Today’s blog is about creativity, entrepreneurship and the desire to find solutions to business problems- all the while making a difference to society.
Once upon a time there was an entrepreneur who opened up a glass recycling plant, but he couldn’t get enough people to drop off their bottles and he couldn’t get enough end users to take the bottles unless the glass was broken.
David Belt, an entrepreneur from Brooklyn NY faced this exact problem. He solved it by creating a project called “Glassphemyl”, a psychological recycling experiment.
His idea was to make recycling a more direct visceral experience and to purge some aggression simultaneously. He did this by building and installing a 20 x 30 ft clear box with high walls made of steel and bullet proof glass.
People stand on high platforms at one end of the box and a low platform on the other end of the box. Those on the higher platform take empty glass bottles and just chuck ’em into the box- aiming, perhaps at their compatriots on the other side who are safely outside of the box. The bottles smash and artfully designed lights flash, music is played and no one is harmed.
“Recycling is boring”, says David Belt. “Besides people just want to smash things”, he says.
Patrons agree. One unidentified man said “You don’t realize how deeply satisfying this is when you get up there with a bottle in your hand. I think it serves as a kind of therapy.”
What ever it is, Mr Belt has solved two business problems. One, he gets local bars and restaurants to donate bottles and, secondly, he gets free labor to smash his bottles which will ultimately be sold to the end user, all the while providing a customer experience (albeit free) that is just plain old fun. The broken glass can then be used for new art creations, lamps, or by pulverizing the glass, sand can be made.
What can we learn from this?
1. That even far out ideas deserve to be tried. What about an old pins smashing contest (out in the parking lot) where patrons can throw old baseballs at old bowling pins for free? Everybody gets free games or kids can do it as part of their birthday parties – especially in summer.
2. Maybe, as we have always suspected, bowling does provide people with an “outlet for aggression” and by projecting pictures of people on the pins, we could get more customers to give bowling a try. Kind of a “beat your boss day” or knock down your Ex!
3. Doing something different that helps the environment may not be all that bad of an idea, especially when it involves local businesses who can talk about why they feel that taking care of the environment is important to their community.
4. Ideally, this type of activity will be picked up on the web and people will talk about your center; you will build a relationship with new people; and you and your customer will have some fun with this.
And isn’t having fun what the customer experience needs to be all about?
p.s. Since last August when I started this blog, I have posted 101 blogs. Mathematically that’s approximately 12 blogs per month and as we said when we first started, it is an “almost daily” blog. In any case, if you have missed any of the blogs, you can always scroll back and read them at your leisure…if you choose.
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What an idea. The start of creating a Family Entertainment Center. Not mini golf, or batting cages, but a Knock down the pins booth like at the fair. Win a stuffed toy, but in our case win a free game. Then move up to a dart booth and then mini golf etc.