Run a More Innovative Company Through Suggestions

Interview

To make a company more efficient and innovative all that’s needed is a suggestion box. It turns out that listening to employees can increase the effectiveness of a company no matter how you do it. So if a suggestion box is too old school you can use a Slack channel or any other form of open communication. I’m sure this technique of listening to people who actually put the effort into a task can be applied elsewhere too.

Micah Johnson of GoFanbase, Inc., shared with Small Business Trends that his company created a Slack channel where employees can submit their ideas. Tomer Bar-Zeev of IronSource said that 24-hour hackathons enable his innovation team to break from their usual projects and work on entirely different, new projects. At my company, JotForm, we hold weekly Demo Days to give employees a forum to explore their ideas, no matter how far-fetched.

Even a system as simple as a suggestion box can be highly effective. Just ask Charlie Ward, the engineer who used Amazon’s digital suggestion box to submit his idea for free shipping, which eventually formed the basis of Amazon Prime. As journalist Brad Stone wrote in his book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly “immediately enchanted by the idea.”

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Using an Escape Game to Educate Radiologists

Escape room

Last year my company, Wero Creative, was hired to make an escape game all about radiology. We designed it to be a fun experience which incorporated knowledge that radiologists need to effectively do their job. It was a fun project to work on and through the process my knowledge of radiology went from zero to….a higher number. Luckily our client, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), provided all the actual knowledge and information the players needed to know. The results of the game have been excellent (which makes me feel good), and has been written up in an academic journal.

You can read the full text of the journal article or get the highlights from Radiology Business.

The escape room included both mental puzzles and physical puzzles, with teams of four to six participants being sent in as a group. One challenge, for instance, involved knowing the names of imaging diagnoses based on a description and certain “buzzwords.” A full-sized skeleton prop was also used, with participants being tasked with answering various questions about muscles and anatomy. A “debriefing” period was also built into the process, allowing participants to discuss the experience as a group.

“This helped players learn from each other and relate the activity to the reality of their future lives,” the authors wrote.

Overall, the escape room was held at RSNA 2018 in Chicago 27 times, with 144 residents participating. Sixty-four percent of participants were male, and all of them were millennials born between 1982 and 2000. While it was the first time 45% of participants had experienced an escape room, all teams escaped. The shortest escape time was 27 minutes and 28 seconds, while the longest time was more than 58 minutes.

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Play the Trolley Problem in Dr. Trolley’s Problem

Long time readers of Things Are Good will know that I like philosophy and moral actions. In fact I like that stuff so much I made a game about it called Dr. Trolley’s Problem which is all about the trolley problem which we’ve previously looked at.

The game tests your moral fortitude. Dr. Trolley’s Problem brings the classic philosophical quandaries of the trolley problem to life and asks you to make life or death decisions on the fly. Explore your moral fiber in ways you never imagined (or asked for)! I’ve created 50 situations that are all based on the famous trolley problem, with more coming.

Dr. Trolley’s problem is available for both Mac and PC.Check it out.

How Bogota Convinced People to Give up Cars Once a Week

a couple, bicycles
Not Bogota, but a nice place nonetheless.

Every Sunday the city of Bogota stops cars from entering the city and they let the streets be used by everyone. Once cars are out of the equation it’s amazing what communities can do to make life more enjoyable and help their culture thrive. National Geographic took a look into how Bogota’s famous Ciclovía grew from an idea to an event copied around the world.

“One gets bored just going from home to work and back again,” said Martha Cubillos, a pleasant general services employee for the city who said she had biked with her husband to the Ciclovía from the far outskirts of town. She could stand to lose a little weight, according to her doctor, “so I come here every eight days and they teach us how to do aerobics.”
Was the Ciclovía one of the things she liked best about Bogotá? Oh, definitely. She took a swig of water and jumped back into the sweaty throng.
Ciclovía’s director, Sarmiento, said that in a highly stratified society like Colombia’s one of the things she loves about the program is its egalitarian nature. “No one cares about the clothes you’re wearing or what social class you’re from: everyone is welcome, and everyone is equal,” she’d said. The line-up of bikes leaning next to each other alongside the Zumba class—some rusted and wobbly, some with comfortably upholstered seats—supported that statement.

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Good and Easy Plants to Take Care of

lab

Plants in your home and workplace can reduce stress and make the air you breath cleaner. If I had my way then every wall would be a bio wall. Since that’s not possible I’m happy to advocate for some plants that are easy to care for. Even if you don’t have a green thumb then these plants are for you.

  • ZZ plant
  • Asparagus fern
  • Rubber plant
  • Lucky bamboo
  • Snake plant

You’ve probably seen the super popular snake plant on Instagram or at your local coffee shops and restaurants. Their vertical, spear-like leaves make them stand out in a sea of green. Not to be confused with the spider plant, snake plants can come in a number of varietals: tall or short, with different leaf and color patterns. This was the second plant I bought to sit on my floor, and boy, do I love the heck out of it. They add a very exciting, bold visual element to any living space—alone or among other plants.

Probably one of my favorite features is that they don’t attract many pests or at all, and according to NASA, they keep the air inside the home clean. But like the ZZ plant, don’t eat it.

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