It’s not about Me, it’s about We.

For those that want to be truly innovative, may I suggest that you focus on the collective and not wholly on your individual perception of what you think is brilliant. Yes, you may believe that you alone are the source of many wonderful and creative ideas, but how do you know that they actually are, unless you share them with someone else and seek their objective feedback or opinions?

To be creative, you need engagement, and ideally this should be done within the same room or space, not remotely. In fact, a recent study conducted by Stanford University indicated that face-to-face meetings generated more ideas than if the same interaction was conducted virtually. For those of you that work in a creative environment, this is yet another good reason as to why you and your fellow staff should be working in a communal office, or studio, and not from home. Put simply, physical collaboration breeds and promotes optimum creativity.

The ideas of the “Me” might seem to be good, but when combined with those of the “We” and then with the “They”, the outcome just seems to work better and is ultimately more successful.

For example, consider coffee. You may grow what you think are the world’s best coffee beans (the “Me” idea). Whether they are deemed good or bad, depends on how they compare with your competition and this is typically achieved via the process of discussion and comparison (with the “We”). Of course, you do have a choice in this decision. Should you elect not to, you will never know the outcome, but then again, you may be happy in your ignorance. But to really check the validity of the beans they need to transformed into an actual hot, steaming cup of coffee manufactured via a range of intertwined process transformations that eventually require the application of a coffee pot, water and heat (the sum being the “They”). The final test being the actual coffee consumption, but even then, people have different tastes and expectations. Although very much a simple example, it does demonstrate that ideas need to be worked and tested via interactions with the “We” and the “They”, not just based on the perceptions of the “Me”.

The COVID pandemic forced many employees to work from home, many of which are still reluctant to return to the office for a variety of practical and personal reasons. However, should you want to be at your most creative, the power of the “We” needs to be considered even though the benefits of the “Me” may seem most enchanting and persuasive.

Another factor for consideration is the ability to visually see and engage with the powerful ideation catalysts of experience and mentoring when physically situated in the office, rather than being electronically portrayed via a two dimensional image personified in a video conference. Yes, a picture can say a thousand words, but a real life interaction tells a more powerful and enriching story.

So if your objective is innovation, the answer is simple. Move past the “Me”.

 

 

 

 

2035 Business Graduation Address

It is a great honour to be looking at you all as I sit in your individual home offices virtually via hologram. For those of you that made an effort to tidy your work-spaces, wear the non-standard tracky pants and have a business-like appearance, I applaud you for trying something different and unusual.

Please note that I have turned off the odour link in this presentation. The woft of coffee from some of your living abodes is indeed most enticing, but there was a rather distinct and a tad offensive smell originating from one of you so for the sake of all those participating, you will no longer be able to access this function in the hologram conference setting.

Today is your day, so enjoy it.

As you now enter the corporate workforce where you will be asked to work at least a 15 hour week (two days in the old business language), make sure you do dedicate some time in your busy work-life schedule for actual work. I know it’s a big ask, but your employer will expect nothing less.

By comparison, when I was in your shoes (for those of you that don’t wear any, it’s a metaphor), my employer actually insisted that we work in a physical office, sitting next to real people for five nominated days per week, these being Monday to Friday. We also arrived and departed at the same time each day. I know this concept is truly foreign to you all, but there were some learnings to this rather archaic practice that you might find interesting and beneficial as you commence your business careers armed with your digital graduation certificates.

1. Working in an Office

To many off you, this will be a concept that you have only read about, or watched in old movies, but it did occur. Employees really did cohabitate in buildings for prescribed hours in the working day. There were many benefits, the main one being physical interaction where you could communicate with a co-worker, not in a virtual sense, but in real life.
Meeting rooms had four physical walls, a roof and a floor. Those encapsulated in the room entered and departed via a door. You saw the whole person, they could not be muted, or turn off their camera. Once located in the room, you had to focus on the nominated activity, you couldn’t pretend to be there, or nominate a stand-in avatar of yourself, you had to actually concentrate and participate on the meeting agenda.

2. Travelling to and from the Office

Employees literally did travel to the office. The choice of travel was left entirely to the individual, it was not mandated. This could be done via car, public transport, pedal power, or other forms of transportation. The only requisite was that you arrived and left work at a nominated time each day. By doing this, your work colleagues had the optimum opportunity for engagement.

3. Interstate and Overseas

Yes, those working on business did truly leave the office and travel to see customers, colleagues or develop and progress new relationships. In the olden days, we enjoyed face-to-face interaction, particularly when meeting someone for the first time.
The main mode of travel used was the aeroplane. There was even a section on the aircraft called “Business Class” that catered for the needs of those travelling on business, not pleasure.

4. Business Attire

This you will most likely find unbelievable, but we dressed up each day when we attended the office. There was such a thing called “corporate attire” which was typically a jacket, shirt and trousers, women occasionally wore a skirt or a dress. Now and then, men would even wear a tie, which was an expensive piece of cloth wrapped around the collar of the shirt.
Why would we do this? A good question, as I see many of you squirming in your casual clothes. It was done out of respect for your colleagues, where you tried to make them feel valued and important. It also differentiated business from home and assisted in putting your mind into work-mode.
Nowadays, you can do this by simply changing your avatar, but the concept most likely originated in the days of yesteryear when we all worked in the office.


But enough of the past. Your time is now. Please make the most of it.

But I do have one additional thought for you to keep and ponder. Don’t forget the historical benefits of working in an actual office because one day, although highly improbable, there may be a power or battery failure, which would result in no virtual engagement of any kind. Should this occur, you would have to actually talk to a work colleague in a physical and real work setting! So please be prepared for this unlikely, but potentially possible eventuality, you just never know, do you?

The Ankle Revolution

There’s been a quiet revolution slowly perambulating with the male anatomy that is only just now starting to get a foothold with men of all ages. It was typically hidden, but is now wanting to be set free and seen by all without any visual or physical containment. Yes, I am talking about the ankle.

For centuries, this “legular” bodily part has been trapped within various forms of tubular fabric where any potentially prying socially acceptable eyes had no chance of observing or encountering it. Similarly, the ankle is unmistakably optically pristine with the enduring retention of its native infant colour as sunlight has not had the opportunity to scorch any skin with its radiation enhancing imprint.

The male ankle is living proof of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The common male leg has been, and still is, known, appreciated and admired for the copious covering of hairs that nonchalantly sprout forth and permeate from the man’s lower hip, all the way down to his upper foot. But, according to those that are supposedly in the know, the ankle of primitive man used to be as equally hairy as the leg. However, following eons of forced sock application in the name of fashion and moral decency, all remnants of male ankle hairs have now disappeared due to the constant rubbing and follicle fabric abrasion of the restrictive foot covering.

But the ankle has had enough and a sock rebellion has been gradually gathering momentum with a hairy foundation beneath the legs of men of all ages.

Some of the more fashion conscious amongst us may have noticed it, others may have not, but once it has been brought to your attention, you will never look at a male ankle in the same way ever again.

Yes, ankles of men want and demand to be free. They are seeking full visual exposure without the hindrance of fabric or any imposed restraint. Their hairs want to grow back and fill the bald ankle void that has plagued mankind for far too long. It’s now their time in man’s evolution history.

Their demands are simple. The days of long socks has now ceased, men will only wear low-cut socks, or none at all. Now that this fashion statement has been brought to your attention, you undoubtedly have seen it, but maybe didn’t realise its origins or significance.

Socks used to be worn to complete the visual transition from the upper business shoe to the base of the suit trouser leg. But have you noticed that some men are now electing a more casual business attire where the sock selection is no longer required? It’s all part of the ankle revolution!

Who knows for how long the ankle will be allowed to have this innovative freedom. Fashions change, and with time the ankle may indeed yet again lose its liberty. But at least it had a go!

The Winner is Football

To some, they are your sister, girlfriend, daughter, spouse or maybe even your mother, but don’t be fooled. Each year, around January, a psychological and physical change occurs where these young women loosen their rituals of normality and quickly transform into fierce football gladiators. The game they play is called the AFLW.

These athletes are united by their club colours where they immediately obtain a respectful and deserved nod of inclusion from their male counterparts, management team, the loyal supporter base and the media.

On the playing field, there are no sisterhood pleasantries. The game is conducted with only one objective, that being to win, and to hear your club team song booming through the stadium’s sound system signalling your momentous victory over the defeated cowing opposition for all to hear, applaud and appreciate.

The game is quick, brutal and requires continual training and stamina. The tackles on the oval are made without any reservation or fear of personal injury. These women take no prisoners and do not back away from a conflict.

The players come from many diverse backgrounds. There is no elitism, class, or any form of selective exclusion. The only criteria for selection is your attitude, complemented with an athletic ability to conquer your opponent via your football skills and team spirit.

These women provide the corporate office with many learnings, the biggest of all being persistence. Women for many years have had the want, the skills and the fortitude to play this great football game at both junior and senior levels. They have been blocked on numerous occasions, but now they have the ball firmly in their hands and it will never be taken away from them. The moral for business is, never give up when you know an idea is right. But when you do finally get the opportunity to progress it, make sure you kick the ball firmly between the big sticks so there is no doubt as to the result.

Women, the AFLW game is now yours. Enjoy it, just as much as we enjoy watching you play it.   

The Modern Business Card that Lingers

When many of us first started our professional working careers, the first item that we were provided with that showed our unique place in the corporate ladder was our own personalised business card. This compact rectangular shaped card was gleefully handed out and exchanged with many a new and prospective business recipient when meeting them for the first time. It contained all our contact details and could be used for work, or even for some private and more secretive after hour’s purposes.

As our working careers progressed, we collected and exchanged numerous quantities of these items which had to be continually updated as our personal details changed or became superseded.

But what about the present? Alas, the days of the business card are indeed finite and the act of giving and receiving is quickly becoming an obsolete process of the past. Nowadays, we use our smart phones or computers to store a person’s name and contact details electronically, complete with a stunning photograph, or even a creative avatar.

However, for those of us who are innovative and seek to leave a lasting impression when you meet a new and potential friend for the first time, there is a calling card that allows you to mark your presence with a lingering duration, even when you have departed the room.

Yes, you can have your own special signature, one that readily identifies you in any work or social environment, and one that morphs into various olfactory forms depending on what mood or activity you are doing.  

Both women and men of yesterday used to dab and spray it on various parts of their bodies and it was commonly known as perfume, eau de toilette, cologne, aftershave, and some even called strange names such as “Brut 33” or “Old Spice”.  

When a woman, or man, wore these artfully fabricated odorous liquids and entered or passed you in a room, you immediately knew it. There was no need for the use of a business card as their presence was noticed and appreciated. With frequent interaction, the wearer quickly became recognised by their scent, and appreciation and respect followed accordingly.

So for all you seekers of progression in all that you do, the solution is simple. Go to your department store and purchase a small bottle of a fragrance that matches your personality. Splash it on with abundance, and let your smell be your business card and you will not be forgotten.  

The Innovative Procrastinator

We all have at least one of these people in the corporate office. They are known as the Innovative Procrastinator and are a major thwart in any business. They are analogous to an annoying rose thorn that is lodged deeply in your finger, you can quickly identify the prick via the pain created, but they are tricky to get rid of without some personal discomfort. The common and most widely used method of eradication is to strategically cut the person free before they infect those around them and kill off any growth of corporate joy and creativity.

However, relax, as the Innovative Procrastinator nonchalantly displays the following clues as to their character which will assist you purging them from your organisation. As the name suggests, they are usually quite innovative and may exhibit one or more of these behaviours.

Clue 1: Busy
Like any office pest, they have a public catch-phrase that quickly and publicly differentiates them from your other valuable and hardworking employees. This is the squawk of “I’m so busy!” This is frequently accompanied with a further supporting comment stating that they need additional resources and more time as they just can’t do their job without help.

Clue 2: Sick Leave
Yep, as they are “so busy”, they tend to be sick quite often as they need time to recoup from the “stress” of their job. Unfortunately, this tends to compound the problem as they are now spending more time “resting” at home rather than catching up on their ever increasing work in the office.

Clue 3: Mobile Phone
The Innovative Procrastinator typically spends most of their working day on social media, messaging and speaking to everyone else except those that are work colleagues. To tell if this is the case with your employee, just pick up their phone and if it is warm to the touch, you can safely assume that it has been in their hand for an extended period of non-related work time.

Clue 4: Work Diary
Their diary will have massive blocks of time blocked out, typically around morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea time. Their work day never starts before 9 AM and at precisely 5 PM, you will feel the violent wind gust on your face as they speedily exit the building.

Clue 5: Coffee
You guessed correctly! They are always at the café waiting for their exotic cup of coffee whilst having a deep and meaningful chat with anyone that will listen to them.

Now should you unfortunately have one of these recalcitrant employees in your office, the time to act is now as things will only get worse should you let their behaviour go unchecked. But the Innovative Procrastinator is a clever individual and they will defend their busyness with a plethora of theoretically valid assertions that justify their continued work existence. However, don’t be fooled, take action immediately, before you lose your mind with massive frustration and thoughts of justified corporate wickedness.

Trench Coat: An item of COVID Necessity

The feeling of fear immediately wells up inside you as you slowly open your long forgotten wardrobe door and contemplate what you will wear when you are finally allowed to return to the office following months of forced COVID-19 lockdown. Will any items of clothing in your extensive array of expensive corporate attire manage to contain your newly acquired casual and carefree body shape after weeks of continual psychological induced snacking?

Relax, as there is one item of clothing that every corporate professional must have in their possession that will protect your emotional esteem and sanity. It’s colloquially known as the Trench Coat, but for you, it will be your must-have body shape saviour and mental wellbeing protector.

Many of us know the Trench Coat via the famed Hollywood mystique associated with Humphrey Bogart who wore this mighty coat complete with a stylish Fedora peak brimmed hat. But, do we remember what he wore under his coat? The answer to this question being a definitive no, and why should we know, nor care?

Here in lies the charm of the Trench Coat with its tailored double-breasted format that nonchalantly flares to below the wearer’s knee hemline, complete with an array of buttons and impressive shoulder epaulettes.  

The Trench Coat is the perfect visual and environmental protector for any preying eyes that may seek to notice a slighter larger, and somewhat potentially plumper body lying within the constraints of the outer khaki fabric.

Many an office onlooker that does not possess such a grand and imposing coat will be totally oblivious to whatever clothing you may be wearing, or not wearing, under this outer garment, should this clothing be a tad too snug, or surreptitiously popping apart at the seams, or indeed absent. Yes, the Trench Coat will be the only item of clothing that their eyes seek and focus upon.

The Trench Coat is your everywhere coat. It protects your bodily shaped persona whilst you are travelling to and from work, and can even be worn with ease at your desk with the selective unclasping of one or two strategically placed buttons, complete with the mind assuring knowledge that at least one button still remains intact thereby keeping your pudgified body visually and masterly contained.  

For those fortunate employees that do have a Trench Coat unassumingly residing in your wardrobe, relax, as you can happily return to the corporate office with the calming knowledge that your COVID-19 embellished body is fully protected. But alas, if you don’t, now is the time to quickly buy a majestic Trench Coat before many an office worker reading this blog post makes a speedy dash to their local department store to seek and purchase this essential item of clothing.

There’s a Bear in The Office

Office Workers, have you noticed that someone is missing from your home, and has been for quite a few months? 

Yes, whilst you have been subjected to ongoing lockdowns and government edicts where you are commanded to work from home owing to COVID, we, your furry stuffed friends have been having a hoot of a time! And, I suspect that with all the mess you have effortlessly created in your home work environment, you would be none the wiser and have just assumed that somewhere, lying patiently for you under yet another pile of clothes is your well-loved Teddy Bear. Well, you are most definitely wrong!

Truth be told, we went to where you were not, that being your office. What a paradise! We also can’t understand why any human would frequently use that common phrase so often heard when they arrived back home after work, “I’m glad that day is over”! What bollocks! You humans don’t know just how lucky you are, and, unfortunately for you, so now do we. 

Your office is really a large Fun House, one that fully captures the innovative imagination of many a Teddy Bear who is looking for adventure and a creative outlet following many years of sitting stationary in a lonely bedroom or shelf. 

However, we do have some gripes and would like to bring these to your urgent attention.  

Gripe 1: Elevators
The elevator buttons are just too high. As a Teddy Bear with a full six inches of height, I cannot reach any of the buttons, regardless of high I jump. I’ve also tried standing on the shoulders of my fellow Teddy Bears, but to no avail. The result is walking up many flights of stairs, and with time, and friction, our paws will become rather straggly and dirty, and no bears likes that, let me assure you.

Gripe 2: Desks
We Teddy Bears desperately need an access ladder that enables your furry friend to effortlessly scale up to the desk top where we can flick on the computer switch to access Spotify, YouTube and other bear recreational pursuits. And whilst we are talking computers, could you get the IT Department to unblock some sites, the lack of access is really quite unbearable.

Gripe 3: Bathroom
Talking of things being too high, you know what I mean, don’t you!

But there are indeed some positives, so don’t think that we Teddy Bears see the glass as half empty all the time (btw, my apologies to the CEO, his precious crystal glass strategically positioned on his desk was regrettably knocked over in a game of table soccer, however, it was a stunning goal!). 

Positive 1: Desk Chairs
Once you get the momentum up with a spinning desk chair, it’s just like a merry-go-round. However, we found that there is a terminal spin threshold, once above it, no Teddy Bear can hold on and bears can then indeed fly!

Positive 2: Corridors
These are typically carpeted, which are perfect for our paws. They are wide and long. The ideal setting for a game of cricket, carpet bowls, or other games for recreational bear pursuits.

Positive 3: No Humans
Need I say anymore!

So my dear human. There are some good things from COVID, the most important one being that you are at home, and we are in your vacant office. I know that you will return one day, but until then, Teddy Bear life is bliss!

The COVID Nature of Hairs

If you are looking for a brilliant example of innovation, look no further than nature. Yes, this quiet creative achiever just gets on with its corrective business with minimal fuss or pomposity. Just look at all of mankind’s environmental mistakes, of which there are numerous. Thankfully, with time, some of which may unfortunately take many centuries, nature’s extensive tentacles scour through our human mess and methodically put right, what we have destroyed. Nature has been man’s environmental savior since the beginning or time. 

These mysterious machinations apply to all that we do and touch, nothing can be hidden from the probing eyes of nature. This will ultimately apply to the disastrous effect of COVID which has forced us all to modify many aspects of our daily behaviours, one of which being the wearing of the face-mask.

In many countries all around the world, the application of a face-mask has become mandatory, and rightly so for the protection of the individual, and most definitely for the surrounding community. But have you noticed that there is one part of human nature that is already staking a curative claim to the face being perpetually covered? This surreptitious activity appears to be more common in men, and potentially with some women, the later of which may never be acknowledged publicly, but it is quietly growing. The culprit is facial hair and it has made a bold decision to rise forth in rebellion to the face-mask. Hairs no longer want to be hidden; they want to be seen, and nature is facilitating this activity via numerous forms of creativity. 

For those of us that partake in the daily ritual of shaving, you will have noticed that your facial stubble is thicker and more intense. Yes, this has not occurred by accident as your cunning facial hairs have been strategically plotting this burst of growth whilst you innocently slept in total ignorance of the mutiny. 

Have you also noticed an increasing need to trim your nasal hairs? Once more, the creativity of nature yet again in demonstrable action to protect the sanity of your face-mask hidden nose. 

The role of nature is to uncover and correct what mankind tries feebly to hide. It’s good to know that with time, nature will eventually eliminate COVID, but whilst we eagerly wait, make sure that the blades on your shaver are sharp as you will certainly need it for many days to come. 

The Circle of Obsolescence

“Come in, we have a spare seat over there”, said the Office Social Worker (OSW). There was a quiet rustling sound of plastic chairs on the beige vinyl floor tiles as space was quickly made available for their newest member. “Don’t worry, we have all experienced what you are going through, with time, the frustration will pass.” 

The Desk Phone took their allocated seat and sat rather forlornly with its handset’s flexible cable coiled in an unsightly knotted mess dangling with an uncaring manner next to the front right chair leg. One sudden jerk of the chair and the cable would have been quickly sliced in half, but the phone didn’t care.   

They all saw the look of pitiful redundancy on the Desk Phone’s face, some of them had reluctantly joined the Circle of Obsolescence (COO) only recently, others had been frequenting the meetings for decades, but their empathy was genuine and sympathetic.

It was now time for the OSW to start the COO meeting, their role being to facilitate a group discussion where each discarded and forgotten item of corporate office yesteryear would introduce themselves in turn and provide an individual life update.   

The Business Hat gleefully started the discussion. My friends of the COO, take heart as I was recently reading an article in the Italian edition of Vogue, and apparently fashion repeats itself, usually every fifteen years! It’s been a much longer time for me, but I’m convinced that I have already seen signs of a reinvigorated hat-life on many a corporate office worker’s head! I’m so convinced of this impending hat rebirth, that I’ve already given myself a detailed brushing down and sprucing in preparation for the occasion. 

I too have seen signs of this fashion trend, said the Business Shirt with an air of excitement in their voice. The other COO members all leaned forward in their chairs to listen. For many years now, I have been residing in a hermit-like manner in the darkest position in the clothes cupboard fighting off a relentless onslaught of preying silverfish and other unwelcome clothing vermin. As you can all see, I have a buttoned collar, slots for cuff-links, and a pocket strategically positioned over the wearer’s left breast. And guess what, you will never believe it, but I was actually worn yesterday!! The sound of sighs, shock and respect, gleefully permeated the room from all those seated. 

As soon as the Shirt had concluded, a rapid rustling of metal was heard in the base of the chair occupied by the Cufflinks who supported the assertions of the Shirt thereby adding credibility to their positive proclamation. 

This prompted the Neck-Tie, and even the Bow-tie, to quickly unravel in their chairs as they too sensed, and willed, their possible re-participation back into corporate office life. 

However, many other members of the COO continued to have a glum look on their faces as they regrettably knew that their days were numbered as technology, not fashion, had unfortunately passed them by. These chairs were occupied by the Blackberry phone, it’s cousin the Nokia, and now by the matriarchal Desk Phone. Some of them would survive as they resided alone on a cold, dusty, glass shelf in a museum, but for the rest, their longevity seemed doomed.

The eyes of the Business Shirt saw the look of despair on his long sitting technology challenged telephonic friends and tried to cheer them up with the following comment. “My COO friends, don’t despair. Fashion does repeat itself, but it also recycles those that were once deemed good and useful into something even better. Have no doubt, that you will all be reincarnated into an office item that is most worthy of your composition. It will happen to us all….one day.”

The OSW then closed the meeting and wondered, who next from the Corporate Office would attending, and how many chairs would be required? Time would tell.  

%d bloggers like this: