Big Ideas, Big Action

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Big Ideas, Big Action brought together a great cross section of technos, non-profits, big thinkers, small companies, corporations and social media gurus to talk about how do you come up with the ideas and more importantly how do you implement these. We were all brought together to create, implement and tackle ideas collaboratively. Even though our name tags listed us as .com, .org, or .gov, we were all free to mingle about and share whatever thoughts we had on a variety of projects.

The morning started off with some great inspirational presentations by Andy Carvin, NPR and Phillippa Hughes, Project Pink Line who shared how they have created wild ideas by just going rogue.

Andy Carvin, NPR

Andy was instrumental in pointing out that there once were no great ways to respond to disasters but donate money or blood to the American Red Cross. Having been an American Red Cross Disaster worker and fundraiser, I know the on-the-ground frustrations of wanting to get information and resources to people immediately local and globally.

With this view, I was awed by Andy’s presentation of the rapid evolution of the use of social media tools from processing donation information to now providing information to rescue workers, medical personnel and victims within hours of a disaster hitting. More importantly is the intelligent evolution of this information that is rapidly deployed and enhanced each time a disaster strikes all done by virtual volunteers around the world.

There is now Crisis Commons, an international volunteer network of professionals drawn together by a call to service that creates technological tools and resources for responders to use in mitigating disasters and crises around the world (

Phillippa Hughes, Project Pink Line

Phillippa, a lawyer, was not creatively stimulated by her job so she decided to start hanging out with creative people. After creating a few events, she has become a creative thinking and project implementer showcasing arts programs in many different formats around the city. Look for her creative take on the Cherry Blossom Festival this spring.

After her presentation, I shared with Phillippa my big art idea – outwear with designs made of reflector material (haven’t you ever noticed that all outwear is black and walking home from the Metro at night, we all blend in with the scenery? Scarves with large flowers on them made out of reflector material could be fashionable and safe). Phillippa says to keep an eye out for the fashion show. I can’t wait!

Additional presentations

Peter Corbett presented “Idea Generation Techniques to help you conquer the World” basically saying that many of us have really great ideas but it is the vetting and implementing of these ideas that gets us in trouble or stuck. Peter has developed a great process of Idea Generation all the way through Implementation which made it look easy especially with a variety of free tools available online such as Google Ad Planner, Google AdWords, Google Insight and Scout Labs. Basic message: you have to be focused as you can only go in one direction to succeed. Peter’s recommendation to build focus is to remember to workout, hike, meditate or road trips. Peter uses the dictation app on his iPhone to take notes while he works out ideas on the road.

The group did comment on developing “Brain Crack” which is a collection of ideas which you store and bring out from time to time. I have this in a series of scholastic notebooks that were the rage during the era and I have not let go of them. From time to time, I will look through thoughts, ideas, and challenges to see if any can provide insight or input to ideas needed now.

Later in the morning presentations from event sponsors Intel, and Microsoft. This was the first presentation of Mark Drapeau in his first public appearance as the new Innovation Director for Social Media at Microsoft. Unfortunately the only thing people will remember is his Microsoft program closing down on him in the middle of his presentation. We also heard from Living Social and the CEO of the Washington Economic Partnership, but I unfortunately was brainstorming with FedScoop founder and president Goldy Kamali and missed out on those great presentations.

The afternoon was filled with idea generation and playing. We are waiting for the videos about those great ideas! As for my other great ideas that came out of the conference for me and ClearedJobs.Net, well…you’re just going to have to wait and see!

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:50 am

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