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Curious individuals bring innovation to the business, according to 92% of employees responding to a study by Harvard Business Review.

Imagine the results of applying that curiosity to data. Organizations can expect deeper levels of creativity, productivity and more, say members of IDG’s Influencer community of IT professionals, industry analysts and technology experts.

One of the influencers says the need to promote data curiosity is especially urgent today.

“Encouraging data curiosity among end users accelerates the growth of all business and professional activities, giving strong value to an organization’s solutions and services,” says Enrico Molinari (@enricomolinari), Technology Innovation Manager. “Connecting people on this topic is a solid answer to how technology can unlock a new way of working in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world.”

A sense of ownership

Enterprises that promote data exploration organization-wide inherently build employee engagement and connection to business goals.

“Encouraging data curiosity outside of trained data analysts or scientists fosters a sense of ownership in the direction of the business,” says Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), Cybersecurity Strategist at Ascent Solutions.

Ben Rothke (@benrothke), Information Security at Tapad, agrees: “The goal is to have a dedicated workforce interested in what the company does, including all relevant data elements. The benefits are immense as educated employees are generally more productive and loyal.”

In turn, individuals who are invested in business outcomes and whose curiosity has been sparked will unleash business value.

“Data curiosity is a uniquely human trait that can lead to untapped markets and likely additional sales that may have otherwise been overlooked,” says Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), President and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc. “It is essential that all employees understand how to analyze the data and determine its true value to their organization.”

The benefits of being data driven

“Whether companies believe it or not they are driven by data,” says Martin Davis (@mcdavis10), Group CIO and CISO BF&M Group.

He offers the example of a trucking company and the need to bring together all data sources — such as vendor, shipper, customer, fleet and logistics data.

“Properly understanding equipment utilization, network capacity, fuel consumption, driver availability, etc., are core things that should get analyzed,” Davis says. “With the right data access, end users can drive improvements in these areas and optimize many other aspects.”

Put another way, access also means that data doesn’t sit idle — and thus, untapped for value.

“By establishing a data-curious culture, there are greater assurances of the utility of the data,” says Frank Cutitta (@fcutitta), CEO and Founder of HealthTech Decisions Lab. “History shows that stakeholders will actually use data based on their collective curiosity as opposed to data gathered in isolation.”

All of this translates to measurable benefits, such as productivity, innovation, revenue generation and more.

“Research shows that curiosity leads to good things, including better employee and company performance,” says Gene DeLibero (@GeneDeLibero), Chief Strategy Officer of Geekhive.

But first, DeLibero says, organizations must turn data curiosity into something useful to the business. “Data literacy is a must-have. Without the ability to translate data to information insights, you can’t use data to ask the right questions or make meaningful decisions.”

Nurturing curiosity

Data literacy — including access to data, as well as being able to easily visualize and understand the stories within it — is a critical first step toward building a data-driven culture. This takes time, senior leadership buy-in, the right tools, training and more.

“Encouraging data curiosity among end users is a noble task, but doing it right is a significant job,” Rothke says. “It takes serious management commitment and adequate budget and staff.”

It also requires a focus on how individuals currently interact with data.

“Take the time to learn how people use your data and encourage them to not only be curious but to share their learnings with you,” says Debra Ruh (@debraruh), CEO of Ruh Global IMPACT. For example, by engaging with users in social channels and encouraging them to join conversations about data, “you might find your data is used in powerful ways that were not considered.”

The right tools and functionality can set the stage for these conversations, says Will Kelly (@willkelly), Technical Marketing Manager. “When organizations open their backend data with self-service tools, they give their knowledge workers and business users the ability to answer their own pressing business questions with data while not taxing the IT department.”

Modern business intelligence solutions with self-service functionality, visualization capabilities and integration of multiple data sources are critical. Yet, they are just one piece.

“Merely providing the tools is not enough,” says Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu), Financial Services Lead at Accenture. “The more capability and training you provide to users with front-line knowledge of your business problems and customer issues, the more likely you are to see an increase in new ideas and insights that can help you improve customer satisfaction, business efficiency, and provide your employees with a greater sense of empowerment.”

At the end of the day, Larmeu says, “We also must install a culture of data curiosity, encouraging our teams to think outside the box and question the status quo.”

Learn more about how to instill data curiosity in your organization with the Domo Curiosity Video Series. Watch here.

Learn how Domo delivers modern BI for all with this short product demo. Watch here.