Solving Problems and Social Networking

Interview with an IdeaConnection Problem Solver
Raico Ernesto Laria Lamela completed his Bachelor degree in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, graduated with Honors in 1998. Four years later while working for the Centre of Fisheries Research in Havana city he got his Master Degree in Marine Biology and Aquaculture.

photo of Raico LamelaFocusing his research activity in Molecular Biology, Immunology and Animal Physiology, Raico has participated in more than eight research projects as a Research Assistant or Associate. One of his biggest achievements was to detect the presence of a virus in the shrimp population of Cuba.

In 2008 he immigrated to Canada with his wife and two daughters, to work for the Pacific Biological Station on Vancouver Island. He is currently employed as a Research Assistant and Laboratory manager at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario. He also graduated from the Technical School of Aviation as an Air Traffic Controller, to Raico, one of the most exiting careers in the world.

I was navigating on the internet looking for jobs, when I saw the IdeaConnection webpage. The concept that I read on the website, quickly took my attention. To work bringing your ideas to solve a problem, and to get paid for that sounded to me like a job from home but even better. The first thing that I did before taking any challenge was to participate in Solutions for the Common Good posting my ideas about how to cure heath pond from toxic algae, and to control the spread of Australian Brown apple moth.

I have participated in three challenges so far, and I have won two.

Every challenge has its own level of difficulty, but none of them have been easy at all. You need to read and research in a short period of time and to reach a solution in just a few weeks.

Actually, when I read the challenge I barely had an idea about what the solution might be. However after meeting the team and getting a clear picture of the problem, possible solutions began to emerge.

That is really important. If you have an idea when you are just starting the challenge, there are more chances to be successful and win. I don't really like to take challenges that I do not know too much about.

Every one brought their ideas and contributions. That allowed the team to make a first draft, the backbone of the project, and then we started adding more information and definitions.

How did you feel when you found out you had solved a Challenge?
That was great. I felt that all the time that we spend in meetings, looking for information on the web and preparing the solution had a good result. To meet the seeker's expectations is really gratifying, and way better if you are getting paid for that.

A team has more chances of being successful that working by yourself. Even when you think that you could have a good idea, other opinions can add a higher level to the proposal, and even more so if they are from different fields with different backgrounds.

Is really better when you can approach a problem from different points of view and perspectives. Even regional and cultural differences make the final solution more global, since you are taking into account the way in which different persons see a problem and how to solve it.

I think that everyone contributed equally, with regards to their potential or level of experience.

I have gain more knowledge and I have expanded my social network adding new and good friends.

Right now I finished the third challenge and I am waiting for new challenges. I believe that something greater yet could come from our minds.

The facilitator is a key element in the team. They connect the team members, coordinate the meetings, open the debate and drive the discussion to reach the goal.

What do you think about the concept of using Open Innovation to solve Challenges?
This is a good concept and has proved to work out when you read how many companies have used this approach to solve their problems. They are not only using hired minds, but all the scientific community around the world, hungry for new challenges and opportunities. Retired people, unemployed professionals and active scientists can contribute significantly under this concept.

For me IdeaConnection is like my part time job, but at the same time it gives me the opportunity to socialize and share ideas from my home computer. To be an IdeaConnection member is something that I would strongly recommend to people that are looking for something to do or who just simply like to challenge their minds.

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