Solving economic problems with a netflix prize

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Rob linked to Umair Haque’s suggestion: Solve America’s Employment Crisis With a Netflix Prize. The whole thing is worth a read but here’s the core idea: for each of America’s beleagured industries…

Here’s what I’d do: run a series of national innovation awesomeness tournaments in each of the industries above. The prize? Let’s take a page from Netflix and offer a million bucks each. The challenge? To radically reimagine each industry for the 21st century. Then, I’d seed the top ten ideas in each category with $10 million each, syndicating further investments with the private sector — and let ’em rip. Total pricetag to the people? About $150-250 million — a drop in the bucket compared to the bailouts. Total returns? They promise to be exactly what we need today: disruptive, radical, and world-changing.

Umair contrasts this with the standard central government approach:

President Barack Obama has just spent millions hiring mega-consultants to cook up a national innovation strategy. That’s so 20th century, it hurts.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel about most grandiose government approaches to issues. Rob comments:

Now Umair – speaks not only the truth but also sense… His thesis is that we live in a Zombie Economy – where all the gains go to a few – where traps are set for the many.

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