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Creative Problem Solving


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Enhancing Membership Through Innovative Approaches

I was introduced to this technique when I was in TEC, the predecessor to Vistage. It's useful for a wide range of business problem solving, but especially useful in Rotary clubs where resources are often quite limited. Often facing the challenge of sustaining and increasing membership, creative problem-solving becomes pivotal. An effective method to foster innovative solutions is the "Three Options Approach." This brainstorming and strategic planning approach encourages exploring a range of solutions, including those that require minimal to no funding, ensuring a balance of practicality and creativity.


Understanding the Three Options Approach

The Three Options Approach involves generating three distinct solutions to a problem: an ideal solution with no resource constraints, a practical solution within current limitations, and a no-cost solution that requires maximum creativity and resourcefulness. It is certainly not limited to only three options. In fact, having each participant offer something adds to the available options.


Example: Boosting Rotary Club Membership

Consider a Rotary club struggling to enhance its membership, particularly attracting younger demographics while retaining existing members. The Three Options Approach can be applied as follows:


1. Ideal Solution: Global Outreach Campaign
  • Launch an extensive marketing campaign highlighting Rotary’s global impact.

  • Collaborate with international influencers and organizations for broader reach.

  • Organize high-profile events in various cities, featuring prominent speakers and showcasing impactful projects.


2. Practical Solution: Community Engagement and Partnerships
  • Implement a local marketing strategy focused on social media and community events.

  • Partner with local businesses and educational institutions for joint initiatives.

  • Develop a mentorship program to foster personal and professional growth among members.


3. No-Cost Solution: Member-Driven Initiatives
  • Initiate a 'Member-Get-Member' program, encouraging current members to introduce new individuals. Reward with fun prizes.

  • Utilize members' diverse skills to offer workshops or lectures, highlighting internal expertise.

  • Launch a highly visible community service project to attract individuals interested in service and leadership.


Promoting Out-of-the-Box Thinking

For Rotary clubs, the no-cost solution is a fertile ground for out-of-the-box thinking:

  • Embrace digital platforms such as EventBrite for virtual events or webinars, broadening reach without additional costs. If you don't charge for the event, there's no cost.

  • Collaborate with local artists for community projects that combine art with service.

  • Start a social media challenge related to global issues, aligning with Rotary's focus areas to engage the youth.


The Three Options Approach for Rotary clubs not only addresses the challenge of membership growth but also enhances the club's community engagement and global impact. By considering a spectrum of solutions, from ideal to no-cost, clubs can foster a culture of creativity, collaboration, and adaptability. This method ensures that the solutions are not only effective in the short term but also sustainable and impactful in the long run, reinforcing Rotary's commitment to service, leadership, and community development.

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