More on the liquid library

(Editor’s note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

How big does an idea have to be to live on its own? If we think of an idea being an organism, what are the elements that make it a living, breathing, self-explanatory, reusable thinking-tool?

As an example, if the ideas was simply “blue,” we would need to know the who, what, when, where and how to give it context and self-sufficiency.

Famous quotes are a great example of self-sufficient ideas:

  • “I need a nap… And by nap, I mean a small coma so I can hide from my life!”
  • “Women spend more time thinking about what men are thinking, than men actually spend thinking!”
  • “The best way to get even, is to forget!”
  • “My clever comebacks usually surface an hour too late!”
  • “An ugly personality destroys a pretty face!”
  • “Some people are like clouds. When they go away, it’s a beautiful day!”

Yes, these are rather funny examples, but they say just enough to get their message across.

If a quote has ample meaning, sufficient importance, offers just enough perspective, and is clever and funny, it has the potential to go viral.

So what do we need to create minimum viable ideas that hold sufficient meaning in the lives of others? More importantly, how can one idea be couple to another and used as a building block for something bigger? 

That’s where liquid networks come into play.

Our Emerging “Liquid Networks” Ecosystem for Ideas 

Our massive data centers have become a pulsing life form, a vibrant extension of human thinking, fueled by the relentless pipeline of ideas flowing to and from servers, much like synaptical firings, intent on bridging their way to adjoining memory cells. 

A recent report from Google indicated that roughly 20 percent of all searches are ones that have never been conducted before. While it’s not likely that any of us will reach 20 percent originality in our ideas, it’s far more than zero. 

As a result, a constant stream of original ideas are flowing into our data centers, and these ideas are assuming a level of prominence and influence with many poised to explode back into our physical world. 

This level of human-computer synergy is still poorly understood. Any form of symbiotic intelligence will be different than we imagine, but at the same time, it’ll be exactly what we imagine.

Similar to an exoskeleton for our brain, it will be the super-participants, those with an innate affinity for tilling the idea gardens, who manage and harvest the fruits of today’s meme forests, that will rise to the top. 

As always, those with the most creative ideas are only part of the equation. It’s far less about where ideas come from and far more about where they go as they enter into our emerging “liquid networks” ecosystem. And that is the virgin territory where libraries have a critical role to play long into the future. 

Final Thoughts

The New York City based invention company Quirky, has developed a highly iterative process for people to submit inventions and have others add comments, insights, and additional perspectives to the original concept until it becomes sufficiently refined for an implementation team to start building prototypes.

Business models like this were never possible in the past because social networks didn’t exist, creating a transparent process wasn’t possible, and the time delays of slogging through a snail mail network would cause everyone to lose interest.

Using libraries as a focal point for idea sharing is something new, and creating an environment for clustering great epiphanies could be hugely valuable. Unlike private companies with life expectancies measured in decades, libraries have a more far-reaching purpose, serving their constituencies over lifetimes measured in centuries. 

We’ve never really had the benefit of tapping into an idea archive in the past, so this will be unchartered territory for the world ahead. It will also be a breeding ground for sparking new epiphanies.

Every new business that gets launched happens as a result of an epiphany. Similarly, every new product idea happens as a result of an epiphany. For this reason, when it comes to solving some of the world’s biggest problems, it’s in our best interest to create new epiphanies faster, better and cheaper than ever before. And libraries can become the catalysts for these liquid networks of the future.