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Case study – Turning 'problem' into 'opportunity'

  • Serial InnovatorsSerial innovators

    Abbie Griffin, Raymond L. Price, Bruce A. Vojak (2012)

    By-passing red tape to innovate. Bruce Vojak has just started a series on the epistemology of Innovation. Well worth reading

  • Turning 'problem' into 'opportunity'

    Business people prefer to avoid the word ‘problem’, and use ‘opportunity’ instead. This implies a change of perspective - but this is sometimes difficult to do without discussion and exploration.

    Anaheim Helicopters LLCMy step-son (Mark) has set up a business in Los Angeles (Orange County) providing helicopter tours ( around the Queen Mary and the area around Disneyland.

    Their first helicopter was leased from a company in Florida. When we talked about the problem of getting over to Florida, and then flying it back, there seemed so many negative features about the whole episode: one-way plane flights, fuel back, accommodation costs (Mark and his business partner, Jake), and so on.

    As we discussed this, an idea hatched. The journey from Florida to Los Angeles would travel over eight states (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California) and (more or less) follow the Interstate 10 from coast to coast.

    The plan that emerged was to strap a camera to the front of the helicopter and take thousands of time lapse images during their journey, as they travelled from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast. This was mixed down to a five minute video, which they then used to promote the business and get on YouTube. It gives you a view of what it would be like to travel coast to coast at about 36,000 mph (2,400 miles in 4 minutes) Youtube

    Anaheim Helicopters LLCBy talking around this ‘problem’ Mark was able to find a way to gain business benefit from the experience, and provide a unique way to promote the business.

    Talking around a ‘problem' with others always brings in new perspectives, unearths opportunities, and stimulates new ideas - and genuinely creates opportunities. The only difference for Mark was that he got a family rate for the service!

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