Forget the Clean Desk Policy, Go Messy!

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For many years, employees in the corporate office have been told to have a clean desk at the end of their working day. However, for those numerous recalcitrants of unhindered mess that have deliberately not heeded the instruction, relax, as you are indeed the wise ones!

Yes, according to a soon to be prestigious university, in the not too distant future, some ground-breaking research will be remarkably discovered under copious reams of randomly scattered papers deeply buried on the Professor’s desk.

Although the handwriting will be a tad illegible, the key findings will be indisputable.

Finding 1: Dementia
A messy desk requires the owner to have a phenomenal memory in knowing exactly in which pile that unique piece of paper scribble written more than 6 months ago had been placed. A clean desk provides no such opportunity to test and improve your mental memory faculties.

Finding 2: Thinking Time
If you add up all the time that an employee wastes in tidying up their desk at the end of each day, you would immediately rescind the instruction. Messy employees are blessed with having additional time for strategic thinking by not wasting their valuable intellect in work distracting activities such as cleanliness.

Finding 3: The Purge
Those with a messy desk are not presented with the potential threat of discarding an important document on a daily basis. They have a more cunning and clever methodology where their entire desktop is typically purged on an annual basis. Afterall, if a paper hasn’t been touched once during that time period, then by default it can be deemed not important and can be happily placed in the recycle bin without any hesitation or doubt.

Finding 4: Security
Now this is the mistaken crux of the clean desk policy, that being, that an unwanted intruder won’t be tempted to steal a document that cannot be seen. But this is where the messy desk has a distinct advantage in that the patience of the industrial spy will be tested to the point of severe frustration as they willingly give up searching for that prized paper gem, owing to the severe lack of order and ingeniously unfathomable filing system.

Now when you add all these four masterly findings together, the true source of the research is disclosed, that being innovation. Yes, if you want to promote an innovation mindset in your corporate office, you should actively encourage mess.

Yes, mess is indeed the best.

 

For Seekers of Sleep

Tired lady napping on airplane.

For those that have recently travelled on a long-haul flight in what is dis-affectionately known as “Regrettable Class” (RC), or more commonly classified as “Economy”, you will vividly appreciate the nerve-wrecking perils associated with the simple act of trying to go to sleep.

Unlike those First or Business Class passengers snuggly residing in their seats of decadence where they can nonchalantly stretch out to quickly achieve a state of blissful slumber, the hapless RC traveller enjoys has no such luxury.

These sleep disadvantaged people who make of the bulk of the passengers, reside well at the back of the plane, strategically out of sight of those with the larger and more comfortable seats. Those with the RC allocated Boarding Pass must endure hours of slumber torment before they can eventually stagger off the aircraft in their unwelcome zombie state.

Now should you be the CEO of a large international airline fleet, I would suggest you take notice as the following comments may alleviate an array of potential lawsuits that may soon be coming your way. In the world of equal human rights, the plane may indeed be the last bastion of inhumane class demarcation, particularly when it comes to the parity of sleep.

The RC Seat
Should you be a contortionist, the painfully narrow RC seats provided will ensure your complete satisfaction. However, if you reside in the other 99.99% of the world’s population, you will be greatly disappointed. To put it bluntly, after being reluctantly strapped into these seats for 17+ hours, a jagged boulder is decidedly more enticing to your gluteus maximus and will provide a far greater opportunity for restful slumber.
To make matters worse, the seats are not evenly balanced, so one bottom cheek is never in vertical harmony with the other which can lead to other potential problems, particularly after consuming a tad too many meals.
Following many thousands of years of practical research, mankind seems to agree that the best method for attaining a successful sleep is to lay down in the horizontal position which might explain the phenomenal design success of the bed. But, for some strange reason, airlines like to awkwardly strap the RC passenger into a slender fitting seat with the economic knowledge that they just know better.

The Snorer
Now should the RC passenger actually manage to beat the extremely one-sided odds positioned against them and do mysteriously achieve an unexpected hour of exhaustion induced sleep, there is always the loud snorer who abruptly ends the long-awaited erratic experience.
Yes, it’s time for those that snore to be placed into an isolated soundproof section of the plane where they can expel those noisy audible tones in reckless cacophony. As a suggestion, this could be near the lavatories where they could compete with the explosive air gust vacuum thud of the onboard toilet flush.

The Solution?
If you have ever travelled in a submarine, the answer is obvious, that being, the bunk. Just think about the advantages, the most obvious one being the horizontal aspect which happily facilitates and encourages sleep.
A sleeping RC passenger will also require less food, mainly because they are contently unconscious.
Bunks would also assist with space optimisation, complete with the added benefit of providing greater social interaction for those who like to engage with other like minded passengers in an array of mutually agreeable activities.

So, should you be an RC passenger reading this blog post, may I suggest that you participate in your preferred choice of social media and ask your habitually flown airline to consider the above suggestions (in my instance, Qantas). And who knows, maybe one day in the not too distant future, RC class will no longer be the trepidation of any sleep seeking traveller?

Sweet dreams.

 

It just feels so Good!

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It just feels so good! Yes, it’s that glorious sensation you experience when eagerly opening that pristine door for the very first time as your nose is gleefully engulfed with those joyous automotive wofts associated with that new car interior. The exciting mood continues as you place your eagerly awaiting bottom into that virgin seat with the knowledge that you are indeed the first. You run your hands in a circular motion, anticlockwise, then clockwise, as you gingerly grip the steering wheel with each of your probing fingers where you slowly discover every notch and groove. Out on the road, you smile with snug satisfaction as all parts of the car work in harmonious unison as you carefully navigate the surrounding traffic with a self-imposed mode of cautious stealth. The feeling lasts for an unmeasured while, and then without notice, unfortunately, stops. You have now reached the stage of habitual blaséness where that initial feeling of excitement has regrettably diminished into nothingness. It’s now just a car.

Many an innovative organisation initially commence their operations with that “new car feeling”, but alas, over time, and particularly with success, that blasé nonchalant state gradually permeates throughout the structure leading to creative stagnation. So, what’s the solution?

Think of that car again, but this time focus on all the scheduled, and the occasional unplanned maintenance that is required to keep it humming in a state of perpetual driving bliss. This can take the form of mechanical, structural or aesthetic adjustments, all are required, and need ongoing investment, otherwise it ends up doomed on the scrap heap soon to be forgotten.

Innovation needs ongoing investment to stimulate and maintain the creative machinations of the business. All departments working in the organisation need to finely tuned, continually aligned, and supplemented with that combustible spark of ideation, otherwise it will slowly come to a resistant state of undesirable lethargy. However, sometimes an organisation needs to trade in the old ways of doing business and upgrade to a newer and more inspirational model. If so, don’t be scared to let your employees experience that wonderful new car smell, particularly as some of the newer ones may have never savoured that joy, and those longer serving ones, well, they may need a strong nasal refresher!

So if you want to maintain that ongoing pleasant innovation woft in your business, make sure you keep it well maintained and stimulated, otherwise, you might as well get a horse and get used to a slower, and rather more odorous form of reduced creativity.

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.

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.

 

The Very Social Idea

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If you have ever put yourself in the shoes of an idea, you would be exhausted!
Ideas are the biggest socialites in the known world and are universally recognised as the life of any party.

Ideas just hate the thought of being singular, they have an innate psychological need to be plural. Just put two solo ideas in a room and they will immediately start interacting with each other with a carefree and unrepentant promiscuity.

Ideas are also ageless, once created via a spark of unleashed human inspiration, they instantaneously become immortal and will happily congregate on mass within any hospitable corporate environment that willingly supports their requisite cosy culture of innovation.

However, there are some businesses that ideas have officially declared as a no-go zone. Those decreed as dull and boring organisations are like innovation vacuums that regrettably do not accommodate the individual and collective requirements of these festive wildlife thought manifestations. Once classified as an office of devastating inspirational lack, ideas will deliberately avoid these plagued businesses until a corporate culture of redemption has been successfully implemented, and publicly proven to be operationally effective. But once the requisite cultural correction has been made and externally communicated to the world of thought creation, then the ideas will fill the void with a gusto of spontaneity that would put any cashed-up pop-star to shame!

Now don’t assume that all ideas are identical. They are each different, and have a unique personality that frequently changes depending on their mood, and also to the environment to which they are exposed. But that diversity of thought is indeed their strength, as they, and their resultant factorially numbered offspring, all lead to a continual birth of new and wickedly clever innovations, none of which are ever the same.

So as a human, when next you walk into a corporate office and sense something unusually electric in the building, it is not your imagination, you are just responding to a large gathering of ideas having a hoot of a time!

The Virtual Innovation Librarian

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Why is it that some people just seem to have an endless plethora of brilliant ideas, whilst others struggle to generate just one? What’s the secret to their phenomenal creative success?

According to an obscure research paper soon to be published at some fictitious Boston University, the answer to these important questions is their illusive access to the highly prestigious, and most definitely secret, Virtual Innovation Librarian (VIT).

Respected sources advise that the VIT is an artificially intelligent imaginary persona that surreptitiously captures your unconscious thoughts when you are in mental state of slumber, or equivalent corporate boredom. The key requirement being, complete and total mindlessness. For those of you working in the corporate office, just think of all that untapped potential that lethargically resides in your vast employee database!

As the name suggests, the VIT is the keeper of an almost infinite number of thoughts that are meticulously categorised and indexed via the Dewey Decimal Idea Classification System (DDICS), following which, they are then permanently registered within a 4D electronic virtual depository. The DDICS classifications cover all good, and some of the not so good, ideation sparks of human life, business and various social activities from every person that has ever lived, or is currently alive, from the very first evolutionary stage when women and men decided it was time to think.

No, you don’t need a virtual library card to make a thoughtful withdrawal, the process is indeed much simpler and works via the following ingenious method:

  1. Deeply think of the problem that you want to solve.
  2. Open your mind and allow the VIT to have unrestricted access to all your inner thoughts and desires (some people call this mindfulness, meditation or just being lazy).
  3. The VIT then forages around with gusto in your cluttered mind trying to cross-match your nominated problem with all the other thoughts accumulated in the 4D electronic virtual depository.
  4. If a match is made with your problem, and no other person is wanting to also access that particular thought, you can borrow that idea and claim it as your own.
  5. However, there is a catch. These borrowed thoughts only reside in your mind for a limited time period, so if you don’t check them out and use the idea, you quickly lose the innovative solution (just like the content of a dream when you wake up, and rapidly forget the details).

Is there a charge for using this VIT ideation service?

No, it is complimentary to those individuals that recognise that innovation is an activity that needs to be continually worked, and shared freely amongst your work colleagues, thereby ensuring that there is a constant source of fresh ideas being generated for the future needs of mankind. As that saying goes, “give ideas, that you may receive ideas”.

For those businesses that don’t value innovation, well, the cost of the VIT will be well beyond your financial reserves, so may I suggest that you don’t bother thinking longer term, and just focus on enjoying today as your future is guaranteed to be rather uncertain.

Enough is Indeed Enough

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Gentlemen, it’s time for a private revolution in the corporate office because you are losing the “you”, in you. Yes, many of you have voluntarily discarded your individuality in order to become part of the accepted “we”. But the unconscious sacrifice you have made has significantly impacted your personal creativity.

Remember the time in your working life when you wanted to be noticed, when you desired to be the centre of attention, when you had something important to say, and were unrepentant when you said it?

When did we all morph into a state of visual uniformity and become a subdued and quiet collective of “I”s?

Here are some clues to help you revitalise your memory, and to inspire you into again thinking that little bit differently.

The neck tie – Gone!
Recall those colourful items of clothing that used to adorn your neck, complete with the additional visual benefit of fashionably differentiating your frontal business appearance from your colleagues? Alas, one can regretfully say the same about the unfortunate demise of the visually appealing bow-tie, similarly, the majestic cravat.

Chest Hairs – slowly growing back!
Men used to be men, and hairy. We used to have copious volumes of hairs publicly sprouting with unashamed gusto from our chests, and our faces. To think that men now voluntarily shave their manes off to achieve a follicle look of commonality, good god! Thankfully, this does not apply to those men who have boldly bucked the trend, and have courageously, and most deliberately, shaved their heads as a mark of their commitment to the male cause for innovation.

Hats – a mark of respect!
In the not too distant past, men looked resplendent with a stylish hat firmly placed upon our heads where we could selectively doff our head covering in recognition, and respect of a fellow worker, confidant, or compatriot. Thankfully, with the advent of the bald head, this item of clothing is making a welcome resurgence.

Watches – steps of progress!
Strategically positioned on the left or right wrist used to be a masterly engineered time piece of precision. This has now been replaced by a devise that measures steps, typically known as a FITBIT. Men used to compare other items to assert their masculinity, now it’s the number of steps walked in a work day, or week. I ask you, where will it end?

So gentlemen, take heed of this warning, and visually state your support in hindering this unwelcome disintegration of your individual creativity when in the corporate office. Enough is indeed enough. It’s now time to make the change!

The “Proof Level”

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What do alcohol and innovation have in common? The “Proof Level”.

Those connoisseurs of the occasional, or even the frequent, alcoholic beverage would be familiar with the concept of %-proof which indicates the alcohol content by volume. For example, 100-proof whisky contains 50% alcohol. The higher the alcoholic content, the more “oomph” in the beverage.

Just like a good whisky, a culture of innovation can be determined in the corporate office by measuring its proof level, which is known by many leading behavioural psychologists as the “IPL” (aka Innovation Proof Level).

For those companies that have a dynamic and highly stimulating innovation culture, they would be nearing the 100-IPL mark where at least 50% of their employees are deemed as being creative. A business that scores a 50-IPL, only a quarter of their staff have what it takes to drive and support their culture of innovation. For those with 0-IPL, alas, we are typically talking about the public service.

So what are the pros and cons associated with a high IPL organisation?

  • The employees are found to be very friendly and seem to happily interact, albeit some may occasionally step over the line with respect to the acceptable HR behavioural guidelines
  • New concepts are readily accepted with minimal resistance, although some may be regretted the following day
  • Corporate dress standards may become a tad shabby, particularly near 5 PM
  • Some employees may seek opportunities for quiet slumber at their desk, or discretely under it, complete with a corporate logo emblazoned pillow, blanket and bright light filtering face-mask

Similarly, for those working in an antiquated establishment where a 0-IPL commonly prevails?

  • An inability to pick up the phone until at least the 20th ring
  • A slurring of words ensuring that the customer gives up with feeling of frustration
  • A late start in the morning, complete with an early finish owing to a constant headache
  • A monotone speech pattern with a large lack of enthusiasm

So for those of you thirsting for innovation, the remedy is to have a large corporate glass filled to the brim with a refreshing 100-IPL content beverage.  However, make sure that you consume it slowly in order to avoid unwanted creative side effects that may linger long into the following morning.

Cheers!

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