Thursday, April 14, 2011

Looking For Solutions

Yesterday I wrote about a misstatement on a quotation panel in the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Since I am today visiting the great state of Virginia for an address at the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, I thought I'd stay in the Jefferson genre and offer another comment about the Jefferson Memorial.

A few years ago the memorial was crumbling.  It turns out that it was the frequent washings of the monument stone that was creating the problem.

The reason they washed it so often was because there were so many bird droppings in the building.

Then the Park Service asked themselves, why are there so many birds in the building?  The answer was that there was an abundant food supply; hundreds and hundreds of little fat spiders.  So then they asked themselves again, why are there so many spiders?

The spiders were attracted by midges, thousands of tiny insects.  So they asked, why are there so many midges?

The answer was simple.

Every evening at dusk, millions of midges emerge in a mating frenzy.  Also at the same time every evening, the national park service turned on the powerful spotlights that illuminated the monument.

The excited midges were attracted to the light.  The solution: the park service delayed the daily lighting of the structure to one hour after sunset.  The midge population stopped. The food chain was broken and there are now less frequent washings.

So, when your looking for a solution to a problem make sure you are working with all the information and get to the true root cause of the problem.

This story is courtesy of the Juran Institute.


1 comment:

Topher08 said...
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