10,000 Solutions

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty has launched a new con­test called 10,000 Solu­tions open to any­one over 18, any­where in the world, and it offers a $10,000 prize. Entries can take on one of the eight great­est chal­lenges fac­ing the world, like sus­tain­abil­i­ty and the future of edu­ca­tion. What makes the con­test unusu­al is that par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to col­lab­o­rate and build on one another’s solu­tions. ASU wants to cre­ate an open solu­tions bank that oth­ers can use to gen­er­ate new ideas, and some stu­dents at ASU have already met up in per­son to talk over things they shared on the site. The school is pro­mot­ing 10,000 Solu­tions as an exper­i­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tive inven­tion and the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion is fund­ing a team of ASU researchers to study the con­test and see how ideas are shared and devel­oped.

The con­test is off to a strong start, get­ting some high-pro­file entries like this one from Dan Ariely.

While many of the solu­tions share ques­tions or ideas at the brain­storm­ing stage, some groups are using the plat­form to pro­mote work­ing pro­to­types. This group of ASU stu­dent engi­neers is work­ing on a low-cost smart­board tech­nol­o­gy based on the Wii that could be set up any­where you can run a pro­jec­tor.

ASU hopes 10,000 Solu­tions will bring some fresh ener­gy to prob­lems that often seem over­whelm­ing. If you have a minute to spare and a bright idea for mak­ing the world a bet­ter place, why not share it?

Ed Finn is an occa­sion­al con­trib­u­tor to Open Cul­ture. He recent­ly start­ed work­ing at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty in Uni­ver­si­ty Ini­tia­tives, an office focused on devel­op­ing new projects and think­ing big about the future of pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tion. 10,000 Solu­tions is a project his team is help­ing to launch this year.

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