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Why Not

Why Not? Proof of Concept, WGBH, Boston 2004. TRT: 13:36, DECEMBER 9, 2004

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Why Not
Series Description

Series was in development in 2004 but did not go beyond pilot phase.

Why Not? is a series based on the book "Why Not?" by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres. Below is a press release for the book which we may consider using as a description for archiving. I also can got to the sponsorship group to see what they had posted on their website to sell if this doesn't work for you.

Ever been in line at the grocery store, sitting in a meeting, refinancing your mortgage, programming your VCR, waiting on hold, choosing an HMO—and thought to yourself: “there must be a better way to do this!?” This book challenges us to stop accepting the status quo and, in the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “to dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?’” In WHY NOT? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small (Harvard Business School Press; October 24, 2003), Yale economics professor Barry Nalebuff and Yale law professor Ian Ayers reveal four simple tools that can help you dream up ingenious ideas for changing how we work, shop, live, and govern. While most of us equate innovation with high-tech breakthroughs discovered by rocket scientists, the truth is that many important ideas are the result of good, old-fashioned ingenuity—and everyday innovators like you and me. Think right on red, rolling luggage, spinning toothbrushes, or even prewashed lettuce—now a billion dollar business. This is not just wishful thinking. Nalebuff and Ayres have already used their Why Not? framework to develop mortgages that automatically refinance when interest rates drop; home equity insurance that protects your biggest investment in the event of a decline in market value; and Honest Tea, bottled iced tea that actually tastes like tea, not sugared water. The book is filled with examples of why not? solutions to problems big and small: • Why not have insurance to protect you against a decline in the value of your home? • Why not schedule jury duty? • Why not market DVDs that give parents the option to show the PG-13 airplane/TV version of an R-rated movie? • Why not have a mortgage that automatically refinances when rates fall? • Why not change the charitable contributions tax deadline to April 15th instead of years end? According to the authors, most original ideas arent completely original, but are the product of two basic methods: the straightforward approach of problems in search of solutions and an approach that starts with the answer and looks for the right questions. In addition, Nalebuff and Ayres offer four distinct problem-solving tools motivated by four questions: • What Would Croesus Do? Imagining how a consumer with unlimited resources (a modern-day Croesus) would solve a problem can inspire practical solutions. For example, Donald Trump or Bill Gates dont spend much time waiting on hold. They have an assistant wait on hold and then buzz them when the call goes through. Of course, we cant all afford personal assistants. Is there any way the rest of us could emulate this “personal assistant” strategy? Instead of waiting on hold to speak with an airline customer representative, why not have the airline call you back (just like Gatess assistant) when the rep is ready to talk to you? With caller ID, you wouldnt even have to enter your number. • Why Don’t You Feel My Pain? Externalizing internal problems, forcing the cost of inefficient practices to the surface is another way to solve problems. For example, the cost of providing auto-insurance is based on how many miles people drive. But the price doesnt reflect mileage. Why not pay-per-mile auto insurance? Why not have telemarketers pay us to listen to their pitches? While they are trying to sell you a product, you can be selling them your time. • Where Else Would It Work? This translation tool starts with a solution from another context and searches for a problem it might solve somewhere else. Why not translate ski area season passes to movie theaters? Why not take the airplane version of R-rated movies and make them available on DVDs? The April 15th deadline for contributions to an IRA is what leads to the idea of extending the tax deadline for charitable contributions. • Would Flipping It Work? Looking for potential symmetry and then turning things around offers unexpected solutions. Priceline.com built a business by flipping the way prices are set; they have customers offering prices to airlines. Heinz and Hunts stimulated sales by turning their ketchup bottles upside down. Having customers rewind video tapes at the beginning of the rental prevents people from shirking. Spain eliminated its waiting list for organs by changing the default from opt-in to opt-out. Instead of a boycott against companies that do things wrong, why not a buycott for companies that do things right. Along with tools for thinking outside the box, the authors also offer advice and models to help with what they call principled problem solving or thinking inside the box. This approach, observe Nalebuff and Ayres, not only aids in filtering solutions and determining which are actually workable, but offers real models that give a clearer picture of the underlying structure of a problem and in turn, make it easier to find solutions. Challenging us to look at the things we see and do every day in new ways, WHY NOT? will turn you on to the joy of problem solving like no other book youve read. It will provoke you. It will make you think. Best of all, it will inspire you to make a real difference. As Nalebuff and Ayres say, the world is one big suggestion box. What are you waiting for?

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Chicago: “Why Not,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 21, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F5F3AA07F4CF45F0984C0FD692E58339.
MLA: “Why Not.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 21, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F5F3AA07F4CF45F0984C0FD692E58339>.
APA: Why Not. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F5F3AA07F4CF45F0984C0FD692E58339
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