Outside The Box Anyone?

In Los Angeles, California, a luxurious high-rise apartment building was on the brink of bankruptcy. Tenant after tenant turned in notice and moved out. To owners of the building, the mass exodus made no sense. Their beautiful, well-kept apartments offered a sound bargain in a safe neighborhood. So why were people abandoning what should have been a renter’s paradise?

The building’s management company hired a problem-solving group to get to the bottom of the mystery. After interviewing residents and former residents, the problem-solving team presented its findings: People were moving out because the apartment elevators were too slow.

A team of troubleshooters flew in to solve the problem. They gathered cost and labor estimates on several options, from repairing the old elevators to putting in new ones. But every option proved too expensive. Defeated, the management company had just about decided to sell the building, when the youngest member of the team took a creative look at the problem.

The real problem, he suggested, wasn’t the elevators. The real problem was that tenants got bored waiting for the elevators. His solution?

Entertain tenants who were waiting for the elevator. Install flatmonitor computer screens that flashed the day’s top headlines, weather, sports results, and even a trivia question or two. Pipe music into the elevator waiting areas. Add tasteful yet provocative paintings and sculptures to the waiting area to stimulate interest and discussion.

His creative solution worked. The tenants, busy reading the computer monitor, soothed by relaxing music, or admiring the art, quit complaining. The exodus ceased. The building was saved. And one creative problem solver had made his mark.

I recalled this story when I was recently struggling to fix some issues with my blog. I also recalled this post of mine – Hiccups. I managed to import all my old posts here and ensure that Aweber stopped sending out old posts by the hundreds ;)

Presently I’m still working on moving old comments to past posts. I can see the comments on the Disqus panel in my blog but I don’t see them on the relevant posts. I’m working on it…. and I’m certain I’ll find a way out.

Have you recently come up with an outside the box solution to a problem – – yours or someone else’s? I would love you to share your story here.

May you be inspired – every day!

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Comments

  1. Janaki Nagaraj says:

    Nice post Corinne….my box is locked right now and am searching for the key.

  2. I love this post…great way to approach so many things in life and an important concept to teach our children. Looking outside the box for answers stretches the mind and our imagination! Thanks!

  3. melissatandoc
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh you know Corinne…sometimes, I feel so settled with the things I can do but  my superiors see that I could do a lot more. Recently, I’ve been given a task to make ppt presentations for my boss. It has always been my brother who did them for me but this time, the boss gave the project directly to me.It ate up most of my time but I was able to put things together and not only that, I also learned to create a video and  convert files and music.

    Your post reminded me so much of Patch Adams :) It takes creativity and imagination to get outside the box :P

  4. Dawn Griffith Ranieri says:

    Love the cartoon! I love to be creative and find ways to be different. Sometimes I feel like I do pull one of those muscles! Due to the overwhelming amount of things going on that make my brain just go blank! Hate when that happens!
    Right now we are looking for ways to make our company even better. Doing a 360! I will share more once this finally works out! Always have to be thinking ;)

    Thanks for sharing this great article!

  5. I love brainstorming which does not necessarily solve the problem. But I enjoy looking at things from different perspectives although this is quite hard when emotions are involved. Its always astonishing to find how a tough problem can be solved with a simple solution. Stopped by after a long time. Love your new look, Corinne!

    • Such a good point, Sukanya. Yes, brainstorming may not always solve the problem but it certainly puts us in the right frame of mind. Setting emotions aside can be a big problem, but that’s where being cool headed and mature comes in. Thank you for stopping by and for the compliment. I’m still getting used to this new space!

  6. The way to think outside the box is to eliminate the box completely! I sent both my children to a school that had no testing, no grading, no competition at all; no textbooks, no desks, no shoes! They turned the box upside down and out fell children who grew up tolerant, cooperative, loving. 

  7. What a thought provoking post!  Thank you.  I recently “stepped out of the box” with something and am anxious to see how it all turns out.  Great post.

  8. Hi, Corinne! ~

    The elevator story is perfectly in sync with what I am currently working on in my own life…

    Realizing I’m perpetually pummeled by (at least) low grade stress, like waiting for the slow elevator, I am experimenting with new stress-busting techniques using simple sense stimulation techniques.  A hanky spritzed with Mr. C’s cologne tucked in my purse, the feel of prayer beads in my pocket, mini-vision boards I can carry with me are some of the possibilities I’m playing with to calm me throughout the day.

    Good luck with your web challenges — of course, we know they are mostly growth exercises ;-X 

    • I wouldn’t have associated stress with you @DangerousLinda:disqus …But you’ve come up with some great ways of beating it, I see. I naturally love the cologne idea the best ;) Growth exercises – yes, of course. Bring them on, I say! 

  9. L.C. Griffith
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thinking outside of the box requires that all preconceived ideas be laid aside. I have a hard time doing this, but when I do, and I find a unique approach; I get a huge thrill out of it! 
    Great post Corinne! 
    I hope you find an answer to your blogging issues. I hate trying to figure out technological problems as I tend to be a bit techno phobic. Sending love and prayers!xo

  10. Thank you for the inspiration!

  11. Great post. Sometimes getting a fresh perpestive from someone else is the way to go.

  12. Carele Belanger says:

    Always Always Always think outside of the box which will bring you to great achievements!

  13. Nice Blog Post. The cartoon at the beginning is totally me! I over think all the time! 

  14. I wrote a little story about thinking outside the box.  I think it’s so important to exercise those creative muscles.  

    You’re my hero for taking on the task of moving your blog.  I’m still a little computer shy, but I am thinking of changing the name of my blog.  Still thinking about it.

  15. Creative thinking…actually I think many of my best solutions come from creative non-thinking. Great story that really stimulates the imagination. Thanks.

  16. Beau Henderson says:

    I love this post.  Its inspiring

  17. Corinne this was a fun read.  I was thinking well maybe they should encourage using the stairs and even offer prizes to the fastest or something like that……well this is a better solution and very much out of the box.

  18. Corinne, I love this post.  Sometimes what we think is the problem… really isn’t the problem at all.  Sometimes we’re working overtime thinking in the wrong direction.  Here’s the question I’m learning to ask:  Where’s the opportunity in this?  It’s amazing the answers sometimes you get if you change your perspective.

  19. Love it!  This is my specialty and the one reason I’ll be out of poverty soon…something very few people actually accomplish–completely changing their trajectory in life.  It’s thinking in completely new ways that makes the difference between success and failure….because successful people never fail, they just keep learning!

  20. Carla J Gardiner says:

    Great post and story comparing how to think outside the box. Can’t wait to hear how your personal dilemma gets solved.

  21. Debra Elramey says:

    Yes Corinne, I’m an all-around outside-the-box thinker ;-) 
    Love this message, you know I do!

  22. Rimly Bezbaruah
    Twitter:
    says:

    Loved this Corinne. I am sure you will also succeed in getting the comments to fall into place with their relevant posts. As for thinking outside the box has never been easy for me but I am sure I will sometime or the other.

    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/02/lingering.html

  23. Well written and fascinating story!

  24. Loved your post…great story…I found a way to help more people with my site..the solution was to invite contributors with the same mission and it is working nicely..the mission continues..good luck with your project:)

  25. Tameka Mullins says:

    I’ve always tried to color outside the lines and when I’m faced with a problem or issue I can’t handle I often come up with other ways to get things done. Honestly I’m facing something right now where I thought I was thinking outside the box, but I haven’t received the results I’m looking for just yet. I won’t give up though! Thanks for this Corinne. I am on the right track. I just know it! 

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/02/designing-your-destiny-which-interior-design-of-the-mind-style-fits-you.html 

  26. Ha ! Corinne ! I must learn to think out of my box, still in process, you are my inspiration, and I admire the way you keep exploring, your blog looks really beautiful and nice, thanks for the lovely post !

  27. This is great Corrine!  I love coming up with creative solutions.  For example, the water in my shower wasn’t warm enough in the mornings… so, now I do two minutes of dishes when I wake up (which uses enough water to kick the water heater on) then go play online for half an hour or so until the water is hot.  I’m still saving energy by not heating the water all night, I get more dishes done AND I get hot showers.  :)

  28. Bonnie Gayadeen says:

    I am wayyyyy outside the box…so much so it gets me into trouble at times..but my mind does not know how to stay in that small tight box…..if i must exist then I choose to be different..to be unique…let me stay outside the box……I have faith you will figure out this whole comment thing in no time….As always…XOXOXOXO 

  29. Fantastic mantra, @0222b9202f90703aefc992d687074d82:disqus ! Thank you.

  30. That’s a good idea too, Cindy.

  31. Haha @660cff7ac0bc06717d584a56e34bcac0:disqus  I like the idea of prizes for taking the steps too! 

  32. I always enjoy reading stories of this nature, because we all have a different and unique approach to solving any problem.  I wouldn’t automatically think people would choose to move (in large numbers) from a building because of a slow elevator, but we’re all different.  I’d probably take it as a nudge from God/Universe/Spirit that I should give thought to using the stairs and getting some cardio in each day!  I always feel happy when I visit here, partly because of that beautiful smile of yours and also because I just enjoy your approach to life in general.

    Much love to you, sweet girl!

    – Dawn

    • I guess moving would be an option if it was a very tall building. I don’t mind climbing up stairs but climbing down kills my knees. So someone like me might have to move ;) Thanks for visiting, Dawn. You do know how to make me feel good! ♥

  33. this is a very cool and inspiring story…a toast to creativity…!

  34. I love the elevator story and the example of creative problem solving here..especially thinking out of the box.  Funny how sometimes the answers are right in front of our face, it just requires some awareness and taking a step back.

  35. Hello Corinne.
    I am one who likes routine and have a meltdown at the mere mention of change. Thanks to the creativity of my beautiful wife, I am learning to step outside my comfort zone…baby steps at a time (smile).
    Thanks for a thought-provoking & inspiring post. Keep them coming.

  36. Great post.. As I read your post I find myself in that place where exodus is all I am thinking… How and what do I do to change it for me….
    Love the look of your blog

  37. Thinking out of the box seems to be a natural thing for me in many regards…especially in the expression of my gifts…like gardening, design, cooking even writing. Sometimes I think people wonder if i even know where the box is…lol. I love pushing the limits, chalenging the norms and being creative. Now applying that to me directly is a bit different…I can get stuck there..

  38. irene9583
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m still currently searching for that outside the box solution to my life, Corinne. Thank you so much for this inspiring post! :-)

  39. Sulekha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Another interesting story, loved it Corinne. Inspiring as always…

  40. Mary Hudak-Collins
    Twitter:
    says:

    Corinne, this morning seems to be an ‘inspirational post’ morning for me lol.  I wonder if the posts are trying to tell me something???  Sometimes, the obvious is not always the answer.  I am currently working my way out of the box, changing routines and changing styles.  It’s not always a comfortable move because we tend to like our comfort zone, but I know that the end result will be tremendous!  Thanks for sharing :)

    • We all have those days, Mary. I’m glad this ‘spoke’ to you. I think we all need to constantly look are reworking our routines and making sure we’re not getting too comfortable. I know the end result will be fab, @google-fa6d60ae2d8167c683aa10d45de3d03f:disqus . 

  41. I am not sure I have ever thought along normal lines. It gets me into trouble sometimes, but Randy has taught me not to worry and to do what works for me, not what works for others. I had to think outside the box to get sober and maintain sobriety. Not that I am unique in anyway, but because I have such a natural instinct to rebel against conventions. This is a wonderful post, good luck with your blog. <3<3<3

    • I’m so glad you have Randy by your side to allow you to be you @c088badc6252237c20be74ea779af9bb:disqus . I’m not sure what you mean by saying you are not ‘that unique’ – each of us is. It’s just that some of us conform and some of us don’t – and it’s usually those that go out on a limb that make the best of their life. Thanks for the wishes. ♥

  42. Rose :: FineCRAFTguild says:

    Love that story about the elevator !!

    Creativity is everything.

    I instantly thought of PInterest and the LA health craze…
    and saw exercise techniques and score cards with Ikea pencils on top and bottom of the stairs next to the elevators… :-)

    Oh, our wonderful minds.

  43. Very interesting story! Thinking outside box is something that I love to do, finding new fresh ideas is what keeps our world grow and become a better place to live… Thank you Corinne! :)

  44. So the real problem was a short attention span? We must entertain the masses!

  45. You said it well, Edmund. Awareness and stepping back are key!

  46. I wouldn’t have associated routine with you, Andy. Perhaps you reserve your creativity for your poetry? Good luck with the stepping out…I’m sure you’re wife will egg you on :)

  47. I already see your blog as a  reflection of you….It’s great to know that it’s only a part of who you are! We all get stuck with ourselves sometimes, figuring it out is the best part of living I think!  

  48. Isn’t it fantastic how our minds work…Yours is very creative as I can see @RoseFineCraftGuilddotcom:disqus 

  49. Thank you. I’m so glad to be surrounded by creative and bold people like yourself. 

  50. John Coolvart says:

    That was pretty cool. I can’t say that I’m thinking outside the box… maybe sometimes, but mostly I like to lead a simplistic way of life.

  51. Linda Lee says:

    Corinne Rodrigues: Love it

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