Unravelling the Interconnectedness of Problems

When Charles Kettering said: “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved,” the famed inventor, engineer, businessman, and researcher might have foreseen how complex the world, and therefore how relevant those words, would soon become. After all, no problem exists in a vacuum. Usually, each problem is part of a more complex picture. However, studying the interrelatedness of problems at large is still uncharted ground.

This is precisely what the Sonophilia Foundation has set out to do with the project Matters.Global: to make complex and seemingly abstract problems more tangible and possibly computable. To find patterns, clusters and pathways to transform problems into more manageable goals that can be undertaken by a global community. As this video explains, Matters.Global aims to accelerate the process of finding solutions by enabling the mapping of problems through collaboration between individuals and groups from all backgrounds.

By creating an open-source platform in the form of a giant overlapping virtual map, a step-by-step canvas that’s accessible to everyone. This map will allow users to explore and contribute in real-time, making it simple to navigate and see how the most urgent and impactful problems are connected and where clusters exist.

At a technical level, the Matters.Global website will provide a way to define and reframe problems in a computable way. It will also display a graph of problems and offer tools for analysis and communication, creating incentives for sharing knowledge and solutions globally. Through a self-curating token system, the Matters.Global taskforce aims to integrate a self-regulating version reminiscent of Wikipedia, but devoid of the gatekeeping mentality.
“Overwhelming meta problems, like ending poverty or making clean water accessible for everyone, are not problems one can observe or tackle in a vacuum,” says Sonophilia Foundation founder Seda Röder. “Therefore, it’s very important to show how problems are interconnected and share the solutions across different realms. What we want is to give people the platform, the infrastructure where they can link and bring problems together, define them, more effectively learn from each other and share possible solutions with the world.” 

This project was born from a group of dedicated Sonophilians who strive to foster the belief that creativity is a birthright and who resist the business-as-usual mentality. The Sonophilia Foundation is committed to helping every human on the planet believe in their creative potential and contribute to solving the most pressing challenges of our time. Their mission is to facilitate a creative transformation of society by building and disseminating networks and tools for the global community. Matters.Global is just one of those tools!

Sonophilian and founder of Phracta Ltd Andy Zmolek explains that “every attempt to solve a problem, even if it is a solution, is going to weave more problem and solution threads. What we’re doing is an attempt to build the most holistic map that’s ever been built. It’s a very ambitious thing, but it’s also quite simple.”

On what attracts people to Matters.Global, another Sonophilian and the director of marketing at Evonik, as well as a member of the advisory board at Creative Hive Holger Seier says: “Incremental innovations are often sufficient to solve short-term challenges. However, the global challenges of our time require disruptive change. Matters.Global addresses this challenge by creating an unprecedented network of problems and solutions.”

Marlin Dürrschnabel, knowledge transfer manager of the TRIANGEL Open Space at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Sonophilia ambassador for creative collaboration, empowers societal transformation by creating new participatory formats at the intersection of science, economy and society. She is convinced that “the most significant change often comes through collective movements, where we learn from and with each other and where we engage all of our minds cooperatively. Matters.Global to me is not only a platform that can accelerate the process of problem-solving; it is a movement of rethinking collaboration on a new scale.”
Similarly, co-founder of Sonophilia Foundation and a music and technology strategist Matthias Röder stipulates that “knowing all the problems that exist is an extremely powerful proposition when you set out to make a difference in the world.”

But how can Matters.Global undertake such a task and where will it take humanity going forward?

Sonophilian Edith Rian, the founder and director of Rösslyng GmbH, says: “The Matters.Global project supports my conviction that creativity at its highest can be released when we cooperate across competencies, personalities, and borders. This takes time, an open mind and a warm heart… I foresee a global solution where not only the privileged can get involved. Allowing all people to contribute to solving global problems on a small scale will have an empowering impact that will make a difference on a much larger scale.”

For his part, Daniel R. Schmidt, managing director at D3Smedia UG notes that “there never has been a time in which mankind faced that many urgent and far-reaching problems and consequences. Matters.Global will help to bundle up people from all over the planet who are working on similar problems, challenges or questions. Connecting those people will focus resources to create a larger impact on problem-solving.”

Creating Matters.Global is, indeed, no small task. The concept is rife with intricacies, requires an enormous amount of patience and a community of committed people and organizations. Therefore Sonophilia Foundation and the Matters.Global taskforce are joining forces with the Foresight Institute, Ocean Protocol, and Planetary Holdings to move this idea forward. Together, they will host The MapsMap Challenge, with a prize offering of $30K to create a mobile-friendly web app prototype to open source collaboration on maps of problems through crowdsourcing and crowdfunding (or $1K for constructive criticism on the idea). 
This is where our readers come in! We invite you to take a shot at designing the software, user interface, or structure we could use to tackle this. Hone that inner creativity we all know you have inside of you! Submit a proposal here.

Please feel welcomed to join our pursuit in making creativity more tangible. Donations in any form are needed and highly appreciated. Whether they are monetary in the form of direct deposits (or via PayPal) or skills and attention-based that in some way can add value to our cause, we are always on the lookout for institutional partnerships and sponsors. Contact us at
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