Being passionate about communications - from the use of language to the channel used to share messages - I am always intrigued by how communication can impact individuals, business and the world in general. This week's news of a student identifying a way the US Government could save $370 million a year by changing how they communicate obviously caught my attention. As part of a 14 year old student's middle school project, he calculated that by simply changing the font used by the US Government for written communications from Times New Roman to Garamond this huge cost saving could be made. The reason? Ink costs are actually six times higher than paper costs - so better to try to reduce ink use rather than paper.
Sounds simple, but apparently this would interfere with paper recycling / reduction plans already in place so won't be taken further as a project. This brings to mind the phrase 'turning the tanker'. It can be extremely hard for large organisations to put innovation into practice as they believe it will take a vast investment in time, money and people to get everyone on board and effectively change company policy and even culture.
However, this story is an amazing demonstration of how innovation can happen anywhere and doesn't have to be constrained to R&D departments of large corporations. Simple curiosity and free information access can lead to some of the greatest technical, medical or scientific developments at little financial cost.
The same approach can be taken to communicating a new strategy - fresh thinking and collaboration of ideas can result in the most effective communications strategy that truly engages workforces of all shapes and sizes.
For me, this story confirms the power that a well-conceived mix of creative thinking, communications and channels can have.
I love that we all have the chance to changing the world for the better, one font at a time.
You can view (rather than read) the story on the Huffington Post.