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Where do serial ideators hang out?

Where do serial ideators hang out?

Image credit: Brett Sayles

By Darko Savic on Sep 07, 2020

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From Book Clubs to Bird-Watching circles...

Ideas exist by the intellectual virtues of the ideators. Ideas are the by-products of human curiosity, intelligence and constant intellectual input. For someone to be able to come up with brilliant ideas constantly and continually, the person needs to be attentive to the world and willing to invest his/her time doing things that are likely to engage his/her thought process in a profoundly compelling manner. In a world full of endless distractions and dopamine-laden short-cuts, to be able to generate ideas that matter demands a determined and motivated input. From my point of view, books are the best source of intellectual input. Podcasts, video essays and other secondary sources matter too, but books are books. There is nothing as engaging, liberating and enlightening as delving deeply into a book that really interests you. A voracious reader can be expected to have more ideas than a non-reader any given day. Where do serious book readers hang out? Libraries are fine, but they demand silence. Hence, the first place I'd go to search for ideators is the book club. So what about bird-watching circles? The reason I put this up is simple. More than often, exciting people have meaningful hobbies. For example, in the bird-watching circle I was engaged until a few years ago, we had people from all sorts of background. There were doctors, lawyers and engineers; there were professional athletes and entrepreneurs and bureaucrats double my age. What I am pointing here is, though it might seem like a trivial task to carry a binocular and hang-out with a few hobbyists in a Saturday morning, there is a deeper catch here. These are the people who are mindful and interested enough to spend their rare leisure connecting to nature and the natural environment. This indicates a notion of humility and their openness to new ideas and experiences. In this sense, these kind of people are sure to have interesting ideas and stories as compared to potato couches that slug up all day in their comfort zones. (Note that the bird-watching circle is just an example. It could be anything from stargazing club to a freethinking activist circle.)

by Subash Chapagain on Sep 07, 2020


I guess conferences are the best way to meet new collaborators who can help you with your research. They bring together people sharing a similar interest (although this can be a drawback - people rarely attend a conference from a discipline other than theirs; immense encouragement on the part of the organizers is needed to bring diverse people in). They happen online, too. Most conferences are conducted perpetually. New advancements/ theories can be shared, criticized, and improved.

by Shubhankar Kulkarni on Sep 08, 2020


I am not sure about this; I have never attended a general brainstorming meetup. But there are some serious groups out there who will assist you tackle your specific problems. These meeting happen online, too.

by Shubhankar Kulkarni on Sep 08, 2020

The “Katta” model

The “Katta” model [1] is developed by Prof. Milind Watve at an educational institute in India. A katta in Marathi (the regional Indian language) means a place where people can meet, ask questions, and exchange ideas. A meeting is decided and invites are sent to people who have shown interest. These meetings are held regularly (usually once a week). The important thing is that the meeting has no agenda. There is no upper limit to the number of participants but, I think, the usual attendance is about 50. Although most of the attendees are graduate or undergraduate students, there is no age bar. The sessions usually start by picking up from the earlier session. Participants add their views and the discussion continues. Since the discussion has no boundary, the topic of discussion spans across multiple fields. This provides newer dimensions to look at a particular topic. Participants ask questions pertaining to the topic at hand. Many questions arise and quickly subside. However, some questions seem to interest more participants. This often ignites a participant, or a group of participants, to investigate the question more deeply. They spend some time doing their research and then present what they discovered at a later katta (meeting). Sometimes the question is investigated in a scientific manner (taken up as an official project by the participants), using laboratory tools, statistics, or field studies, as seen appropriate. These investigations have also been successfully completed and published in science journals. Prof. Watve's role in all this is that of a catalyst, providing a safe environment where the participants can ask a question without worrying about whether it is good, bad, intelligent, or crazy. Usually, none of the participants is an expert on the topic of discussion. The participants are encouraged to pursue the question and think in ways that possibly may not have occurred to scientists in the field. The participants have the freedom to choose a question of interest, have an opportunity to research the answer, and then have an opportunity to teach others (peers and the moderator) what they learned. [2] The topics have the widest range possible and they are discussed with the intention of understanding the underlying science. The Katta model started as a way of getting students interested in science and teaching them the research methodology. It grew to the point of completing several research projects and publishing peer-reviewed articles. Such meetups can be replicated or even expanded to accommodate a large number of experts from different fields. References: 1. https://www.ibiology.org/science-and-society/katta-model/ 2. Vale RD. The value of asking questions. Kozminski KG, editor. Mol Biol Cell [Internet]. 2013 Mar 15;24(6):680–2. Available from: https://www.molbiolcell.org/doi/10.1091/mbc.e12-09-0660

by Shubhankar Kulkarni on Sep 08, 2020

Darko Savic 12 days ago

A great concept. This is pretty much exactly what I imagined as "local Brainstorming meetups" where this platform's members would periodically meet within their respective cities. ...

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