The opening session set the stage for the day with a variety of speakers on Open Innovation. The speakers represented academia, big companies (Walmart), government (the Department of State) and international companies. The titles were just as diverse: there was a director of e-diplomacy and a director of sustainability and merchandising innovation. Each speaker had a few minutes to set the agenda.
One of those speakers was Rahul Raj, Director, Sustainability and Merchandising Innovation. He talked about how to be a great story-teller and launched into a story about how Walmart led the way to get manufacturers to do away with twist ties in toy packaging – saving a billion miles of wire.
But three minutes earlier his story was about packaging designed to help consumers stop wasting avocados. (It’s hard to tell if an avocado is ripe or not and a lot of avocados either go bad or get used un-ripe and the result is more waste.) The packaging shows consumers the ripeness of the fruit and the time frame for use. Perhaps we can just educate consumers on how to tell if an avocado is ripe instead of packaging the fruit and creating more wasteful packaging.
I’m reminded of this example of elegant (and simple) solutions in my own life:
I have a water filter pitcher in my refrigerator. (Cold water in the fridge encourages the kids to drink more water.) We probably don’t need to filter it but we do…sort of. The filter gets changed less often than it should. One company (the brand name solution in filtered water jugs) offers us a small plastic device that fits on top of the filter and counts down to a projected change. The arrow points to an x? Change your water filter. Recently I purchased a box of generic filters. Said little plastic device doesn’t fit, and in fact, isn’t needed. The generic package uses a tiny sticker to close the filter wrap. The directions on the box tell me to place the sticker on my calendar 2 months hence and change filters on that date. No plastic device needed.