What if the answer to what you were seeking were a question?
On the afternoon of February 28, 2012 on the campus of Westminster College, a collection of curious minds gathered together to ask questions such as: What if video games could save lives? What if we lived in car-free cities? What if time did not exist? What if there were healthy fast food? What if one sentence could change your world? Throughout the event, the audience also shared their thoughts regarding these questions and discussed with each other different directions they could grow before leaving into the night -- their perspectives and actions forever changed.
That may have been the day What If...? was born, but the truth is "what if...?" has been happening around us for some time. From Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Generation encouraging entrepreneurs to consider "what if...?" scenarios to help form powerful business models of tomorrow, to Agapi Stassinopoulos asking what if we opened our hearts to others in our search for personal growth within ourselves, to Timothy Ferriss asking what if Lifestyle Design were more valuable than income bottom line, to Quirky.com asking what if invention were accessible to everyone, to Prospect Sierra asking what if we asked students how they wanted to feel at school each day -- every stage of progress throughout humankind starts with a "what if...?" Whether it was exploration (the moon!), change (equal rights), or achievement (four-minute mile), every substantial step we take requires us to wonder, dare and do. What if we collaborated together to take this approach as far as we could collectively take it?
"What If...?" is creating a community driven by our collective curiosities. Of course, ideas aren't the end point; we're in the business of using ideas as resources to fuel disruptive, transformative change -- change that can't be found through the standard question-and-answer approach. "What If...?" sets out to democratize ideas by engaging equals and non-equals alike and provide them all with a platfor(u)m to bring this change into individuals' lives, schools, communities and our shared reality.
What if the next "big" idea were floating around in the head of someone who has no means to interact with the audience or resources required to turn that question into an action? How many world-changing solutions remain stagnant because they aren't being properly connected to people and situations that could put them into action? What if that thought floating around in your head could make the entire world a better place -- or put a smile on just one other person's face?
"What If...?" is all about connections. It's also about fulfillment. We're here to live full lives and fulfillment is achievable for us all. But we're here for more than that. We're here to discover our potential. What if "what if..." questions were a way to tap into our unlimited potential? What If...? facilitates this process by pointing us in directions that challenge our thinking, encourage learning and allow us to grow from the experience. It's a serendipity collider concealed in a community of people, connected through their shared curiosity in what could be instead of merely what is.
As we push forward through the 21st century, with all our advances, what if our most wasted natural resource were the untapped ideas of others? Now is the time to stop wondering and start taking action. "What If...?" was started in a small, windowless office on the campus of Westminster College between myself and student, Andrew R. McHugh. It took a year of collaboration between other faculty, staff and students within our small community to get our first conference off the ground. But Andrew and I have always had a vision that projected far beyond the small, liberal arts college that brought us together. We have global ambitions, not for us as individuals, but for What If...? as a movement. We believe that the larger this community grows, the more thoughts that can be connected, the more actions that can be inspired and the greater our collective existence on this planet will be.
We invite you first to follow along as we toss out What If...? questions and kickstart some What If...? discussions here, on the Huffington Post. Then, we want you to get involved, to become a part of What If...? Our direction is being shaped and evolving; and you are a part of it.
Become a bridge connecting those with questions to others who have the resources to bring change about. Be as outrageous and creative as you can be. Be as personal or as global as you can imagine. Join the conversation here. We are excited to hear from you. Together, we can give birth to new ways that are available, but have yet to be discovered. But most importantly, be brave enough to ask, "what if...?"