Recently, we were lucky enough to attend TEDx Bristol: two days filled with mind-expanding talks from Bristol’s best and brightest. 

We heard from so many specialists – from robotic engineers and marketers to risk assessors and historians – but it was the talk from Anna Starkey on curiosity, Creative Director of We the Curious (formerly known as @Bristol) that really piqued our interest.

Starkey’s talk – perhaps unsurprisingly – explored the concept of curiosity. She grouped curiosity into three categories.

  1. Diversive curiosity: The attraction to everything novel, which is with us from early childhood
  2. Epistemic curiosity: The desire to learn and understand
  3. Empathic curiosity: An interest in the thoughts and feelings of others

TEDx Bristol

While Starkey’s talk examined curiosity in its many facets, what really got us thinking was her suggestion that we should stay curious beyond childhood. She explained that, as adults, we often establish what she referred to as, “big, red ‘do not press’ buttons in our minds”.

By this, she means that we put walls in place that prevent us from following our noses and exploring what intrigues, scares or excites us.

Starkey advises that, instead of avoiding curiosity, we should start thinking of it as a power we can harness. After all, where would we be if Albert Einstein hadn’t followed his curiosity and embarked on the thinking that led to his theory of relativity?

What if Tim Berners-Lee had blocked the curiosity that led him to invent the internet?

More from saintnicks: check out this article on ‘The 3 ways to be creative on cue’

Here at saintnicks, we’re proud to champion curiosity as one of our company values. We believe there are three key reasons why it’s important to cultivate a curious mind:

  1. Connection

In her TEDx talk, Starkey referred to curiosity as the ‘knowledge emotion’ – that is, a bridge between thinking and feeling. As a creative agency, we embrace our curiosity in order to broadly explore a client’s field. Opening our minds to dig into what makes a brand tick helps us build strong, stable client relationships.

  1. Discovery

This may seem obvious but, if we limit our curiosity, we’re unlikely to make exciting discoveries. Curiosity is often the magic ingredient that takes a project in an unexpected – and transformative – direction. It could be the thing that leads you to ask that all-important question that unlocks the crux of a brief.

  1. Growth

Without curiosity, our minds can get stuck in a rut. Curiosity often leads to personal growth – which, in turn, leads to stronger and more imaginative work.

So how do we productively channel this knowledge in our day-to-day lives? We’ve come up with a few handy tips for feeding your curiosity and letting it guide you to exciting new things…

Ask the big (and little) questions

We are curious by design. It’s how we learn, and it’s why children ask so many questions. But, so often, by adulthood we have squashed our innate curiosity into such a small corner or our minds that we can barely hear it squeak. So how do we let it out of its shame-fearing prison?

Well, as with all things, start small. In a world where big brands have historically dominated, we now see the smaller brands stealing market share; they are more accessible and have a ‘real’, honest voice. They know how to connect to their audience simply because they still see themselves as consumers.

So: big brands also need to become more curious and start thinking like small brands. They need to talk about the small details, the little things that make a real difference to their customers – this is likely to lead to more appealing, engaging content that gains cut-through.

Live a little

Developing your curiosity is all about letting go and being gutsy. We’re all so scared of looking silly that we don’t follow our noses. So, do something spontaneous. Call a few customers for a chat to find out how they really think and feel about you and your brand.

Send an email to the brand you’ve always wanted to collaborate with. (Did you know that, statistically, brands that collaborate are twice as likely to profit as those that don’t?) Following your curiosity won’t always lead to great things, but isn’t it worth the risk for the times when it does?

You won’t find it on your phone

A constant feed of carefully curated content, saturated with the same ideas over and over again, will not feed your curiosity; it will kill it. Instead, take yourself down different avenues to find your inspiration.

Read a book, watch a film, go to a talk, visit a gallery – look beyond your own category. The possibilities are endless, and sometimes it’s important to experience them for yourself rather than through a screen.


If – like us – you love to embrace curiosity, get in touch with Malek Amro on 0117 927 0100, or email, to find out how you could join our team.