Online Platform for Exchanging Ideas in the MIT Community

Gabriel Ginorio (MIT Class of 2018)
January 18, 2017
1. MIT would allow the public to submit problems that the public is facing, and allow MIT students and professors to find solutions to them. By public, I mean people from other universities, people from Cambridge and Boston, from countries around the world, essentially the world is able to submit their tough engineering problems. 2. The public and the MIT community would then be able to exchange information in a Reddit type environment where they can comment, upvote and downvote, and follow multiple threads. 3. The platform would also allow team formation. So interested parties would indicate they're interested in solving the issue, propose solutions, indicate their skills and background, and form into teams. This allows for collaborations between the public and MIT, like it's never been done before on a large scale. 4. The Engine would be able to monitor the team proposals and allow, for very qualified teams, space and funding to solve problems that are important enough to solve. In other words, it could serve as a feeder for the Engine. 5. Also, this platform could also work well to form MIT teams around specific challenges sponsored by entities like NASA (https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/stu-competitions-current-opps....), Hyperloop, RoboMasters, Autonomous Vehicle Design, Valeo Innovation Challenge, etc. The biggest item of relevance for this idea is that people are forming teams around actual problems, instead of solutions. For many students at MIT, particularly undergraduates, it is hard to come up with a good idea for a startup because they don't know what problem to solve. I would personally attribute it to lack of experience, being young and not knowing enough about the world. If, instead, students had a list of specific engineering problems that the public (conceivably older, with more experience) is facing, it's easy to see the case that the ideas students come up with will actually address a need. It is the philosophy of technology pull vs technology push, where MIT people are constantly trying to find uses for a new invention, instead of finding new inventions for particular problems. If anyone sympathizes with this issue please upvote this idea or propose your own. I would like to see how much my idea resonates with the rest of you. I'm also available via email at gginorio@mit.edu to discuss further.
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