Building a Smarter Planet starts with challenging the status quo. Thinking in an unrestricted way about what can be improved. Like children do. They come up with surprising questions and original ideas. So to come up with smarter solutions, you have to think as free as children do. Ogilvy Amsterdam wanted people to experience the effect of this fresh way of thinking. For this real life experiment Ogilvy Amsterdam started asking children for smart ideas. Then IBM chose one of the ideas and executed it. The kid’s idea was to make street crossings safer by making the zebra crossing light up when you walk on it. IBM built one in the busiest street of Rotterdam and watched what happened.
The unique execution with the flashing zebra crossing caught the attention of the public. In combination with the billboard explaining the kid’s idea, it made people realize anything can happen if you challenge the status quo. The billboard directed people to IBM’s Smarter Planet website to see more smart solutions that kids came up with. People reacted positively surprised. It made them realize we can make the world a bit better with smart solutions. And that’s exactly what IBM wanted to convey.