ISSUE NUMBER 24   |   SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 

Keep It Simple 


We often devise complex solutions to problems, when the best solution is usually the simplest.


For example, many economically struggling urban cities desperately try to devise strategies to create bustling downtown neighborhoods where people actually want to spend time. Cleveland, near where I live, is one such community that has spent recent decades trying to do this. Recently I had a few moments in downtown Cleveland to catch my breath between meetings, and came across this urban plaza filled with pick-up corn hole games.

I watched dozens of people, likely on their lunch break, having a blast playing corn hole (for those of you unfamiliar with the game, you essentially toss small bean bags into a hole cut out of a wooden plank). People who were strangers 10 minutes prior were now laughing, competing with each other, strategizing, and forgetting the stress of their day.


It was perfect. And simple.


It didn't require organizing an event or a concert, police permits, or free parking to develop a sense of community downtown. It took 10 corn hole games and 50 little bean bags, which could easily have been borrowed by any of a thousand people who recently planned their child's high school graduation party.


What can you do today to make the complex simple, and not the simple complex?


2014 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution. 

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Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, is the president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. and author of the Philanthropy411 blog.

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