we least know about ourselves, not to mention the world of business.
However, some people’s natural instinct might not motivate them to discover what lies underneath and beyond the obvious of their own behavior, or their clients' behavior. And that’s okay too. Despite the argument about nature versus nurture, curiosity can be taught and developed. All humans are all born with an innate ability to be curious. Sometimes they just need inspiration.
Nichols, the famed professor and cognitive scientist, conducted the premiere study on curiosity in the early sixties. His research offered useful insight about scenarios that both inhibit and foster curiosity, namely culture.
“Just as association with a group methodically killing curiosity soon serves to stifle that precious commodity within us, becoming part of a group concerned with intellectual growth stimulates our personal curiosity and growth. If we surround ourselves with doers, that will give us incentive to exercise the creative abilities that grow out of intellectual curiosity. We all have the opportunity to find and benefit from an environment that stimulates our curiosity if we only seek it.”
Does that describe the culture of your company?
Are you surrounded by doers?
It rings true at our company. When we hire new team members, we’re specifically filtering for people who not only figure things out, but actually enjoy the process of figuring things out. Especially about their own thinking.
Courtney Johnson, one of our senior marketing specialists, is constantly asking herself questions about her own thinking. The other day she was showing me how she approaches a volatile Facebook campaign performance to help uncover revenue opportunities for clients. It’s a fascinating process.
First, she will note the warning signs. Next, she will look at individual metrics to identify where the problem is coming from. Then she will piece the story together and test changes until the client hit their goals.
Courtney also built a useful guide for everyone else the team, not to mention our clients, colleagues and fellow marketers. Now everyone can use curiosity to mitigate similar scenarios with their own projects.
This topic reminds me of my favorite filmmaker. Linklater once joked that a not very curious population is the ideal, because it's the least threatening.
That’s why every day, we have to fight against that pressure. Inside each of us is a crazy yearning to embrace incredibilities and walk with wonder, and if we want to make a difference inside our organizations and the organizations of our clients, we must set free our innate capacity for curiosity, wonder and experimentalism.
It not only makes money, it makes sense.