Coming up with the best idea…let’s wait for the bus

Coming up with ideas that result in real transformational change is hard. How much risk must one take to come up with an idea? Should one embrace the safe idea or should one consider the risky “are-you-kidding-me” idea? What does one do when neither a safe nor a risky idea comes to mind?

I experience this with blogging. The first task is coming up with an idea to write about and then tying it to business transformation. While it’s a challenge, it’s also an entertaining challenge. When an idea comes, then the fun begins…conducting web research and writing (and rewriting). It’s like a puzzle – you find one piece that goes with another which leads to finding another piece, and so on.

Looking for a blog idea led to the theme of this blog – ideas. Specifically, coming up with an unconventional idea, implementing it and seeing it work.

I came across Get Fresh Minds blog that explained the ingenious way one German hospital dealt with a problem. How do you deal with Alzheimer’s patients trying to leave the facility? (A novel way to keep Alzheimer’s patients from leaving… by making them feel they can). The hospital worked with the local public transportation agency to have a bus stop put out in plain sight of the hospital’s front door. It’s a special bus stop for a bus that never runs off schedule. Why? Because it never runs.

Blogger Katie Konrath writes…

“So, when a resident decides to leave, they head out the door and wait for a bus. Then, someone from the Senior Center waits a couple minutes before heading out to apologize to the resident that the bus is running late – and to invite them in for a cup of coffee until the next bus comes. The resident, who has likely already forgotten why they were there in the first place, happily comes back into the Senior Centre of their own free will.

“It’s a beautifully-simple solution. And better yet, it doesn’t leave the residents feeling like they’re in a prison – like locked doors and ankle bracelets do. Instead, when a nice person comes out to the bus stop and invites them in for a cup of coffee, the resident feels taken care of, and happy to come inside.”

Brilliant! Sometimes an idea is so simple and off-the-wall it works. This solution probably isn’t best for every hospital, but it is for this Düsseldorf hospital.

What about you? What ingenious ideas have you seen that work?

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