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Nancy Giordano

CEO | Brand Futurist, Play Big, Inc


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Why do we always want to brainstorm new ideas for issues that may already have brilliant solutions begging to be scaled or refined?

Healthcare efficiencies, education reform, getting a handle on the obesity epidemic, (insert pending crisis here) -- it seems I often am invited to give my advice on how to address these HUGE issues in surface, topline ways, usually without even understanding what the real problem is we are trying to solve ("here on this whiteboard, what's your idea for fixing education?"). Is anyone studying what is already out there and what seems to gaining traction?? Who determines the feasibility? Rather than create from scratch, can we build on and help refine or shape ideas that already have equity and momentum and which simply need some fresh thinking or more support to grow? Why does "new" seem more important than "smart"?


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    Feb 16 2011: Thank you for your comments! I totally agree that culturally we have a growing desire to be "the original thinker" -- it's less fun (or harder to become famous) for helping others refine their ideas. And also agree that we are hungry for instant gratification and love the possibility of creating a fast, easy answer. (Even if the issue is so much more complex).

    The strategist in me is eager to better understand the problem, break it down into more actionable issues and then hunt for what is / isn't already working before we jump to create more "instant fixes". For example, rather than ask "how can we fix education?" (literally a whiteboard question I was invited to comment on), one could ask, "what are the barriers to better science/STEM education in grade schools?", or "what prevents more parents from being involved in their schools and what approaches are working best?"

    Bottom line I wonder how we can harness all that enthusiasm and energy that drives the need for "credit" and "instant gratification" in more effective ways??
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      Mar 5 2011: I think you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is one of people wanting credit for what they've done to solve the problem themselves, rather than being willing to work with others to improve on existing solutions.

      One would hope that the need to see the issue resolved would be more than enough to drive cooperation. I'm just worried that folks like to think more than do nowadays.

      Perhaps one way is by trying to figure out better ways to share the information so that those seeking it will find it. You'd think that in the age of search engines constantly being re-calibrated based on what we do seek that it would be easier. It may actually be becoming harder as we're not exposed to those things that we need to be in order to know that a solution is out there.
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        Mar 6 2011: I totally agree with both - there's almost constant pressure to keep up with the info we have access to, which is INSANE!! just think about 50 years ago and the info we had then. Now we're permanently connected to everything, at least in the western world. And that much info makes it that much harder to be ''someone'' - original, recognized, famous even. It's impossible to be original nowadays unless you are completely insane. At least that's how it feels.

        I'm not sure anyone is going to be happy by just contributing to a community instead of taking matters completely in their hands and being a leader - there is so much social pressure about being unique, and the selfishness of it is somehow natural. And then we all want to belong and contribute, in the same time, but we're deadly afraid of someone stealing our ideas or us being less recognized for them. We are afraid of getting lost in the crowd.

        And then again, people that are most original are the ones that take something that's already there, and develop it. Like the famous youtube make-up artists, or mike tompkins, or any researcher that has an idea which comes from a previous study.
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      Mar 6 2011: "Bottom line I wonder how we can harness all that enthusiasm and energy that drives the need for "credit" and "instant gratification" in more effective ways??"

      Perhaps changes in our education systems where more group activity based learning is applied and the groups recognized for their achievements rather than the individual. Would that build on a more holistic approach for the next generations?

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