•   about 7 years ago

How far out-of-the-Box?

I am a technical designer who specializes in the big-picture and out-of-box ideas. My ideas are usually out-of-the-box down-the-street and around-the-corner. This is simply because that is exactly what is what is needed to address the great problems of the 21st Century.

I have participated in a number of Hackathons (my Thon is now thoroughly hacked). Invariably the judges have judging criteria, consequently they pass over truly out-of-box ideas, which (wait for it) do not fit in their judgement box.

For example:

The human brain in now known to be made up of many modules (here called Brain Apps). Three Brain Apps that technical people know and love are Eureka, Buy-In, and Flow. We now know enough to design specifically for these Brain Apps.

Also, units of society are called Memes. The Constitution of the United States is a meme (a big important one). Angry Birds is a Meme (a small inconsequential one). When we make apps we are specifically trying to program Memes. The literature on Memes is now large enough that, as designers, we can know what a Meme can do and what it cannot do.

Cut to the chase:

ISIS is currently using the Brain App Buy-In, a favorite of all religions, and modern communications to get recruits. The result is positively murderous. Time is passing.

We can design new Memes to deny Buy-In to ISIS for a large portion of the population. This we can do this now, and this is something new.

I have about two years work on this idea and a couple grand would help us complete a prototype. It turns out that Brain-Apps are programmed almost exclusively in language and Microsoft Word is a perfectly good language processor. We also use Excel for data reduction. I also have experience making videos with Movie Maker.


My question again is how out-of-box will the judges tolerate before skipping over my entry as if it were not even there?


Tom Riley

Baltimore in the Future Tense

Prototype Stories


  • Manager   •   about 7 years ago

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks so much for your note and question. Unfortuantly, we’re really not able to give too much insight on how the judges will personally interpret your solution in relation to the judging criteria.

    I know this is not what you want to hear, but the best advice I can give you is to be sure that your entry meets the submission requirements (posted on the Homepage and under Section 4 of the rules), and relates to the judging criteria (again, posted on the Homepage and under Section 6 of the rules).

    If you have any doubts that the judges might not understand your entry, I’d recommend specifically stating in your text description how your entry relates to productivity and how it might impact ones’ personal, professional, or family/household productivity. This way the judges will have the opportunity to understand your thinking.

    If you have additional questions, please let us know!

  •   •   about 7 years ago

    You do need to understand that this sets up a box and thereby destroys any possibility of out-of- box solutions. This is a serious limitation of the whole Hackathon idea and insures that it will not produce solutions to the real problems of the 21st Century.

    This type of in-the-box thinking is also unnecessary and you could address the problem in your process design. If you are serious about supporting innovation you can and should do better.

    Tom Riley

  • Manager   •   about 7 years ago

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for your feedback. We understand your point, but in order to run a competition that is legal and fair, we are required to place perimeters around the requirements and judging criteria so that all participants can understand what they need to do to be eligible for a prize and how their entries will be scored.

    We do our best to ensure that these requirements are not too constricting, but are clear and fair for all participants.

    We do hope that you’ll be able to participate and we’re looking forward to seeing your ideas.

  •   •   almost 7 years ago

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." – Albert Einstein.

    If you are interested in upgrading your software to a new level, let me know. I cannot do your job for you but I can provide detailed out-of-box 21st Century design examples based on decades of experience. This is important work and you are almost there.

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