Curiosity and Forensics
I do not know if this already have been posted but here goes
What i found missing was that
* Sometimes there is no time for people to explore and experiment outside investigations - except on free time at home and some people have lives which means that they do not watch forensic documentaries, read about research in the field in bed or try out new tools on their home computer.
* Curiosity and creativeness is not always encouraged in some organisations. Sometimes it is actually frowned upon since "it has nothing to do with work".
Sometimes there is no time for people to explore and experiment outside investigations - except on free time at home and some people have lives which means that they do not watch forensic documentaries, read about research in the field in bed or try out new tools on their home computer.
This is probably related to actual workplace. In a setting where 100% invoicability is the primary goal (or even 110%), or where job backlogs are growing, it seems difficult to fit in research.
However, some companies have (or claim they have) a policy that says '1 day each week you do what you feel like'.
There used to be a lot of them – I think 3Com was one of the earliest that introduced that kind of policy. In many places, there's some kind of statement that 20% of the time is for keeping in touch with developments and doing research, but in practice their sales people's commissions tend not to be structured the same way, so few of those companies can show that those 20% is actually spent in the way they state.
I used to work in a research-related company – if there was something I wanted to do, I wrote a project proposal that explained why it was useful, and unless it was extremely odd, didn't fit the general scope of activity, or the budget had already been blown, I could do it. Some accountability was involved I had to report what I was doing, but that seemed reasonable. But then 80% invoicability grew into 100% invoicability, management changed outlook, and that kind of 'play-around' thing went away.
I think curiosity should be encouraged. One area that I imagine many of us never get around to is once a job has been done, would there have been a different or better way to do it. Could you have found an important point (file, date etc) sooner?
On a similar line, it is always helpful to give feed back to developers. Developers tend to use a program one way, users may be different. I once went back ( a few years after I had left) to my old company and my main product was being used in ways I never thought it would be. The reason for this was that data sizes had shot up with in just a few years. This new use was causing bottlenecks. Actually only a few lines of code change were required to fix the problem.
Forums are a very good starting point for curiosity, and it is good when discussion is outside of ones main field.