We measure and rate everything.
We measure how much things weigh, how many calories we consume, what rating a movie should have based upon violence, how good a meal was, how long our batteries will last, and on and on. We even measure our measurements, like how often we take a poll or how correct our prediction of the weather may be. The only thing that I can figure out that we don’t have good way to measure is ideas.
We don’t know when an idea starts or when it ends. We don’t know where they come from or where they go. We have almost no way of telling with an objective rating system whether an idea is good or bad. Essentially, we have no unit of measure for an idea.
But, I would like to. I would like to know the value of an idea, at least in relative terms. I would like to know when a new idea is being formulated so that I can grab onto it and help to create it. I would like to be able to say that a certain document, or video, or audio recording has a definite number of ideas and then be able to enumerate them so that I can see their value.
I understand that this process may be taking some of the art out of idea making, but I believe that if we had a better way to measure an idea against another one, we could actually come up with better ideas on the whole. I believe that if we had a mechanism to break a piece of content up into idea chunks, we could advance those ideas and build greater things off of them without letting the superfluous ideas weigh down the ones with real potential.
For example: If we were able to separate out every idea within the Health Care bills that are proposed to congress and weigh each one carefully, we would have a mechanism for separating out the very good ideas from the very bad ones. Obviously, what is a very good idea to one person might be a bad idea to another, and yet, when they are all wrapped up into one document, there is simply no way to tell where people stand on any given concept. It is my contention that with enough participation and collaboration on identifying valuable ideas, a lot of the subjectivity will go away. Mostly because the ideas that get the most debate are probably the ones that are the best ideas. The ideas that no one is debating probably can either be passed through or killed on the spot. Those ideas don’t require our focus, the ones that are contentious and will produce a reaction, are the ones that we really need to solve.
And yet, if we have no unit of measurement for ideas, how can we go about this process?
So, here is what I am proposing: What if every video that was produced could be split up into idea chunks and then rating on an individual basis. What if every document that was created could be highlighted according to the same idea chunks and rated on a scale that makes sense. What if every piece of media could be broken down so as to provide data about that object.
If we started there, what would the ratings system be? What is the scale that we could measure an idea against? Perhaps the relevance scale, or the passion scale, or even the understandable scale.
Clearly my answer here is the start of a much bigger conversation, but perhaps it is time to consider just how we are having our conversations about the most important issues of our day. Perhaps we need to be thinking about how we can at least agree on the measuring stick by which all ideas can by rated. Because as it stands right now, we either look at things on the whole which doesn’t allow for much analysis or we are all using different terms which only let’s us claim victory according to those terms.
As I think through this, I wonder about this video. For all of the ideas that he talks about in his Open Letter to Educators, I know that some are good. I know that some are inconsequential. How can I talk about one without talking about the others?How can I give his entire work 5 stars while I know that only a few of the ideas are really going to bring about real change?
If I could break things up or boil them down, I would have a better chance of figuring things out.