Looking for an idea or two? Or 151?

By Jim Kendall

This column originally appeared in the November 3, 2014 Daily Herald

 Children’s bandages that play a funny song to help relieve pain and fear.

Why not? That’s one of the 151 ideas in Russ Riendeau’s new e-book, “151 Ideas That Will Change The World.” It’s a book worth reading, especially since it’s free at

There are things to know about Riendeau:

* He’s a highly successful entrepreneur whose East Wing Group Inc., a Barrington executive search firm, celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

* Although he spends his working hours “in the war room doing the traditional executive search stuff,” after hours Riendeau lets his creative energies loose.

He writes business books, most conceptually closer to “151 Ideas” than to anything on an MBA reading list. He’s an accomplished musician who writes and records his own music – and whose resulting CDs have become more effective leave-behinds than a business card.

He’s a painter – mostly abstracts – and sculptor.

A behavioral scientist, Riendeau is comfortable enough in his own skin to kick back and think, dream and create. Who knows what ideas we might create if we did the same?

  1. Solar powered fans that cool car interiors when the car is parked.
  2. Holographic imaging systems that create different exterior landscaping.

* As a kid growing up in Rolling Meadows, Riendeau built tree forts – some as tall as three stories, one with a basement.

“People choose to use their time in different ways,” Riendeau says. “I’ve found ways to use little chunks of time. I’ve written my books in 10-minute bursts,” the early texts coming while he was waiting for his kids at swim meets and soccer games.

  1. Popsicles, chocolate, ice cream and other appropriate foods that deliver sunscreen chemicals into the skin.
  2. Pet doors with paw print recognition for entry.
  3. Red wine that doesn’t stain.
  4. Self-cleaning/unclogging gutters and downspouts.

“I wanted to do something outside the everyday book, something short and free that I could give away,” Riendeau says of “151 Ideas.”

“I wanted to really challenge the way we look at ideas and problem solving. I sat down on my porch this summer and said, ‘I’m not leaving this chair until I write 100 ideas.’

“I was stumped at 20.” Like any good entrepreneur who runs into a roadblock, Riendeau looked at the challenge differently. “I broke things into categories,” Riendeau says, and went from there.

  1. Bicycle radar alerts, beams that signal (the biker’s presence) to oncoming cars.
  2. Self-tying shoes for seniors.
  3. Teflon roof shingles for high snow areas.

Riendeau hopes the rest of us “will come up with a creative solution to a problem.” Use (the) book, he suggests, “to reset or redesign (a product or service) that has grown dull, tired or outdated.”

Why not? Entrepreneurs tend to solve problems. Here’s one of my ideas: Eyeglasses that self-adjust to the wearer’s changing eyesight. What are you thinking about?


© 2014 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at