Is there Bacon on your Fork of Innovation?

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A chicken or a pig, which animal best aligns with your business culture of innovation?

Yes, I’m sure you have all heard the metaphor about the making of an egg and bacon breakfast where it is said that “the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed”.

Many organisations are brilliant at cracking an egg or two, and then conjuring up many visually innovative dishes that at first glance look most appealing to their employees, be they “scrambled, poached, boiled, fried, or an omelette”. But after a while, these “eggy” dishes all become a little bit blasé, boring and lacking substance, and eventually their staff lose interest and seek something more fulfilling.

But what your employees are really hungry for is an innovation culture that requires something more to chew on, one that adds greater taste variety and longer-term nutrient sustainability.

Enter the pig.

The pig is a key ingredient in the making of this traditional breakfast meal, but to obtain the bacon, this animal is well and truly committed to the innovation cause as there is no turning back once the decision has been made to proceed.

Many businesses like to dabble in the development of an innovation culture and are masters of a variety of egg dishes where the cost of involvement is not deemed too great, nor demanding, and one that can be readily communicated, just like the glossy breakfast images found in a cooking magazine.

But innovation is hard work, takes true commitment, and is not just an eggy breakfast meal, but one that is much more substantial and complex.

Ongoing business innovation needs a variety of ingredients that are tailored to the changing tastes of the organisation, be they bacon, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, or even sourdough toast smeared with lashings of vegemite. The key is to continually try new flavours, even add a spice or two to maintain a vibrancy in the palate of your staff so they are constantly longing for additional innovation nourishment, and a fulfilling eating experience to ensure that they want to sit at the corporate breakfast table again, and again. However, some of these ingredients may initially taste slightly bitter, or too salty, and the breakfast meal may require many preparation steps, but the innovation journey demands time, work and a willingness to experiment in order to be successful.

So should the innovation culture in your organisation be aligned too much with the chicken, then it’s time to put some bacon on your corporate fork and be truly committed to the longer term.

 

PS: For those of the vegan persuasion, apologies! If you know of a similar metaphor based not on animals, I would welcome the feedback.

Releasing Your Corporate Yogi

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There’s an emerging group of corporate innovators that are now inhabiting many a secluded office where they quickly pull down the blinds for privacy, lower the light intensity to achieve the optimum glow, add some enchanting music, and then nonchalantly roll out their rubber mats. Yes, they are doing yoga.

They arrive with minimal fuss, and happily disregard the usual business communicational banter as they set about preparing their eager minds for just the right emotional zone. Once in the requisite position, their yogi commences a routine with the objective of freeing their hampered corporate thoughts and bodies to allow the mindful process of true innovation to occur.

Now, for those of you new to the yoga experience, the following observations will help with your innovative assimilation.

The Yogi:
There is an instructor leading the class who will inspire your mind, and hopefully your body, to try new positions you never thought possible. They typically have a physique that has attained a state of perfect elasticity, which may yield a reflective look of total bewilderment on your face as to whether your desk bound tight body is slightly capable.

The Rubber Mat:
The rubber mat is an item that provides you with your own private yoga territory on the floor. But be warned, if you are thinking that there is sufficient cushioning to facilitate a state of comfortable slumber, you are indeed mistaken. Its purpose is to provide adequate grip, some basic hard surface relief, but more importantly to signify that you are a true believer of the yoga experience and have given your physical and mental consent to yourself, and those around you.

The Poses:
You will hear many phrases that make sense once you are in the position, such as “the downward facing dog”. However, should you be a novice, may I suggest that you look at the more experienced members in the group as this will provide a more obvious insight, as your “dog” may appear more like a “mouse”.

The Clothes:
Personal modesty is important as you will stretch your body into positions where certain body parts may unintentionally pop out. But as the lighting in the room is quite low, it is unlikely that anyone will see, so relax, except for maybe the Yogi who will quickly hide their smirk in order to avoid mutual embarrassment. As such, make sure that you wear clothes that maintain your respected level of corporate decency.

Once fully immersed in the complete yoga experience, your body will extend into numerous positions of the previous unknown, and with the right breathing, any pain that may initially be experienced will quickly turn to mindful pleasure. It is through this process that you, and your fellow work colleagues, will achieve the desired state of innovative nirvana.

So, should you be wanting to open your mind to allow a new vision of innovation in, the answer is simple. Do yoga, and all will be mindfully revealed.

Getting the Right Corporate pH Balance

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Understanding a corporate culture is a fishy thing. Just observe any aquarium long enough and you will know exactly what I mean as it all happens in the wet area.

Should a fish habitat not be under control, besides the associated unpleasant odour, there are many other signs signalling that some urgent correction is required.

With all fish, they have the joy of utilising every part of their environment for daily living. In the water they eat, play, mate and happily swim in their own personal discharge without the slightest care for themselves, or consideration for those around them. Now left unhindered, their watery abode soon changes colour and a fine deposit of unsavoury living quickly coats the glass walls, vegetation and sandy undergrowth. In time, many fish will unfortunately perish as they yearn for a new and stimulating environment.

To avoid this disastrous occurrence, the aquarium owner has many measuring devices available to them, such as pH, in order to avoid such a regrettable calamity. For those of the HR persuasion, this is analogous to the office motivational survey that is done with unfortunate irregularity.

There are also many types of fish that correlate closely with the personality profiles of those in the corporate office. There are the bottom feeders that happily delve down to the depths of the tank where they make a comfortable living from the discarded offerings from those working diligently above them. There are the sharks that dart about in an aggressive manner looking for any opportunity to be top fish. Little fish also nimbly manoeuvre the unfrequented water corridors in search of discrete jobs that need to be accomplished with strategic gusto.

Now should a new fish enter the aquarium, you will see them quickly adopt the unusual state of motionless as the try to surreptitiously acclimatise to the foreign water temperature before swiftly swimming off to a hiding location where they can determine who’s who in the eating order.

Now the key life-giving ingredient that all aquarium species must have is oxygen, as without it, their watery home rapidly turns into an unsavoury swamp. In the corporate office, this oxygenated requirement is known as innovation.

So, for all the HR Managers reading this blog post, you now know what you need to do to ensure that your office happily bubbles with continual employee enthusiasm. Yes, you need to repeatedly measure the corporate motivational pH and make any requisite cultural adjustments in order to achieve the right balance. Innovation is also a must, as without it, your employees will become lifeless and disengaged. By following these simple methods of fish hygiene, you can then sit back and admire your watery handiwork, as it will all percolate away just swimmingly.

The Clues are in their Hair

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Want to know if someone is innovative? The clues are in their hair, but not where you think it may typically be, no, indeed far from it.

For Clue Number 1, we need a historical perspective. When you think of Isaac Newton, or Leonardo da Vinci, you immediately think intelligence, creativity and an exploratory mind. But when you look closely at their portraits, have you noticed their hair? Yes, you will see long flowing locks of follicular matter, but, no, it is not theirs, but that of a wig.

Clue Number 2 focuses on the modern man with copious amounts of hair on his chest that strategically permeates between his straining shirt buttons to be displayed to all those that he meets. And for those men that have one or two buttons deliberately undone, they are purposely exposing their esteemed intellect and freedom of thought to the envious onlooker.

Now should a man be graced by god with the gift of masses of thick back hair, then this individual is the crème de la crème of innovators and one that fully embodies Clue Number 3. For many a year, this man has by archaic social customs cleverly hidden his thick rug from the jealous crowds through an array of carefully planned shirt wardrobe selections. But when walking on the beach in a back naked state, he is at his peak level of innovative inhibition, so beware!

The topic of Clue Number 4 is commonly observed in young women, particularly when sitting in a bored mental state in their stationary car at traffic lights, or when in the midst of a large number of flirtatious males. Here, when a woman is subconsciously thinking about a certain proposal, she slowly winds her finger around her long flowing locks of hair whilst she decides on a particular course of action.

Clue Number 5 relates to men with beards. When they are thinking, they casually rub their chins whilst they ponder the appropriate response, hoping for a wanted beam of inspiration.

Yes, the common denominator with all these clues is the individuals lack, or abundance of hair and how they use it, or disguise it, in their daily activities.

Now should you encounter a body that is completely absent of any hair, well, there is only one conclusion. They are probably exceptionally innovative, but have decided to shave off any clue of their highly knowledgeable persona before anyone knows what they hairingly possess!

Personality Woofs

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Lots and lots of dogs. If you have ever frequented Central Park in New York, this will be the first thing that you will see. Regardless of the weather, there are dogs literally everywhere! And yes, what they say is indeed true, the dogs do undeniably mimic the appearance of their owner.

Now this provides a somewhat interesting clue for any HR Managers reading this blog post. Forget your expensive Myers Briggs Personality Profiles as there is now a much more cost effective and completely reliable process for classifying the temperament traits of your employees. The process? Just take your employees to a large enclosed park, add a vast array of dog breeds, then simply let the dogs go to work. All you now need to do is, watch and learn.

The Lazy Employee
Now you may think that this employee would be the most difficult one to match with a dog? But no, they are the easiest, as when they arrive in the park, they quickly plonk themselves down on the grass and swiftly fall asleep. The Newfoundland dog loves a plump human pillow and will slowly make their way over to the employee and snuggle up to the motionless slumbering body with complete lethargic satisfaction. (This is personality Match 1).

The Innovative Employee
This employee loves a challenge and will quickly traverse the park looking wisely at all the dog breeds. They will engage in a range of ball throwing and strategically selected tricks hoping to outwit the dog with their own creativity. However, after a lengthy examination period, they will ultimately bond with the Australian Shepherd, a dog of many colours and personalities. (Match 2).

The Intelligent Employee
This will be the employee that has a studious and permanently furrowed brow on their pained face as they wander up and down the concrete walkways as they take copious observation notes. After a few exhausting ambling hours, they will eventually sit on a quiet bench with their frustrated heads in their hands owing to the large number of dog choices that has completely bamboozled their intellect. Little did they know that they have now surreptitiously entered the perfect dog domain of the Border Collie who will sniff out this sense of human puzzlement and will offer an enduring personality alliance. (Match 3)

The Happy Employee
This is easy, they will quickly be engulfed with an abundant number of frolicking friendly Labradors of all colours, sizes and ages. (Match 4).

The Psychopath Employee
Their only link to the dogs will be the numerous poo bags that they carry as no dog will want to go near them. These dogs know that, once bitten, twice shy. (Match 5).

Now not all employees will be a perfect match to the 5 dog profiles listed above. But relax as that’s not a problem owing to the large number of cross-breeds that impeccably cater for every human individual.

So next time you walk in New York’s Central Park, stop and carefully look at the dogs and their owners, and all will be woofingly revealed.

The Shop of Waistful Circumference

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You all know that feeling. It’s your first day back from your Xmas holidays where you have habitually eaten, drunk and partied far too much and are now experiencing that unwelcome feeling of regretful tubbiness. Yes, those business shirts, trousers, skirts and belt buckles have all mysteriously shrunk in size, the cause of which is all too obvious to you now, unfortunately.

If only you had visited the Shop of Waistful Circumference (WC) before you commenced your holidays and all this physical discomfort would have been happily alleviated. Yes, there is always next year!

For those clever corporates that did indeed partake of the Shop of WC, you will be beaming with girthful happiness as you are breathing with comfort in your business attire.

The Shops of WC are strategically located in all major cities where there is a large business community and can be quickly found following a simple internet search.

When entering the Shop, you will be greeted by an experienced employee that has immediately surmised your current clothing size, so relax, as you will not need to divulge this protected number to alleviate any potential embarrassment.

However, you will be asked some basic questions about your plans for the Xmas holidays. For example, are you fond of plum pudding, do you frequently drink cocktails whilst lazing on a couch, have you placed your gym membership on hold, together with and other key clues of food intake and physical activity?

After some careful thoughtful consideration, the knowledgeable Shop of WC employee will suggest a tailored approach to your personalised tubbiness management regime that will ensure a welcome and fitted business attired start to your new year.

The Shop of WC has a vast array of fashionable clothing that you can purchase and wear with personal esteem over the Xmas holidays because you know that you will be in optimum body shape come that January back to work commencement date.

Now do not be alarmed by what the Shop of WC employee offers you as each item of clothing will be at least one or two sizes too small. Yes, you will deliberately be made to feel a tad plump and uncomfortable. But relax, as this is the secret to your success. These overly snug, body hugging clothes will be a continual reminder for you not indulge too much, but rather to consume a smaller amount of food, drink or other worldly delights over this Xmas period.

Come January when you thankfully discard your Shop of WC clothes and re-adorn your favourite business wardrobe from yesteryear that now remarkedly fit with no noticeable girth discomfort, you will be glad of the physical awkwardness that you begrudgingly accepted over the holidays.

What are you waiting for? Yes, just place an entry in your diary now for December to visit the Shop of WC and breath a sigh of clothing relief next year!

Handling the Office Bully

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For those of you that have a bully in your office, now is the perfect opportunity for you to practice some innovative diversionary tactics that will quickly annoy the lifeblood out of the targeted individual.

The bully is a person that constantly seeks attention, so make sure that you give it to them, but not in the way that they are expecting to receive it. This is the beauty of having a well-practised innovative mindset that has been honed via years of experience working in the corporate office.

As with all bullies, once they feel that their psychopathic behaviour is no longer being recognised and is now being neutralised by your positive creativity, they will quickly cease their bothersome traits, or will seek employment elsewhere.

The following are some trusted and proven techniques that will get you well underway in handling any bully, regardless of their age, experience, sex, or position of stature in your organisation.

The “Bill or Jill” Technique:
Here you can call the bully any name that you like, as long as it is not their real name (note: although you may want to, expletives are not recommended). Should the bully be a man, call them “Bill” (or a woman, “Jill”), also encourage other work colleagues to follow your lead. After a while the bully will become furious owing to the lack of personal recognition.

The Sunglasses Technique:
All bullies like to see your eyes so they have a ready reckoner on the impact they are having on you, and those around you. By wearing sunglasses in the office you are depriving them of this required visual insight. It also provides you with an opportunity to fall asleep in their presence, however, make sure you don’t snore too loudly.

The Coffee Slurp Technique:
When in a meeting with the bully, make sure that you and your colleagues continually slurp your coffee in unison, or individually. This is a sure way to break the bully’s irritating concentration, particularly if they are the only one that is coffee-less.

The Foreign Language Technique:
Yep, as the name suggests, just talk in a language that the bully doesn’t understand. After an extended period, the bully will feel completely ostracised and will be in need of some urgently required therapy.

Now a word of caution with this innovative technique that you must fully understand and appreciate before you commence your diversionary strategy. With time, you may start to enjoy your newly found lease of innovative freedom where you want to be an ongoing practitioner of bullying diminishment. At this point, you must immediately cease your creative journey as you may indeed be turning into a bully yourself, something you and your fellow colleagues would not want that to ever occur, regardless of how satisfying the experience may seem!

How to Breed Ideas?

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Great to hear that you have decided to become an idea breeder. It is a most rewarding hobby and one that will give you hours of joy and fulfilment. For those of you that have never done this before, don’t worry, it’s quite simple to do and requires minimal mental outlay, all you need is a focused mind.

I’ve been happily breeding ideas for many years, and if you are a novice, the following tips will get you quickly underway.

  1. Idea Type
    Yes, there are many types of ideas, so it’s important to know which ones you want to have in your idea collective (commonly known as an ideation coop). Ideas come in a vast array of different sizes, some are quite quick, others a bit of a laggard to fully develop, they can have short lives, others endure for many a lifetime. If you are uncertain as to which idea is best for you, I would suggest you consult your Thesaurus.
  2. Permit
    Many newcomers to this pastime often ask if they need a permit to breed ideas? The answer is no, so long as your ideas are not too noisy, as this may upset and distract those around you.
  3. Ideation Coop
    This is the most important facet in successfully breeding new ideas. Ideas like to be protected when they are born and require room for growth once they quickly start to develop. For this, a cosy thought box seems to work best, one with a special code that only you have access to thereby ensuring complete ideation security. Some breeders like to use a trademark or patent for their really special ideas, but this does come with a cost.
  4. Coop Maintenance
    New ideas will need creative nutrition to survive and maintain a healthy life. The best food for ideas is inspiration. It’s OK to start off small, but once your baby ideas get a taste for it, they will quickly grow and mature.
  5. Mating
    Ideas are very social and thoroughly enjoy a good interaction with other like-minded thoughts. They are capable of mating at any age, an activity which should be strongly encouraged, as it will ensure their long-term survival and a robust cross fertilisation of creativity which is an essential part of their development.

The next step is for you to give it a go! Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Ideas are very forgiving if you make a mistake, in fact, they appreciate it, as it shows that you are really committed to the ideation process.

Now go forth and breed!

The Aqua Suit

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For those currently experiencing the intense summer heat here in Australia you will understand that once all your clothes have been removed, there is no additional possibility of any extra cooling. Once you are naked, you are indeed naked.

The only remaining temperature survival option available to you is to place yourself in a chilly pre-prepared air-conditioned room, or fully immerse yourself in the nearest available pool, river or ocean.

However, should you be the wise owner of an Aqua Suit, you will be impervious to the heat, humidity, and any hot climatic air currents that may permeate your vicinity.

The Aqua Suit is unlike any conventional suit that you have ever worn. Its uniqueness lies in the 10-centimetre water layer that is cleverly entrapped between the inner impervious fabric that is comfortably touching your skin, and the outer protective coating. To keep the water cooled, there is a nifty thermostat discretely positioned in the stylish waist belt that can be set to your desired temperature comfort. An inbuilt turbine quietly pumps the cooling water solution around every part of your body to ensure full thermal satisfaction.

No need to worry about embarrassing leaks when in public as the Aqua Suit is made from a tough flexible fabric that can be purchased in an array of fashionable cloth like appearances, so you will confidently look the part at any social engagement.

Is there any noise? Not really, only a small sloshing sound that could quite easily be assumed as your stomach gurgling post an impressive eating or drinking session.

Will I look a tad chubby in the Aqua Suit? Put it this way, once you have explained the cooling benefits you are experiencing, you will immediately be the envy of all your friends so any thoughts of overweight negativity will be quickly dispersed.

Where can you buy one? Any reputable swimming pool shop should be able to assist you with your enquiry. However, if by some strange reason they haven’t heard of the Aqua Suit, or if they give you a raised eyebrow look of surprise, then you can contact the author of this blog post who, for a small fee, will happily lead you in the appropriate direction of cooling fulfilment.

So don’t be hot this summer, just get your body into an Aqua Suit and, feel the cool.

The CEO’s New Clothes

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It was day one of the new CEO’s appointment. A rather traditional dark grey suit, pristine white shirt, black medium length socks, complete with matching leather polished shoes were carefully selected by the incumbent for the momentous occasion. He looked resplendent as he beamingly sat behind his large impressive desk in a voluminous office that just oozed with status and authority. Yes, he was indeed the man!

As the week progressed, all of his direct reports, collectively, and individually, sat opposite him in business attire that directly mirrored his conservative fashion prowess, complete with continual nods of unquestionable beaming loyal approvals.

In a similar manner, their subordinates also quickly followed suit and continued the same fashion replication to the point where each employee now looked like a cloned version of their manager.

Now, the CEO was no fool, in fact, far from it, and a cunning plan of innovation was carefully hatched. From that day forth, he decided to wear the exact same clothes for a month. No item of clothing would be changed, apart from those that respectively should not be mentioned.

Over the days and weeks, a certain grubbiness came to gradually prevail over his attire, complete with an ensuing woft of persona that slowly increased with intensity.

He noticed with a somewhat predictable consternation a look of increasing shabbiness now starting to prevail throughout the entire organisation. Those pristine white shirts of his executive team were now witness to numerous blotches of large brown coffee stains, there were accumulated smears from too many self-indulgent lunches and dinners, and the severely wrinkled corporate flannel was now more noticeably beige in colour than white.

At the end of the month, the CEO thankfully wore a fresh set of clothes, and a quiet shout of thankful glee was heard rippling throughout the entire organisation, also from their customers, whose numbers had correspondingly dwindled over the weeks due to a severe lack of attention on their business.

Packaged in the sweet fresh smell of his new clothing attire, the crafty CEO now strategically pondered the learnings from the last four weeks from a perspective of corporate innovation:

  1. An organisation that has a workforce of clones is doomed to fail.
  2. Never mask any prevailing wofts, be they good or bad, that quickly permeate throughout the business as they are a clue that something is indeed amiss.
  3. Never wear the same clothes each day as personal creativity is the source of true innovation.
  4. Surround yourself with loud vocal thinkers, not those that quietly nod in constant agreement.

The following month, a brief memo from the CEO was quickly distributed advising that “a large number of the executive team had unanimously decided to pursue other career interests and that they had now left the building”.

From that day forth a plethora of brightly coloured paisley shirts, bespoke tailored suits, and even the occasional pair of spiffy shorts, were commonly seen thereby ensuring the ongoing innovation success of this particular company.

So should you be a CEO reading this blog post, do take note as the key to innovation does indeed lie within your wardrobe, and that of your employees.

 

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