In this essay I would like to highlight how work in nontraditional model systems is an imperative for our society to prepare for problems we do not even know exist. I present examples of how discovery in nontraditional systems has been critical for fundamental advancement in cell biology. I also discuss how as a collective we might harvest both new questions and new solutions to old problems from the underexplored reservoir of diversity in the biosphere. With advancements in genomics, proteomics, and genome editing, it is now technically feasible for even a single research group to introduce a new model system. I aim here to inspire people to think beyond their familiar model systems and to press funding agencies to support the establishment of new model systems.