Chris Penn had an interesting post this evening about not being able to solve problems you don’t know exist; how to find solutions if they are beyond your perspective in life- you literally can’t see that a solution or dream encompasses those possibilities. He then went on to talk about the ability to connect people through social media, people with perspectives and experiences we have never had access to before.

This is what it must have been like to have the first great library in Alexandria- a compendium of all human knowledge to date, all in one spot, at your fingertips- how wonderful, heady and incredible that must have seemed. Now we have this in almost every computer terminal- not only easy access to information on just about every subject you want to know about, but access as never before to the people who are experts in the filed, doing ground breaking research- and you have the possibility to contact them ask them questions, learn from them.

You can take college classes through itunes, see lectures from some of the smartest people on the planet through TED- but how much of this are we actually taking advantage of every day?

Are we asking questions that matter? Are we looking to teach and share as well as learn from the successes and failures of others? Can I take the IDEO design strategy and design better educational experiences with it? Can I use marketing lessons to help kids learn better by making the information more attractive and relevant to them in the classroom? Can we make people care, not only about improving their lives, but improving the lives of those around them?

The unbelievable access to people from different walks of life, with different perspectives that might change our whole frame of reference, for better or worse, is available with a few keystrokes. How are you maximizing these opportunities? What are you adding and what are you taking away?

These aren’t always easy or obvious questions to answer, but they are things worth thinking about, and hopefully you’ll think about this and recognize the great opportunities available, if you know how to reach for them.