Fast Company

Crazy Ideas + Youth = Innovative Solutions

This past weekend, The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a compelling op-ed piece which told the inspiring tale of two young students who started a national, youth movement for energy reform in India. It started out as a kind of crazy idea and grew into a galvanizing mission for a wide range of people.

From my vantage point at RISD, I see evidence of that kind of budding entrepreneurship every day, with a wealth of ideas relevant to solving the world's problems. There's Ecolect.net, a database detailing various materials and their environmental impact, and PinkRides a not-for-profit RISD/Providence bike-sharing program. Recently, a group of students launched What We Do, an organization which will sponsor an idea-sharing event like TED designed specifically for RISD.

The new generation catalyzed by the candidacy of Barack Obama is rallying to the spirit of change he embodies, by bringing new ways of thinking to the many of our intractable problems.

Those in charge shouldn't feel threatened by this. Instead, smart companies or institutions should reach out to forge new relationships with these young entrepreneurs, helping to speed solutions to the myriad of issues that we all face.

What are students at your school doing to address today's issues?

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PinkRides photo by topheesale via Flickr.

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