Sometimes the best ideas for solving problems are the exact opposite of what you might first think. These “paradoxical ideas” are useful to consider not only because they probably are effective, but also because they inspire us to think creatively and without preconceptions about a wide range of solutions.
Here are five that are particularly paradoxical:
A well-regarded Amsterdam program gets homeless alcoholics working again by paying them with beer. NY Times http://nyti.ms/1d06uno
Why is there so much attention about auto safety and manufacturer recalls when nearly all accidents are caused by human error? Shouldn’t we worry more about that? NY Times http://nyti.ms/a5387k
Efforts to alleviate traffic jams only encourage more cars and create more sprawl. Traffic jams encourage ridership on more efficient mass transit. Wall Street Journal http://bit.ly/cDS0lE
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu argues that we should expend less efforts on international treaties and more effort on bilateral discussions with China. The US and China combined create 40% of the world’s pollution. An innovative, aggressive, bilateral treaty will represent great progress, and encourage other nations to join. Wired Magazine profile http://bit.ly/bttpI8
5) Never Punt
Statistical analysis suggests that punting in football almost never pays off. Teams should never (or almost never) punt. Time Magazine http://nyti.ms/1bEVMFX
And as a bonus, how about this paradoxical idea?:
The “shared space” movement in Europe promotes road safety by getting rid of traffic laws, stoplights, road signs, and crosswalks. This encourages everyone to be careful and cooperate. It has been adopted in over 100 cities. Christian Science Monitor http://bit.ly/aR0jCV
To comment or vote on these (or other) ideas – or add your own! – visit Good Ideas.