What your Scarf says about You?

men-scarf

Following a lifetime of scarf watching and wearing, one can say after years of visual research that this simple piece of cloth is indeed not what it seems and is a tad more complex. One could assume that its sole purpose is to keep the wearer’s neck warm, but this is far from the truth.

The real origins of the scarf go back to the days of when men were men and were unashamedly hairy. In this era of male follicular freedom, men had copious amounts of body hair that exuded unhindered from the top of their heads, right down to the upper surface of their feet.

Men were known to be warm, confident and content with their unique individuality that permeated with an endless array of hair colours, lengths and thicknesses.

Men didn’t need a scarf to keep their necks heated owing to their natural inbuilt thermal layer of protection. But alas, that all changed with the onset of personal grooming that necessitated the desire for a clean shaven neck, face and a carefully clipped head. Hairy mankind was doomed from that day forth.

What happened next was the birth of the scarf to placate man’s now continually cold neck. Coloured neck hair was quickly replaced with a variety of colourful looms and fabrics. The neck wrapping craze spread to include women, children and the occasional pampered pooch.

Now what was the root of this hairy downfall you may ask? The answer is innovation, surreptitiously disguised as personal fashion where everyone seeks their own unique creativity, and wants their bald neck to look visually different so they can stand out from the masses.

But those of us with hairy necks know the real reason, that being jealousy. Yes, not everyone can be the owner of hair, particularly on your neck. So, a message to those unlucky people that do not possess good hair neck fortune, keep wearing your scarves and one day your body may become fluffy. Yes, miracles do happen to those that seek hairy freedom! You just need a hairy belief.

 

Ideation in Motion

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It’s now a common sight. Parked on many a city or suburban footpath, there is an endless line of motor scooter riders eagerly waiting to make a lunch delivery to a stream of hungry and expectant customers.

Once on the move, they can be seen on roads courageously swerving and dangerously ducking in between numerous obstreperous cars as they make their way to the consumer’s destination in record time, complete with the goal of optimum distribution efficiency.

The nutritious product inside the branded brown paper bag they carry could be any cuisine, the rider is ambivalent, as long as the precious food contents arrive intact and unspoilt, just as it departed the door of the restaurant.

These distinctive conveyors of food serve a similar mechanism to those that seek creativity to foster a culture of innovation in the corporate office. The only difference being the contents, and the mode of transport.

Like all devourers of nourishment, businesses need a constant supply of ideas, and a trusted and reliable approach for creating them.

In a restaurant, a qualified chef is used to create and assemble the requisite gourmet ingredients, whereas a business can use a range of culinary techniques such as crowdsourcing, or brainstorming, to generate their creative inputs. However, in order to avoid a potential unsavoury gastronomic ideation mess that will negatively pollute the employee’s palate for innovation, a skilful Director of Innovation is required to filter, align and masterfully coagulate the ideas into a useful form for the business to consume, and ultimately rely on for ongoing cultural sustenance.

Now, not all employees will have the same tastes in ideation, so creativity mastery is required to flavour and accommodate their individual eating requirements. During this process, communicating the contents of the ideation menu is particularly important to inspire their hunger for the new thoughts being generated.

Enter the “ideation scooter” whose primary objective is to deliver the creativity developed throughout the organisation in bite size morsels that each employee can happily chew, and then swallow, with an endless desire for more. It’s important to note, that many deliveries may be indeed be required in order to get the innovative messages across, and then continually replenished.

So next time your see a food delivery scooter, take a moment to think about the contents being transported, the establishment that created it, and the lucky individual who is eagerly wanting to devour it. The “it” is ideation in motion, and something your business should have an appetite for in wanting to eagerly consume.

 

The Holiday Room

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I must admit I felt a tad apprehensive to be lying semi-naked in my allocated room in the corporate office, but thankfully the door was firmly shut so no one could come in and spy me in my non-professional private state of personal relaxation. The temperature warmly caressing my body was a welcome 30 Celsius, outside the climatic elements were a freezing 10 degrees below which quickly alleviated any nanosecond potential thought of partial nudity in that environment.

The booking time remaining before my experience of quiet solace was to come to an abrupt end was indicated by the petite clock on the wall, that being, only 28 minutes. As such, I nonchalantly rolled over and let another part of my tired body savour the “Holiday Room” experience.

Yes, I was working in rather an innovative office where the employee can book a meeting room and escape from the pressures and pain of their stressful daily working regime. These unique office rooms are called “Holiday Rooms” and can be booked like any other meeting room for a one hour period via the employee’s electronic Outlook diary. Why a “Holiday Room”? Well, for those employees that can’t afford to take time off to have a real holiday owing to being deemed too busy, or important, this option provides a welcome interim solution!

How does it work? It’s simple. The employee just has to book the room, and then program the room to their desired temperature. Once selected, the room springs into the corresponding ambient solution mode and immediately sets up the requisite props to make the experience much more meaningful and relaxing.

For those employees that like the heat, once the temperature request had been accepted by the booking system, on arrival they would be pleasantly provided with a comfortable sunbed, a tube of SPF30 sunblock, wading pool (maximum depth of 0.5 metres to ensure no safety incidents, complete with two plastic floating penguins that squeak), sand pit (with shells, seaweed, bucket and spade), protective dark sunglasses and a booming sun-lamp. A discrete non-alcohol cocktail can also be purchased for a modest fee.

Now should an employee book a temperature which necessitates ice particles quickly coating the walls and floor, then the “Holiday Room” instantaneously initiates the “Mountain Chalet” mode where a spiffy coloured snug fitting ski suit, leather gloves, blazing open fire, thick floor rugs, recycled plastic reindeer and fake fur growling black bears all automatically appear, complete with a micro-mist of delightfully fragrant pine tree odour that majestically permeates the chilled air cooling system. As expected, a discrete non-alcoholic hot toddy is also available, personally delivered by a neutral concierge of your choice.

Of course, there is an array of many other creative options available for the “Holiday Room” depending on the variety of tastes and cultures of the employees residing in your corporate office.

How many employees can occupy a “Holiday Room” at the same time? A good question, but owing to some very wise preventative corporate HR policies, the answer is only one. If you require a room with more than one occupant, then it is suggested that you explore other options well away from the office, and on your own time.

Now if your office doesn’t yet have a “Holiday Room”, fortunately there is a simple solution. That being, Ask.

It just feels so Good!

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

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

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

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

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

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!

 

Innovation that Works Out

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On doing a rather nonchalant and hopefully surreptitious visual comparison, mine was definitely the most hairy and very much the plumpest. The young woman on the machine next to me was the personification of goddess perfection, flat stomach, not a mark of perspiration, and any skerrick of anything that remotely resembled fat was just a fictitious illusion of a historical redundant memory.

We both looked around the room that was thumping to the beat of numerous high powered eardrum splitting musical chords harmoniously bumping in unison with an array of complex mechanical contraptions, all emblazoned with men and women of a diverse range of skills and ages.

Some were adorned in the latest skin tight fashion clothing that left absolutely nothing to the observer’s imagination, others, like me, were frolicking quite respectfully in loose fitting garments that provided a modicum of respectful self-integrity and decency.

We may dress differently, have a body shape that defines us most uniquely, and may not all be blessed with copious amounts of greying hairs that frequent many hidden, and some not so well disguised anatomical locations. Yet, each one of us knew that despite our outward physical appearances, we were all very much alike as we strived for our individual goals, although they may be different.

We could be mentally discouraged and thwarted in achieving our bodily objectives by looking at those that have an appearance that seemed totally unattainable to us mere normal mortals, but each of us voluntary decide to soldier on and take that additional, and sometimes painful progressive step. We elect not to give in, not to eat that extra piece of enticing chocolate, not to have that additional large bite from that glorious greasy hot Chicko Roll, but rather focus on a complex diet of proven healthy options.

If the location was that of a corporate office, and those striving for the attainment of improved fitness and well-being were the employees, then the situation would be analogous to those talented individuals that yearn for a culture of innovation.

Innovation is not reserved for a select few, it takes time, effort, sustained commitment and continued practice. Those seeking its attainment may fail the first time, but with the right mindset and support, they will indeed succeed.

Innovation needs an organisational infrastructure that provides the correct tools to hone and shape their employees creative skills via an ongoing exercise regime of mental ingenuity that challenges, and also supports the individual.

Yes, innovation is like a gym, it needs to be worked and continually applied, otherwise, the corporate office just turns to flab.

The Source is the Sauce

As Professor of Human Behaviour at a rather obscure, yet soon to be prestigious university in Melbourne, following many years of extensive sports science research, the sauce of human creativity has finally been identified. The answer is indeed sauce, not source, so relax all those with a grammatical accuracy phobia that immediately noticed what may have been a deliberate and cunning mistake in the previous sentence.

Have you ever been to an Australian Football League game and observed the passionate spectators with their Four’n’Twenty pies happily held, and well entrenched, in their frozen wind blown hands at the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (aka the ‘G’)? For those of you that haven’t experienced this first hand, the art of eating a hot meat pie is one that takes immense skill so as to not burn your mouth, lips and those seated around you, as the dangerous hot filling tends to unexpectedly ooze out from the crumbling pastry.

The academic study focused not on the pie, but the creative application of the sauce, to be precise, tomato sauce (or ketchup), that accompanies the football fanatics ritualistic eating process. After observing many a pie eater, it appears that there is a direct correlation between the individual’s saucing technique and their personality.

1. The Nozzle Plunger

This pie eater is one not to be messed with and takes life and work very seriously. These eaters plunge the plastic sauce bottle nozzle deeply into the pie and squeeze out volumes of thick crimson sauce that forces the encapsulating pastry almost to the point of exploding. They also like to deliberately leave their pie pastry remnants on the bottle nozzle as a reminder to those that are next in line, that they were there before them, and that there may not be much sauce left in the bottle for their pie. As such, it is best not to follow those that nozzle plunge, if at all possible.

2. The Swirler

These pie eaters are the creative types and take great pride in forming perfect concentric sauce circles on the upper pie crust. The bigger the circles, the more artistic the individual. However, there are some sauce swirlers that go to the extreme and end up with a fully coated soggy red layer on their pie. These people aren’t creative, they just have no self control and should not be put into a position of any authority in a work or social environment as it will just end up in a total mess.

3. One Bite, One Squirt

This person is very methodical and has excellent planning skills. When eating a pie, a well defined measure of sauce is strategically squirted onto the section of pie now freshly exposed following their bite. However, a word of caution as these eaters are not very sociable as they tend to hog the sauce bottle, and not share it owing to their demanding and very selfish sauce squirting schedule.

Now for those reading this blog overseas, particularly in those countries where the hot dog dominates consumption at sporting events, and alas, no meat pies are consumed, or available, relax, as the study results do have international application. Here, the academic researcher just has to observe the eater, and see how they utilise the condiments available, be they mustard, pickles, or other gourmet delicacies. The researcher will be required to attend many sporting events, but with time and patience, the results will be validated.

Yes, the source of a person’s personality profile is most definitely found in the sauce.

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.

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).

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