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!

It’s a Thong Thing

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From time immemorial, and even longer than most of us can remember, there has been one unique and practical icon that continues to symbolise mankind’s freedom of thought. No, some have mistakenly thought it to be the “peace sign”, but for those that are in the know, it’s a humble flexible rubber item that fits snuggly between your toes and comfortably cushions your naked feet.

It comes in a variety of fashionable colours and sizes, including those fun seeking wearers that like bling. It is not hindered by sex, age, nationality, or your Myers Briggs profile. You can be short, tall, hairy or bald; this item has no bias or prejudice, and willingly supports any individual that seeks to break the shackles of corporate footwear.

Yes, it’s the thong.

For some strange reason, when wearing a thong, the individual quickly achieves a state of desired relaxation, or “feet nirvana”, where all business concerns, stress and worrying trepidation seem to mysteriously vanish. You have all experienced that feeling of gleeful “arhhh” when the thong happily replaces that constrictive tight laced shoe and stifling sock.

With a thong embellishing your foot, your mind just seems to be free to think, ponder, and explore creative thoughts. So why is it that there is a dearth of thong wear when in the corporate office? Is the thong an overlooked innovation catalyst that needs to be tried and tested in your business establishment? By the way, for those of you thinking about a PhD in business innovation, you may have just discovered a topic worthy of further research?

So when next you sit at your office desk and feel the need for some long overdue inspired thoughtful innovation, don’t go and purchase your habitual soy milk chai latte with honey, just whip off your shoes and socks, and surreptitiously surrender your feet to the thong. Should you work in a conservative organisation, I would suggest some black or dark blue coloured thongs, which I’m sure will most definitely conform to any corporate dress code without the need to redress.

Corporate innovation? Consider, the thong.

For innovative slumber, think CollaborApp™

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In the Technology section of the 1 April edition of the New York Times, Apple has announced the release of CollaborApp™, which is a radically new, and reportedly disruptive concept in business innovation.

Key to CollaborApp™ is the use of an artificial intelligence Bot called “Cogitaire” which surreptitiously tempts, and masterly teases the user into freeing their thoughts and ideas through voluntary thought extraction and cogitation whilst they are happily asleep. Yes, sleeping!

According to an Apple spokesperson, the idea for CollaborApp™ came from the online collaboration process where ideas are shared, and enhanced from different employees across the organization, all with a range of diverse backgrounds and personal experiences. However, with CollaborApp™, the collaboration is not done whilst the user is awake where they are subject to various competing time pressures, and other work commitment distractions. No, this App needs the user to be in a blissful state of slumber in order to be most effective.

CollaborApp™ works via the following process:

  1. Prior to employees going to sleep, they initiate the CollaborApp™ setting on their iPhone and place their earphones comfortably within their ears.
  2. Once asleep, the business problem to be solved is then presented to the employee via the Cogitaire Bot, who then unassumingly stimulates the users mental thought processes. By the way, in case you are wondering, Cognitaire’s persona morphs into whatever character imagined by the user in order to get the optimum thought creativity initiated. Cognitaire is also proficient in all known languages, even the most obscure ones.
  3. Whilst the user is blissfully sleeping, Cogitaire continually collates and shares all the updated idea solutions generated across the many users participating that night to ensure a passively robust analysis of the problem.
  4. In the morning, when the user awakes, an impressive infographic is presented that encapsulates all the innovative thought process developed by the vast employee collective.

Yes, the process sounds quite simple, and accordingly to Apple, it is very effective in generating a range of creative solutions with a much higher innovation calibre typically achieved via traditional collaboration techniques.

Now there is a cautionary paragraph found within the fine print in the Apple CollaborApp™ media release. It advises spouses, partners and others involved romantically, or those that are just curious, not to use the App for reasons Apple state are most obvious, as some things are best left unknown.

The Thought Creation Leadership Stick

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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

I pondered these William Shakespeare words as I respectfully picked up my “Thought Creation Leadership Stick” and quietly acknowledged that I had just been “thrust”. Yes, it was my allocated turn to lead my fellow corporate office lunchtime walkers on a journey of fictitious discovery.

Like clockwork, at precisely 12:00 PM, those employees yearning for creative daily enrichment hurriedly assembled in the marbled office reception area eagerly awaiting the arrival of the scheduled holder of the Thought Creation Leadership Stick. Each person looked like any other typical employee, apart from the comfy grass-stained walking shoes brandishing their feet, and the small discrete hiking pack emblazoned with the corporate logo that snuggly contained a healthy company supplied lunch.

As I was now thrustfully tasked with my honoured opportunity of creative greatness, I carefully lifted the Stick of leadership authority that signalled to all onlookers the commencement of the lunchtime walk.

Off we went with an air of corporate cohesion, with me leading out the front as I mentally prepared for the numerous planned requisite creative stops. But this was not just any lunchtime walk. No sir, this was a walk in which the leader had to innovatively entertain everyone with an almost believable, yet highly fictitious, story along the way.

Each walk had an allocated duration of exactly 60 minutes, and to constructively utilise this time, I elected to take my walking colleagues along the muddy banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. As stipulated by my esteemed position of holder of the Stick, we stopped at various picturesque locations where I creatively described the non-existent basic cave markings of prehistoric Melbourne man, the enticing smells wofting up from aboriginal campfires cooking a charcoaled selection of tasty barramundi fish fillets and yabbies, the first European naval ships equipped with copious stocks of rum soaked barrels, and the exploratory “beaming up” of our competition’s most valuable staff by the Martian aliens.

At the conclusion of the allocated walking time, we all returned to the corporate office with our FITBIT step count massively increased, our minds full of thoughtful creative inspiration, and an empty backpack symbolising a most content and happy stomach.

As holder of the Stick, I then proudly passed the leadership symbol over to a fellow colleague, which they accepted with a strong sense of humility and equally nervous anticipation.

So should you want to develop a culture of innovation in your corporate office, together with some complementary employee exercise, then may I suggest that you also have greatness thrust upon you and pick up your own Thought Creation Leadership Stick!

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