If you ever walk the streets of Detroit during the dead of winter – as I have – you’ll shudder at the thought of spending an hour sleeping outside. And if you ever had to endure the entire night that way, you’d surely want to wrap yourself in the coat-bag featured below (see full story here).

The Detroit Empowerment Plan

Veronika Scott, a 21-year-old design student in Detroit, came up with this ingenious solution for homeless people: a self-heated, waterproof coat that doubles as a sleeping bag at night. But somewhere along the way Veronika recognized the core problem – an endless cycle of unemployment that keeps people out on the streets all night.

Now she’s turned her attention to paying homeless women a minimum wage and offering them food and housing while they make coats for their fellow shiverers. Her goal? To give them “the opportunity to live in a safe environment for themselves and their children.”

Allow me to suggest an application to my fellow B2B marketers. Every once in awhile, why not think deeper, bigger and wider – beyond the products  and promotions?   Why not apply our creativity and marketing insights to challenges that fall outside our day-to-day dot-points?  Why not help make a difference in people’s lives?

Veronika, thanks for thinking outside the bag.