A story about Sam, Jake and Innovation

Kristin: On Saturday night, I broke my glasses. The bridge snapped and I was left with two separate and wholly useless pieces. I can’t see a foot in front of my face and without them I am incapable of reading, driving or being able to hold a conversation (for some reason my hearing goes when I can’t see!). I am currently in Melbourne, and my spare glasses are currently in Adelaide. So I struggled out to our planned dinner and vowed to find a helpful optometrist early Sunday morning.

Five phone calls and my sister and I managed to find someone who answered in the affirmative that they were open and repaired glasses. Straight to the OPSM in Camberwell who then told us 1) they couldn’t really do anything; 2) yes they did have a solder machine, but the person who operated it wasn’t in today; 3) it would take a week to order new glasses; 4) there were other optometrists in the area we could try (we explored and found that all three were closed on Sundays) and 5) no, they wouldn’t try anything or ring anyone else. No, they would not do anything to help.

We left, seething with frustration and getting increasingly desperate. A woman stopped us outside the shop “Ridiculous. My husband has a solder machine. He fixes heaps of stuff for all his family. We’re only 10 minutes away, let me call him”. So Sam called Jake (who no doubt though she was crazy) and we landed on his doorstep 10 minutes later. Some superglue and a wire part from a model airplane kit have secured my glasses into one piece (see photo) and look like lasting longer than the week it will take to buy some new ones.

We thanked them with a bottle of wine, but even better than that I am able to reciprocate by doing an errand for Sam back in Adelaide.

Which brings me to the point. It could have been so easy for OPSM to be helpful. They could have attempted a repair, they could have called around their network, they could have tried to think a little more creatively. But they didn’t. It took a conversation with a stranger, a mental link and a willingness to take a chance and act. Isn’t this how the best innovation occurs?

Thank you, Sam & Jake.

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