How to simply reframe a complex problem
But it’s Thursday! Yes, this week’s 5MSM is coming to you a day early, as tomorrow (Friday 15th April) is a public holiday in many parts of the world. Enjoy, and I’ll be back next Friday as usual.
This is a speed camera lottery in Stockholm, Sweden. Drive under the speed limit, and your car registration is entered in a prize draw made up of fines paid by speeding drivers.
Apparently, since this was introduced, average speeds in congested city streets have dropped 7km/h.
And, Taiwan has its ‘receipt lottery’. Every time you shop, you get a printed receipt with a unique code (see the red box below), which allows entry to a monthly lottery. Prizes are not to be sneezed at either: the winner gets about AUD$500,000.
The purpose of this? Customers ask for the receipts, which heightens retailers’ reporting of sales tax. The prizes each month are proportional to the tax gain for that month.
Question: How can you cause people to enjoy complying, or at least spark a competitive instinct to comply?
One of my CEO clients this week asked my view on ‘shadow boards’. These are advisory boards with a very specific purpose: they capture views from one perspective (often a younger demographic) to inform strategy, product development or marketing initiatives.
In this case, my client was aware that her senior people are exclusively above 40, many over 50, and she wanted to ensure that the organisation’s ability to engage its stakeholders and customers benefitted from ‘young people’s thinking’.
I cautioned her that ‘shadow boards’ are superficially useful, but care needs to be taken in two areas:
Give them a strong reason for being. Ask a specific question (e.g., “How can we expand awareness of what we do outside our traditional geographies?”) or give them a problem to solve (e.g., “Halve the cost of acquiring an under-30 customer and double their lifetime value”).
Don’t call them a ‘board’. I’m not usually a stickler for nomenclature (I mean, you can call your strategy a plan, or your KPIs KRAs) but in this case, I’d strongly advise not confusing their purely advisory role with the hindsight, foresight and oversight roles of the board proper.
But, my client was wanting an answer to a valid need: How can she make sure her team isn’t ‘stuck in the 90s’ and, thus, breathing its own exhaust when it comes to charting new pathways?
Question: What perspectives should you include in the strategic advice you get?
When trees are an investment (literally)
I have a government client (Land Use Victoria) which has the job of mapping the state — in detail. One of the ‘layers’ it captures is vegetation and its newest technology uses machine learning to build tree cover models from satellite imagery in a few days that previously would have taken actual humans 100 years to construct accurately.
But, why should we be interested in tree extent, and tree density?
I discovered recently that planting more trees creates the same wellbeing gains as earning more money ($10,000 more per year!) or being younger (7 years younger!). How many trees does this gain take? Just 10 trees per city block.
So, why aren’t more cities doing this? Well, they are, although my city, Melbourne, with tree cover of 13% of a long way behind Australia’s leader, Hobart, which has 59% tree cover.
Question: What 'social gain’ do you want to create that could be achieved in other, much cheaper, ways?
If you’re somewhere vaguely Christian, enjoy the Easter celebrations. If you’re not, enjoy knowing that people somewhere are, at a minimum, eating a lot of chocolate and, at a maximum, celebrating new life.
You know I love getting feedback, however simple, and the easiest thing to do is click the ‘heart’ below - I’d love it if you did.
Until next Friday, enjoy the week,