09 October 2008

IDEAS @ MIT ~ Kickoff to Fall '08 Events & Action!

I was very pleased to see the well-attended MIT IDEAS Competition Kickoff event tonight, the Generator Dinner in Walker Memorial. MC and Competition Impresario Lars Torres rallied a full-house of folks around the core IDEAS themes of Innovation-Development-Enterprise-Action-Service. They spotlighted this year's Yunus Challenge -- off-grid low-cost energy storage solutions -- as well as other emergent and promising themes. Afterwards, Lars and volunteer Gwen and I decamped next door to the Muddy Charles Pub to decompress and brainstorm about future IDEAS events and connection mechanisms. I'm exceedingly impressed with Lars and how things are going with IDEAS so far. Lots of great ideas, enthusiastic participation, connection-making, and emergent innovations. Very cool!

On an important side note: To conclude the night, I helped Lars schlep a big bunch of stuff back to the IDEAS office. This exercise gave me entirely renewed appreciation for the logistical grief that handicapped folks -- especially wheelchaired people -- face in navigating the MIT campus. I admit I have been a naysayer skeptic in the past about the merit (and expense) of retrofit designs, but now I am entirely in their camp -- MIT must be totally mobility empowered and do whatever design and retrofits are needed, ASAP! And in this light, I'm also convinced MIT IDEAS Winner Amos Winter's Wheelchair Design class and Mobility Lab are more important than ever!

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