Health/Energy Problem

December 27, 2009

Perceived Problem: Americans are obese. Not all, but many. This includes children, too. Along with obesity comes serious medical conditions including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. With diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in processed foods, meat, salt, sugar and white flour, it is easy to trace the problem’s source. Add in the fact that many Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle and the problem becomes even more obvious.

Americans have another problem, too… the country’s energy grid is outdated. Many people advocate natural gas, while others believe nuclear is the best solution. Some claim wind and solar are superior solutions because they’re the most sustainable. As another alternative, consider this Pink Bat idea.

Pink Bat Solution: Turn obesity into energy. Rather than having kids sit at desks all day, let them learn on elliptical machines or stationery bicycles that are hooked up to a generator. Not only will this improve school spirit while saving the district money, but most importantly, it will create healthier and happier kids. By extension, students will learn about energy, the environment, finances, calories, food and health.

As added incentive, kids generating the most energy each month could be recognized for their contribution. Armed with knowledge and success, children would then educate their parents about diet and lifestyle. While these ideas may seem a bit far-fetched, they exemplify how Pink Bat thinking can be applied to unrelated “problems” to create new solutions.

Dusty Problem

December 27, 2009

Perceived Problem: In San Marcos, Texas, drivers have a problem keeping their car windows clean due to the unique dirt roads that locals call “caliche.” The blend of limestone dust, gravel and clay creates a fine white dust that billows up and coats the rear windows of residents’ automobiles.

For those focused solely on the problem, the solutions seem obvious… build more car washes, resurface the roads, or tell residents to avoid driving down them. But when you see things for what they are, and not what they’re “supposed” to be, and then use your imagination (apply Pink Bat thinking)… “problems” look very different. That’s exactly how Scott Wade
approaches the situation.

Pink Bat Solution: As an artist, Scott views the dust not so much as a problem, but as a unique canvas solution for his artwork. Now instead of complaining about the dust, the town residents are clamoring for the opportunity to have Scott create some original art on their rear window.

On a somewhat related note, a friend of mine who owns a regional bank, has built several new branches. He’s concerned because customers aren’t using the drive-up windows as planned. I suggested he install a car wash so customers can get their car cleaned while making a transaction. My friend hasn’t taken my advice… but it did get him thinking differently.

Waiting Problem

December 27, 2009

Perceived Problem: The amenities were great, but the elevators in my client’s new office building were extremely slow. This became a major problem. Every day, frustrated and often angry crowds stood in the lobby, complaining as they waited for an elevator cab to arrive. The building’s developer and management team hired consultants to assess the problem and even solicited tenants for ideas. Here were some of the suggestions:

Add a couple more banks of elevators.
Make the doors open and close faster.
Stagger business starting and ending times.
Have visitors come during off-hours.

Everyone was so focused on the problem, no one was able to see it as a solution… well, almost no one.

Pink Bat Solution: One morning I arrived to find a crowd (larger than usual), standing in the lobby. But instead of an angry mob, everyone was happily gazing up at the new video monitors that had been installed over the weekend. They were getting stock market information, checking the weather, and reading employee-related news. Amazingly, some people didn’t
even board an elevator when it became available.

With Pink Bat thinking, the perceived problem became a solution. People were no longer waiting for elevators. Disney discovered this solution long ago. Waiting can be a big problem… or a great way to entertain and inform guests.