Today we are launching a brand new version of Audacious Ideas. With its new features, we hope it will become a versatile and easy way for us to interact with each other. As has been the case since 2007, each week you will still receive a new “audacious” idea aimed at changing Baltimore for the better. But you will also be able to read features about people who are actively making change in our community, hear commentaries and stories about advocacy, see videos about change-makers, and find calendar listings about social justice events. Our goal is to make this a resource for the growing community of people who are curious about and committed to social change in Baltimore.
Why a blog? One of the key characteristics that George Soros envisions for an open society is that ideas are shared and critically considered—and that all voices are heard. This is predicated on a belief that no one has perfect knowledge but, with more information, consideration of different views and debate, a good idea can become even better. In fact, OSI-Baltimore established high school debate in our public schools to let our young people experience directly the value of sharing and critically examining ideas—from multiple perspectives—in order to develop sound public policies.
At this very polarized point of time in our country, exchanging views and considering ideas together is more important than ever before. But, now that we are able to tailor our news, we often miss out on ideas that can emerge from individuals or communities outside of our immediate experience because we only listen to ideas that confirm our own thinking. Sounds ideas—ideas that can lead to collective action and pragmatic solutions—often come from conversations among very diverse people, all focused on a single topic.
This is an idea that James Surowiecki examines in his book, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. He affirms this basic open society value by arguing that the aggregation of information results in decisions that are often much better than the decision that would be made by an individual alone.
So join us! We want to learn from you and hear your perspectives. We hope you will participate in the conversation and, most of all, we look forward to working together to change Baltimore with one audacious idea after another.