Don’t Wait. Your Band-Aid Solution Can Change the World

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely an entrepreneur or company who cares about making the world better. Whether you have a history-shifting concept, fledging idea–or just a desire, is irrelevant. We have a fascination with systemic solutions because they impress us in their genius, scale and impact. But not every solution can (or should!) be systemic.As entrepreneurs, writers and citizens we’re geared to feel reluctant about offering up a band-aid solution because it assuages rather than eliminates the problem we’re targeting. But band-aid solutions are absolutely necessary to chip away at the larger problems and lead us, as creators, to larger solutions.

When TerraPass launched with the idea that people would voluntarily (and without public reward) buy credits to offset their carbon production, it was a brave and strange concept. “Offsets” weren’t even part of the common vernacular. Although TerraPass invests in windy energy and methane digesters, the idea of paying to neutralize your pollution is a band-aid solution. Today we talk about carbon negative, but TerraPass is responsible for firing up this conversation and moving us closer to more ambitious solutions.

RecylcleBank is another company whose mission is not to eradicate the problem (packaging, consumption, resource depletion) but to empower people to make personal changes that benefit the environment. Their approach is to incentivize individuals to recycle by giving them retail credit based on how much they recycle.

So don’t wait until you’ve cooked up the equivalent to Yunus’ microfinance system. Start now and start small. It might feel uncomfortable, but your next idea will be better and you’ll be stronger at executing it. And in this time you may have saved a marsh from landfill use or facilitated a 20% growth in wind energy.

Thanks to @EthanAustin for encouraging me to write this post.



Leave a comment
  1. ethan austin January 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Absolutely agree! No single person can solve the world’s problems all by herself. But everybody has the ability to change SOMEONE’s world.

    The reality is that 99% of grandiose, plans to solve systemic problems never get off the ground. For the individual who wants to make a difference now, the key is to start small, make incremental changes and then wait for others to catch, take your idea and build upon it.

    Doing something NOW, even if it’s not the most comprehensive solution to a problem is much better than not doing anything at all.

    Kudos to a great blog post!

  2. admin January 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Ethan, very true. I think it’s also the realization that we don’t need a huge idea to contribute something–and one can never tell the impact of any idea, perceived to be large or small.