Innovation on the cheap

Many times I've seen small under funded, but stubborn agents succeed at projects large well funded groups have failed at.  I've come to believe that lack of funds can be a major driver of innovation.

I've always admired the touch screen room scheduling devices found outside of business conference rooms such as those at the General Mills headquarters.  But implementing such a system required funding for installation of displays at the room doors and a back-end server with dedicated applications software. 

The new STSS building has such a system for the classrooms (see below).

Which got us wondering about how we could gain some of the same functionality on the cheap.  This is really useful for those times you want to borrow a room to have a quick meeting, but don't want to interfere with an officially scheduled event or when you want to know if this is the room your meeting or class is being held in.  Our solution lies in the observation that more and more of us are carrying small, internet attached computers around in our pockets and bags.

The phone camera scans the bar code bringing up a URL that goes to the room scheduling web site and displays a mobile device formatted room reservation schedule.  Instant, cheap solution.  And if you don't happen to have or be with anyone having a smart phone, you still have the old fashion method of typing a URL for the reservation system into a browser on your laptop.

If you want to try something like this on your own, a useful QR code generator can be found at

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve Winckelman published on November 10, 2010 4:33 PM.

Can we make this any harder? was the previous entry in this blog.

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