David Ernst A personal site

Open Think Tank

For a while now, I’ve been interested in the idea of a global, free & open think tank.

Its mission is to empower, connect, & coordinate individuals and communities to solve the problems around them.

Like traditional think tanks, it’s a place for deep thinkers to explore important issues.

Improving upon traditional think tanks, this organization can live online. This lets it include many more participants, and produce much faster. Encyclopedia Brittanica vs Wikipedia ;)

It can be organized around “problems”: each would get its own page. Examples might be global scale problems, like rising sea levels or WW2-sized refugee crises. There are also plenty of city-level problems as well, like homelessness in San Francisco.

Individuals can ‘Follow’ problems that they’re interested in, similar to starring interesting GitHub repositories. The individual problem pages can include background information on the topic, similar to Wikipedia, as well as suggested solutions, organized democratically, à la Reddit. This way, an interested person can quickly get up to speed on what a particular problem is about, and more importantly, what they can do to help resolve it.

Here’s a mockup from January 2014 for an example problem, and another from October 2015. There are plenty more disorganized notes around this idea here.

This idea really occupied me throughout 2014, but I became burnt-out after working on it full-time for 9 months. Since then, I’ve been taking a break, but some of my ideas have continued to evolve.

If this is something you’re interested in, please chime in below.