Sometimes Brilliant Thinking Needs Some Extra Emphasis

Michael Hausam
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Posted: Aug 16, 2015 12:01 AM
Sometimes Brilliant Thinking Needs Some Extra Emphasis

Weeding through the nonsense that comes out of Washington, state capitols, and news outlets can be an extraordinarily daunting task. It’s worth the effort, however, because every once in awhile some absolute gems can be found. This week was no different and it yielded three ideas whose "brilliance" is staggering.

The first offers proof that capitalism works. This week we learned that Planned Parenthood paid bonuses to staffers who were able to get patients to donate body parts. By providing an opportunity to earn increased incomes, “spiffs” in sales vernacular, PP gave their employees an opportunity to grab ahold of a bigger part of the American Dream.

Incentives matter and in business it is essential to properly craft them so that employees are focused on the most productive activities. Planned Parenthood obviously figured this out. Most people properly understand that PP is in the women’s health business and it would be easy to assume that the emotional rewards for providing such services would be sufficient.

Fortunately, Planned Parenthood didn’t just leave things there. Adding a financial consideration, effectively making self-interest a part of their uncontroversial good works, they certainly improved their products-of-conception yield.

According to reports, they did need to give instruction on how to properly frame the request. Like any good sales training, a properly written script is essential. So they made sure to emphasize that contributing to research would certainly lives and to be careful not to use potentially misleading phrases like “body of the baby.” Pure genius going on at Planned Parenthood; one can safely assume that they had a properly motivating phrase for this bonus system: “Get a Donation and Earn a Dollar” or something.

The next winner idea of the week was courtesy of Target. They announced that they will no longer use gender labels in some of their departments. Products sold in their Toy, Home, and Entertainment sections will no longer make recommendations based upon gender. Furthermore, they’ll stop using colors that have gender references.

Apparently, they’ve been receiving a substantial amount of criticism and decided to do something about it. This is wonderful, of course, because everyone at one time or another has found himself, herself, cysself, or a-self, offended when noticing the Barbie toy section has pink wallpapering and a “Girls Toys” sign above it.

Unfortunately, abandoning gender-based material will not extend to the apparel department. This, of course, would have been an even better idea. Hopefully, once the other big-box competitors follow in Target’s footsteps and stamp out old-fashioned ideas from culturally-imposed binary gender norms, someone will take the next step and eliminate “Boys Clothing” and “Girls Clothing” from the retail world.

The final great idea of the week differs from the first two in that it is only a suggestion, whereas PP and Target have already implemented theirs. A handful of Southern Californians are on board with painting the White House brown because the white color symbolizes white supremacy.

How better to confront white privilege and supremacy than by repainting the nation’s First Home? It would certainly send a tremendously impactful message, that is for sure.

Obviously, there would clearly need to be a national conversation about which shade of brown it should be painted. Latino brown, in deference to the lands stolen from our neighbors to the south? Native-American brown, in deference to the lands stolen from across the rest of the country? Or African-American brown, in deference to the nation’s history of slavery?

Maybe all of those shades could be used, apportioning a percentage of the structure to each shade, based upon disparate impact analysis and population percentages. Whatever the result, the important thing would be that it be painted anything but white.

Of course, you may have your own suggestions as to which ideas from the week were the best, as is your right. It’ll be very interesting to see what next week’s winner ideas will be!