Mary’s Message

Curiosity May Lead Us to an Innovative Path Forward

Have you ever experienced a time where an unusual topic has come up often in a short stretch of time? I’m not talking about the ongoing, expected conversations like workforce shortages. I’m talking about the stranger, more mundane conversations that you have with folks casually, when you suddenly learn that four people’s favorite ice cream is mint-chocolate chip.

As strange as this may seem, those are the conversations to which we need to pay attention. They are subtle shifts in trends and preferences. They are the clues to a more creative path forward to shape our field. In this unpredictable time where we seek to assess the outlook for all health and human services ministries, we must look beyond the predictable trends or the follow-the-pack mindset and pay attention to the world around us. 

About ten years ago, I heard Rohit Bhargava, an innovations and marketing expert, speak about “nonobvious trends,” a trend he calls a “unique curated observation of the accelerating present.” His keynote and messages have stuck with me, and he now has numerous books out on this topic. He identified five habits of trend curators: be curious, be observant, be fickle, be thoughtful and be elegant.

Out of all of these, the one that stands out for me the most is curiosity. I find that sometimes the best idea comes from the least likely places or from the deeper questions we ask. To innovate, we much look beyond the obvious.  We must ask and look for the unexpected and see where it goes.

Who knows? It just may lead to a great idea.

So, I’m curious. What new habit did you take up this fall?