More on smart design
Lower costs and save lives, as mentioned in my brief book review of In Pursuit of Elegance. Road intersection design today is terrible and there is much opportunity to make it smarter, safer and lower cost. The 5 minute TED talk below proposes an interesting idea – replace stop signs with yield signs. By doing so, you force people to pay attention to other cars and potentially increase the flow of traffic, when no one is around, you can simply drive through the intersection – reducing your fuel consumption.Published on July 26, 2010
Knives, Santropol Roulant and Happiness
Last year, I spent a couple of mornings working at Santropol Roulant, a non-profit group in Montreal that prepares meals for elderly people. Every morning they prepare hundreds of delicious meals that are then delivered by bike and car throughout Montreal.
As a volunteer, I cut, chopped and prepped the food. It was a lot of cutting. As an amateur chef, I was amazed at the dullness of their knives. Any chef worth his Michelin stars will tell you that knives are your best friend and dull knives, your worst.
Santropol Roulant’s entire organization is centred around food, which is prepared by volunteers. Keeping the volunteers happy and efficient seems like the most important thing there, yet their most basic tool was horrible. They all complained, but no one did anything – not the head chef, the volunteers, or the management!
So, instead of donating money to the very good organization, I went out and bought a set of new, sharp, high quality knives. For about 60$, the knives made volunteers ecstatic. Efficiency, safety and happiness increased for a tiny cost.
Too often, we overlook the most basic elements, but when those elements are part of the core work – they really, really matter. On top of that, keeping your staff, or volunteers happy should always be your priority. Constantly ask yourself, how can I make my colleagues happier and more efficient; often, it takes very little.
Sharp knifes make volunteers happy.
To volunteer at Santropol Rouland, click here.Published on July 15, 2010
Relaxing when late for a flight
Flying out of Hong Kong is an amazing experience. You hop on a bullet train downtown and before you know it, you are whisking past rice paddies to the airport. Travelling is stressful, especially when you are a bit late. Waiting for a train to take you to your flight has a certain element of unknown to it – When will the train arrive? How long will it take? Will I make my flight?
Coming down the escalators at the train station, you see an amazing sign that truly does comfort you. The sign reminds you to relax, a train will be there in a couple of minutes. All airports should have some equivalent sign – for example, at the security check-in where lines can stretch quite long. Brilliant!
Published on July 9, 2010