June 7, 2006

Teach A Homeless Man To Fish

The Interagency Council on Homelessness took a new angle on figuring out how to deal with the homeless. The homeless were asked what would make them happy. Overwhelming number one answer? A room of their own. Some number crunching followed and the Council discovered it costs less to give the homeless a room of their own than to have them on the streets.

A preposterous idea? So it seemed at first - until someone did the research. It was simple marketing. Ask the people involved what they want or expect. Satisfy the desire. Now New York is reporting success rates of 88% and San Francisco says its homeless rates are down 40%.

It is easy to arrive at a conclusion, but the word "conclusion" in its essence means an end to a process. Why stop looking at a problem after it is "solved", especially when there are undiscovered insights waiting to be collected?