Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Optimistic lists

Late last year I ranted a bit about the phenomenon of "end of year lists" and "next year predictions." And then, I too, caved to the temptation.

I much prefer John Brockman's approach on the EDGE. He asks a question about the coming year and invites anyone to answer it. Not only is it much more interesting, it actually takes advantage of the technology.

This year he asked "What are you optimistic about?" So far (as of 01.02.07) there are 160 answers, ranging from "When men are involved in the care of their own infants, cultures don't make war" to "breakthroughs in sleep science" to "Multilingualism in Europe."

There is also the usual slew of optimistic predictions about how technology will save the world, but you can read those anywhere.

So what for philanthropy? I think foundation staff should ask their grantees (potential grantees? rejected applicants? board members?) this same question.

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