Ian RuderAs NEW MOBILITY celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and America recognizes Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month this month, the NM team thought what better way to mark the occasion than by looking to the future and thinking big.

Hence, I am proud to present: the first-ever NEW MOBILITY Big Ideas issue.

Credit for the big idea behind the Big Ideas issue belongs solely to our Associate Editor, Seth McBride. This probably comes as no surprise to any of you who have been reading McBride’s contributions to the magazine. From the epic two-part accounting of his 6,500-mile handcycling trip to Patagonia to his more recent story on microadventures, McBride has a knack for developing simple concepts into fun, informative — and big — reads.

His news analyses, gear hacks and regular feature writing have become staples of the magazine. Behind the scenes, he can be counted on as a thoughtful voice of reason, guaranteed to have a unique perspective and insight on whatever the topic may be.

Aside from the obvious excitement of covering “big ideas,” I think the central appeal of creating a Big Ideas issue was that we didn’t necessarily know what those big ideas would be. Instead of the editors determining the content of the issue, we asked some big thinkers and leaders in our community to tell us what concepts they thought we should explore.

We compiled a list of desired targets, along with a few ideas we knew we needed to cover, and we crossed our fingers and reached out. We were fortunate to land many of our ideal contributors and “ideas,” but arguably even more fortunate to receive a number of proposals that weren’t fully on our radar.

As an example, we knew we wanted to cover autonomous vehicles and what the coming AV revolution means for our community, but it was only once Executive Editor Josie Byzek got knee deep in the reporting that we realized how big the idea was. Thanks to the flexibility of the issue and Byzek’s tenacity, we were able to expand what had been slated for one page into its own full section.

Thankfully Publisher Jean Dobbs designed a beautiful new template to accommodate the rapidly evolving content and highlight the multifaceted nature of what we were trying to do.

We hope the result of all this effort is an issue that will be fresh and exciting while also familiar — a worthy addition to NEW MOBILITY’s body of work that will spark lots of discussion and generate even more big ideas.

Make sure to let me know what you think, either via email at iruder@unitedspinal.org or at newmobility.com, and tell us what ideas you’d like to see us tackle in the future.