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Bernie Madoff: Using extreme constraints to find ideas by Nheeda Enriquez
original photo source: sf gate

original photo source: sf gate

The recent Madoff sentencing has left many scratching their heads, questioning “How is it possible to for a 71 year old man serve a 150 year sentence?!”  Some agree that it’s merely gesture to illustrate the severity of the crime, but it also presents the opportunity to ask >> What if…?

I advocate the use of extreme constraints as a tool for ideation, because they force new ways to think about a problem and get us beyond the obvious or incremental solution.  Clearly, Mr. Madoff’s punishment will outlive him, but if we allow ourselves to get crazy for a second, how might we find an alternative means to serve a full sentence?

  • Keep his clones in jail
  • Break up the sentence into lots of little segments and find a way to distribute the punishment to co-conspirators
  • Make him conduct random acts of kindness to pay it forward, a la Akoha cards
  • Make him spend a majority of his time doing work that will certainly pay benefits over time, like plant 1000 trees by hand
  • Force him to start an investment fund for one of his least favorite charity, a la stickK, and let others contribute to it

These become the kernels of a larger solution that others can build upon.  What other ideas are out there?