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  • Purnima Thakre

Curiouser And Curiouser: Insights From our February 2019 Innovation Showcase

Curious to learn more about Curiouser & Curiouser? Our February 2019 Curiouser innovation showcase was one for the books. 17 individuals from various walks of life braved the snow and the frigid Boston weather to learn and innovate together in an evening filled with curiosity, discussion, and sharing.

The event

Curiouser & Curiouser is an event that brings together a diverse group of people to form connections over dinner and intellectual discussions. The purpose of the evening is to share ideas that the presenters feel passionately about in an open and inviting space. Attendees get the opportunity to meet their fellow presenters and discuss ideas in further detail as well as form lasting connections and bond over shared interests and commonalities.

How it works

Presenters are invited to the refine+focus headquarters, where each individual is allotted three minutes to present an idea of their choosing to the group. Attendees are allowed and encouraged to bring visuals, videos, books, or just their own presence to share what they’re passionate about. Afterward, the group selects a topic to ideate upon in greater detail, spurring stimulating conversation and tangible outcomes. The goal is that each participant will leave Curiouser feeling more curious about at least one idea from the evening.

What we discovered

At this Curiouser event the ideas that were shared fell across a wide spectrum. Discussion ranged all the way from fintech to sports to wombat poo, and each idea sparked interest with the group.

Eduardo Pujol – Most entrepreneurial podcasts are geared towards younger entrepreneurs, but Business Schooled focuses on learning from the “OG entrepreneurs” who are starting successful businesses. Eight episodes, called lessons, are available in the podcast series hosted by Alexis Ohanian.

Katie Martensen – JPMorgan Chase is creating its own form of cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin, in which one coin is equivalent to one dollar. The cryptocurrency will help speed up international payments and assist with secure transactions, and it could change the course of banking.

Alexandra Marchosky – What makes the wombat different from all other animals? It poops in the form of stackable cubes which can be used to mark territory. Scientists and mechanical engineers are studying the concept because they are still unsure about how it’s possible.

Jim Ricciuti – Leading is done best through vulnerability, according to Brené Brown’s book, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Brown is a licensed social worker, researcher, and speaker who meets with everyone from teachers to Navy Seals to CEOs about shame and vulnerability and how they can be used to create a supportive environment.

Andrew Sussman – Andy had 3,479 unread emails, 221 unread text messages, 649 unviewed pins on Pinterest, and 41 Facebook notifications, yet he only received four pieces of physical mail. Also, marketing has an incredible power to influence young minds.

Thea Perez – Fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world, and the pollution feels unstoppable. An organization called Fashion Revolution attempted to improve the situation but ended up eventually hitting a wall. Fashion is an inherent part of being human, but we no longer cherish what we own, which could be the solution to the sustainability problem.

Zach Braiker – BBC published an article titled, “The Blessing and Curse of People Who Never Forget,” showcasing unique individuals with high superior autobiographical memory, meaning that they can recall every single moment of life. One man was flown across Rome in a helicopter and was able to draw the entirety of the city in perfect detail. This extraordinary gift must be managed by these select individuals and has interesting implications for the future of society.

Daniel Goldstein – Everybody’s played the “What time period do I belong to?” game at some point in their lives, but nobody ever claims that they belong to their very own time period. Why do we, as humans, love to distance ourselves from our own time period? We can reclaim the 21st century for ourselves by remembering that we reward empathy, it’s never been easier to do more, and there’s never been a better time to be curious.

Dmitri Krasik – Poetry is able to encapsulate, crystallize, and pass on ideas, world views, and mentalities of people in a unique and memorable way. A hauntingly beautiful excerpt about superstition and the Medieval Times was recited from Lucretius’ The Nature of Things.

Cara Solomon – Everyday Boston, a nonprofit focused on sharing stories, created a Valentine’s Day Challenge to give Valentines to strangers on the streets of Boston. Strangers are just neighbors that you haven’t met yet, and everybody could use a little unexpected kindness.

Lucinda Linde – Categorization and machine learning interestingly bring up philosophical questions. An article from the MIT Technology Review titled “Giving algorithms a sense of uncertainty could make them more ethical” describes how competing definitions of success for metrics aren’t able to be achieved simultaneously.

Edward Ellison – Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Track and Field is a great platform for helping children to understand what they personally can do as well as how they perceive themselves and others.

Crista Nunez – Empathy is an important characteristic in everyday life, and it can be put into use when creating user-optimized online survey forms. Vertical boxes are useful in keeping users focused, and labels should go above text entry boxes for the best usability to create surveys that are effective and optimal for other people.

Sam Nigh – Global warming is quickly becoming one of the most important global issues, and a potential solution to ideate is carbon capture. Capturing natural gas in households could be an innovation idea to help slow down climate change and help our planet.

Michael Cucurullo – Red Hot Chili Letters is a word game in which each player receives a spindle and four dice. The dice have four sides of letters, and players must organize the letters on the spindle to form as many words as possible.

Purnima Thakre – Empowered Women Empower Women is an interview series in which accomplished women who think they have something worth sharing get the opportunity to discuss their experiences and serve as role models. Every other week, an interview will be shared and eventually collected in a repository.

An invitation

Now that you’ve heard our February 2019 Curiouser insights, check out our Curiouser page for further information on past and future events. We’d love to connect with you and hear your innovative ideas at the next Curiouser & Curiouser!

Cover photo by Lysander Yuen

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