Manners maketh the Man, but Fingers maketh the Creative

eating fingers

It’s all very civilised really, don’t you think? Gone are the days of actually feeling, and experiencing, the full texture of that carefully chosen food morsel we are about to lob onto our tastebuds for a complete flavoursome analysis. No longer do we meticulously separate that visually selected gastronomic delicacy utilising our malleable human fingertips where we monitor the optimum temperature, and then determine the requisite mouthful portion tailored to our individual personal requirements.

Nope, we as a society are totally reliant upon our engineered precision made eating utensils for the process of efficient food transfer. Our preferred choice of implement is the metal cast knife, fork or spoon. Some do harness the matching wooden chopstick for artistically aligned pickup, others may utilise the option of a sharp skewer with masterful mouth insertion, whilst at all times cognisant to avoid a potentially painful tongue piercing.

Yes, the result of all this non sensory eating methodology is that we have slowly lost our basic human instinct of innovative creativity where we historically used to review the best option to rip apart our selected food option, and then stuff it in to our mouths with gleeful indulgence! It has been said that manners maketh man, but at what cost?

So next time those in the corporate office are out at a swanky restaurant for that habitual team building dinner, why not make a group decision to revisit your primitive roots and say no to the cutlery adorning the table? Yes, you may make a tad more mess on the pristine white tablecloth, and cause the waiter to be slightly aghast, but the group eating experience of some dining savagery will indeed be worth it! For those prepared to really live on the innovative wild side, why not consider the friendly option of also placing an item of food into your neighbour’s hungry mouth? Now in this instance, manners are very important, as biting the hand that feeds you is not acceptable behaviour under any circumstances.

So the choice is simple, if you want to foster a culture of innovation in your business, eat with your fingers, and as a famous Kentucky Colonel used to say, it’s also apparently finger licking good! (so I’m told).

Green Rolls and Hands? Nope!

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For those of you that notice things, you will have seen this overt activity as it nonchalantly happens at precisely the same time every work day, typically around 12 PM.

The routine has been slowly increasing in acceptance and is now seen gastronomically throughout the global corporate lunching fraternity. The more worrying part with this viral consumptive eating trend is that it has been gradually eroding the employee’s ability to be creative with each unassuming, yet decisive, bite.

Other visual clues to this habitual eating disorder are the sporadic green flakes, annoyingly wedged firmly between the consumer’s front teeth, that unfortunately quickly diminish the potency of any beneficial smile that may have permeated from the nominated cuisine experience.

Owing to the well marketed hand-held appeal and versatility of this unique luncheon product, your corporate colleagues will recklessly chomp on it without any personal welfare concern as they freely walk, engage in other physical exercise, or whilst happily sitting in a relaxed stationary position at their work desks.

Yes, I’m talking about sushi!

Unfortunately, this repeated daily eating sushi experience has markedly diminished their innovation skills as they no longer use their sensory exploration nous to seek out other equally satisfying food alternatives. After years of reckless sushi eating, this innovation retardation can be readily validated via the application of any up to date Myers Briggs personality profiling where comparisons can be easily made to when they didn’t have this eating disorder, and when their taste buds enjoyed a diverse choice in luncheon opportunities.

So the answer is clear. If you want to quickly increase innovation in your corporate office, urgently circulate an official HR decree than bans the eating of sushi with immediate effect.  Your business, your work colleagues, and the other non-sushi selling establishments in your office area, will thank you greatly.

Grand Chef de Woft

Transparency 3

As I patiently sat awaiting instructions from the occupants of Conference Room 1, I smugly took the opportunity to look around my master chef kitchen. Although small, and positioned strategically beneath the Conference Room, it was a classy place, full of the latest stainless-steel cooking appliances, pans, other key requisite implements, and one that was dutifully restocked on a daily basis with the latest aromatic worldly delights.

In my position of “Grand Chef de Woft”, I felt honoured in the knowledge that I was fully appreciated by those that gleefully awaited my gourmet creations to stimulate, and motivate their creativity and hunger for innovation.

Unbeknownst to me, my work colleagues above had now entered Conference Room 1 and were preparing to start their 9 AM team meeting. They all gathered around the “woft box” and unanimously agreed upon their selection. As they were all feeling quite hungry and lethargic, they desperately needed an appropriate thought woft stimulation. They selected the popular “woft number 3”, and immediately the instruction was conveyed to me and I sprung into action.

I placed the freshly brewed coffee and pan-fried onions under the woft extraction fan that was positioned centrally over my stove, and then turned it on to maximum woft velocity. Conference Room 1 quickly filled with “woft number 3” and the occupants marvelled at the odours that were soon to completely fill their room. As is standard practice, at the conclusion of their meeting, they closed the vent of woft and opened the outside windows to allow the fresh air to permeate into the room, thereby eliminating any residual odours in preparation for the next occupants of Conference Room 1.

At 11 AM, I was instructed to convey “woft number 7”. Experience told me that these colleagues were struggling, and I promptly boiled copious amounts of strong peppermint tea. A few seconds later, the woft of peppermint engulfed the meeting room to which sighs of relief were loudly heard by those above, thereby signalling their motivational satisfaction.

This process continued all day until 5 PM when the lights in Conference Room 1 were turned off and my colleagues packed up their bags and happily headed home.

Knowing that my important role was now done, I also tidied up my kitchen and departed the corporate office. I left with a sense of achievement, knowing that I had provided the required woftful environment that lead to many new ideas being generated in Conference Room 1. I smiled with satisfaction on a job well done!

The Gingerbread People

Gingy

The freshly baked gingerbread men and women with an impressive, and distinctive corporate logo stamped across their chest, were carefully placed on each employee’s desk in the early hours of the morning. It was the last day of work before Xmas and the department manager had spent many hours tirelessly baking that morning in preparation for the annual ritual of gingerbread person desk placement.

The time was now 6 AM and with the task of distribution completed, he decided to find a quiet corporate sick-bay bed and have a couple of hours sleep before his fellow employees arrived in the office to gleefully devour their eagerly anticipated baked gourmet morsels with an accompanying cup of coffee or tea.

But this year, something rather different and decidedly odd occurred. At about 6:15 AM there was a discreet, yet distinctive, sound of pastry movement. Yes, on some of the poorly lit office desks, an occasional little gingerbread arm and foot was beginning to display some rather unique humanistic characteristics. But not all gingerbread people sprung to life?

At 6:30 AM, some baked people of gingerbread DNA were leaping and gesticulating with extensive social skills and were having a great time getting to know each other and exchanging various bodily crumbs. However, some of their other baked relatives were just lying there in a motionless state, whilst others were still experiencing the joy of minimal hand movement with no prospect of running amuck!

Just before the department manager took his last snuff of slumbered bliss signalling that it was time to awake, an internal motion ceasing sensor was triggered in each of the gingerbread people and those that were mobile all dropped down on the spot and once again became just a baked stationary figurine.

As the employees started to arrive at their desks, some were greeted with a large number of scrumptious gingerbread people. A vast majority of the staff found a single gingerbread person on their desk in the exact same position that it has been placed by the manager. So, the question that you are all thinking is, why do some people have more gingerbread than others? The answer is fairly obvious if you have studied the traits of gingerbread culture and society, but if you do not have this educational knowledge, let me explain.

It all has to do with the energy and creativity that is exhibited by those employees in your corporate office that are innovative. These people are the lifeblood of your organization and they stimulate and encourage all sorts of ideas and inspirational thinking that some of you may think is a little bit way out. But, without these people, there is no imagination, and no hope that fictional ideas such as gingerbread people coming to life could ever exist. So it is really any wonder why the gingerbread people flocked to these people’s desks?

When next you are fortunate enough to hold a gingerbread person, prior to that first chomp of delight, may I suggest you stop and think and question yourself about your level of innovation and whether your personality entitles you to eat just one, or maybe more?

Too Many Cooks do NOT Spoil the Broth

Too Many Chefs

There are many key factors required to achieve a magnificent slow cooked gourmet soup.

First, there is the Chef that coordinates the whole cooking process utilising their wealth of experience based on a proven and never ending method of trial and error leading to the desired soup result. Next are the ingredients that when merged together in the right proportions yield that optimum flavour and texture. Let us also not forget the liquid within which all the ingredients can be distilled, can freely permeate, and then combine to form the necessary soup consistency. Other important requirements are heat, time and a suitable cooking pot to allow the progression of the ultimate soup masterpiece.

A successful Chef will also welcome feedback from their peers and will happily consider their suggestions on other exotic ingredients that may compliment and improve their recipe. Some of these ingredients may provide an immediate taste impact, others may take time to infuse and then add a more complex and subtle addition.

The combined result of all of the above is the achievement of gourmet soup perfection!

However, this soup methodology can also be applied to the process of innovation in the corporate office.

The Chef
There needs to be an owner of the innovation process that coordinates all the idea inputs and directs the progression towards the required end result. The key is to have one Master Chef, but also numerous Apprentice Chefs that can assist and take-over when required so the innovation process doesn’t lose momentum and focus (after-all, without the proper attention from the chef(s), the soup may boil over and be ruined!)

The Pot
Ideas need a receptacle for their collection and development. Suggestions for this could be a corporate internal communication forum where thoughts are shared and discussed in an open environment, a brainstorming session, or other creative methods that meet the cultural needs of the organisation. The pot needs to be of the right size to accommodate all the ideas that might be generated throughout the process. Too small a pot may lead to participant frustration; too large a pot may lead to ideas being lost?

The Ingredients
Ideas need to come from many sources within the corporate organisation. All employees should be invited to participate to allow for greater diversity of thought and enhanced potential creativity. These ideas can then be further refined and combined by the skill of the Chef’s team as appropriate.

The Soup
The business needs to have an overall objective for the output generated from the innovation process. For instance, a Chef will know whether they are planning to make a soup and not a cake! If the objective were deemed to be a cake, then a completely different methodology would be required.

Time, Heat
Ideas need time to develop and mix with others that are placed into the cooking pot. Some ideas need to be broken down further via additional analysis (or heat) following which a new array of exciting and complex ideas may become evident.

You may recall that old saying “Too many cooks will spoil the broth”. Well, in this instance, you need many, many cooks as each cook (or fellow employee) brings with them a wealth of different ideas all based on their own insights and experiences. It is the collection of these ideas that leads to an endless array of innovation and creativity. The secret to innovative success is how these multitudes of ideas are mixed and brought together in a format that reinforces innovation. This is where the role of the Master Chef is so important in blending all these ideas into a soup that meets the requirements and tastes of the organisation.

To conclude, may these ideas help you develop a brilliant soup based on that distinctive taste of your own corporate innovation! Bon appetite!

 

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