Thinking out of the Shoe Box

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear as we once again provide unique examples from current life situations to prove that creativity and out-of-the-box thinking can be discovered anywhere at anytime if you’ll simply take a moment to look around you.

Can you remember the days when you were very young and had nothing better to do during your summer vacation than to lie on the grass with your friends, watching the large billowy white clouds slowly move across the bright sunny sky and discuss crazy subjects which you knew were total fantasy? Ah, those were the days! However, little did we know.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the kind of fantasies we may have discussed.

  1. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could buy a pair of tennis shoes that converted into roller skates at our every command? What could be better?
  2. This one’s even more weird. How about a pair of tennis shoes that not only smelled like our favorite nostalgic instant drink of our youth, Kool-Aid, but were also available in bright colors than reflected those of our favorite flavors?

Apparently, someone involved in one of those ludicrous brain-storming sessions took notes because decades later, those particular two childhood dreams have become reality! Had someone at that time suggested this might someday happen, we would have provided him with a “gang wedgie” and thrown him in the lake as we laughed our way through the remaining day.

Least we doubt the powerful alliance of creativity and technology, let’s review a few of the latest “raves” among the younger generation.

Roger Adams may very well have been the recipient of one of those dreaded “wedgies” from his fellow dreamers because in late 2000 he patented a pair of roller shoes he called Heelys. They look, at first glance, like any other tennis shoe. However, these unique creations have one or more wheels embedded in each sole allowing the proud owner to walk, run or, by shifting their weight to their heels, roll. Braking is achieved by lowering the back of the foot so that the sole contacts the ground. “Heeling,” as it was soon labeled, is a form of skating that has since been banned from many areas such as shopping malls and schools. That didn’t seem to hinder the sales of more than one million pair the very first year. Certain models allow for the removal of the wheels for comfort reasons or for reasons of practicality or safety. Several imitators quickly appeared on the scene to the delight of many youthful converts.

As though the realization of this first fantasy wasn’t enough, the attainment of the second vision is hard to believe.

Reebok, the prominent British footwear company, has collaborated with Kool-Aid to create some of the coolest kicks your mind could imagine. Not only do they offer six bright Kool-Aid colors, but these shoes actually offer authentic smells, which include grape, strawberry, cherry, lemonade, lemon-lime and orange! These fun and fashionable shoes are based on the classic Reebok Pro-Legacy basketball shoes. The smell is provided from a unique sock liner and each shoe includes Kool-Aid Man graphics, detailed ice rubber soles to mimic ice cubes, and a peek-a-boo Kool-Aid graphic bottom. The line also includes equally-fun T-shirts, hoodies, and hats.

When I first heard both of these stories, I must admit I believed neither. After verifying each report, an honest question emerged in my inquisitive brain. Who was it, sitting at that Reebok boardroom table among his/her cronies, that had enough self-confidence and ingenuity to say: “Here’s a thought—why don’t we devise a way to make our popular tennis shoes look and smell like Kool-Aid?” Remember this factual experience the next time you’re at your wit’s end in search of a solution or you’re doubting the possibility of a strategy others may question!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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