I had the opportunity to sit in on the “Knowledge Revolution” session of the 2011 TED Conference earlier this week, and given the panel of speakers, I was definitely humbled and amazed by some incredible accomplishments. From working to rid the world of Polio to debt relief in Nigeria to creating new solutions for our educational system, the work these individuals are involved with and the results they are experiencing speaks for itself.
As I thought about the content of the session that was, frankly, way over my head in many ways, it occurred to me that the common theme between the speakers was building off what we already know, and collaborating to find solutions to amazingly complex problems.
These are not difficult concepts, but they are often overlooked. How many times have we all tried to solve a problem from scratch without researching what is already known about the issue, or without asking someone else for help in finding a solution?
There is power in taking the time to learn from history, to learn from our own successes and failures, to tuck ego and pride away and collaborate with others who have similar goals to solve similar problems, big and small. It is invigorating to think about what can happen (and what is currently happening) when those small steps are taken.