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Why Not?

Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres

How do you stop unwanted calls, or stop fax autodialer erroneously dialing yr phone? Suggest a 2-stage process. Program yr answering machine with a message like "We prefer not to be interrupted right now, but if it's an emergency, press 0 and our phone will ring. But it better be good."

Why not have companies call you back instead of putting you on hold?

Common reaction to someone suggesting something new is to suggest that if someone isn't already doing it, it must be wrong. Counter argument - you see a $10 note on the ground, do you say "Oh must be counterfeit, or else someone else wd have grabbed it."?

4 problem solving tools:

1. What wd Croesus do? (what if you had unlimited money?)
In 1955 Howard Hughes liked to watch old movies but VCR's hadn't been invented, so he bought a local TV station and treated that as his private VCR - just ring up the station manager and tell him what movie he wanted to watch that night.

2. Share the pain (consider other partner's interests)
Blockbuster vs movie studios. Blockbuster paid $65 each movie so not easy to get back money before studios dumped movies in retail at $19.95. So BB bought conservatively and many customers missed out on rentals. Solution was for studios to sell tapes cheap to BB but get a cut of the rental profits. Stock levels went up and both sides made better profits.

3. What else wd it work on?
Inventor decided licking a lollipop was too much work, so developed Spin Pop, a motorised lollipop holder that nade it easier to lick. A big hit (60m sold). After sold the company to Hasbro, went looking for other problems that the simple spinner motor cd solve. When he realized how expensive electric toothbrushes were, came up with Spinbrush, a $5 electric toothbrush.

4. Would flipping it work?
Just collect tolls one way on toll bridge. Opt out of organ donor instead of opt in.

Customers can be source of innovation. Spray on cooking oil designed to stop food sticking to the pan. Then people started using it on mower blades to stop grass sticking - realized cd use much cheaper oil to achieve this.

US Dept of Transport started releasing lists of how often an airline was on time, in an attempt to make them more punctual. But airlines found the cheapest solution was to add 20 minutes to their schedules.

Too many uninsured drivers? Add car insurance to petrol price, because the more you drive, the more insurance you need.

Postage stamps with ads on them. If you use one, they're cheaper. Or, pay full price for standard stamp.

Make voting compulsory, as it is in Australia. Shut off your phone until you enter a code you get at voting booth.

Make telemarketers pay a fee to call you - discount off yr phone bill.

Why is email free? We pay to send texts on phones, why not pay same to send an email message? Charge 20 cents split between ISP and receiver.

TV networks get abt 32 cents per person per hour for the ads they show. Offer viewers deal where they pay 50 cents an hour to watch uninterrupted.

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