Ideas worth stealing from the USA

I have recently spent two weeks in the USA, much of the time in the company of Disney. I made a note of things I think the UK should copy/imitate/steal or learn from the US (Mindful that they could also learn a few things from us of course)

1) How great is it that a fridge is big enough to store gallons of water and juice and not look like it is about to fall apart. The doors seem strong enough to hold the weight of a passing Sumo wrestler who needs a sit down. My UK fridge just about struggles with a pint of milk. Can someone in UK design land please take note of this.

2) Turn right on red – I love it that you can do this. In the UK, I find myself waiting longer and longer at cross roads while each queue is permitted its own short time slot in which to escape. Turning right on red (or left in our case) seem so anarchic and liberating. Should we lobby the Government?

3) Customer service – I know it is an old story but I am still amazed by some of the service we receive in the USA. I called into the Outback restaurant and was served by Chad. Simply one of the best waiters I have ever encountered. His manner, his approach, the way he connected with my kids with humour and real empathy was a role model in excellence. Where do US restaurants find these people and how come we don’t find them over here? And Outback, if you are listening; make sure you pass all his tips over as this guy is worth keeping happy.

4) Older people working – it is noticeable in Disney that many people are working who would have retired here. I also got the impression they were loving their job. They provide great service and connect really well with people. A message to UK employers I think.

5) Getting both ends of the spectrum right – many of you will have opinions of the Disney experience but it is worth reminding ourselves of what they do so well. On one level, the Wishes firework and lighting show is stunning. It seems that no expense is spared as the parks are transformed and light up the faces of thousands of kids. Disney can still tug at the heart strings and deliver the spectacular. At the other extreme is Disney and car parking. In two weeks, no traffic jams, seamless parking, fast transportation. It reminds us that you need to deliver on the big stuff and the (apparently) mundane.

6) Packaging – buy some ham in the UK and as soon as you open it you have to find cling film to wrap it up before putting it away. Just about every packet in the US is designed to be re-sealed.Why can’t we do this?

7) Smiling – service is better US style and people seem more willing to connect. Lets hope the pride from the Olympics and the feel-good factor of the Games brings some optimism and cheer to the UK service industry.

8) Dollar bills – can we have these please? There is something reassuring about folding money.
Well, what do you think? What would you like to steal from the USA? Should they copy anything from us?

Playing on the office stereo this week: ‘Barton Hollow’ by a band call ‘The Civil Wars’ . Essentially a duo who sound fantastic together and don’t quite play either folk or country music. They also do a really interesting of Billy Jean by MJ that works really well on acoustic guitar (surprisingly)