Business Tip: Topsy-Turvy Innovation

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!


The Book Kahuna

Tomato Crops

Every year for the past 5 to 7 years I have been planting plants on my front stoop and also in pots that I have put on my window-box ledge in front of my house. About five years ago I decided that I was going to try something different. I put some I-hooks into the ceiling of my porch because I wanted to hang Topsy-Turvy’s to grow some tomato plants.

Now being the frugal guy that I am, I decided that buying new Topsy-Turvy’s every year was an economic disaster and a new way of thinking needed to come out. I decided that the Topsy-Turvy’s could be reused if I clean them out and then insert new foam insulation to surround the plant base that holds the tomato plant in the Topsy-Turvy hole. So far I’ve gotten some good yields of tomatoes from the Topsy-Turvy’s that grow in front of my house.


The 3-Turvy Monty

After last year’s growing season I had three Topsy-Turvy’s that were ready for this year. One Topsy-Turvy from last year had to be retired because it was starting to decay and have holes in it. Thus began the quest to find another Topsy-Turvy. Today I went out on my motorcycle and went to Home Depot, and then to Lowe’s, and then to Walmart, with absolutely no luck in finding Topsy-Turvy’s for sale. I know many of you are going to look at this post and think that it is purely nonsense, but I am coming to the nugget that will make this entire post worth your while.

Business Golden-Nugget

While I was at Walmart I had to wait for the information I was seeking. While I was talking with the woman at the checkout she decided that she needed to speak to a manager since she had not seen any Topsy-Turvy being sold so far this growing season. When the manager was available about five minutes later, he started to tell me that he had not seen any Topsy-Turvy’s in stock in the store so far this year. I started to feel defeated and downcast when he said to me,” why don’t you just take a planter and cut a hole in the bottom and then take a macramé pot holder and hang it from the hook?” This was shear genius. I’ve been so busy fixating on the Topsy-Turvy itself that I did not take the time to stop and use my mind to think about an answer, to think out of the box, to come up with an original idea that would have the same effect and end result. This is brilliant business sense. Not to mention the fact that he could’ve tried to sell me something else in the store, instead he threw me the nugget to disengage from the Topsy-Turvy fixation, and re-focus on a completely different answer to the problem.

Look at me, I’m stuck in a BOX

This will happen to you in your business as well. Sometimes you will have tunnel vision, and sometimes you will see things clearly enough to make a different and varied call. Always be open to the unexpected answer. My theory has always been: I don’t believe in out-of-the-box thinking, I believe in taking the box and kicking it down the street until you find the answer.

Simplicity is the act of Restful-Thought

Sometimes the easiest answers are the hardest ones to find.

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