Event Recap: Big Problems, Big Ideas

Pushya Jataprolu '16

Pushya Jataprolu '16

By Pushya Jataprolu

Did you know that the amount of data handled and operated on by NSA is not significant compared to what Google hosts and accesses? Then, how would you make sure the private sector maintains cyber security so the military does not have to take over all the data out there? And did you know that one of the biggest problems with phosphorus right now is that we might run out of reserves for agriculture -  in our generation – not far beyond! That’s right, diagnoses are just as hard as ever before, because not all tests are conclusive and a lot of data needs to be analyzed to find the right trends. And whether you believe it or not (no pun intended), most people get their daily dose of news from fakenews.net and the famous “tonight shows”. Are these arenas of interest to you and do these problems bother you? Do you think they affect you in a tangible way and do you think you can and should make a difference?

A bunch of us from 16 schools across the University of Chicago did and turned up at the 4th annual Big Problems Big Ideas hosted jointly by the Polsky Center and the Social Enterprise Initiative. Close to a hundred attendees from various schools of the University including Pritzker, Harris and the Law school, got together at Booth to hear speakers Jake Braun, Malini Moraghan, Jonathan Silverstein and Kevin Bleyer speak in a TED talk manner for 10 minutes about their respective fields of expertise – national & cyber security, sustainable agriculture, health care & data, and politics & media. While you sit before them, listening to the impending issues with each realm, you cannot help but wonder how these seemingly well established realms still have problems. Not so great that they exist, but definitely great when these distinguished subject matter experts tell you there are some problems that still need fixing. You can make significant contributions to a lot of unexplored aspects in the world.

Here is a collaborative effort by Polsky Center and SEI to expose the University of Chicago to big problems and urge you to find the ideas to solve them. What followed were intense break-out sessions with Q&A over the topics pitched and brainstorming to see if it is a problem at all, can something be done about it, will it solve itself, what alternative approaches do we have. Not only did we gain knowledge on our fields of interest but we also explored and understood the problems that we haven’t seen before; and even if we had seen, what are the perspectives that various schools in the University bring to the table on it and what the best approach would be. Great way to network with people of common interests, talk to industry leaders and brainstorm with all these talents put together.

Great! So what do you do walking out of that session? Well, you are put in touch with all the attendees of the session via email and now you can continue your brainstorming and idea generation for your industries of common passion. What if I missed it and want to involve in something as cool? You should check out the Collaboratorium on Dec 2nd at the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

Visit the website for more details: http://entrepreneurship.uchicago.edu/collaborate