Why Curious George Deserves a Job in Marketing Research

As I sit in an oversized beige glider with my was-screaming-like-defcon2-is-now-drifting-to-sleep baby in my arms, I read and re-read the story of Curious George’s fishing adventure to my 8-month old son, Coen. He is not old enough to understand the story, but he listens intently, hits the pages of the book with purpose, and closes it shut when he’s done listening. In this case, he gets bored by my mono-toned whisper and falls into a slumber.

This particular adventure is easily summarized:

  • George sees a man walking toward the lake to go fishing
  • George wants to fish
  • He makes his own fishing pole (with a long string, a mop handle, a hook from the wall, and cake as bait… I mean, who doesn’t love cake?)
  • He wasn’t able to catch a fish with his makeshift fishing pole
  • He tries to grab one out of the water, falls in, gets wet
  • George flies a kite (also on a long string) with Bill instead and likes that, too

Coen isn’t old enough to understand George quite yet. He doesn’t know that George is a little mischievous, risky, trying, and challenging. Or that he causes complete and utter chaos wherever his path brings him (but always finds his way). As I sit reading this book, somewhat from memory (and admittedly somewhat on auto-pilot) after about the third reading of this book in the same day, I can’t help but think what a great addition Curious George would be to my team. What a great addition he would be to marketing research.

Curious George - PBS

George’s curiosity for the world is something we all share. But it’s his ability to think outside of the box, to take matters into his own hands, to learn through experience that really sets him apart and embodies something in which we could all strive. It’s one thing to talk about how different we are, how smart we are, how we do things differently… George actually does it. (He even has someone following him around to catalogue his adventures… how cool is that?!)

Perhaps you’re a corporate researcher reading this and thinking “uh, no… I don’t think I want someone who causes that much chaos…” Understood. There’s some risk involved there. Which is why, perhaps, he deserves a spot on the vendor-partner side of research.

We, myself included on this side of the fence, should feel compelled to try things outside of the ordinary, to explore how things work (or don’t work) and come up with solutions that could potentially make research better. It sounds easy, and in fact old. There are hundreds of companies who claim to be bending the boundaries of research and making it better, but are they? Really? Faster and cheaper doesn’t mean better.

The description of George notes that we can’t help coming back to him. That we are attracted to and inspired by his curiosity for the world. It’s admirable, really. He tries something new, fails, and finds something else to try (like kite flying instead of fishing). At least he tries.

Now, I’m not sure George would get the job in my company, but someone who embodies George’s curiosity and desire to try new things would certainly get a shot.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.