Written by The Business Journal Staff
To facilitate collaboration and the free flow of ideas, local hotel broker Roger Story is assembling Fresno’s brightest minds to create the Story Think Tank.
Unlike typical think tanks, Story said there is no agenda behind the Story Think Tank. Instead, the think tank is meant to be a meeting of the minds, bringing together unique and remarkable people who will discuss possible solutions to some of the area’s challenges.
While most think tanks include prominent figures like company CEOs, politicians and those with doctorate level degrees, the Story Think Tank will spread the gamut, welcoming intelligent and creative individuals from a variety of industries. Story has already invited cattle ranchers, pro-golfers, real estate investors and developers, bankers, individuals in the automotive and transportation industry, ministers and entomologists to join the group.
“There is a broad range of people involved,” Story said. “What I looked for most were certain characteristics. I want people who give sage advice and have wisdom and I want people who are creative abstract thinkers. Really, I want people who think outside the norm.”
As a diverse individual himself — Story is a farmer as well as broker — he said it is vital to have a varied group of thinkers that examine issues from all sides and offer different perspectives and solutions. Already Story has a group of 50 unique people ready to be a part of the think tank.
In the U.S. there are approximately 1,984 think tanks and some have been known to assist in solving some of the world’s problems. Story is unsure what his think tank will accomplish but he knows some of the topics being discussed will be those of local, state and national concern — notably what to do about the water crisis in the Central Valley, which affects the entire world’s food supply. Other agricultural related topics will also be discussed, as well as issues dealing with the anticipated high-speed rail and Downtown Fresno’s revitalization.
“There are going to be a lot of things discussed that are issues on today’s front but sometimes it will turn out to be some philosophical solutions to them — ageless, timeless principles that have always worked,” Story said. “We like to apply those things but we also like to come out of the blue every now and then with something very creative.”
Story said this new type of think tank is needed not only in Fresno, but around the globe.
“World leaders see the importance of this; the president of China, Xi Jin Ping, has emphasized the need to build new types of think tanks,” Story said.
“I don’t know if this think tank solve any world problem, but anything that the imagination can come up with, we can put in a form of ‘what would you do in this situation?’ and talk about it and bring out the issues that may be affected by it and get some solutions. You take these bright people, creative people, people thinking outside the box and you get them together and it comes down to chemistry and when it really begins to flow, I can honestly say I’ve been to some of these meetings and you can go in on a low mood and come out on a high. I’m not a drug taker but I can get about as high on ideas as I think I could on some type of a drug. That works for me.”