Cultural Curiosity

September 8, 2022

Curiosity. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, curiosity is the desire to know…interest leading to inquiry…

Did it really kill the cat? Well, we know curiosity didn’t kill the monkey—Curious George. He’s so adventurous that he has books, movies, and television series dedicated to his inquisitiveness.

What a curious little monkey! Who knew this little monkey—intrigued by everything within his environment—had the one trait we all need to weather the storms of change and ambiguity!

What is this one trait? It’s curiosity.

Have you ever taken a moment to think about and explore what happens if we don’t lead with curiosity? Two famous examples are Blockbuster Video and Kodak. Imagine if Blockbuster were curious enough to ask, “What if we investigate online streaming? What if our customers are getting tired of late fees and coming into the store to select a movie only to find it is not there?”  If Blockbuster seriously considered,

“What if…?”; that would have been a billion-dollar question.

Let’s look at Kodak. What if Kodak was more curious about the digital camera they invented. This was the same technology that put them out of business. What if they had asked, “We know film development is our money maker, but what if people wanted to keep their pictures with them? What if people preferred to print on demand without going to a photography development center?”

What if…?”

Curiosity allows us to live and grow in the land of possibilities. Growing these skills in the creative realm strengthens our curiosity in the cultural realm as well. Being curious to learn about the experience of others increases our intercultural competence. It’s important to learn how to do this respectfully and with empathy. Avoiding the territory of microaggression is important when embarking on a curious exploration of others’ lives and lived experiences.

Today, let’s be curious. Explore. The more questions you ask, the more you’ll learn. The more you learn, the more questions you’ll ask. It’s a recurring cycle of intercultural creativity.

People who are bridges connect and transfer ideas from one cultural group to another.
Genein Letford, M.Ed