Culture of curiosity

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Remember when the world wide web forever changed how people satisfy their curiosity? It was a watershed moment for humanity and the ways we communicate, do business, innovate, and uncover new insights.

The internet was for human curiosity what sequencing the human genome was for healthcare, or rocket propulsion and GPS were for flight—true turning points that sped up our inherent instinct to dig deeper, go farther, and improve our very understanding of the world around us.

I submit that today we face a similar moment in time, one that will forever breathe new meaning into the phrase “culture of curiosity.” Our available means for satisfying our curiosities are multiplying exponentially at this very moment. It’s a new frontier where ubiquitous, unlimited curiosity is possible to almost anyone—if we want it, and if we recognize the tremendous opportunity before us.

Behold, unprecedented technological enablement!

The reality is that many organizations still struggle to get the most out of the data they already have. This despite the fact that analytics and artificial intelligence are “top game-changer” technologies. It’s a huge missed opportunity, because this power is now available to any business.

There’s a reason the world’s leading companies rely so heavily on the power of data. Companies like Facebook, Tesla, and Google have fundamentally built their business around data. They recognize that the next decision, new discovery, or innovation is to be found in the endless volume of data that’s growing every day.

And it certainly is endless: the IDC predicts that the “Global Datasphere” will grow to 175 Zettabytes (ZB) by 2025. Perhaps more impressive than the sheer amount of data in the world are the astonishing ways that we’ve sped up our ability to transform this raw data into actionable insights—the data-to-decisions journey, as we like to call it.

Today, that ability to satiate our curiosity is stronger than ever. Advances in AI and machine learning allow a lot more people to be curious in myriad ways. To answer complex business questions, for example, the enterprise decision maker doesn’t have to take night school for data science or wait on someone else to get the answer for them. Consumers, for their part, just need a smartphone with an internet connection.

The technology is there for anyone with this imperative.

Put simply, it no longer takes weeks or months to get the information we need to make confident, data-backed decisions in all aspects of life. In some cases, it takes but seconds. To seize this new paradigm in AI-powered data and analytics, companies and the people that work for them have to embrace it. They have to go all in on a culture of curiosity.

And the time for that is right now.

The Art of the Possible: Reduce the Decision Journey From Weeks to Seconds

You might be saying, data, analytics, AI—these are nothing new. But I’ve seen first-hand how the convergence of advancing technologies places us at a crucial turning point on the path to enabling truly curious organizations.

To illustrate the point, let’s look at some real-world examples.

Optimizing Drug Trial Planning for a Major Pharma Company

I recall our work with a large client in the pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare space. Their research team, which plans and performs hundreds of studies on new drug development, was curious about a particular aspect of their trial plans. They wanted to know how their diabetes phase two study compared against benchmarks.

They needed an answer to assess the risk of delay. Were they being too conservative in their planning and thus delaying the trial? In the past, planners would have looked across diverse data sources to analyze hundreds of combinations and spent days or weeks looking for an answer.

This time around, those researchers asked LTI’s Fosfor Lumin the question with a few keystrokes and got the answer in seconds. In that short time, Lumin processed the various data permutations across internal and external data sources using the right algorithms, ultimately providing planners with a risk score, as well as a path to optimize their plan further.

In this case, the researchers satisfied their curiosity about something they hadn’t even done yet. As one of the researchers put it, “it’s like we can predict the future.” Imagine how valuable that capability will be in shaping and fast-tracking future clinical trials?
Unifying Analyses and Insights for a CPG Client

Unifying Analyses and Insights for a CPG Client

This client—a well-known confectioner—had a variety of data available to them from different external data providers. As a result, they’d grown accustomed to creating isolated insights for decision making. The category and brand managers always wanted to look across those datasets and understand why, for example, brand share was declining or increasing for a particular category.

In the past, it took a long time to analyze the 100+ data hierarchy combinations to get to an answer. Now questions like this not only get answered in seconds, but Lumin can nudge the category managers towards what their next question should be, enabling a more informed decision-making process.

Improving Risk Management for a Large Private Bank

One of the largest private banks in India needed a better approach to analyze the risk profile of their wholesale customers. Large enterprises engage with them to manage financial instruments, which is good for business. However, they also carry the highest risk due to the size of the transaction.

Additionally, regulatory bodies have compliance guidelines for doing business which make things much trickier. The bank used to struggle in keeping the right balance between making the best business decision for their accounts and the persistent curiosity to know how to reduce the risk associated with large transactions.

Today, using Fosfor Spectra, the bank connects to various syndicated data agencies for credit risk, company info, etc., as well as live information from the stock market and non-syndicated data (i.e., various news feeds on the internet beyond the internal data and regulatory rules). This has provided the bank with an early warning platform with more than 50+ signals to make the best decisions at scale while avoiding the risk of increase in non-performing assets.

The common thread among these examples? Different personas were constantly fueled to be more curious and to be limitless with their thoughts on what could be achieved.

To Get There We Must Commit to All That a Culture of Curiosity Entails

There’s travelling from New York to London in less than an hour; and then there’s the tremendous power and potential in the ability to instantly uncover new ideas and insights in every situation imaginable—consumer, enterprise, or otherwise.

Status quo be damned.

Which is why the time is now for companies to be much more vigorous and bolder in their curiosity—to go beyond just embracing this culture but committing to it with the confidence that comes with the ability to make business decisions at speed and scale.

How? Achieving a Culture of Curiosity requires moving the needle along three dimensions:

  • Human factors: Culture is defined by the interests, values, and ways of working of the people who inhabit it. Inhabitants of a Culture of Curiosity must have their curiosity encouraged and rewarded.This requires leadership to clearly communicate that curiosity and learning—even when they involve challenges—are the way forward. It also requires the business to enable teams with the right capabilities to harness the power of their curiosity.
  • Technological underpinning: Until recently, this was probably the most difficult part of the equation. In fact, we believe that the rapid advancements in embedded-AI platforms and the democratization of cloud technologies over the past decade will enable curiosity and prove to be the differentiating factor in this innovation-driven, highly-competitive market.Products like those of LTI’s Fosfor Suite coupled with your choice of cloud hyperscaler solutions expedite the realization of the culture of curiosity. Such building blocks enable a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) approach to deploying capabilities across the organization—targeted at every persona and ultimately enabling curiosity at scale.
  • Outcome orientation: We are not saying that you can simply “build it and the curiosity will come”. As with any major cultural transformation, you’ll need to determine metrics, set goals against them, and measure results in continuous manner. It will also require constant refinement across the levers of technologies and human factors along the way.The process & system you develop for measurement and improvement must strike a balance between encouraging curiosity, tolerating failure, and rewarding the business-enhancing outcomes which are the ultimate goals of a curious culture.

Whereas plenty of thinkers, innovators, and thought leaders have advocated for teaching and encouraging workers to ask better questions, this moment in time is different. We’ve reached an inflection point in the ways that AI and cloud technologies offer limitless computational power and the availability of countless data sources.

The extent to which this technological power enables curiosity may well tower over some of the technological revolutions that preceded it.

That’s my prediction, at least.

However it unfolds, now is not the time to be satisfied. Now is the time to recognize this inflection point and seize the opportunity to make bold curiosity a part of your organization’s very fabric.


Siddharth Bohra

Global Leader – Cloud & Data Products business

Siddharth has an impressive record of harnessing digital technologies and innovative business strategies to create a fertile ecosystem for fast-paced growth.

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