Cultivate teams with research labs at HBS to better understand the prevalence and effects of expressing curiosity in the workplace.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – October 25th, 2021 Cultivate is thrilled to announce a new collaboration with the labs of Ting Zhang and Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School. These researchers and their labs are doing cutting edge work on organizational development, mentoring, breaking rules (productively), and curiosity in the workplace. We anticipate a long and productive collaboration, furthering research in many of the above topics using the abundance of behavioral data that Cultivate is able to collect from digital communication platforms.

The goal of our first joint project is to better understand the prevalence and effects of expressing curiosity in the workplace. We aim to do so by leveraging a new natural language processing (NLP) model that automatically extracts markers of curiosity in everyday conversations over email and chat platforms (e.g. Slack or Microsoft Teams). Specifically, we will study how expressed curiosity changes throughout different levels of an organizational hierarchy, and test whether nudging people to ask questions and learn things from different levels of their organization impacts behavior around curiosity at all. “Using NLP will allow us to measure expressed curiosity in the workplace at an unprecedented level of precision. I’ve admired these researchers and their work for years and I’m thrilled to be able to collaborate with them,” said Rachel Habbert, Senior People Scientist at Cultivate.

Curiosity has been associated with a number of critical consequences in organizations, including increased performance, engagement, and organizational commitment. Curiosity can also help individuals meet moments of uncertainty and change with resilience, creativity, and innovation. In this project, we investigate the antecedents of curiosity and its manifestations. “By studying how curiosity can be cultivated in everyday interactions, this collaboration will further our knowledge about how to build curiosity in the workplace,” says Ting Zhang, Assistant Professor and Hellman Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School.

Data collection and analysis for this research project on curiosity in the workplace will start in Q4 of 2021 and run through Q1 of 2022 (though timelines may change as the study evolves). All data used for the study will be fully anonymized, kept confidential, and used strictly for research purposes.

About Cultivate

Cultivate is a digital leadership platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to provide in-the-moment coaching and tools to enterprise leaders. Beyond helping managers become more self-aware, the platform enables employees to be more effective, engaged and balanced at work. Cultivate in based in San Francisco. Visit us at, find us on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.

Rachel Habbert, PhD

Rachel Habbert, PhD

Rachel is the Senior People Scientist at Cultivate. As a psychologist, she’s always been interested in people: how we think, grow, evolve, and interact. She is excited to help Cultivate users interpret their behaviors through a scientific, research-based lens.