I was out of town over the weekend and stopped into the mall.  As I was walking down the main aisle I was almost run over — first by a rhino and then by a panda!  

As you may have guessed, these weren’t real animals, rather “Animal Riders” — apparently the newest craze to hit the shopping circuit.  For $10, a person can have 15 minutes of joy riding on an electronically powered giant animal — cruising up one mall aisle and zooming around another.  I am not sure how long the novelty will last, but at least at this mall they were quite popular.

For many malls, the main thoroughfare is far more barren than it used to be, and the Animal Rider kiosk took advantage of the long, straight, empty corridors.  Where one person saw gloom in the unused space, another saw opportunity.

Malls everywhere are rethinking their purpose of being just a shopping destination and branching out into all types of entertainment offerings.  The Mall of America has an entire amusement park inside.  Others offer museums, ice skating, a carousel, movies, restaurants, arcades, batting cages, and now rhinos.

Think of what is in your organization that you see as a liability now but could be repurposed into a valuable new use.  If electric pandas and shopping malls can pair up, surely there is a way for you to tame your unused capacity.

— beth triplett

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