Don't kill curiosity!
While cats may be well-advised to rein back their curiosity, for the rest of us it’s a characteristic we should embrace. Given the right environment, it is the curious who will make serendipitous discoveries, who will come up with the better solutions, who will find new opportunities – and who will be more fun to work with!
We are delighted to welcome two exceptional guest speakers to explore this subject, starting with a closer look at serendipity.
Too often reduced to a lucky break, the phenomenon of serendipity has been credited by some as being behind around a quarter of new discoveries. In its precise definition, serendipity refers to the combination of both accident and sagacity pointing to the importance of both individual and contextual factors. In other words, it is not just a lucky break but a lucky break happening to the right person. It requires individual and collective skill and expertise and also an environment and culture that invites exploration and active risk taking.
In her talk, Dr Wendy Ross will demonstrate how a closer understanding of the phenomenon of serendipity will support organisations in developing spaces which are more prone to experience this combination of accident and sagacity. She will draw from the latest research in cognitive and organisational psychology to detail on an individual and cultural level the characteristics that provide fertile ground for both productive accidents and their exploitation.
After the break we will hear from Daphne Metland whose pioneering work encouraging curiosity and breaking down cultural biases has improved the lives of millions of women and children worldwide.
Serendipity in innovation processes
Thrive: Words that Change Lives
Questions and Close
Dr Wendy Ross is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at London Metropolitan University. She has published over 30 academic articles on the topics of serendipity and creativity. She is a founding director of the Possibility Studies Network which works with UNESCO and OECD on fostering possibility as well as co-chair of the Serendipity Society. Her research is explicitly cognitive in nature, focusing on the underlying thought patterns and processes that help us make the most of an uncertain world.
Daphne Metland is a medical journalist; women’s health specialist and behaviour change pioneer. She has worked with corporates, start-ups, scale-ups, NGOs, and government to improve the health of women and their families. Free health content that Daphne and her team created now reaches over 50 million people worldwide.
Daphne runs Thrive: Words that Change Lives ( www.thriveagency.co.uk ) a multi award- winning, international health editorial agency. The agency supplies tailor-made health content for web, and digital messaging using behaviour change principles. As Editorial Director, International, Maternal and Child Health for BabyCenter, the number one pregnancy and parenting digital resource, she launched websites in 17 countries and 14 languages.
Daphne has worked on projects with the Ministry of Health in Dubai, the National Center for Women and Children's Health in Beijing, and the Secretaría de Salud) in Mexico.
She has developed behaviour change health messaging programmes delivered by mobile phone for projects in China, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Mexico and Uganda which reach over 8 million people.
Daphne wrote SMS and audio messages for MAMA – the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action which suppled free health content to be used by charities and NGOs in low resource settings around the world. She worked with the National Department of Health in South Africa to create the content for their mobile phone messaging programme MOMConnect which now reaches 2 million women there.
Daphne has presented at conferences and seminars including at the Global Digital Health Forum in Washington, at the Families +Social Good conference organised by the UN Foundation and at the House of Commons in London. She has been a judge on the Global Good Awards 2022 and 2023.
Daphne is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Association of Medical Journalists, and the Guild of Health Writers and is a Fellow of the RSA.
Date: 12 March 2024
Time(s): 6.00pm til 8.00pm
Where: The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ
The Masterclass will last around two hours with questions and be of interest to anyone curious about the world around them. Coffee or tea and exceptionally fine cake will be served
This is an in-person session so places are limited. We are keen to keep our Masterclasses free of charge. To help achieve this please could you try to honour your commitment to attend or let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to make it so your place can be allocated to someone else?
This year, we are proud to support The Priscilla Bacon Hospice Charity. If you find the masterclass useful we would encourage you to make a donation to support their work.