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 This has now been replaced by a devise that measures steps, typically known as a FITBIT.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!

The Culturally Fitting Cordwainer

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Looking for a corporate culture that fully supports your creative career aspirations and life travels?

If the answer is yes, then your fitted, bespoke solution is literally below you, and is one that happily accompanies you wherever your corporate desires may fleetingly wander.

Whatever your innovation need, whether it be that of a classy professional, purely social, discretely indoors or an outdoor adventure, a matching array of versatile accessories are readily available to the discerning buyer, constructed in a plethora of colours, materials, comfort levels and various purchase prices.

The origin of this personalised inspiration is your fashionable cordwainer who after years of meticulous training has mastered the requisite design skills to provide the right shoe solution that is perfect for your feet.

Now shoes are key to your creative success, but there are some exceptions to the rule:

The Naked Foot
Those who dare to walk the corridors of the corporate office with foot nakedness may attain a state of relaxed mindfulness nirvana, but this will be short lived when viewed below the business trouser, or skirt, where a certain professional visual standard is expected from the onlooking beholder. The naked foot does indeed have its rightful place, but alas, it is not yet accepted as part of the regulations for approved industry attire, despite the invigorating freedom of thought achieved by the naked foot wearer.

The Sandal
In Roman times this form of footwear was most socially acceptable, but today, corporate office feet standards have now significantly changed. However, should you be an English University Lecturer who habitually wears a dull tweed jacket, thick beige corduroy trousers and smokes a pipe with voluminous gusto, then you may continue to look the part whilst we silently smirk at your personal misfortune.

Pointy Toe
Stop! The pointy toed shoe is now classified by the FBI as a dangerous weapon, and one that has caused many employee injuries from deliberate kicking outbursts directed at that annoying colleague under the table.

The Boot
Now should you be an Australian National Party politician, then this rule does not apply because it is presumed that you wear your boots for strategic media appearances so your electorate thinks that you come from a large farming community, eventhough you have always lived in the city, and would not know the front from the back of a sheep.  For all other corporate office workers, the wearing of a boot suggests that you have not yet mastered the shoe-lace tying process which may be systematic of other analytical shortfalls in your intellect.

So should you be a CEO or HR professional reading this blog post, the answer to business innovation is delightfully simple. Just hire a Chief Cordwainer Officer (CCO) and your corporate culture will be long wearing, fully protected and continually well heeled!

 

A Job for the Innovation Detective – Authentic or Forgery?

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How do you know if a company is a true authentic innovator, and not an expensive creative forgery?

The answer is indeed simple. Just hire an experienced Innovation Detective, a trusted professional that specialises in promptly slicing through the external company façade and associated mystique of any superficial corporate woft.

The Innovation Detective is a special breed of person who uses an array of sophisticated, and might I say, rather spiffy forensic investigation skills that relies on their superior intellect, highly tuned physical senses, and a rather unique and remarkably sensitive portable Woftometer. Their work attire is as you would typically expect of any corporate individual, that of the stylish business suit, an array of brightly coloured paisley shirts, complete with a slick fedora hat that gracefully embellishes their head.

Once hired, following the payment of a wickedly outrageous six figure financial sum, they quickly swing into action and start the clever three step process of gathering evidence to disprove, or affirm, the existence of innovation within the designated corporate office.

Step 1: Food for Thought
The first, and usually most accessible place for initial investigation is the corporate cafeteria where you will see the Innovation Detective quietly sitting alone in the corner, typically slurping a soy milk chai latte (usually with honey), accompanied with a tasty warm scone smothered with lashings of jam and cream. Why this eating ritual, we do not know, but it seems to stimulate and encourage the ‘little grey cells” hidden, and quietly permeating well beneath the matching coloured fedora. Once nourished, the Innovation Detective carefully studies the assembled employee composition, together with the prevailing sound intensity radiating from the room. On investigation, the data indicates that those cafeterias were the noise levels are high, usually accompanied with a rich mixture of intense hand gesticulating discussion, together with at least 55% laughter content, are deemed to have all the hallmarks of a genuine culture of innovation. However, should the employees be quietly whispering to each other, or electing to have an extended lunch break outside the office, well, this is a significant clue of creative forgery being deliberately subterfuged within the organisation.

Step 2: Desk Linearity
The next stop for the Innovation Detective is the office layout where a slow and methodical walk of thought is made through all the departmental work stations and offices within the corporate office. Should all the desks be neat and tidy with no colourful creative mess to be seen, then is a big clue that may lead to an opinion of corporate thought rigidity. But should the desks also all be aligned with precise linearity, then this is no longer a clue, but now a statement of undisputable fact, that being, severe innovation doom.

Step 3: The Woftometer
The Swiss designed Woftometer is a rare instrument of precision engineering, most commonly manufactured in Germany in very limited quantities, and only available for those that hold an accredited Innovation Detective license. Although small in size, it has the unique ability to measure the prevailing “woft”[1] in a corporate office. Here the Innovation Detective, armed with their compact Woftmeter, strategically wanders throughout the entire building seeking out wofts to signify the existence of innovation.

With the three step process now completed, the Innovation Detective now gathers their thoughts and slowly conducts a methodical review of the precious data. After a few minutes of extraordinarily deep thinking, the Innovation Detective will make a verdict, and a report is written and distributed by confidential E-mail to the CEO of the corporate office.

Whether the report is heeded, or publicly shared with the employees is unknown? But if you have never heard of the Innovation Detective role, then I think you can only come to one conclusion, that being, that the report was not favourable and it is likely that you are indeed working in an expensive creative forgery. If so, it might be time for some innovation restoration?

[1] (Some Obscure Dictionary Definition: “Woft, an indication of innovation in a corporate office that is measured using a Woftometer. The Woftometer is a highly calibrated device that captures and records the number of “innos” in a corporate office. “Innos” are sub-micron in size and are invisibly excreted from a person’s skin when they are having fun, and yes, there is a patent pending!).

 

Jester of The Order of the British Empire

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As I stood before Queen Elizabeth II, I was feeling particularly chuffed. Yes, I was one of the first British citizens to be awarded the honour of JBE.

Many worthy citizens have been knighted, awarded a CBE, OBE or even an MBE, but I, by Royal Decree, was about to have the esteemed privilege of being able to have the letters JBE permanently linked to my name.

For many years now, I have been promoting the use of “innovation” in the corporate office. It has been a hard and torturous journey that has met much opposition from the boring conservatives from within, but with continued perseverance, a creative revolution appears to be slowly permeating, despite the fierce resistance.

Numerous blog posts have been written, many a paisley business shirt worn, copious berets have been deliberately placed upon my hair challenged head, all with the deliberate intent in making those traditional corporates think differently.

The learning from all this calculated, and most devious methodology, is that innovation in the corporate office can only exist if there is one key activity, that being “fun”. Yes, the root of all creativity is the ability to have fun, to have an office environment where humour is the welcome catalyst that continually rejuvenates itself, and which unknowingly morphs into the personalities of all willing employees.

But fun takes skill and continual practice, and that’s where the role of the Corporate Jester comes into play. These oddly behaving individuals look at current corporate work practices through a unique analysis lens, one which must constantly challenge the status quo of the organization, but be done in a way that relies on humour so the creative concepts suggested are deemed more palatable and welcome.

Yes, as I looked at the well-worn crimson carpet at Buckingham Palace trodden with pride by other New Year Honour’s recipients, a quiet facial smirk appeared as I acknowledged that I was now a Jester of The Order of the British Empire (JBE).

But the smile became much wider as I observed the line of other JBE recipients, of which I was now a member. It was satisfying and most humbling to know that role of “fun” in the corporate office was similarly taking hold in other stayed corporate offices, and would soon yield the highly sought after smiling face in other innovatively receptive individuals. The unquestionable result being, the attainment of innovation.

Steven Cramer JBE

 

What’s on Your Corporate Clothesline?

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How would you describe the visual appearance of your corporate clothesline?

Is it one that has that look of shabbiness, where all the lines are no longer taut, are a tad tired and fatigued with excessive service to your organisation?

Are all the clothes hanging about rather too precariously with an outlook that is faded, tattered and torn and now ready to be used as an unwelcome, and rather smelly sleeping accompaniment in the corporate watchdog’s kennel?

If so, your business desperately needs a creative clothesline refurbishment where your employee’s innovative skills can be readily hung out to dry with pride.

The solution is to realign the skills of your employees where they all hang about with the requisite corporately aligned tension that comfortably meets their individual needs. No longer will some employees feel as if they are dangling too close to the bottom of the clothesline where some competitive vermin and other nosey corporate animals can undermine their self-esteem and confidence.

For those employees not willing to move and sway with the prevailing climatic winds, just surreptitiously loosen their holding peg, and with time, any remaining fragments of residual cloth clinging to the clothesline will eventually succumb to your new corporate gravity of change.

However, do make sure all your departmental positioning pegs are regularly updated and aligned with those that operate efficiently, are colourful, not crazed, and you will retain those important employees that are deemed strategic to your long-term organisational success.

As a CEO, you want your clothesline to be viewed by any visitors to your business abode as one that readily complements your organizational culture, and that highlights the impressive garment diversity of fashion wearers that happily attach themselves to your corporate hierarchy.

No longer will you need to spend lavish sums of money on endless internal and external organizational surveys to measure the mood and innovation prowess of your employees, just have a daily glance at your corporate clothesline and all will quickly be revealed.

Yes, the answer to your innovation is literally flapping in the wind.

 

Absolutely

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a quick and easy method to identify if your corporate office is in the gradual process of innovative decline? If so, the answer is right before your ears, just simply listen to the vocabulary being used as it is a tell-tale sign as to the creative state of your staff.

A big clue is the frequent use of some common words, the main culprit of today being the word “absolutely”. Yes, you will hear “absolutely” being used with an increasingly high verbal frequency by a huge cross-section of employees, all unknowingly mimicking each other with involuntary abandonment in an attempt to sound “absolutely impressive”. But don’t be fooled, as with each nonchalant utterance, the employee is slowly eroding their ability to think creatively as they continue to narrow their thoughtful intellect.

Apparently, there are 171,476 words currently being used in the English language, so says the 2nd edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, with 47,156 obsolete words. So, those in the corporate office have a plethora of alternative words they could wittily choose from besides that most tedious and infamous word known as ‘absolutely’. Yes, it’s time to strategically add ‘absolutely’ to the mind dumbing obsolete word list for the sake of innovation!

When next you hear someone in the office use this soon to be defunct word, offer them the use of your Thesaurus, or maybe suggest another more apt word that impresses them with your mastery of the English language. Yes, it’s time my verbally educated friends for a word revolution!

And may ‘absolutely’, soon RIP, never to be heard again.

No Splashing Allowed

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Many a creative thought has been generated in the bath, just ask that revered Greek Scholar Archimedes who did his best thinking when immersed in a tub.

Now this got a currently little known, yet soon to be famous Research Scientist at a leading Boston University pondering the origin of that eureka moment. Following many years of water immersed individual contemplation (well, that’s the official academic description used on her funding application), this dedicated “batharian” explored the innovation correlation between many factors involved in the practice of creative bathification.

Equipped with a waterproof black pen, she meticulously studied a vast array of bathing techniques and diligently recorded each bathing episode on the inner white enamel bath surface. As the hours of analysis continued, the water colour in the bath gradually turned from a clear transparency to an obscure studious composition that matched her dark ink penned font markings, thereby necessitating the need for many repeat purchases of new bath study environments.

She explored every conceivable bathing influence that included temperature, depth, bubbles, degrees of nakedness, outside, inside, altitude, bath composition, even friendship interactions.

After many thousands of litres of water draining through the plughole, she did indeed discover her own eureka moment, one that has indeed raised the temperature in the innovation debate as to the origin of creative thought.

For all those seekers of the creative truth, the answer was apparently right before our eyes as we sat, or lounged in the bath in blissful relaxation, that being turbulence. Yes, turbulence.

This clever “batharian” discovered that there is an inverse relationship between water turbulence and the creative prowess of the person residing in the bath. If a person is stressed, they tend to squirm in the bath, wash themselves, splash, or get restless. Any chance of creative thoughts being generated is minimal. However, if they are at peace with themselves, they just happily laze in the bath and savour the restful warming experience which leads to the progression of a plethora of original ideas. At this stage of their creativity, the bath water is still and turbulence is non-existent.

So for those of you in the corporate office, should you want to initiate a eureka moment amongst your employees, install a bath, just like in the Roman times. But a word of caution. Please ensure that there is a large sign strategically positioned in clear view of all those in the bath stating, “No Splashing Allowed”, as you don’t want any negative turbulent thought prevailing to the surface.

Enduring Fashionable Zest

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The year is 1947 and through the immaculately clean window from my petite flower shop at 27 Avenue Montaigne in Paris I can see many fashionably dressed women quickly making their way to work. The blooms in my shop front comfortably merge in colour with the stylish array of dresses, jackets and skirts that complement the confident “zest” portrayed by the chic wearer. Those lucky enough to spy a fleeting glance of these impeccably dressed women can do nothing but smile in awe of their radiance.

Later that morning, a man exquisitely dressed in a dark grey suit embellishing a bright pocket-handkerchief, white shirt, designer silk tie, and short shaved hair, quietly walks into his haute couture office directly office my flower shop. He sees me peering out at him and gives me a salutary hand wave confirming our long-standing friendship. To me, he is just Christian, to others; he is Christian Dior, from the House of Dior.

Christian is a world renowned master of his trade, and a man that has the innate ability to make everyone that wears his designer clothes, or sees someone in them, feel immediately good about themselves. This positive influence is not short lived, but enduring.

When buying some roses in my shop one day, Christian mentioned that “Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest”. The word “zest” stayed with me for many years and I believe was the fundamental key to his remarkable fashion and business success.

Now for those of you in the corporate office reading this blog post, the word “zest” provides you with an important clue to attaining your own business innovation. Should you want to drive a creative culture in your organisation, you need your employees to have that “zest” sensation that continually inspires and refreshes them with ongoing personal confidence and style. Your business needs to be relentlessly crafting a brand and persona that mentally illuminates your employee’s work environment. After all, where would the House of Dior be if Christian only had one dress style and colour? The answer would be boring and disillusioned staff and customers, and a business that would quickly cease to exist.

So, if you want innovation, make sure you have enduring “zest” that never goes out of fashion.

The Skill of Counter Jerkification Innovation

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When I say the word “Jerk”, I’m sure you immediately visualise the face of one of your annoying colleagues in the corporate office. Although they don’t have the letters J E R K branded on their forehead, we all know them by their offensive manner, cruel personality and detrimental influence on you, your colleagues and the organisation.

Even though they are indeed the full embodiment of the “Jerk” classification, there is one positive aspect that you, and your colleagues, will have learnt whilst you have been forced to engage with this unpleasant individual. This is the talent called “Counter Jerkification Innovation” (or CJI for those that like acronyms).

Many of you may have already developed this prized CJI talent from your days at school, employment at other organisations, or when dealing with various politicians (especially if you are a Trump advisor). Your CJI talent may have been dormant for many years, but fret not, as it is readily reactivated once you put your mind to it!

There are two parts to a successful CJI implementation corporate office program, that being; Reactive and Proactive CJI.

(1) Reactive CJI:
This is the creativity that you and co-workers develop as a defensive mechanism to counteract the impact of the “Jerk” in your work environment. Here you are continually trying to lessen the impact of the “Jerk” through an innovative avoidance strategy to minimise your “Jerk” interactions, thereby reducing the “Jerk’s” negative influence.

After a prolonged period of Reactive CJI, you will quickly develop a cunning, and most devious mindset, utilising the skills of guerrilla office warfare that will be rapidly recognised and appreciated by your fellow co-workers also trying to avoid the “Jerk”.

(2) Proactive CJI:
Once your Reactive CJI skillset has been mastered, you will naturally progress to the creative self-actualization attainment level of Proactive CJI where you will instinctively decide to utilise your crafty mindset skills to initiate, and implement, a targeted “Jerk” retaliation campaign. If properly implemented, your “Jerk” will quickly change their modus operandi, or will seek a rapid organisational exit strategy.

Yes, you will have now neutralized the “Jerk”, and will be deemed a prized CJI hero within your business. Any residual “Jerks” still left in your organisation will also seek a departure strategy, as they too will have realised that their days of “Jerk” tolerance are indeed numbered.

However, a word of caution for those that do successfully achieve the mental state of Proactive CJI. It is important that you continually seek 360 degree feedback from your work colleagues to ensure that you do not take on those hated “Jerk” personality traits, just in case you obtain too much personal pleasure from the CJI process!

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