When I was a kid, the glass Heinz 57 ketchup bottles were on every table in almost every restaurant you walked into.
It was always such a pain to get the ketchup to come out of the bottle. So, everybody had their own theory on how to do it best. Some subscribed to the “shake the bottle like mad” theory. Others went with the “smack the bottom of the bottle” style. Many believed there was a “sweet spot” marked on the side of the bottle with a little 57 logo that needed to be tapped for success. Others went directly to the “knife in” approach.
Well, Iʼm not sure why it took so long for someone to finally ask the question, “Why donʼt we just turn the ketchup bottle upside down and let gravity work?”
It was probably the intern in the room that finally looked at the problem differently and suggested re-orienting the bottle so that the opening was actually at the bottom of the bottle. Now, the bottles are designed out of plastic and turned upside down.
Small questions like that are waiting to be asked right now in every one of our personal lives, families, communities, teams, and businesses. There are small questions of innovation waiting to be discovered when weʼre ready to Step Back and think about them slightly differently. What if we tried something different this time? Innovation, in its truest definition, is finding a better way to do something.
Opportunities for creativity and innovation are all around us and often show up in small, subtle ways. How will you “turn the ketchup bottle upside down” today in your life and work? What questions do you need to ask? Is there a better way to do what you’re already doing?
Good luck turning the ketchup bottle upside down in your life and work!
Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com