The Genesis Project Episode Twenty-Six

Shirley and Jim hoped that their second interview was just as valuable as the first one. They met George in the conference room that Grace had setup for them. Shirley began by asking George to give a brief background of himself and his job.

“I went to college as an art major with an area of emphasis on sculpture. As you probably know, that’s not a great background for a job. So I ended up here in the marketing department doing computer graphics.”

“So, tell us why Grace thought you would be a good person to interview”, asked Jim.

“It began with one of those trivia questions: How much space does it take to house the products returned to us after we sell a client on an upgrade? I was astonished by the answer so I sought out Julie who was the one asking the question.”

“What I found out was that one of our marketing strengths is to allow a client to return to us out-of-date products if they buy the latest upgrade from us. We break down the out-of-date products and reuse anything we can reuse and anything that needs special care of for disposing. We have to store it until we have enough volume to interest a scrap dealer. I also found out that we have 7 employees just managing the returns.”

“I guess you had an idea to reduce the space and labor” asked Shirley.

“I did. Do you know the name Alexander Calder?”

“I do”, said Jim. “I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I just love his sculpture La Grande Vitesse (La Grande Vitesse – Wikipedia).

“He is my muse”, George continued. “My sculptures are from found objects. I was given permission to develop a sculpture from material in the returns warehouse. I was fortunate enough to have it featured in one of our prominent artworld websites. That opened the floodgates.”

“What do you mean?”, asked Shirley.

“Others asked if they could repurpose our returns into sculptures. He agreed if they give us some recognition in their finished project. But it didn’t take long for this initiative to gain national attention in the artworld, in environmental trades, and in our business segment. You won’t believe the free media we’ve gained from this. My marketing colleagues tell me that it has also become a part of our sales pitch. It seems as if we have started a trend of repurposed art.”

“That’s fascinating”, said Jim. “Now I can see why Grace wanted us to talk to you.”

“But I haven’t told you the rest of the story. We’ve created sculpture gardens at each of our locations. The artists who use our material have gladly donated a piece for one of the gardens. I’m told that many of our innovations began in those gardens.”

After reviewing a video montage of the sculpture garden, Shirley and Jim left with another stunning story to share in their research.                       

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To repurpose an old thought, idea or memory to a new purpose is the height of creativity.” – Steve Supple  

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