"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

3 Ideas For TTC Funding

Posted: October 31st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

For those of you who don’t know, the TTC is the Toronto Transit Commission. It provides all of the public transportation for Toronto, including subway, streetcars and buses. It is also generally regarded as a typical publicly funded cluster fuck. Coming off of a budget shortfall in 2007, they raised fares for single-rides, but not for passes. The result? Everyone converted to buying passes, as their expected value increased. The TTC was confused that although fares increased, revenues remained the same. Curious.

I was reading an article on a blog that provided a detailed financial analysis of the 2007/2008 financials for the TTC. According to this source, the TTC needs $60 million from somewhere. Instead of begging the government for more money, here are three ideas how they could make some on their own:

  1. Advertising. Stop wasting ad space on self-promotion. Instead of advertising the benefits of riding the TTC to people who are already on it, why not sell this space to someone who will give you money for it?
  2. Vending machines. Why are there no vending machines on TTC property? They don’t cost a lot to maintain. They provide steady revenue. Put some up. You could probably even close a deal with Coca-Cola for exclusivity, like Intrawest did for their resorts.
  3. Events. Host events on TTC property. Instead of kicking people off for organizing free urban cultural events that involve the TTC (subway parties, urban scavenger hunts, flash mobs etc), support them! Organize them and get them sponsored as a means of generating additional revenue. Admittedly, this idea probably won’t generate the most immediate revenue, but the goodwill it builds over time will definitely grow ridership.

Oh, and Adam Giambrone (Chair of the TTC). No problem. I’m sure your cheque is in the mail. Alternatively, you could pay me in monthly passes. Or beer.

- Christian

Word of the Day: Information Design

Posted: October 25th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas, Inspiration | No Comments »

Information design has been defined by Wikipedia as the art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness. In reality, it is leveraging graphic design to visually represent information in a more impactful way. It takes the analogy “a picture is worth a thousand words” literally.

By communicating information in a visually appealing way, it makes it easier to digest for your audience. It provides a new framework from which to portray your ideas. It is more flexible and efficient. Plus, it looks really cool.

How the International Networks Archive explains global transportation trends.

The impact to brainstorming? Try to incorporate information design into the different stages of your ideation process. Use design to illustrate and define the problem you are trying to address. Use sketches to record representations of the ideas that your team is coming up with. Use visuals to represent the data support in the pitch.

For more examples of how information regarding word issues can be represented through design, click here.

- Christian

No Shoes Allowed

Posted: October 23rd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

It makes total sense. Even in today’s collaborative work environment, you need to find time to get away from all of the distractions of your desk and your colleagues in order to think. Everyone needs some peace and quiet in order to gather their thoughts, recharge, or just lock themselves away and do some work.

Enter the Studio 53 Cubicle ConceptSteelcase.

In 2006, Steelcase created a number of conceptual cubicles that were displayed at the company’s Chicago showroom during NeoCon, an annual furniture industry trade show. This design, called Studio 53—the name is a reference to the 1970s Manhattan disco, Studio 54—was such a hit with visitors that some companies asked to purchase it as is. The idea was to remake the standard-size cubicle into a stylish and comfortable meeting place within an office, where workers could gather to find privacy in today’s increasingly open-plan working environments.

The advertising agency Leo Burnett is one company that asked to buy a Studio 53 cubicle on the spot, turning this conceptual design into an instant product. It’s in use today. Now to institute nap time…

- Christian

Source: BusinessWeek

Friday Thoughts

Posted: October 19th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | No Comments »

On Creating Change
“Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t change the world by saying, ‘I have a complaint.’ ” – Artist Chris Jordan

On Web 2.0
“Brands need to create valuable content they can trade for their consumers’ time” – Armstrong’s Web 2.0 Guru Mike Freeman

On Putting Your Ideas Out There To Start a Dialogue
“Blogging is intellectual prototyping.” – Dean of the Rotman School of Management – Roger Martin

Advice from "Life's A Pitch"

Posted: October 18th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Pitching Ideas | No Comments »

I came across an article that someone has given to me some time ago and found it relevant to yesterday’s post regarding selling your ideas. It contains some sage advice that I have been able to apply with success in my own presentations. According to Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity, authors of Life’s A Pitch, the people you are trying to sell on your idea or product have the power to give you what you want or reject you. Here’s their advice on how to be a winning pitcher:

Reassure Your Audience
You must defuse the angst the audience members feel about giving up power. Reassure them, minimize risk, and make it safe to say “yes.” You must, at the same time, excite them. No one is going to give up power without getting something in return. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the power is all on one side. You undoubtedly have something they want as well. So feel confident in your own power, which will boost your pitching.

Body Language
Your body language will say as much as your words. Don’t present with your hand in your pocket, which looks scruffy. If you are presenting sitting down, it is harder to dominate and control your audience.

Ditch the Notes
Don’t use notes. “Few things in life are more unconvincing than a speaker who is constantly referring to their notes. It’s a living advertisement for the fact that they don’t’ have a full grasp of the issue,” the authors write.

Present a Solution
Tell your story from a problem to solution. Your audience has a problem for which they want a solution.

Strong Idea
When you write the pitch, make sure you have a powerful idea that is crystal clear to your audience and that you can display on one cornerstone slide, holding their attention on it when it flashes on the screen.

Take Questions
Welcome questions, which are not an intrusion but a sign of involvement. Don’t’ say you’ll handle them at the end, which implies your timetable is more important than their question. If you planned on handling that issue in a few minutes’ time, flatter them: “I’m afraid you’re three slides ahead of me, but if you hold on I’ll catch up with you in a second.”

End on a Positive Note
If you can’t win a definite yes, make sure you don’t end with a definite no. Use the discussion to identify areas of concern and then agree what further work is needed to resolve them.

- Christian

Five Steps to a Good Elevator Pitch

Posted: October 17th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Pitching Ideas | No Comments »

The notion that a great idea will sell itself is bollocks. In fact, there are several instances where a passionate pitch can make up for a lackluster concept. One should also note that in today’s fast paced world, people have less time, especially for strangers. Enter the elevator pitch.

Developing your elevator pitch is a crucial discipline in the promotion of your concept. On the phone, in the hallways, in a busy VP’s office …you will rarely have more than 30 seconds to bait them with your idea and leave an impression. If you are unable to construct a compellingly simple presentation, your chances of moving your idea from a concept into the real world drop swiftly.

Here’s how to structure an elevator pitch within five basic components:

1. Bait your target with your “hook”. In one sentence, explain your idea and how it solves a specific problem. In order to elicit the best response, avoid buzz words and communicate on a personal level.

2. Elaborate on the hook. Go into a little more detail about what the concept is and how it could roll out.

3. Broaden your scope. Talk about the issue your idea addresses and how it can be applied to across the board to generate large revenues/savings/brand impact.

4. Acknowledge the current context. State how your idea tackles the need differently than the current method.

5. Close by reiterating the hook. In a personal way, remind your target of what the concept is and why it works.

I highly suggest writing your elevator pitch down. It forces you to put all of your ideas on paper and better prepares you for a quick pitch scenario. The written pitch should be no more than 150 words. Good luck.

Superman’s Elevator Pitch

- Christian

Source: inventorspot.com

Strippers Thinking Outside the Box

Posted: October 14th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

When I was reading How to Have Kick Ass Ideas, I came across this funny story about an “adult entertainment” establishment that came up with a simple solution for circumventing some local laws:

In Boise, Idaho, total nudity was banned in public unless for “serious artistic merit,” thus making strip clubs cover up. I’m sure this put a damper on the business of entertainment for a while. However, one strip club, Erotic City, managed to break the rules. They asked the simple but powerful question: “What if gentlemen coming to watch ladies taking all their clothes off had some serious artistic merit? In what circumstances could that happen?”

This question unlocked a cracking solution that kept them on the right side of the law. On entering said establishment, clients purchased a sketch pad and pencil for $15, and so “Art Nights” were born and on those nights G strings were removed with abandon. So once again self-expression blossomed. And never underestimate the creativity of gentlemen amorous of the female form.

- Christian

Idea Drunk Caught Partying

Posted: October 11th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

It seems that fame in this industry is not without its trappings. In the October 15th issue of Marketing Magazine, it appears as if yours truly was caught by the paparazzi enjoying himself at the Promo! Awards.

I’m the not-so-attractive one.

For the full article, please click here.

I also feel it dutiful to note that Armstrong Partnership took home four gold Promo! Awards on four different brands: Levi’s, Milk, Chef Boyardee and Orville Redenbaucher. Go team!

- Christian

An Idea for Mr. Bettman

Posted: October 10th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

Move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton. Repatriate an NHL team. The writting certainly seems to be on the wall that Nashville is not a ripe hockey market when more Vancouver fans show up to the unveiling of a new uniform than Predators fans at a regular season game.

We have all heard the arguments to move a low-performing American NHL franchise to Canada. Then people mention something about television revenues and trying to push the game in the states. But truly how much revenue could be lost from extracting an awesome team from a market where nobody appreciates hockey? Nashville is a winning team. They play an exciting style of hockey, and still nobody in the area wants to watch it.

Move the team to Hamilton. This will provide the team with a loyal fanbase and almost guarantees a sold out season. Now, I know what people are thinking. The Maple Leaf ownership would never let this happen, as it would canibalize revenue from their franchise. The solution? Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) buys the Predators and moves them to Hamilton.

This does a couple of things:

  • Provides the MLSE with additional ticket revenues. They already sell out every game in Toronto. Aside from building a larger stadium or increasing ticket prices even more, how else can they improve their ticket revenue?
  • Provides an audience for the Predators. Nobody likes to see an empty stadium during a professional level game. Not the fans, not the players. It’s even depressing for people watching the game on TV. Put some warm bodies in the seats and create a buzz around the team!
  • Provide additional rivalries for the NHL. Rivalries are good. They sell merchandise and get entire cities supporting their teams. If you don’t believe me, go to Ottawa during the first round of the playoffs when they’re playing the Leafs.

In summary, by having the MLSE move the team, it eliminates the primary barrier to entry for a team in Southern Ontario. Instead of looking at it as competition, the MLSE now views it as a new revenue stream. And it provides a great team for Canadian hockey fans. Talk about win-win.

- Christian

Flickr Brainstorming Technique

Posted: October 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been mulling over perfecting a new technique for brainstorming based on the web 2.0 phenomenon. One of the best things about the new evolution of the internet is that consumer generated content reflects the feelings of the masses. It does not simply broadcast the views of a single maven. Instead, it amalgamates the views of hundreds of people from all over the world. Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is the We Feel Fine project. The idea of this program is to scan all of the blogs across the internet for the phrase “i feel ____” and tracks the feelings that fill in the blanks.

This means that at any point in time, you can track the most popular feelings and emotions from the people populating the internet all over the world. You can even pinpoint specific historic moments in time. I highly recommend checking out the reactions of people worldwide on September 12th, 2001. Or even a couple of weeks ago when the images of abuses in Myanmar (formerly Burma) were flooding the internet.

Regardless, the great depths of the internet permits us to view a diverse set of popular opinions on any subject. Why not leverage this resource for your brainstorming needs? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

1. Have the team entering the brainstorm search the topic of your brainstorm at Flickr.com

2. Print out the top responses and use them as images for the basis of the brainstorm.

3. Provide each brainstorm participant with one of the Flickr-based pictures. Each person writes down the first things that come to mind.

4. The group discusses the images and the words/phrases that each participant generated.

This technique is designed to provide a broad foundation of ideas from which to draw from for more specific ideation sessions. The main purpose is to provide a wealth of ideas that stretch across a variety of themes. Hopefully, everyone has a unique perspective of perceiving the issue and is able to express it at this time.

And remember, especially in this part of the ideation process, never say the word “no” because all ideas are valid at this stage. Every idea is a good idea.

- Christian