Introducing the “Idea Exchange” Dinners

By August 25, 2014 Uncategorized

Originally posted to Tumblr

Inspired in part by an Orbital Boot Camp email thread about optimal event conditions/qualities for introverts, and in part by a long-held desire to run some kind of meetup focused on sharing ideas, I’d like to introduce the Idea Exchange dinner series.

My girlfriend and I just moved into a new apartment, and in addition to it being a nice in an awesome neighborhood, I’d like it to serve at least part-time duty as a space for learning and community. I think having a small community for sharing, exchanging feedback, and creating cross-pollination of ideas is really valuable, and I want to get some of that going as I explore various approaches to creating a community for learning.

My goal is to create an event that’s accessible and welcoming, while still having some structure and purpose…a bit more focused than the sort of dinner parties I’ve thrown before, but with a similar casual vibe.

This will be:

  • A small group dinner, at my apartment, with probably 6-8 (interested and interesting!) people
  • A casual get together with a focus on sharing one (or more) interesting and uncommon ideas you’ve come across that might be useful to others
  • An experiment in emergent learning environments, a collaborative show and tell discussion…and maybe more!

I envision each person sharing things like a specific application of a generally powerful idea, e.g. some cool new application of evolutionary biology or complexity theory applied to a different field in an innovative way; or an academic concept that hasn’t yet entered the popular lexicon, but is simple to understand and has intriguing applications (some examples I really like include “field configuring event”, “the technium”, “multimodality”, “spimes”, “hypergames”, and “emplotment”). The idea is to present these ideas in a concise and accessible way, partly as exercise in articulation and presentation. It could be kind of the Feyman technique put into action, practicing teaching and explaining and making the case for the importance or applicability of ideas you really think are valuable. My hope is that everyone will learn something new, something you might not stumble across in a Wikipedia article…

I’d like to run a couple of these over the next month or so, and test out the format. My apartment is in Prospect Heights, right by Barclays/Atlantic Terminal, and these will probably be weekends, at around 7 or 8.

I’ll take care of the main dish — for the first one, I’m thinking paella — and will just ask that each person bring two things to share:

  1. A side, dessert, or drinks for six, and
  2. One or two cool ideas to add to the communal cognitive toolkit
  3. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the survey below (or shoot me an email) and I’ll get back to you once I’ve figured out all the details.

Let me know if you have any questions/suggestions!

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