The Human Imagination!

Randomly, last Winter semester, while trying to discover what ‘Business’ actually was, I happened to stumble into the Ballard Center. I had heard that there were some on-campus internship opportunities available here… and briefly heard about an organization called Ashoka, and an very summarized idea about what it does. I ran into Jason Harrison, on his way out of the office. Three minutes changed everything.

I have often wondered about the crossroads of my passions. How could I possibly decide between a Business, Counseling, Teaching, or Humanitarian career? And how could I get international? How could I meet new cultures, explore new languages, and feel successful, while at the same time feeling like my work has had real purpose? As it turns out, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation are where those roads meet. Wouldn’t it be cool, if businesses were created to help solve our social problems. Wasn’t that the idea all along?
I listen to TED talks; I attend ISYS classes; I go to SILC activities, and I feel so…excited! I feel like the world needs to come back and focus! On the things that really matter. Not that the progress we have made is wrong, but that with this progress comes an ever growing need to see where we are, and improve. We can do better. As a people, we can make such change!

Think about it! Even in context of this class; it is a pilot program-with a goal to be able to eventually reach an audience that spans the entire campus. Perhaps from there to reach other campuses. I often think about the progress of countries like China, and why they succeed in the ways the do. And I think there is something to be learned here. They cultivate their society. Whether it be toward academic excellence, or technologies, or whatever it may be… they harness their goal and start from the get-go. What if this idea, which the PEERY foundation has started in this program, what if it could be a mindset to storm the nation. Cultivate a society focused on Innovation: Creating the Future. What if we could teach our nation to be thinking like this from day one? Isn’t this the reason we have a school system? To teach us how to utilize what we know to innovate something we don’t quite know and might just fail but might just work?
All in all, I know that I need to work on learning how I say what I want to say. But the idea that there are infinite possibilities for the future, that “what can be done, will be done”, the fact that the world is so interconnected, that we are working with such high volumes of information at such incredible speeds, that we are progressing rapidly as a world, I get excited. No longer do we live in a world of ‘might-be’s’ or ‘wouldn’t it be cool’s”, but rather… anything is quite LITERALLY possible. Mash-ups of ideas, services, and the like to create a whole new method of SOMETHING. It all depends on the inputs. The limit is literally our imagination. If we could find a way to spark the use of the limitless imagination which exists in every one of us… think of the possibilities! Now focus all that imagination toward solving real problems, real social problems, and so much can be accomplished! The purpose of why we educate ourselves, of why businesses SHOULD exist, would feel so real. Isn’t that wonderful?
I hope that somehow, we can encourage children from the get-go, starting from elementary school, to explore their imaginations, write down their inventions, whatever they may be, explore the world around them in whatever ways it interests them, and then… perhaps at the high school level, even encouraging them to attempt solving real problems. Think of all the ideas that could be harnessed! K-12, college… and beyond! Live life planning, all along, knowing why we keep learning.

I think of this, and then I come back to the picture before me: I need to start. I hope to hit the ground running. If I follow what my head is spewing out at me right now, I will subscribe to science, political, cooking, environmental magazines, newspapers… and anything I can get my hands on… JUST to have some inputs. New ideas, to jumble around in my head, mash them up, piece them together, see what fits, and what we could make fit. I want to search the internet for every social problem I can find, what has been tried, what has failed, what has worked, and then, throw THAT into the side of my mind with all the ideas and puzzle pieces and MASH-Ups, and I know that as I keep playing with the pieces, something will turn up.

I believe that this is part of the human existence; if anything, it’s definitely part of my existence. That’s why I’m taking this course.