Souvenirs of Business Exploration

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Centuries ago, the role of the Explorer provided many governments and monarchies in power with a strategic and valued opportunity to learn about new civilizations and philosophies. The Explorer’s discoveries and insights led to the establishment of a variety of new and powerful trading colonies that provided economic opportunities for financial gain and cultural exchange.

History provides much detail about the exploits of these Explorers, and the personal characteristics, traits and resilience required to be successful in this role. But have we considered how their experiences influenced their home life and those that frequented this establishment?

If any of you have travelled overseas, or extensively within your own country, you have most likely gathered a large array of souvenirs to remind you of where you have been. I suspect, that this would be the same situation for the Explorer.

The Explorer’s home would be a kaleidoscope of souvenirs from all around the world which when prompted by the visitor inquiring on the specific artefact, would initiate a masterful story of how it was obtained. I’m sure that many an informative dialog over a most enjoyable dinner party with a group of attentive guests would have prevailed. Those partaking of the experience would propagate this novel information with their family and friends leading to an expanded and continued dissemination of this new worldly knowledge.

Let’s now focus our attention on how this can be applied in the corporate office.

In business, although the official title of “Explorer” does not currently exist, many employees have this activity as part of their work function (eg New Business Development, R&T, Marketing, Finance, etc). However, what is lacking is the opportunity for the “Business Explorer” to furnish their travelling exploits back in the corporate office. There is no dedicated “Explorer’s Room” in which business souvenirs and other impressive booty can be pinned to the wall or placed on a mantelpiece above the fire, just like in the Explorer’s home to prompt further discussion and interest. Some organizations try to do this via visit reports and other office communications, but the impact is quickly lost, particularly with the continual bombarding of daily E-mails.

So why not establish an “Explorer’s Room” (or wall, if space is limited) in the corporate office that is dedicated to the “Business Explorer”? Just like in the Explorer’s home, these souvenirs of external inspiration and travels could then be discussed and shared with other employees in an informal setting, maybe over lunch, to generate interaction and dialog. For those businesses with many offices, why not have a virtual “Explorer’s Room” and schedule employee discussion via webcasts? Who knows what creative and innovative ideas might be developed?

The first step is to recognise the importance of the role of the “Business Explorer” in your organization in seeking out and identifying new ideas that are not currently in operation in your organization.

The second step is to then share these “souvenirs” with the rest of the business. To do this, consider the establishment of the “Explorer’s Room”.

The third step, and most important, is to have business leaders in the organization tasked with actioning the key learnings generated from these “souvenirs”. However, these leaders need to have vision, be bold and progressive, and dare to be different. For the Explorers of yesteryear, these people were typically the King or Queen, once they had made a decision to proceed, no bureaucracy dared to stand in the way of implementation!

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3 Comments

  1. huh–interesting for sure. The “explorer” is mostly the sales force as they head out to find new clients. But that’s not where you’re going with this, I see. Nope–no one in charge of sitting back and exploring new ideas, etc. One of those long-term payoffs that most corporations wouldn’t see as valuable to bottom line. You’ll need to change their minds, Steven 😉 Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

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    • Thanks Liz, great to get your feedback which is always very astute! Every thought about a career in marketing! 😉

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      • not sure if I’d mentioned that way back in the day I’d planned to follow my BS in Food Science with an MBA and work in food marketing. Somehow that didn’t happen. Seemed like too much extra work to go back to school. But business has always fascinated me and I always read the business and food sections of the newspaper. (travel, too, so there’s another reason I love your blog–written elsewhere) Always glad to read your posts.

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