the tactic toolbox • the scheme suite • the manuever manual • the blueprint bundle • the playbook pack • the approach arsenal • the strategy suitcase • the resource repository • the tactic toolbox • the scheme suite • the manuever manual • the blueprint bundle • the playbook pack • the approach arsenal • the strategy suitcase • the resource repository • the tactic toolbox • the scheme suite • the manuever manual • the blueprint bundle • the playbook pack • the approach arsenal • the strategy suitcase • the resource repository

Types of Ideas

Written by Jake Rudolph

A core pillar of building a community for people to see the best version of their ideas is to understand ideas, how they progress over time, and how you can support your people at each stage of their idea.

Baby ideas: Like babies, these ideas are focused on learning and exploring the world around them. They revolve around consuming knowledge and building skills. These are low commitment and short-term.

Examples: reading a book, practicing Duolingo, learning a new guitar song, making a to-do list app

People working on baby ideas often don’t know what they don’t know (link: Dunning Kruger effect). As a host, connect participants with baby ideas with the resources they need: send them articles you come across in their domain and introduce them to other people in the community.

A lot of people with baby ideas don’t even know what their idea is yet.

Teenage ideas: The slightly awkward, but really interesting stage of ideas. People at this stage start moving towards being a creator, putting their knowledge and skills to use to build something they are passionate about. These are mid-level commitment and mid-term.

Examples: writing and producing a song, storyboarding a climate documentary, building a website that shows you how far you can go with transit.

Working on a teenage idea is scary. People working on teenage ideas are putting themselves “out there” for the first time, and often, the ideas won’t be very good. But the only way to get good is to get the teenage ideas out of the way and learn as you go.

As a host, it’s essential to de-risk sharing teenage ideas and help participants feel more confident at the early stages of their work. (link: How to Organize Spaces that feel awesome)

Adult ideas: Seeing them all grown up makes us feel all of the emotions. Adult ideas are inherently more mature. They have some success (users, fans, viewers, followers) and are dedicated to growing even further. They are high-commitment, long-term projects.

Examples: a VC-backed startup, Youtuber with 50k followers, AR/VR research projects

Elder ideas: The retired ideas that are no longer actively running, but leave behind a legacy of mistakes, learnings, and celebrations. People with wise elder ideas reflect on their journey and share mentorship.

Examples: ex-president of a social justice club, sunsetted greenhouse project in Sri Lanka

Currently, Socratica is best positioned to support baby and teenage ideas. We are still learning and exploring how we can support adult and wise elder ideas.

How to choose what ideas to work on

Written by Aditya Sharma and Jake Rudolph

What is an idea?

It sometimes helps to fall back to the roots of the word. Idea, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a formulated thought or opinion.” It can often be the case that we overcomplicate things but at its core, an idea is just that … a thought or opinion that is formulated in some way, shape or form in the real world. As hosts, it is important to bring the barrier to entry of an idea down to its crumbs so that it is perceived as totally achievable by every human as opposed to this behemoth raindrop from the gods bestowed only upon the favoured.

Finding an idea to work on is a partnership between hosts and participants to help them explore parts of themselves that they didn’t think were valuable enough or didn’t know existed. There are various ways to inspire thought that could turn to valuable underpinnings of a creation.

Below is a set of guiding questions for hosts to ask to help inspire ideas:

  • Neglected hobbies
    • If you weren’t in school / co-op/job that takes up your being on the weekdays, what would you be doing right now?
    • If you could take a year off of school/work, how would you spend that year?
    • What makes you feel creative?
  • Childhood hobbies
    • What did you spend time doing when you were 9 years old? 3? 6? 14?
    • If you gave Young [Insert Your Name Here] $50, what would they spend it on?
  • Explorations
    • What is something you are terrible at, but think would be really fun?
    • Is there a field that you know absolutely nothing about?
  • Conjuring of realities
    • If you lived in a post-scarcity/abundance world, what is it that you at this point of time would want to spend your time on?
    • Imagine a utopia created entirely by you with the paint of a brush on a blank canvas. What does that world look like? How does this world not live up to the expectations?

Another subclass of thought/action experiments that could inspire are:

  • Work on what you go to bed thinking about and then also wake up thinking about
  • Work on what you think about in the shower
  • Write down every idea you have, or every thing that you think about in abundance and this could turn to an idea booklet
  • Work on what you talk to your friends about a lot

One thing you’ll observe amongst all the above questions is that they are all what questions. These start the conversation but are often only surface-level. An entire set of why questions that can unravel the birth of the answer to the what questions can be helpful for further roots of inspiration.

Some people will also work on “bridge” ideas - a low-risk project that helps to feel included in the space and give time to be inspired by other demos. Common “bridge” ideas:

  • Personal / portfolio website
  • Taking an online course

There is yet another set of activities where people are spending time learning meta-skills. These are included but not limited to:

  • Learning new programming languages
  • Writing
  • Learning new instruments

These can often also be excellent ideas to work on, especially if somebody’s curiosity is enchanted by a particular skill.

Common Failure modes

  • Unfocused work
  • Choosing work you think others expect you to work on
    • Oftentimes, this manifests as people working on projects based on their major of study.
    • The Socratica environment/crowd is not impenetrable from this critique. Acceptance, no matter from whom is the other side of the coin for community. We are social creatures and crave reward. This is fine insofar as the purpose of the collective serves you.
  • Trying to defy the laws of growth and birth a fully-developed senior citizen idea

Other seminal resources on idea-ing:

How to raise baby ideas

Written by Aadil Ali

  • I try to get to know someone very broadly as quick as possible, then take mental notes of what they mention a lot, or what makes their eyes light up when they talk about, or what they say with a positive tone
  • I then take that thing that they talked about, that they often didn’t even realize they mentioned positively/a lot, and then I ask them questions about it with the goal of understanding, not persuading
  • Then I ask something in the vein of “why aren’t you doing that now” or “what would you do if you had inf. time/money”, and see what they say
  • Most often, i never actually tell them to do the thing, i just mention all the times they’ve mentioned it, and they usually realize “yeah shit, i actually do really care about this thing”
  • And then I actually usually leave it at that. I’m not in the biz of forcing people to do stuff. But if I sense they’re someone who is on the cusp of diving into a passion/moved by my questions and actually thinks about their thoughts, I suggest them a really basic plan ie. try it for a week, come work on it at Socratica, you do this part and ill help you with the other part thats hard if you do the first part.
  • U can only really nurture people who are willing to grow, and people only truly do stuff if they wanna do it, not if u tell them - they’re just scared/confused/timid, so i try to do what i can to figure out then point out what’s holding them back, and make it seem smaller/less scary than they originally thought, and then what happens happens
  • BONUS: often those negative feelings are from a lack of confidence/belief - offering a little help, a little money, a little ”im in this with you” tends to give that person a belief in themselves for the first time - anyone can give a “yeah thats cool, you should do it, sgtm” but being so invested that u offer ur own time/money, even if they don’t take it, is a really positive signal to them

How to organize a symposium

Written by Hudzah

The symposium is vital to showing off our achievements to a broader range of people at the end of a term. It’s an event full of experimentation and trying things for the sake of getting a laugh out of it. It’s also an event where you have to try extra hard; if the symposium goes too smoothly, it means you haven’t tried hard enough. We see it is almost as giant funnel to inspire people to show what can be achieved within a term. The goal is to foster curiosity and interest within the community by highlighting the diversity and breadth of projects underway.

Components to Execute the Best Symposium

  • How to do logistics and venue:
    • Start planning the Symposium at least 2 months in advance. It’s a lot more high effort than you think.
    • Ensure a well-equipped venue that resonates with the vibe of the symposium.
    • People will be disappointed if there are technical issues. Prioritize having reliable AV equipment to facilitate clear communication and presentation.
    • People love good food. Maintain high standards of hospitality with quality food and refreshments.
    • Start inviting special guests early!
  • Who should demo?
    • Encourage a variety of presentations ranging from booth to stage demos. (poetry, dune paintings, documentaries, startups, robot dog and everything in between)
    • Don’t intimidate the attendees with fully completed projects! Feature projects in various stages of completion to showcase a broad spectrum of talents and ideas.
  • How to find demoers?
    • Proactively identify people with intriguing projects from socratica to demo at the symposium.
    • Maintain a dynamic list of potential demonstrators and ensure it is continuously updated and curated. Always be on the lookout.
    • Rule of thumb; if you think a project is really cool, others might think so too. So ask them if they want to demo!
  • How to create sparkle?
    • View the symposium as a canvas where creative expressions and innovative ideas are encouraged. We <3 experimentation and trying random shit that might be funny.
    • Never stagnate! Continuously seek ways to enhance the appeal and “sparkle” of the event to make it more engaging and memorable.
  • How to delegate work?
    • Firstly, form a great team, identify each person’s strengths, and roles automatically delegate themselves. Fun people should be in charge of sparkle, creatives for branding, urgent people for logistics, etc.
    • Give people ownership and make deadlines clear. Do not have several unnecessary meetings. Instead just have a sync every two weeks. Trust that people will get their tasks done; again this is going off the assumption that you have great responsible hosts :)
  • How to do “everything else that I did not cover above”?
    • The symposium has so many intricacies and could be written into a novel. Yet, a lot of it is dependent on deep thought and being extremely organized with your timelines.
    • You got this! Don’t be intimidated by the amount of work, it’s actually a lot of fun! And you will (hopefully) have some great hosts and helpers to make the path easier for you!