Finding a New Use for Old Resources

What do you do when a valuable resource is no longer useful for its original purpose?

This week, the Houston Astrodome has been making headlines. After sitting vacant and rotting for several years, the old stadium may have finally found a new purpose as a multipurpose facility for trade shows and sports. This is good news for many Houstonians who feared that instead of being put to good use, the beloved icon of Houston sports would simply be torn down.

I’m relieved to find out that it looks like the Astrodome will be spared, a sentiment that I know is shared by many who like me, grew up visiting the Dome for Astros games. But at the same time, I’m also impressed with Houston’s ingenuity for turning this seemingly unusable resource into something amazing. Houstonians want to see this building that they love become useful again, and this is a great way to not only use the building itself, but take advantage of its excellent brand.

The idea of repurposing resources is of course not unique to the Astrodome. Businesses find ways to recycle and reuse their resources all the time. In fact, P&G famously created Crisco when the advent of electricity began to take a bite out of their candle business, and they needed a product to make use of their exceptional cottonseed oil resources. And we’ve certainly all heard about old factories being renovated into apartments and new production facilities.

These days, recycling and repurposing is incredibly popular not just in businesses, but with individuals as well. It’s always been a good idea to make the most of what you’ve got, but in lean times, it’s practically a requirement for staying in business. It’s amazing how much money, time, and effort can be spared just by making the best use of what you’ve already got.

The principle of reusing resources is applicable for just about any business. Consider what you currently have, or what’s going to waste, that could be put to good use in a new or additional way. Do you have employees with skills that are not being fully utilized? Do you have spare data space that could be sold or used in a different way? What about old equipment that could be refurbished and sold?

Most of us won’t have to make decisions for repurposing something as large as a stadium, but we can be just as smart when it comes to finding new life for old resources. What business resources do you have that could be turned into something new and useful?