by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 32 (August 1999)
Apply a little Image-Streaming or “Over-the-Wall” creative problem-solving to the subject of useful ways to make a profit, and there seems to be no limit to the number of fresh ways to turn a profit. [Our Project Renaissance is non-profit.] Meanwhile, here are some obvious older ways which people en masse have somehow unaccountably overlooked for a remarkably long time.
- An option for residential builders.
- A way to save lives and to make many street corners far safer.
- Marketing retirement to the elderly.
Each of these simple ways, as set forth below, has been with us for many decades but overlooked, somewhat the way the European nickel-cadmium battery was around for 40 years but ignored in America where people confused it with the less-effective Edison battery.
1. Heated towel rack
This feature is in common use through much of Scandinavia. In each bathroom, run the hot water service through an exposed, chrome-plated pipe which is configured to be a towel rack.—Creates a nice luxury hot-towel touch, especially in houses in cooler climates. Makes those houses much more attractive to sell, negligible added cost in the building thereof.
The Swedes have enjoyed this feature, including in some of their American tourist facilities, for many decades. Hundreds of thousands of visiting Americans have experienced that luxury, but obviously didn’t make the necessary mental connection. You figure it.
Not a huge item, just one example among many….
2. Light and sound signals
Also found in Sweden, notably on the pedestrian-busiest street corners in Stockholm: The automatic traffic-light controls not only use light signals but sound signals. They emit one distinctive, not-too-loud sound when pedestrians are reminded to wait, and another distinctive, not-too-loud sound when it’s safe to cross.These two distinct sounds (in Stockholm different rates of ticking sounds, but different-toned hums could also be used) quickly become a virtual conditioned response for repeat pedestrians. (You could even use a third distinctive sound to announce the transitions, but the Swedes have not found that to be necessary there.)
The sound signals are not only for the blind. Any city pedestrian distracted with other things on his mind (and who isn’t who is a pedestrian in the city?) would find this very helpful.
This is a system which could be saving hundreds of American lives, and preventing thousands of injuries.
Reportedly, Stockholm installed the first emplacements of this traffic control system more than sixty years ago! How many millions of visiting Americans have walked through those street corners since? You figure it.
Builders and marketers of traffic control systems in this country—if theirs is not a cozy little oligopoly—could make nice gains in profits by adding this safety feature to American cities.
3. Artists’ retirement communities
This one goes back to before the turn of the century! — when Giuseppe Verdi created a retirement home for elderly musicians in Italy. That one reportedly is still thriving after all this time.
Artists, classical musicians, non-classical musicians, each has invested a lifetime building a range of sensitivities, skills and rewarding experiences—and then have to settle for years of golf, shuffleboard and bingo?
There has to be a nice market potential for retirement homes, assisted living facilities, and even entire segments of retirement communities, which would specialize in being entirely for artists, various types of musician, writers, other such special-sensitivity professions. The human hunger for colleagueship does not vanish at retirement age.
Many of us appear to get more psychic nourishment out of groaning under problems, and complaining about our difficulties, than out of doing anything useful about them. The above several examples (also cited in the book, Discovering The Obvious), obvious as they are, as widely exposed as they have been, would not still be drawing blank stares the way they do now. And we’d be seeing more response by now to the previous Winsights column of last month, #31, showing how to hugely reduce taxes and debt and improve services in towns like New York City. If we really preferred answers to problems— profits and surplus to inadequacy—by now millions of people would be getting innumerable fresh ways of turning a profit, from consulting their own Image-Streaming faculties.
There is no one now reading this who cannot obtain, from his or her own neglected faculties, genius-level answers and solutions in whatever direction….profit, non-profit, scientific, technical, artistic, and human.
If any of the above makes sense to you, please bring it to the attention of at least two other people. Thank you.