Valentine’s Day is a day focused a lot around flowers, cards, gifts, special dinners, and spending time with those that you love. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I absolutely love Valentine’s Day, along with all holidays, but the reason for this is because it provides me a great opportunity to show my appreciation for others. (Plus it gives me a great excuse to bake something special to share with others).
This year, I had a great time making homemade Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes and Strawberry Cake Pops for my family, friends, and co-workers to enjoy. Both of these projects lead to tons of fun in the kitchen, but as with most projects, you may run into challenges that you did not foresee. Before I get too far into my story, Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes are basically an ice cream cone filled with cake batter, baked in the oven, cooled down, frosted and sprinkles are added on top. Cake Pops are basically cooked cake with frosting added into the mixture, rolled into a round ball, then covered with chocolate & sprinkles on a lollypop stick (Starbucks sells these, but they are so easy and cheaper to make).
Although the ice cream cone cupcakes were pretty easy to make, I found the most challenging task was figuring out how I was going to transport these dessert cones from my home to work. I could not simply place them on a tray, as they were top-heavy and would fall over. Here were some ideas I thought of to resolve this challenge:
- Cut holes in a paper plate to put the cones in, but it won’t hold that many on each plate
- Use a deep-dish 9 X 13 foil pan and skewers to poke holes in both directions to make a checker board to hold the cones up
- Turn the foil 9 X 13 plan over, cut circles on the bottom of the foil tray, and place the cones in the holes
- Purchase a custom ice cream cone cupcake tray
Some of you may have opted out for the easy solution of purchasing a special tray, but is that the most cost-effective solution? What if I never made ice cream cones again or having to store the tray? This baking example is exactly the type of challenges we face as project managers, as sometimes you are only given with what you have and are challenged to use your creative juices to figure out how to get to the end goal, while keeping cost, resources, and time in mind. Each of my baking solutions may not have a large different in cost between the 4 ideas, but overtime you may be wasting valuable resources, time, and money without trying to think outside the box for better solutions.
Are you creative? Do you look to others to come up with out of the box solutions? Do you tend to choose the easy-button option? What helps you to think creatively? Please comment below with your thoughts, as I would enjoy reading them.
I hope each of you have a very special Valentine’s Day!