Tag Archives: creative problem solving

Creative problem-solving for an over-crowded planet

17 Jan

Problem: shortage of affordable space for hotel and dormitory accommodation in Hong Kong.

crowded buildings in Hong Kong

Solution: space age capsule pods complete with WiFi, TV and a pull-down privacy screen with an image of the earth.

interior of Hong Kong capsule pod

row of Hong Kong capsule pods

I’m not sure how that earth image will help you get a good night’s sleep but it photographs well.

The makers of these steel and plastic, fire resistant pods claim that their model is the progeny of the cross-breeding of existing Japanese pods with astronaut cockpits.  I want to therefore call them cockpods, but I know I shouldn’t.

They will rent for about $30 a night, a fraction of what you would pay for that grotty room in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the walls have been decorated with the guts of mosquitoes and the spittle of generations of slobs.

Aside from the space-terror feel of this creative solve (I’ve seen Alien too many times), they will probably prove popular with students and tourists, and could very well solve another critical social issue in Hong Kong – the housing of the poor.

The pods are a vast upgrade on the dehumanizing steel cages, which slumlords have rented out to the disadvantaged for half a century.

Poor living in cages on Hong Kong

(Cage apartment photo courtesy of Global Sociology. Pod photos courtesy of Galaxy Stars.)


A simple way to more creative brainstorms

9 Aug

Try whacking this statement up on your whiteboard before your next internal brainstorm:

Whiteboard with "What if we did something completely unexpected?"

Is there any other possible mantra you could take into a creative problem solving session that would yield more groundbreaking solutions?

Creative problem solving where it’s needed

6 Oct

Many downtown business and condo owners, of which I count myself one, will tell you tales of urine rot at the doorways to their buildings which will leave you bent over, weeping.

The various clubs, bars and strip joints vomit their drunken patrons onto the street every night at closing time. Running the gamut of Old McDonald farm noises, the male ingredient in this body broth then makes a beeline for any alcove or recessed doorway for bladder relief.

An ongoing mud-wrestling match then ensues between stratas, property management companies, downtown businesses, City Hall, the police, and residence associations. And mud is dirty.

So the City decided to try something out. Instead of doing a public awareness ad campaign, they hired a Vancouver-based architectural firm – no one on the Island could do it? I merely ask the question – to design a public urinal that would discourage the late-night public widdling and yet wouldn’t itself become a target for abuse and defacement.

Here’s a good article from Metropolis on the new urinal, with the architect’s blueprints.

This is beautiful creative problem-solving. The steel tubular bars resist graffiti while remaining low-cost. The urinal looks kind of cool and offers privacy. By not being an enclosed room, I’m going to guess it doesn’t stink as bad as traditional urinals either.

The result just yesterday won the top prize at the Pinnacle Awards, a Washington D.C. competition that honours innovative solutions to downtown problems. Better still, the City of Victoria has ordered more of these for the downtown core.

For the moment though, the ladies still have to hold it.