Author: LindaLee

Midday Matinee – In the outhouse

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Last summer as a result of stimulus funding my campground got new outhouses.  For more than 100 years this campground had wooden buildings painted “Forest Service Brown” for the same purpose. The new ones are solid concrete and go 6 feet into the ground. The part above ground is solid cast concrete 8” thick. They tried and missed on the rich dark brown color but the casting did try to replicate the look of wood.  As you can imagine, the traditionalists and the old timers really prefer the old wooden ones as a more authentic part of the camping experience. They also had better ventilation. One camper totally loved the new outhouses.  Billy and his dad were camping with us when they got to watch a new one being installed.  All sorts of equipment was involved and the houses came in on long flat bed trucks. It was a modern construction marvel to be sure. Billy sat on a cooler for two days and watched the process, clapping enthusiastically for the workers and for every bit of discernable progress.  I should mention that this young man had Down’s syndrome and other disabilities.  His enthusiasm touched the crew and they offered to let him be the first one to use...

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Midday Matinee – What is this for?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’m pretty sure this has happened to you. It just happened to me. Again. You stumble across a piece of something and know intuitively that it is something really important.  The unidentified mystery piece undoubtedly makes some appliance run or keeps something from falling apart. You stand there in your kitchen, scanning the room wondering if this piece in your hand came from this room or wandered in here by mistake. You don’t recognize it at all yet you know it is something really important. Here’s a clue. The piece in my hand is white plastic and looks like it was once a corner to something. White plastic really narrows it down. I have super glue on hand to reattach this to whatever it came off of, but that’s what I can’t figure out. Most of the white plastic is in the refrigerator but nothing in there appears to be missing its corner. I suppose I could have brought it home with my groceries. Maybe, since I can’t find a home for it in my kitchen, it isn’t really even mine. This problem doesn’t just happen with white plastic. Stray screws are also really important. Who knows what is about to fall apart because it is missing a screw?...

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Midday Matinee – Hooverville

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I have a group campsite, which is separate from the rest of the campground. It is stunningly beautiful and part of it is a massive granite ledge that looks out over the lake. There is a freestanding fieldstone chimney built by the CCC, but the surrounding log structure is long gone. The trees are big old pines that would take at least two people to hug. Here’s the view of the lake: I went over there yesterday to rake and there was a small one-person tent set-up but no one around. The gate was locked and no cars were in sight on the main road. It was a bit of a puzzle. For a while I thought perhaps someone had canoed in. I was glad I had a raking buddy, just in case. Later a man, maybe 30 years old comes in carrying a motorcycle helmet. We chat a bit and I tell him that he has accidentally (I was being generous) camped in a site that costs $40/night and that I have cheaper sites $15/night in the main campground. He still looks kind of lost for lack of a better world. I realize at the same time April does that he is homeless. I told him that he...

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Morning Feature: Change By Design: Part 2

The ideas of Design Thinking sounds good in the abstract, but how do they work in actual cases? Let’s take a look. (More) Yesterday we looked at an overview of Design Thinking from the book, Change By Design by Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO. Today we will dig a little deeper. How Might We…? Here is Brown describing the way the folks at IDEO scope out a problem: Every design challenge at IDEO begins with a “How Might We?” Navigating between the overly general and the too specific, we ask ourselves, “HMW simplify the interface on an emergency heart defibrillator?”  “HMW encourage healthy snacking among preteens?” “HMW promote the revival of a historic jazz district in Kansas City?” “How might we improve the human condition?” is too big a problem to get our arms around. “How might we adjust the tension in a disk-drive eject mechanism?” is probably too small. Let’s follow his example from the book: “How might we improve the airport security experience?” Anyone who has flown since 9/11 would probably think this a problem in need of some new solutions. IDEO worked with the TSA. The TSA was/is trying to move from spotting dangerous objects to spotting dangerous people. If everyone in the security line is tense and nervous and irritable, the nervous bad guy looks like everyone else. If the regular passengers were less...

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Morning Feature: Change By Design, Part 1

To face new challenges, designer and CEO Tim Brown says we must shift from “consumers” to “participants,” and move “from chasing numbers to serving humans.” (More) This is a two-day series based on the book, Change by Design by Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO Corporation. Today we will explore what Design Thinking is and tomorrow we will talk about what Design Thinking offers as a tool to change the world. The Patient’s Experience: An Entire City I bought this book based on listening to a Minnesota Public Radio interview with a doctor from the Mayo Clinic who had partnered with IDEO to rethink the patient experience. I was captivated listening to a doctor speak with such passion about design thinking. What he said was that much of the patient’s experience of Mayo was really the experience of the city of Rochester, MN so they were partnering with the city to make it a wonderful experience. Whoa! I was impressed with the calm and certain delivery of a medical doctor saying that partnering with the city to redesign the city was an important part of delivering health care. As you can imagine, I did not change the channel. I found much in the book that resonated with my career of trying to change the world of work in a way that people mattered. The author learned, three decades ago in...

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