Brainstorm: 2
Saturday, 06 June 2015
By Francis Pedraza

“See a problem?”

— Take photos of problems in your immediate surroundings.

Today, we’re going to do an exercise. The purpose of which is to surface problems.

Problems, hence opportunities, are all around us. There are easily ten within sight of you, right now. It just takes an eye, and some practice, to see them.

Here’s an example. Walking down city streets, I notice the blackened gum that has become a party of the pavement. And not just the gum, but the cracks, oil spills, trash, dirt and unevenness too. I wonder, why are streets so hard to construct and to maintain? Does technology even exist to remove gum? If it does, is it just not cheap and efficient enough to be practical? What is the story here? I wonder…

Getting answers to questions like these, especially when the internet hasn’t yet made them readily available, takes energy. So over time, we stop asking. Our curiosity fades. And that’s a tragedy. Because we assume that somebody else has asked the same questions, made the effort, found the answers, and done something about them. Such that everything that can be done, has been done. That what we are left with, is just “the way things are.” Thankfully, that’s just not the case. Do not overestimate the efficiency of markets, nor underestimate your own ability to perceive problems and imagine solutions.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you have, in your possession, a magic wand. This magic wand can fix all of your problems. But to use it, you have to take a picture of your problem with your phone, email it to Cheeky, and explain what the problem is that you wish to be solved.

Don’t hesitate because you’re not sure if a solution already exists. No research, analysis, or imagination required, to start. Just take the first step — notice, photograph and describe the problem. Once you’ve sent yours in, we’ll discuss them as a group.