“A problem well put is half-solved” said John Dewey, the famous American philosopher and education reformer. It’s a valuable insight. The language used to describe a problem (or solution) can be a powerful tool in revealing faulty assumptions, finding connections between concepts, or framing new angles and perspectives. Words matter when it comes to solving problems. Pictures do too.

How do we choose the best language and pictures for solving a problem?

There’s probably more than one approach. But The Symbish Project takes the view ¬†that this should not be done in isolation. Ideas only spread of people choose to share them. For the public to share a new solution to a well-known problem, it needs to be easy to understand and to provide people with some form of benefit. Public dialogue about a potential solution – early on, rather than at the end – can help people to accept an idea, develop it, and to use it.

The Symbish Project aims to solve four  well-known problems by communicating them differently. The approach of this project is similar to the lean startup approach Рwhich is, to share bits of unfinished ideas with the public as a way of making these ideas stronger and easier to act on.

Broadly speaking, the four problems that The Symbish Project is trying to solve are:

Problem Key communicated idea (evolving)
1. Selfishness Selfish win-win people exist
2. Climate change Weekly targets can drive green investment
3. Sleep Sleep and consciousness are two sides of a pendulum
4. The universe Atoms are created instantly


This blog is a tool to help in the development of each idea. It is one way to communicate progress to a wider audience. I’d welcome your input on how these ideas fall short, or how these four sets of solutions could be made more useful to you and to the people you know. I’d also value your thoughts on similar ideas or similar thinkers, and chances to test my ideas with a wider audience.

This is an unusual project, and it’s ambitious. But it’s not an ego project. Collaboration would be great :-). Join in!