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Today in a Milan metro station, I saw two people approach the bottom of an escalator and step on the “activation pad”, but the escalator didn’t start. Aparently it was broken. No “chiuso” sign (italian for “closed”), and no caution tape. It just didn’t work.

Instead of walking up the non-moving escalator, they turned around and joined a group of other people walking up the stairs. Seems that their minds are trained to treat stairs as stairs and escalators as escalators and no more.

To use something for a purpose other than it’s designed for is not typical. Dental floss should only be used to floss, right? But did you know that the best way to cut a cake is with floss?

I recently heard about a group of people who invented a piece of technology for use by telco and call center companies. When opportunities arose to use the technology for applications in the online video and advertising space, they wouldn’t consider it because “it was made for something else.” Years later the technology lay unused and similar technologies had mad millions of dollars in the online video and advertising space.

Be sure to open your eyes and see the potential in things.