Going Postal

By Max Suzenaar

If anyone would have told me that I would be citing the United States Post Office as an innovative example of “new think”, my retort would have been that they were moreTime Post Office Article likely that I would “go postal” first. However, I was struck by a recent article in Time Magazine that exemplifies MYB’s philosophy of “new think” and involved the US Post Office. Entitled “Reinventing the Post Office”, TIME gathered outside-the-mailbox ideas from economists, bloggers, overseas postal workers and more and surfaced six surprising ways to survive in today’s age of digital communications.

Not unlike associations and DMOs, even longstanding corporations are finding it imperative to look at their business model with a fresh and innovative perspective in this era of “new normal”. According to recent press, the best idea generated internally at the USPS was to eliminate weekend service. That’s cost containment, not innovation – like cutting a coffee break at your Annual Meeting vs. identifying new ways to engage your members and increase value. However, widening the lens and inviting “outside” perspectives resulted in incredibly innovative and viable solutions such as turning postal trucks into roving labs to gather vital information on weather patterns and air pollution levels and offering basic financial services like credit cards and mortgages thru the USPS (as is done in Europe).

Sometimes it just takes a different perspective to cultivate “new think”. So reach out to your members, create a dialogue with your sponsors or engage an agency like MYB and don’t be afraid to let someone from outside put their stamp on your business.