Thinking "Outside the Cube" - Core Health Partners

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Thinking "Outside the Cube"

Thinking "Outside the Cube"

I have been working on a problem. I found a really cool resource for health-seekers that are changing their eating habits. AND...it's not b2ap3_thumbnail_The-Cube.jpgperfect. So, I've found myself feeling a bit stuck about what to do.

The gist of it is that an enterprising company has created a selection of very healthy meals that are just what some folks are looking for. They are organic, without additives, or preservatives, free of GMOs, free of common allergens, rich in phytonutrients, and a number of other things that can be important if you're trying to create a healthy metabolism. They are also very convenient - ordered online, shipped to your home, and priced comparably to what folks might pay if they were eating out at a convenience restaurant. What's not to like? It's a great solution for busy people who are learning new ways of cooking and eating -- and who could use some convenient, healthy back-up meals on hand.

Here's the not-perfect part. These delicious meals arrive flash-frozen on dry ice in a styrofoam cube. And I don't like styrofoam.

So that's where I got "stuck". This is a classic values conflict. (Tip: If you start feeling "stuck" about something, look for where you might have one of these!) On the one hand, I value providing healthy resources to the people that I serve. On the other hand, I value approaches that are environmentally sustainable. (I also value people being able to choose for themselves based on their own values!) Now what?

First I tried to problem-solve (i.e. "How can I fix this?"):

Strategy #1 — Talk to the ones in charge and try to change the policy. After bringing my concerns to the company, I learned that they shared my concern. They have tried more sustainable shipping options, but at this stage of their development, this is the best way they've found to get their product delivered in excellent condition. They are continuing to explore other options, but in the meantime — styrofoam.

Strategy #2 — Explore recycling options. Styrofoam is made from PET 6 and is not recyclable in my neck of the woods. I found companies on the west coast that recycle it, but shipping it to them would have an even bigger environmental impact.

At this point, I was tempted to throw in the towel. I knew, though - from personal experience and from lots of work with health-seekers - that there were still ways to engage my curiosity and creativity to resolve this. I needed to "think outside the cube" so to speak! So, I started asking different questions (i.e. "How can I transform this?"):

  • Where might a styrofoam cube be an asset?
  • Where else might I look for creative approaches?
  • How can I address this opportunity in a way that honors my values?

When I began to engage my curiosity and creativity more fully, I started seeing new perspectives. Who said that the cube had to wind up in the landfill? Perhaps it might be just the thing that a fish market, a produce delivery service, or a food bank is seeking! Maybe someone might want to use it as a material in an innovative construction project!!

Those different perspectives weren't going to be available to me if I maintained a rigid attitude about how things had to look. Like I often say, "Certainty is the enemy of curiosity."

So, here is how I have resolved my dilemma: I am telling folks about this resource and letting them decide for themselves. I am also going to invite others in this community of health-seekers to engage in some creative thinking about this.

What ideas would you like to share? Please post them here so that others can access them! Together, we are likely to create possibilities that none of us would be think of by ourselves. I'm sure that there are lots of options if we are willing to think outside the cube!

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