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Google’s ‘Solve for X': Simple solutions for complex problems

Solve for X. No we’re not trying to induce nightmares from your high school maths days. It’s a new concept from Google aimed at providing simple solutions to complex problems.

The internet giant recently hosted its first “Solve for X” gathering, which brought together entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world. Now it claims it wants to take the concept public, inviting people to join in on the Solve for X website and Google+ page.

According to an official blog post, the concept behind Solve for X is one embedded within the Google ethos: “technology moonshots”.

These moonshots, Google claims “are efforts that take on global-scale problems, define radical solutions to those problems, and involve some form of breakthrough technology that could actually make them happen”. They supposedly “live in the grey area between audacious projects and pure science fiction; they are 10x improvement, not 10%”.

One of the Solve for X talks (Think TED’s Big Idea concept) highlighted by Google is a proposal from Adrien Treuille, a professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University that going forward significant science and technological advances will come from individual contributors—independent of their official affiliations or training

Google claims that its first Solve for X event “brought together a group that is already practiced at moonshot thinking to propose specific solution”.

Unlike the exclusivity of TED, however, the internet giant claims that its aim is for Solve for X “to be a forum where technology-based moonshot thinking is practiced, celebrated and amplified”, not just by experts but by any interested individual.