Why Do Ideas Fail?
Back in November, I spent a terrific day at Discovery-U, listening to some of Penn State’s faculty in science, technology, and engineering discuss their research—and, equally interesting for me, as a Liberal Arts kind of girl, why their research matters. I was really impressed that so many of the professors and researchers were able to discuss their work in a way that I understood. It was a fascinating day.
One of the talks that jumped out at me was the one given by Khanjan Mehta ’83g, director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program. It was called “The Problem With The Potential Solution,” and it addressed why technological solutions don’t always—perhaps “rarely” is a better word—make the lives of people in developing countries better. By about three minutes into the 15-minute talk, I was emailing my colleagues at the office, telling them how this talk was making me think and wondering if we could find a way to cover it in the magazine. Within two weeks, we had adapted Mehta’s talk into a piece that you’ll find in our January/February issue. We called it Why Ideas Fail, and we hope it will make you think, as well.
You can watch Mehta’s talk by clicking here for a video produced by WPSU. Discovery-U had a lot of other speakers, too, and the organizers are hoping that videos of the TED-style talks will reach an even wider audience than they did in the HUB Auditorium. For the entire Discovery-U YouTube channel, click here. And enjoy.
Lori Shontz, senior editor