August 24, 2010

The Power of 'Why?'

Something Seth Godin wrote recently made me think. Actually, the thought was a question. The question was: 'Why?'

'Why?' looks like such a simple, straightforward question.The problem is, asking 'why?' easily leads to more questions—sometimes questions that are very difficult to answer.

Questioning too much all at once can paralyze our gray matter. And searching for answers can take way more time and patience than some of us can muster on a typical day. But the 'why' questions I'm posing right at the moment aren't about deep existential issues.

What Godin got me thinking about was, 'Why take approach A, versus B or C or X, to help prevent what I call storefront crashes? Why not try out multiple approaches? Why not collaborate with different folks to see what works—and then report on those efforts and their results?'

So, this is an invitation for people who have been involved in one or more of these crashes: Share your story. Share your insights. Share your own 'whys' and other questions.

Likewise, if you're a business owner, an architect, a real estate developer, a retail design consultant, a safety researcher—weigh in. (Want to stay anonymous before providing your perspective? Fine, just let me know up front.)

Attorneys and insurance adjusters and juries can wrestle with the word 'fault'. Personally, I'd just like to learn the answers to some 'why' questions—and then move on to 'how' people and property can be protected from out-of-control vehicles.

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