“Dad often tells me I should look for simple solutions. He reckons that people often waste loads of time and money thinking up long-winded, complicated ways to solve their problems when there’s often a simple answer.
Here’s a couple of amusing stories to illustrate what he means!”
When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out their pens wouldn’t work at zero gravity because the ink wouldn’t flow down to the nib. To solve this problem they spent $12 million and ten years developing a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on practically any surface including crystal, and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees
The Russians also faced the same problem….but they used a pencil.
Then there was the case of the empty soapbox. One of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies received a complaint that a customer had bought a box of soap that was empty. Immediately the authorities pinpointed the problem to the assembly line which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason one soapbox went through the assembly line empty, so the management asked its engineers to solve the problem.
Quickly the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors, manned by two people, to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. They worked hard and fast but they also spent a huge amount of money to do so.
In India a small company was posed with the same problem. An employee was asked to sort out the issue but instead of getting into complicated X-rays he came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.
Simple ideas are best!