Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rotating Trees

We have a small lemon tree in the kitchen for Martin, Nico's bird, to hang out. One of its branches was sticking out and on the way. Ale bumped into it and suggested cutting it. Unfortunately, though, Martin has "mutilated" most of the branches on the tree and this is one of the few remaining healthy branches - because it is harder for Martin to reach. So Cindy and I were reluctant to cut it. What to do? It didn't take long for us to come up with two altnatives: Cindy suggested rotating the whole tree (which obviously is inside a pot). That was a partial solution as there were branches on the other side of the tree that would become a problem with too much rotation. I then bent and stuck the offending behind another branch. Problem solved, no branch cutting! Why did Cindy and I find a better solution than Alejandro? Not because we are smarter or more creative, but because we felt a need to save the branch. There are two lessons here that I discussed with the boys:

1) Necessity is often the mother of invention. In Cuba, for example, there are no spare parts for their 50 year old cars so they have come up with innovative approaches to keep their cars running. Many of these need driven innovations are inferior to the ideal solution, but nt all. Sometime one of these solutions is better than the original and ends up replacing it.

2) When you solve a problem, take a moment to consider your solution and whether it has imperfections. If it does, try to come up with an alternative solution that has no such problems. I am quite certain that had Alejandro done this he would have recognized the negatives of cutting the branch and would have come up with alternatives - probably better ones than the ones Cindy and I came up with!

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