What happens when lens shift

On Aug 27, 2009, CNN wrote this article about Zipcar:
Just a few years ago the notion that you could persuade upwardly mobile professionals to share cars would have seemed as far-fetched as being able to unlock a car with a telephone. But what started as a counterculture movement in places like Cambridge and Portland, Ore., has gone mainstream.

On July 1, 2010, Fast Company wrote this article about the Mango bank:
“There just wasn’t a better option,” so he made one from scratch. The Mango Store, which opened in Austin in April, reimagines the entire banking experience for this market. Tescher likens the store to “a cross between an Apple Store and a high-end yogurt shop,” which could confuse patrons. Yet once customers are inside, Sosa says, the warm, spacious interior is designed “to educate customers and encourage them to stay awhile.”

On Sept 20, 2007, New York Times wrote this article about Couchsurfing.org:

Couch surfing takes an ancient notion of hospitality and tucks it into a thoroughly modern paradigm, the social networking Web site. But, as its members say sternly, it is not a site for dating, or for freeloaders. “This is a generation that’s all about talking to strangers. And why stop there? Why not crash at their place?” For constant surfers, the couch becomes a new sort of home, redefining, in many ways, their own ideas about what a home really is.

Do you see what these three organizations have in common? Sure, they fill a market need, or a gap that is not currently being served. More importantly though, Alex and I think it’s their success in reframing, creating lens shift of what each of these experiences could mean. In each instance, people were not afraid to ask questions such as:
  • What if I own a car only on the weekends?
  • What if going to the bank is like going to the cafe?
  • What if I could hang out like a local in a foreign city?
Relating that back to our topic with the ARCH project on self-identity and empowerment:
  • What if the bulletin board is not just a source of information, but a source of inspiration?
  • What if the homeless are not being seen as helpless?
  • What if they can be teachers?
Far-fetched? Would never happen? We don’t know. What we do know is that something amazing always happen when you get those lens shifted.