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The importance of curiosity and shaking up work habits

Interview with Adam Murphy, ex CUB and now Founder of Curioso

If you have to choose three words, what would say your work life is like?

It’s impossible for me to answer that question without the first word being change.   It’s a big change for me going from more than 10 years on the corporate side and moving back into the consulting world.   Moving back into working on projects.

And that change is exciting. I get to work across different categories again.

Others have told me that they think its courageous but I don’t feel like that.  I just felt more excited to have the time to focus on the part of the job that I really love most.

And the last would-be remote working.  In a positive way it’s all about a new way of doing things.  If you had told me 10 years ago that I would set up a new business, promote it, respond to briefs and sign clients up without having seen those people in person yet, it would have sounded bizarre.

It has been a good thing, I think, to question some of the working rituals that we have engaged in.  In the old days, you would have received a brief, then the consultancy would go into the client’s office and everyone would sit around and ask questions.  Then back to the office for a week of proposal writing and the lack of efficiency of all of that was making life more difficult than it needed to be.


That is so interesting because lockdowns have really made us think about breaking some of those old work habits and creating new more efficient ones too.

Same and for me those changes have been good.

In my time at CUB, using platforms like Hearsay and some of the other kind of SaaS platforms allowed the insights team to get closer to the actual work. Not delegating all of the customer investigation responsibilities meant that the insights are more focused, and the team are much more deliberate with their marketing choices. I’ve only seen positive outcomes.


How would you describe your new consultancy Curioso then?

I called it Curioso because I do want to do two things:

  1. I’m setting up the business to be a modern networked company, not trying to build an empire and have 1000 employees, but rather set up a business where I can work directly with clients and other partners of their choosing or ones that I might recommend.  It’s an insight consultancy with a slight twist helping answer the big strategic questions that have been difficult to solve.
  2. The other part and something I’m really passionate about is stimulating the culture of curiosity. Essentially ensuring that companies realize the commercial advantage that can come from being a truly curious organization. When insights and ideas are driving decision making it also builds the confidence that leaders can take big decisions to move their businesses forward. And for me that comes down to two sets of capabilities: 1. the capability of internal insights, teams and agencies to do great work and 2. the culture piece where we need to train leaders to create environments in which curious researchers and thinkers can say, hang on, this is an interesting question.


So, tell me, what do you love about Hearsay?  There are other filming and recording platforms out there but you continue to choose us.

Because it is designed by researchers for researchers. So little things like the, the ability to have my video, filming and discussion guide prompts all together.  The space to make digital notes and my favourite.. live tagging buttons so I can hit a good thing, a painpoint and an interesting thing.    It reminds me of my early career in journalism where I had a recorder and could tap interesting thoughts.  It is key to capture the in-the-moment, intuitive thoughts.  I have used those buttons to mark the important points and then I can quickly to get into my analysis.

I think the fact you have done this for many years is key to your future product development too.  You know what other features to add in.  Some of the other SaaS products are designed by software engineers and they are going to be missing that, that inside knowledge of what’s actually useful in the interviewing environment.

The fact that I can talk to a stranger about what they want from us is amazing to me.  And that we had a whole CUB team who aren’t practiced at customer conversations, doing the same thing.

It takes away a lot of the anxiety when it comes to doing something they don’t normally do. No need to remember to print off the discussion guide or take copious physical notes because you can just tap that button with your index finger.

It removes some of what you might call, Process Anxiety, for people so that they can just focus on and fall into that conversation with their interviewee rather than thinking about if the tape is still running or recording.

And I think it makes it a lot easier for everybody because it is fairly minimal, slick.

I think that’s the point about building it as a researcher is that you are you’re not adding stuff in there that people don’t need.


Thank you Adam. 






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