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What toddlers teach about tackling poverty

We humans are hardwired to love correlation. Our brains are excellent at spotting patterns, and we use those patterns to help make sense of the world around us more quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, correlative hardwiring can sometimes get us into trouble. This lesson was made clear to me recently when I had the chance to spend time with a friend whose toddler son was just beginning to learn how to communicate. To start with, my...

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3 lessons for innovators from a tiny car’s colossal failure

Upon its release in 2008, the Nano—a simple, innovative car made by India’s Tata Motors—seemed destined for greatness. Tata rolled out their tiny vehicle to much fanfare and a host of international awards. At a price point of just $2,000, it aimed to be a simple yet effective vehicle that an average Indian family could afford.  Tata felt sure they were onto something big. In a country with more than 1.2 billion people, there...

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Reframing the problem: Lessons from Orville and Wilbur Wright on solving poverty

Around the turn of the 20th century, the world was abuzz with dreams of manned flight. Inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, Alberto Santos-Dumont, and even Thomas Edison were among those tinkering with the idea, and dozens more had joined in a hotly contested race to build the world’s first manned flying machine. One of the favorites to win this race was notable astronomer, physicist, and inventor Samuel Pierpont Langley, who served...

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Lessons from COVID-19 on solving poverty

New York City has been unusually quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, but every night at 7:00 pm that changes for a few short minutes. New Yorkers, forced inside because of quarantine, emerge at open windows and balconies to applaud, cheer and even bang on pots and pans in a show of solidarity and appreciation with the city’s healthcare workers. The sight of people cheering from windows in major cities like New York is just one...

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There’s a better solution to America’s immigration crisis

Almost a quarter of Americans view immigration as the most important problem facing the country, according to a poll conducted this summer. It’s the highest the number has risen since Gallup began running the poll back in 1993. Though people throughout the country remain fiercely divided in their views on immigration, they are united in their growing preoccupation with it.  As the topic has moved toward center stage in public...