03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Next Big Think: You Heard It Here First

Life is complicated, from the simplest decisions, to the complexity of our personal lives, to the problems facing the planet.

We all know the list: Global warming. War. Disease. Poverty. Crime. Pandemic viruses. The world financial crisis.

The challenges seem to multiply exponentially, faster than governments can fix them or the brightest minds can figure out how to solve them, leading some to believe that we are on the verge of collapse.

Has our civilization hit the wall?

Enter Rebecca Costa: with a global wakeup call.

The causes of the crisis can be traced to our history and human evolution, leaving us stuck in what Costa calls "global gridlock." We can't come up with solutions because the complexity of our brains hasn't evolved as fast as the complexity of our problems. Confronted with such colossal chaos, says Costa, "we've been using the same problem-solving techniques that the airlines use to find lost luggage."

But Costa also points the way out of our mess. According to scientific evidence and leading edge research, humans have the ability to transform our brains into a new kind of thinking machine--retraining them to comprehend, analyze, and resolve massively complex problems--in other words, thinking outside the box.

Is this some new age voodoo? Who is Rebecca Costa? And why haven't you heard of her?

Part sociologist, economist, psychologist and entrepreneur, Costa is described as a futurist, a trendist, and thought leader ---in the style of Thomas Friedman and Malcolm Gladwell--whose insights result from examining the "big picture." Though she's new to the national stage, she's gained the attention of some of the nation's most influential thinkers, in advance of her first book, The Watchman's Rattle: A new way to understand Complexity, Collapse, and Correction.

I did say her first book. Costa's story--the emergence of a new author making a big splash--combines a little Cinderella, a little Susan Boyle--with an intellectual spin.

But I'm not a scientist, an economist, or an expert. So don't take my word on this. (Plus, Full disclosure: Rebecca Costa is a friend). Instead, read the words of those who are experts: Nobel Prize winners, academics, and other leaders in politics, science, and economics:

a significant new contributor to the important discussions of our time.

A game-changing message.

A must read for anyone wondering why our economy and standard of living have bottomed out.

Bound to inspire debate in both academia and policy worlds.

Next month Costa will be a featured speaker at the renowned Renaissance Weekend in South Carolina, where traditionally the Clintons and other influential leaders gather for retreats designed to bring together innovative leaders from diverse fields.

Here's a chance to hear Costa's innovative ideas before they do--by checking out her newly launched website. (Be sure not to miss the author interview.)

Unlike Costa, I'm not a futurist. But I can predict this: Within the next year, you won't be asking: Who is Rebecca Costa?

Just remember you heard it here first.