Annual Scialog meetings are held at Biosphere 2 near Tucson, Arizona and are attended by a diverse group of 50 scientists, who participate in highly interactive sessions to identify bottlenecks, find avenues for breakthroughs, and build new scientific teams to facilitate the breakthroughs. At the heart of Scialog is dialog, a methodology involving a special form of communication that suspends immediate critical judgment and debate in favor of listening for what one does not know or understand and building on that. As novel possibilities are built up in this creative process, it becomes possible to form new collaborative teams to refine ideas and hone them into specific new projects. Doors are thereby opened to transformation and “game-changing” ideas, multidisciplinary collaborations, novel avenues for research, and solutions to highly complex problems. Conference participants self assemble into collaborative cross-disciplinary teams of two to four researchers and write short proposals at the conference for additional seed funding ($100K per team) for highly innovative ideas that emerge from the dialog. So far, six teams formed during Scialog conferences have won Collaborative Innovation Awards based on proposals written during conferences (three each in 2010 and 2011).
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