The Genius of C3WE

By Guillermo Accame, Industry Advisor to NCAR

Why do I think the creation of C3WE was genius?  To answer that, let’s consider how good ideas cross the line and become genius.  We can all agree that high intelligence, like an IQ over 140, is the price of admission, but what is intelligence without an education?  So add lots of highly intelligent scientists with advanced degrees, like you find at NCAR, and now you have the basic building blocks to produce a genius idea.

But is that all it takes for an idea to be genius?  I would argue that creativity is also a basic requirement in any discussion of genius.  Einstein, Newton, Copernicus, and Da Vinci all stepped outside normal thinking and took creative leaps of faith that others wouldn’t dare.  That takes courage, especially for a scientist that has been drilled in the rigors of the scientific process.  In today’s world, to promote that kind of thinking you have to create a safe haven, a workspace, where creative out of the box thinking is encouraged.  That’s what C3WE provides.

But what good is creativity if your timing is all wrong?  Would Steve Jobs have been so genius if he was just now having the idea of putting apps on a smart phone?  A little late I would say, so being in the right place at the right time is also critical.  The timing for C3WE is perfect.  Awareness of climate variability is high, and social sensitivity to extreme events such as floods, drought, and storms is becoming main stream.  Also, the science is at a point where we can make significant connections by applying basic research to real world challenges.

So consider this, say you live in a rural part of the world and are highly intelligent, with a great education, and have a moment of creative genius at a time which matters, does that mean that anyone will listen?  Probably not; however, being associated with a well known and respected institution, like NCAR, which provides the platform and credibility needed when communicating groundbreaking ideas is essential.  C3WE is a collaboration, and thus brings together top scientists and practitioners with diverse backgrounds from around the world that ensures you are speaking to the right audience

So there you have it, a formula for success, a world-class facility needed to incubate great ideas which solve real world challenges without fear.  That’s what we have, and why I think C3WE is genius.