What’s Wrong With the Paint Can?

By Jessie Feller Hahn

Jessie Feller Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds. She is an experienced urban planner, specializing in urban-regional policy with a particular focus on sustainability and clean energy. Previously, Jessie launched the successful Regional Energy Policy Program at Regional Plan Association in New York City. She has written numerous articles which have been featured in RPA’s Spotlight on the Region, The Hartford Courant, Urban Age Magazine, The Record, NPR, among others.

Feb 8, 2013 | Announcements | 1 comment

Last night marked the second monthly Meeting of the Minds happy hour meet up in San Francisco. Over fifty great minds showed up to network, have a drink, and meet other leaders working in urban sustainability, planning and innovation. Here are a few of the great Minds that I was able to speak with:

Peter Liu, Founder of New Resource Bank

New Resource Bank is a green bank that loans to clean energy projects, organic farmers, and other socially and environmentally responsible companies and businesses.

The Bank operates like any other bank. Customers can open accounts online, which lowers the bank’s operating costs and enables them to loan to businesses that they believe in. Their mission is “to advance sustainability with everything we do—the loans we make, the way we operate and our commitment to putting deposits to work for good.”

For more information on New Resource Bank, visit NewResourceBank.com.

Brian Stokle, urban planner and cartographer

Brian works as a consultant for various clients including the San Francisco Department of Environment. His latest project, commissioned by SPUR, is a Bay Area Transit Mobility Map which, as far as I know, is the first of its kind to include all Bay Area rail options in one map. The map includes metro, light rail, streetcar, regional rail, and a selection of express buses. The Bay Area transit system is run by multiple agencies – each with their own map – and can be notoriously difficult for tourists (and sometimes even residents) to efficiently navigate.

Brian also created a topographic map showing what would happen in San Francisco in the event of a 25-foot sea level rise. A striking image for anyone living in the city. His maps are available on his blog. I highly suggest you take a peek.

Charles Rashall, President & Founder of brandadvisors

brandadvisors a strategy, innovation and design firm. Last night Charles asked a group of us a seemingly simple question, “what is wrong with the paint can?” The group responded with a few answers:

  • It’s impossible to open and close
  • You can’t see through the can to see the paint color
  • The handle is too thin to carry such a heavy can
  • It’s impossible to dispose of
  • No one knows how to recycle it
  • It’s impossible to pour.

Charles responded, “Yes, the paint can is utterly stupid.”

He told the story of one particular paint company that has completely re-imagined the paint can. Rather than a tin can, he worked with them to develop a plastic, recyclable container that has a handle, a spout for pouring and solves the various problems associated with the historic paint can.

“Why did it take so long to change the paint can?" Charles went on to say, "Things don’t change because they’ve been done the same way for decades, but that’s no excuse not to re-think the way we do things.” Certainly there’s a way to apply this to cities, the environment, transit, etc., don’t you think?

For more information on Charles and his company, visit: brandadvisors.com

Who did you meet?

Who did you meet at our monthly happy hour last night? Give a description in the comments below.

Discussion

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1 Comment

  1. I also talked with Brian Stokle and I saw the map he’s created for the SF transit system. As a recent transplant to SF I love the idea and I’m shocked it hasn’t been done yet. It’s no surprise SPUR commissioned the project. Very smart.

    Ed Church of the Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship was also there and brought some friends and colleagues. I had no idea he was so funny!

    A good representation from SF’s Dutch Consulate made it out, too. Nice to see them.

    Reply

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