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.

The Lazy Creative

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It can happen via a deliberate wrist glance, a nonchalant button press, or the frequent refreshing of a specifically purchased iPhone App. You have all observed it in action. Yes, it’s the now quite common hourly habit of the corporate office FITBIT wearer as they compete with their fellow fanatical walkers for the esteemed victor of the Workweek Hustle.

But in a recent study, at a soon to be prestigious Australian Institute of Sport, a rather unusual finding has been discovered that has found a direct correlation with a person’s aptitude for innovation, and their FITBIT daily step count. Contrary to what you may think, the lower the FITBIT number, the higher the innovation intellect.

The majority of the corporate office population view those in their working ranks with a very Low FITBIT Step Count (LFSC) as being rather lazy. However, the study results found this to be remarkably furthest from the truth.

Those of your colleagues with a LFSC typically commenced their innovation training early in their youth as a teenager. A visual clue to their future LFSC creative talent would be their clothes, towels and food plates being strategically placed on the floor in their bedrooms. As the days of litter and odour progressed unhindered, a frustrated parent would finally succumb to the mess and tidy their room, with no stepping activity required at all from the clever child.

For teenagers that mastered this skill, their LFSC innovative prowess continued into their working life where the role of the parent was replaced by a fellow work colleague. Here they would sit comfortably at their desk, with their ears and eyes seeking out a potential parental worker surrogate to ensure that their need for physical exertion was significantly minimized. If you are not familiar with their innovative FITBIT step reduction techniques, take note of the following behavioural clues:

  1. The Coffee Run: They will hear the murmurings of colleagues thinking of making a dash to the nearest café for a coffee. Using their creative talent, they will feign extreme busyness and will ask you to get them a coffee on their behalf. If they are masterly at their LFSC craft, you will also be paying for them, with no hope or expectation of a reciprocal arrangement.
  1. The Carpark: In the office carpark, the innovative LFSC colleague will park in the closest position next to the elevator thereby ensuring the least number of walking steps. Some may even place a “Reserved” sign to guarantee this requirement.
  1. The Video Conference: Rather than having to walk to a meeting, the LFSC colleague will cunningly schedule a video conference, even if the colleagues invited sit only a few desks away.

So next time you have a FITBIT Workweek Hustle and you power your way on a daily basis to stepping superiority, may I suggest that you have a look at the work colleague that always comes last. Yes, they are the truly innovative people in your corporate office as it takes creative ingenuity to be that lazy!

The Scenic Desk

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You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

The Office Well-Being Executive Manager

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The corridors of corporate life used to experience it at least once a day, typically around 3 PM. Those of you with a longer memory say it also occurred in the morning, but alas, those days are reluctantly gone, possibly, never to be repeated.

The eagerly awaited activity heralded an opportunity to have a short break from your normal work routine and to refresh your mind with small morsels of needed sustenance.

It was a welcome time for all pens to be lowered, inky nibs blotted, and writing paper pushed aside on your desk to make room for the appreciated earthenware additions.

For a brief few minutes, the worker could engage in a pseudo-flirtatious social dialogue and build a non-threatening personal rapport with the service provider, who was usually wearing a bland coloured corporate pinafore apron. Their official work title was “Tea Lady”, but they were the backbone of many successful organizations.

No office door was ever closed to the Tea Lady. They traversed the building pulling a trolley that was equipped with a large teapot, hot water, coffee, milk, a selection of biscuits (or cakes if you were lucky), and an array of cups and saucers, some of which occasionally matched. Their arrival could be heard well before they reached your desk, owing to the rattling of the crockery and the heightened conversation that they would always generate.

The role of Tea Lady was an unrecognized strategic cog in the corporate organizational hierarchy as they were privy to all levels of the business, from senior management, right down to the new starter or graduate. They could sense the mood of the corporate office, whether it was dynamic and innovative, or one that was struggling and ready to implode. The Tea Lady became the confidant of many employees, a person that they could talk to about work, home-life or their personal ambitions.

Business today needs a modern version of the Tea Lady, which would probably now have the more acceptable corporate title of “Office Well-Being Manager”. Many organizations have tried to foster various methods of casual communication within the corporate office with the introduction of “Chatter”, “Yammer” and other electronic applications, but none have been as effective as the old fashioned Tea Lady.

So why not reinvigorate the Tea Lady role with a more modern version?

Many employees want to have access to their senior management team, but may be too shy or a tad embarrassed to engage them in an open forum. One solution is to have a weekly (or monthly) roster where your Executive Team takes it in turns to be “Office Well-Being Executive Manager”. Yes, they would walk the office corridors with an electric powered beverage trolley fully equipped with the latest coffee (short black, long black, latte, cappuccino, flat white), tea (Early Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, herbal), soymilk chai lattes, and a selection of cakes (high fat, low fat, gluten free) or fruit. Besides your Executive Team learning new catering skills that they can add to their already impressive CVs, they would have instantaneous access to the pulse of the business and an opportunity to gain an insight on the nuances of their staff (and vice-versa).

So, when next you plan to have a well-earned rest break from your computer, may I suggest that you first stop, and listen. Hopefully you will hear the buzz of your corporately branded electric beverage trolley as it happily approaches your desk. Bon appetite!

The Answer to that Male Question

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There is “a question” that has been baffling mankind for centuries, and as “the answer” was unknown, professional men all around the world reluctantly decided to play it safe, just in case they got it wrong. That is, until now!

As I sat in private solace in the world-renowned Corporate Observation Research Zone (aka the Virgin Australia Lounge at Melbourne airport), after many minutes watching my fellow travelling compatriots, the clues to “the answer” slowly became apparent. For those of you that like details, the moment of discovery actually presented itself to me after my third long black coffee.

The attraction of the Virgin Australia Lounge is the diversity of corporate inhabitants that provide a huge array of visual observation fodder. There are men of all ages, some wearing suits, others casually dressed. Some with hair purposefully positioned on their face and heads, some with a deliberate close shaved facial nudified look, even those with an upper head appearance that conforms to their hairless heredity.

“The answer” to “the question” is that it doesn’t matter where your draw that “line of separation”.

Yes, men from the time they first decided to shave have been in a quandary as to where to position that mysterious demarcation line that signifies the end of the side-burn. To make matters even more confusing, should the man be fortunate enough to have a headless head, and has a beard, where should the top of the side-burn commence?

The author of this blog post is pleased to advise that men’s side-burn fashion has now progressed to the point where no facial rules apply. Men are now exercising their innovative side-burn freedom and are letting their razors do the talking without any limitation, or fear of visual retribution.

So men, next time you are confronted with a decision as where to “draw the line of separation”, relax, the choice is indeed yours. And should you make a mistake, all is good, as the hairy, or hairless, problem will be rectified in due course by the planned arrival of the following morning, when next you look in the mirror equipped with your trusty razor.

Read My Lips

Jumbo Mumbo Doll

“Read my lips”, was the instruction.

As always, my earplugs were deeply inserted into my ear canals as I tried to block out the unwelcome background noise on my early morning Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Sydney.

The air-hostess, dressed impeccably in her swish fashionably styled Virgin Australia uniform was making an announcement on the PA. I heard not a word, but I understood everything that she said. Yes, I was reading her lips.

A few minutes later, I pondered why? Then it dawned on me. It was her intensely bright red lipstick. Yes, I was fixated on those lips! It wasn’t the form, nor the shape of her mouth, it was the colour. This was the beginning of a theory that needed to be tested further, and I was the man for the job.

That day, I focussed on trying to read the conversations permeating from those around me, what influenced my interest and receptivity in how they delivered their words. You will be pleased to know that I was very academic in my research. I ensured that my analysis environment included a vast number of different types of cafés, restaurants, office foyers, and a rich and random selection of outdoor locations where a full range of men and women (some nude lipped, others lip coloured) were talking. I racked up a long list of expenses on my corporate AMEX card as testament to my investigation, just in case some yet unknown university wanted to continue my research at a later date.

That night, as I sat exhausted in my lush hotel room in Darling Harbour, I collated the copious notes that I had taken throughout the day. After what seemed like hours of intense analysis, the solution became all too clear. The key was in the lipstick colour, the winner, most definitely being bright red.

Now, there is a learning here for those working in the corporate office. Should you want your colleagues to listen to what you say, or to read your lips (should they be audibly challenged, or not really paying attention), then make sure that you wear bright red lipstick as it is the visual reader’s colour of choice.

Although diversity is indeed a requirement in business, I’m not suggesting for a moment that my male colleagues adorn the bright red lipstick (Note to HR: yes, I know, not unless they want to), but a bright red pocket hanky will suffice just as well.

Yes, embellish your body with red, and you will be seen, and most definitely heard.

The Isle of Creativia

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As you fly over the Pacific Ocean at 25,000 feet in the luxurious comfort of your First Class fully reclined leather seat number 1A, the furthest thing from your mind would be the existence of the small county of Creativia located far below. In the time taken for you to scoff your second mouthful of that exquisite, and most decadent, 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, the air turbulence from your plane would have only just tenderly kissed the peaktop of Creativia’s highest mountain. But then again, how could you know that in 20 years from now, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution would prevail, and that you, and all your fellow business travellers that you typify, will then be quite literally extinct. Yes, an unplanned catastrophic business event will exterminate all those corporate organisations that are deemed not up to the required survival standard of innovation and creativity. The result will be the survival of the business fittest, and these individuals will only be the fortunate inhabitants of Creativia.

The origins of Creativia goes back to the early 1960s, when an unknown mutant variant of the human DNA, just happened to form simultaneously by a remarkable freak of nature in many leading industrial countries around the world. Those born with this undetectable and unique gene condition grew up with a distinctively different view of life, business and mankind’s role and place in this earthly environment. For these select individuals, “the glass was always full”, they saw things with a continually positive and optimistic perspective as everything they did was based on an underlying theme of innovation.

These individuals from a very early age immediately understood that they were different from the common populous, and as they grew older and more business savvy, they nonchalantly started to meet surreptitiously in hidden boutique coffee shops around the world. Here they repeatedly tried to quench their endless thirst for creative stimulation with high doses of caffeine in an attempt to satisfy their enduring innovation habits and urges. However, their individual ESP insights warned them of a greater impending creative doom that would soon engulf the business world leading to the complete obliteration of the corporate world as they, and as we, knew it. Like a homing pigeon on a lifelong mission of creative destiny, each of them were mysteriously led by some unknown personal and instinctive force to a small deserted and entirely hidden island, rich in natural resources and copious cash reserves. As the years progressed, these inhabitants waxed strong into a diverse and mighty culture of creative thought. Then, when the time was just right, they as pioneering Creative Ambassadors of Thought, journeyed from Creativia to seek out new and impoverished businesses to rectify the time consuming wrongs of many out-dated CEOs and corporate Executives.

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Twenty years later, it did indeed happen. Looking back, it was a slow, potent, and highly lethal cultural virus that with time took hold and eventually killed the corporate world due to a lack of futuristic and insightful thinking. CEOs from all around the world together fell on their business swords and bleated their proclaimed selfishness in focussing on short-term financial goals and not the longer wellbeing of their corporate organisations. But alas, it was all too late. 

Long live Creativia! 

Motivator of Woft

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It’s 3 PM in the corporate office and you are exhibiting all the classic signs of needing a work pick me up. Your eyes are getting tired and extremely bloodshot from looking at that computer screen all day, your bottom is starting to experience the occasional numb spot from sitting on your chair too long, and you are getting that grumpy and frustrated watch observation technique where the passage of time tirelessly slows as it nears 5 PM.

STOP! Don’t walk to the café to get that habitual afternoon long black coffee or soymilk latte, you need the HR approved “Motivator of Woft” (MoW). Yes, after an extensive university-testing regime on many willing (and some unwilling) employees, we are excited to announce the long anticipated market release of the MoW.

This classical motivation enhancement apparatus is fully equipped with the latest features that ensures the wearer total comfort whilst they are happily and constructively stimulated in the corporate office. No longer will your staff want to leave at 5 PM, they will be pleading with you to stay as long as possible, and may even want to make their permanent residence their work desk.

So what exactly is the MoW and how does it work?

The answer is quite simple and has its origins in the sensual excitement methodology that has tantalised many humans throughout the history of man and womankind. The key to the success of the MoW is the human nose. This remarkable facial protrusion is quite a complex and highly intricate odour (or woft) recognition apparatus.

I’m sure that many readers of this blog post will immediately relate to the pleasurable woft of a freshly brewed coffee, sizzling pan-fried bacon, or hot baked bread that has just been taken out of the oven. On smelling these odours, your mind typically awakens with immense delight and pleasure.

This is the key aspect of the MoW and is the strategic driver that ensures its remarkable success. Through the use of a fashionable and tailored facial mask, we have been able to provide the wearer with an endless supply of wofts that can be easily customised for the user. The process is simple. Just place the mask over your face when you require some corporate motivation and then select the woft odour to suit your specific need. Each facial mask comes with a selection dial of ten unique and nostril inspiring fragrances that will entice the wearer. No longer will you need to leave your work desk for that a traditional 3 PM stimulation, the MoW will provide you with all the inspiration you will ever need! And should you get bored with the standard 10 wofts, a bonus 20 woft pack is available for a small additional expense.

Yes, you know you want your own MoW. So what are you waiting for?

For all those blog post readers that respond* to the author in the next 30 minutes, we will provide you with an impressive monogramed MoW that will be the envy of all your colleagues.

Happy corporate office wofting!

*VISA, MC, AMEX and of course lots of cash are happily accepted!

Dream Communications

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Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you are dreaming, or actually in a dream. In this instance, it was not a dream, I was wide awake and fully conscious.

My doubt about dream authenticity started yesterday when I was looking at the young woman sitting opposite me in the coffee shop. I was thinking thoughts, and she seemed to respond ‘verbally’, but there were no words or facial expressions exchanged. Yes, we were communicating, having a conversation that only we were privy to, well, I thought we were, or was it my imagination? So I decided to test the theory and commenced an unspoken thought conversation of triviality about the benefits and negatives of colonising the moon with soy milk chai latte drinkers! After a few minutes of what seemed ‘mindless dialogue’, she stood up from her comfortable cafe seat, straightened her skirt, flicked her long blond hair back and smiled directly at me. She then to my surprise said, “Chai lattes do need honey, but are there bees on the moon?” She then handed me her business card and suggested that we ‘chat again’! Yep, I had my proof!

Now this might have also been a dream, but let’s not worry about the semantics of truth as the concept gave me an idea for the corporate office.

What if we could train ourselves to dream, but in a way that we communicate with colleagues on a particular topic that needs to be resolved or progressed, but only in our subconscious mind? The workplace and the people concerned could be role played in our thought whilst we slept?

Taking the concept further, what if you could ‘suggest’ an issue that your colleagues could also ponder and work on in their minds whilst they also slept?

Now for the interesting and really exciting next step, what if we could get your mind, and the minds of your colleagues sharing the identical dream at the same time, exchanging learnings and experiences? Following on from that idea, why not add other people that you don’t yet know from different companies, cultures or countries, into the dream for an exponential group thought enhancement experience?

Those readers in HR will I’m sure now be realising the training and innovation development opportunities, particularly from a regional or global perspective?

For those of you struggling with all of the above, may I suggest you go into a coffee shop and order a soy milk chai latte (with honey) and just let your thinking go with the flow. And, should a blond woman appear to respond to one of your thoughts whilst you quietly sip your drink, just mention this blog post and I’m sure you will be surprised by the response!

Why not “Think Inside the Time Box”?

Time Jumper

This morning ritual of having breakfast in the Virgin Lounge at Melbourne airport was becoming an all too familiar experience. [1]

After satisfying my early morning Maslow’s basic survival needs with a long black coffee, wholemeal toast with lashings of vegemite, a petite bowl of muesli, I then mentally consumed the words in my newspaper looking for that insightful and learned spark of wisdom. Five minutes later, possibly six at a stretch, I had quickly come to the conclusion that I was bored. There was now only one thing for me to do in order to fill-in the time before I boarded my flight to Sydney, and that was to observe my fellow business travelers.

After a few minutes of visual critique, it became very apparent that the long sought personal goal of individual creativity which defined everyone as a unique individual, had somehow slipped between the cracks that morning. The more I looked, the more I could see many of my yet unknown business acquaintances partaking of coffee, cereal, toast with the occasional variant of a random accompaniment of difference (eg marmalade or honey), but in essence the selected diet was remarkably the same.

We wore similar suits, ties, cuff-links, shirts with that all too familiar checked pattern and colour, read the same newspapers, and even looked at each other with that same inquisitive look when a wild animal is startled from its habitual and comfortable lifestyle by an oncoming car headlight.

This got me thinking. How can we be creative if we are all seeking business innovation and inspiration via the same sources of knowledge and thought? The well-known term “thinking outside the box” came to mind, but is this the right way to discover new ideas? If we are all following the same methodology, all reading the same editions of the Harvard Business Review, the same business books, following the same sports, eating the same food, well, our sight outside the box is rather flawed and certainly lacks that required long distance vision, it will also be the same view as everyone else!

Why not try something a little bit different? Why not “think inside the box”, but with a major difference, that being time as a variant? There is a lot of untapped idea history “inside the time box”, the key is to open it up and use it. Many potentially brilliant ideas have literally died with creative thinkers of past generations. If their ideas had been passed down between the ages, their insights may have formed the basis of many unusual and different innovations that could only be fulfilled with the progression of time and today’s technology.

Alas, time travel is not possible, but what about actualising the environment and thought stimuli of past creative thinkers to excite and enlighten you and I today? The method is quite simple. Why not consider the following past time ideation starters:

  • Dress up in period costume and wear those antiquated spiffy clothes in the corporate office?
  • Don’t read today’s newspaper, read some old papers and get an appreciation of the business and life customs of the past?
  • Forget the long black coffee in the morning, have an old English ale instead? (assuming your HR Manager is OK with the concept)
  • Don’t drive to work, walk or take your personal horse and buggy?

I’m sure the experience would lead to some different and creative thoughts being established as you think” inside the time box”. Your business colleagues will also have the benefit of thinking differently as they observe you in the process of historical thought change and will marvel at your self-confidence and creative fortitude.

So next time you are sitting in the Virgin Lounge at Melbourne airport awaiting your flight, try and consider what you can do to implement some small amount of thinking “inside the time box”, I’m sure it will lead to a noticeable creative point of difference in your life. If the concept is too great to publicly display, then why not start off with a lesser innovative step, don’t have a long black coffee, have a soy milk chai latte with honey instead!

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[1] The Suit Trouser Length Creativity Index
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-suit-trouser-length-creativity-index/

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