The commercial power of a relentless curiosity
Curiosity is the nursery of progress.
Curiosity is the first step in the journey to a different goal.
Curiosity is the birthplace of better.
The right question can spark a whole new world of opportunity.
Why is it done like that?
What could we do to improve this?
How would we make this faster?
Where should we focus our energies?
Who would make a better customer?
When will it be enough?
Curiosity helps us find different ways to make things more effective.
For customers. For businesses. For clients.
It starts by wanting to know what’s really important.
Where is the frustration really coming from?
Rory Sutherland gives this great example.
When faced with complaints about the journey of the Eurostar between Paris and London, the first instinct of management was to ask why.
“Because we want to get there faster.”
So, they sought to find ways to make the journey quicker.
Engineers were consulted. And for six billion Euro, it was determined the three-hour journey could be shortened by 30 minutes.
If they’d asked another why, they may have had a more insightful answer.
“Because it’s boring – nothing to see but tunnel.”
And a different, more affordable, more memorable answer might have presented itself.
Why not provide free wifi for the kids?
Why not turn one of the carriages into a cinema?
Why not do something so entertaining the passengers would demand the train be slowed down?
Curiosity is not simply a question of “Why?”
It’s often a question of asking a different question.
Not, “What do you think you need?”
Which is so often answered by incremental improvements. (A faster train. A faster horse.)
But, “What is the frustration?”
Which gives you a much broader horizon of opportunity.
(It’s more affordable to find a solution to “boring” than it is to make 750tonnes go 15% faster.)
How does curiosity help you sell more product?
So often, businesses lack the time to be more curious.
To ask a more interesting why.
Why do customers say one thing and do another?
Why don’t more people visit your site?
Especially when you’ve gone to all the trouble of making it look so good.
Why do we do things like this?
Is there a better way?
Curiosity drives us as a business.
It helps us see options which provide a healthy alternative income stream.
Options which drive down a cost of a sale.
Options which might not, of themselves, go anywhere – but which provide a bridge to a new way of thinking about a product or service.
Which, in turn, leads to a more effective way of going to market.
It’s why we team business people with creative people.
The right brain and the left brain working together.
Because, in a world where processes and systems are becoming more and more similar, the only legal unfair advantage you have is to do things differently.
To be more interesting.
To zig when others zag.
And the only way to find that is to ask.