[Foundation-l] WikIdea: A new proposal

Blake West westb at wharton.upenn.edu
Tue Jun 19 20:01:23 UTC 2007

        Hello, my name is Blake, I am a Penn (Wharton) student.
           I'm envisioning a wiki-project where people can go to post the
problems or inefficiencies that they see in their work or life. The purpose
would be to create a place where those with the know-how and dedication to
invent and solve problems (like engineering students or weekend inventors)
can find the issues that need to be addressed.
           Like the idea that "necessity is the mother of all invention", or
that innovation happens when a problem is at hand, this wiki-project would
give people that specific problem to focus their energies on.  Please
contact me (bwest87 at gmail.com) if you would like to help me work out the
detials and get this started, or to help me work through the inevitable
problems that will be faced in making this idea a reality. I've put two
examples below that originally stirred me to think of this problem.

          Thank you - Blake

       As some quick examples of what I'm talking about; two students at
Penn recently devised a system to capture weather probes that usually get
lost by the National Weather Service. The N.W.S. sends out thousands of
probes per year to gather data, but they lose 80% of them. Each one cots
over $100, and with the help of these Penn students, the N.W.S. will save
hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Yet, how many people even knew
that this problem existed? Perhaps it could have been solved sooner, if more
people knew about it.
       A different example. I was recently introduced to a business that
sells bedding for flowers, primarily to commerical growers. Typical bedding
is made of coconuts shavings that sucks up water and the plants then take
water from the coconut shavings. The founder of this business however, said,
"hey, why don't we put a small bio-degradable sheet of plastic inbetween the
coconut shavings to hold more water?" Once the original water runs out, the
coconuts will suck up water from the plastic bed and the plants will have
more water. This means that planters have to water their plants half as
much, which means huge savings in time and money.
      Again, however, so few people even knew of this problem, which is
probably why it took this long to find a better way to do it. There are
people with time on their hands who would love to solve issues for the world
(and potentially make money from them), but they just don't know where to
start. This is where we start. Right here, with this wiki-project. Please
contact me if you're interested.

Blake West
Wharton, University of Pennsylvania '09
bwest87 at gmail.com

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