Your assignment this week:

clipped from


The Nitrogen Wiki

David Zaks and Chad Monfreda
April 20, 2007 12:31 PM

“Nitrogen pollution is a particularly nasty problem. The element is essential to life, but it seems to seep, leak, and sneak into just about every environmental problem we face. Hypoxia, allergens, carcinogens, invasive species, photochemical smog, ozone depletion, and global warming can all find fault with nitrogen pollution from two of our most pervasive activities, energy and agriculture. It’s hard to imagine where effective solutions would even start, which is why the Packard foundation has turned to the public for help with a wiki.”

The newsletter is called Worldchanging Headlines. It sounds a little like a religious group but it is not, unless you base religion solely on good works. The above snippet from the recent newsletter demonstrates how this group is participating in global reconstruction by promoting the work of groups who use wiki-style problem solving to seek solutions for mammoth problems. Long sentence, I know. Instead of limiting knowledge to the power brokers and tenured experts why not collaborate to form a world of potential solutions? This might produce an example of the Medici Effect (Frans Johansson). In his book, Johansson talks about innovation as the result of world-changing ideas emanating from the confluence of people with unrelated backgrounds. He supplies compelling examples of innovation and they all contain a common thread. The people who are successful making connections between unrelated ideas have broken down their associative barriers (your powers of discrimination are working against you). A maxim found in the book states that quantity does produce quality when it comes to generating ideas/solutions for large problems. Replace the ‘too many cooks…’ motto with “to infinity and beyond”.

Your assignment for the week of April 30:

  1. Sign up for the Worldchanging Headlines Newsletter
  2. Read the Medici Effect by Frans Johansson

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