Chance Encounters

I'm spending this weekend in Austin for a family wedding. On the plane ride here, I was discussing a class project with my companion. We were discussing how to apply technologies that will be ready in the next five to ten years - cloud computing, miniature projectors, etc. - to the issue of how teens collaborate in-person. As I was sketching out some of the possibilities, the man in the aisle seat couldn't help but interrupt and tell me all about his experience fostering collaboration among various branches of government in Oregon in order to streamline processes and save the taxpayers money. I got some great ideas for what the most difficult issues are for sharing among different people, and what questions are waiting to be answered. I can't imagine a better vocation than listening to what people have to say - problems they express, needs they themselves don't even realize they have - and using my engineering skills and creativity to find a solution. Final prototypes to come later this week.