The old adage is that curiosity killed the cat. However, I would argue that curiosity is what drives organizations to take action on their data. How we create the environments in which curiosity can be unleashed and encouraged is important and it actually starts with our culture and our words. Having a culture where curiosity is accepted is important. We all have worked in organizations that follow Alfred, Lord Tennyson's well known poem The Charge of the Light Brigade which says "theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die." Organizations such as this do not permit curiosity and instead value people who keep their head down, mouth closed and just work. However, I want to encourage you to create a culture where people can ask questions of one another and to pursue hypothesis.
Curiosity allows us to understand the factors that establish a particular reality. Being able to ask questions, understand relationships, and establish context is important. We should not assume that someone who is asking a lot of questions is coming from a point of negative intent or is trying to sabotage our organization. Usually it is curiosity and questions about a specific program or service that we deliver that can help lead to a positive change and, potentially, a more sustainable future.
We work with a lot of our client organizations and encourage them to create space. The creation of space is simply carving out the time in an intentional fashion where programs, services, and their future can be discussed. It is imperative to create space for curiosity and innovation as this is where meaningful conversations and change will happen. What also matters are the questions that we ask. I tell people to us who, what, where, when, and how questions while avoiding the why variety. Why questions can create defensiveness as well as prey upon our human nature to always have an answer when in fact we might not have a realistic explanation. Discovering the what and how of a program and service will more quickly lead to an experiment where we can determine the future of a program.
Be curious! Create the space for intentional action on your data. Ask questions. Your future sustainability is counting on it.