Solving Challenges: A Rewarding Experience

Interview with an IdeaConnection Problem Solver
Paul Comet's academic background is in Geology (MS) from London University (UK). He also has a doctorate from Bristol University (UK) in organic geochemistry (biomarkers or "chemical fossils").

He has worked in the far and middle east as petroleum consultant, geochemist and geologist for an oil service company.

In the States Comet worked for Texas A&M University as a researcher into Gulf of Mexico oils and concluded that the oils, though liquid, contain stratigraphic information and could be mapped like any petrographic entity (rock). The data supported an origin for those oils from shales and limestones recording the anoxic events of the late Mesozoic. Using his model the whole GOM subsalt "play" was opened up for successful exploration, so this work has now been confirmed, but was very controversial at the time.

photo of Paul CometPaul Comet: I have worked on three challenges, the successful one being focused on medical biomarkers and their application.

The challenge was extremely difficult, "open ended" and vague, but bore some relationship to my earlier field so I decided to sign up for it.

Many ideas were generated by the team, and all were valid, however, we decided to focus on the medical aspects.

Solving a challenge with people from various backgrounds is a very rewarding experience. When things are going well we all learn new approaches and techniques from one another, and with the help of a a skilled facilitator, encourage one another forward. However "perfect harmony" is rare and "keeping a balance" truly challenges the facilitator's management skills!

IdeaConnection had contacted me earlier to see if I was interested in solving another problem for removing a toxic contaminant. In this case the seeker did not accept our conclusion, probably because of its cost. However in spite of these discouragements I have signed up for two more challenges.

Overall, I found working for IdeaConnection a rewarding experience.

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