Creativity in Conservative Org LO12860

Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:53:04, -0500

Looking for some suggestions on how to approach the opportunity below.

A chemical processing facility needs to transfer large amounts of salt
solution and sludge out of large storage tanks to allow the solutions to
be further processed.

The current strategy, which has been the only strategy for the last ten
years, is to invest significant dollars in a hardware-intensive process
where a large pump will be temporarily installed inside the tank to mix up
and pump out the sludge and salt solutions. These pumps are expensive and
require significant infrastructure to install in the tanks and operate. In
addition, due to process contaminants, the pumps can not be re-used for
other tanks.

The problem is - with dwindling budgets and with over 90 % of the project
monies going to support just the hardware, we need to apply some
paradigm-changing creativity to come up with innovative, less costly

Because the current strategy has been demonstrated as feasible, if not
economical, and has been around for a while, it has become ingrained.
Additionally the organization has a conservative, highly regulated culture
where consistency and control, not innovation, are the norm. Collectively
pursuing creative options could be a challenge.

Possible options might include a chemistry approach, or even a different
mechanical approach. My question is - given our culture, what
strategies/tools/processes would be most useful in supporting a creative
pursuit to resolving this problem ?

Thanks in advance.


Geof Fountain

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