why (re) exists


“Can we touch it?”

                                          “If you wish to.”

Sugata Mitra

(re)inspire

Created by: the (re) institute llc                All Rights Reserved 2011-2015

why

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a story is a powerful way to convey a concept. we’d like to begin with a story. but we’d like to also tell you about a pattern, a place, a gap, and most importantly, an opportunity. together, they are the reasons ‘why (re) exists’.

direction

a story

the story: ants and telecom

true story: two guys are having lunch. no agenda, just lunch. one’s an ecologist studying social insects, the other a telecom engineer. the engineer sees ants crawling on the floor and says, “you know, I’ve always wondered how they find their way to the picnic.”


the biologist says, “well that’s easy. ants don’t like to waste time. so as they hunt for food they leave a trail of pheromones - the stronger the smell, the more ants it attracts, each of which leaves more pheromones - bingo! the most productive trail emerges.”


the telecom engineer about chokes on his lunch and says, “oh my gosh. that’s it! that’s how I solve my data movement problem!” (turns out routing messages in today’s telecom systems can be as challenging as finding picnic food.) he returns to ‘his world’, applying insect behavior to computer search algorithms, and changes the future of his company and industry, all thanks to some ants... and an unexpected intersection.

the lessons

  1. i.looking at things differently not only changes your view, it is the nexus for seeing the new & the possible

  2. ii.the most game changing innovation happen at the intersection of ideas and viewpoints, especially those that wouldn’t normally intersect (research and history back this lesson up)

  3. iii.these intersections are: typically accidental, rarely pursued on purpose, and the greatest wellspring for truly creative thought

a pattern

there’s a remarkable pattern afoot here...

pattern 1: if you look across the stories in which looking at the world differently lead to tangible value, you see that, almost without exception, such stories occur at an unexpected intersection and as a result of a choice to pause and take a different view
pattern 2: it also turns out that ‘the big idea’ about which we like to tell storiesis really a layering and a morphing of many ideas
pattern 3: these ideas can’t occur without creative thought not just kicking things off, but continuing to occur across the spectrum from ‘thought shift’ to ‘impact’
pattern 4: if creative thought and the realization of value are not connected, we never move from the point of ‘ponder’ to the point of ‘power’

a place

if we could create a place where creative thought was prioritized, where we could extract untold greater value, wouldn’t we have done so already?

the lessons

  1. i.over time there have been ‘places’, environments in which creative thought was seen as important and given room to grow (Google’s 20% time policy; Bell Labs; Lorenzo de Medici’s dinner table...)

  2. ii.in each case, innovations and humans took huge strides forward

  3. iii.but for the many ways these environments were on mark (hits), they had critical faults too (misses)

  4. iv.the greatest shortcoming is that in none of these environments was creative thought the focus and the mission

while there are many places that value creativity - research labs, venture capital funds, academic institutions, entrepreneurial ventures... to name a few, none focus solely or completely on the following:


  1. Bulletunderstanding creative thought (the source of value creation and progress), apart from creativity (the output, application)

  2. Bulletlinking creative thought to value having lasting impact

  3. Bulletmaking access to such knowledge universally accessible and useable

  4. Bulletoffering such access without concern for ownership, yet without forgoing the opportunity to benefit

a gap

an opportunity

the (re) institute understands the patterns and the possibility inherent in the stories of creative thought linked to value. (re) seeks to fill this gap and to bring greater understanding and access to creative thought.


this is why (re) exists.

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