Introducing The Hive, in which Slate readers offer great new ideas for the world's trickiest problems.

The inner workings of Slate.
Feb. 16 2010 7:57 AM

Introducing The Hive

Slate is seeking your best new ideas to solve the world's trickiest problems.

We at Slatehave long known that the magazine's most exceptional asset is our millions of readers. I'm not flattering you when I say that you're an astonishingly intelligent, engaged, and clever group—and handsome, too. Whenever we ask you for ideas and feedback, you offer perceptive, and often brilliant, suggestions. So today we're launching the first in a series of projects that will, we hope, harness the collective intelligence of our readers for the good of Slate and society. We're calling this enterprise The Hive.

The Hive begins with a single, challenging problem, a problem that is difficult and important but not so abstruse that ordinary, intelligent people can't understand it. It should be a problem that, if we managed to solve it even a little bit, could genuinely improve in the lives of people around the world. We're introducing the first of these problems today, in an article by Daniel Gross, "The Efficient Life." Gross is inviting readers to come up with compelling and useful ways for Americans to use less energy in their homes and save money. Your proposals could range from technological fixes (programmable thermostats, perhaps) to policy changes (new tax incentives for purchasing energy efficient appliances) to psychological insights about behavior (ways to use peer pressure to reduce energy use) to anything else—the more unconventional and brilliant, the better. Surprise us!

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Readers can submit their ideas here, and all of your ideas will be posted on Slate here, where other readers can comment and vote on them. We have also enlisted a panel of expert judges, and together the judges and voters will select a dozen finalists in mid-March and then a single winning idea at the end of March. The winning and finalist ideas will be publicized and presented to policymakers. (Daniel Gross will implement some of these ideas in his own life and report back on his results.)

We will also be holding a live event in Washington, D.C., to generate compelling proposals. On March 10, at the House of Sweden, we will bring our experts and Slate readers together to discuss the issue and break into groups to brainstorm good ideas.



The Hive is an experiment, so we need your help and your feedback on it. Please check it out here and send us your most compelling ideas. And please tell us how to improve it in the comments below this article or in an e-mail to TheSlateHive@gmail.com.

David Plotz is the editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.