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.

 

Twas the Present of Change

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The date was the 24th December, the time 9:30 PM, and an ageless white facially follicled gentleman looked carefully at himself in the mirror.

For more years than he could remember, he had worn a red velvet suit, fluffed out his bushy beard and had gone about his famously punctual global delivery service that was the envy of Amazon.

He was known by the young and the old, no business card was required to make his introduction, he had an immediately recognisable face that made even the President of the United States jealous.

Although he had mastered keyless entry into any house, office, government, or building with high security, he was welcome by all, and was not considered a threat by the police, in fact, quite the opposite.

He had a smile and a laugh that could subdue the most rebellious child, or annoying employee. His flying reindeer fleet and professional elf workforce created a NPS that exceeded the expectations of even the most virtuous CEO.

But, it was time for a change. Yes, he had fallen into a seasonal rut and he needed to reinvigorate his creativity.

First to go was his long entrenched beard allowing the freezing North Pole winds to redden his virginal smooth face, an experience he had not encountered since his youth. Next was his suit, now fashionably replaced with a jacket, paisley shirt and jeans, complete with a tartan scarf and beret.

He looked at himself in the mirror and smiled until his elation was broken by the gentle tap on the shoulder by a senior elf reminding him that it was now time to start delivering that vast array of the world population’s presents.

But, it was time for yet one more long overdue strategic change in the festive status quo. He picked up the keys to the turbo powered sled, placed them in the hand of his 18 year old daughter and said, “You can drive, my turn to be the passenger”.

That night, a feminine sounding “Ho, Ho, Ho” was heard throughout the world accompanied by a smiling and fashionably dressed man now experiencing a newly gained sense of innovation.

To Be You, or Not Be You?

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OK PersonaAPP, what would you suggest I become today?
Yes, this is the latest personality modification tool that anyone over 18 years of age can easily access from the App Store, for a remarkably reasonable fee.

So how does this rather spiffy technology work? Well, without boring you with all the rather complicated and quite technical details, let’s focus on how you can use it to your advantage in both your personal and corporate life.

Step 1:
Once downloaded, open the PersonaAPP on your mobile phone. Please tick the box stating that you agree, and fully understand the plethora of T&Cs regarding the unscrupulous behaviour that you are about to voluntarily undertake via the use of this technology. If you are worried about the potential consequences, relax, because all your friends are also deviously using it without any moralistic second thoughts!

Step 2:
Take an honest photograph of your face with all visual enhancements completely removed. This means no make-up, glasses or monocles. For best results, men (and some women) should have a shaven face. Those with false teeth, it doesn’t matter if you leave them in or out as the clever PersonaAPP does make some allowances.

Step 3:
The PersonaAPP will now require you to truthfully answer some pertinent questions regarding yourself, and your personal objectives for at least the next 3 hours. Why the 3 hour time period? Well, the Melbourne university researchers that developed PersonaAPP determined that an individual tends to change their outlook, and short term expectations on life in 3 hourly time blocks. That’s why paragraph 4.3.2 in the T&Cs recommends that the user refreshes their photograph every 3 hours as your appearance will most likely have changed, or become a bit scruffy.

In your confidential user profile section, you can record private information about your age, sex, sexual preference, height, weight, Myers-Briggs personality profile, whether you like soy milk chai lattes with honey, wearing kilts and eating kippers for breakfast. You will then be asked about how you want to be perceived by those that you interact with in the next 3 hours, if they will be predominately male or female, their approximate age,  and the meeting environment. Yes, authentic answers are required, otherwise the results will be skewed erroneously.

Step 4:
Now press the red Persona Modification button and immediately your calculated optimum profile will be shown on your phone. Your photograph will now be stylishly photo-shopped indicating how you should comb your hair, apply make-up, add/remove blemishes, the style and colour of the monocle or spectacles that truly complements your face, hair/wig colour and length, or which razor blade is best for total head shaving. A suggestion of clothing will also be provided with images so you can fully look the part. Yes, don’t worry, instructions are even included on how to tie a bow tie!

But wait, there is indeed more. Another brilliant feature of the PersonaAPP is the vocabulary and accent recommendation suggester where a collection of cunning, and particularly intriguing, words and phrases are provided for you to nonchalantly utilise during your meeting. However, a word of caution regarding the use of an accent, once you start using it, you need to have the confidence to maintain the facade for at least 3 hours, otherwise you may not be viewed as you intended.

Yes, with PersonaAPP you will obtain the ideal persona that you are searching for that will make you irresistibly appealing to those that you meet in the next 3 hour time period. Relax, because with PersonaAPP you can reset your personality for the following 3 hours, and for each hour, every day. Yes, you can be a chameleon for the rest of your life with PersonaAPP should you want to, as can all your acquaintances who may also be using it, so all your relationships could be happily false, but then again, who would know?

But, remember to make sure that your phone if fully charged, otherwise you will need to be the natural you, and who knows what might prevail in that situation?

Should it be Short, or Long?

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There is a question that has been frustrating both women and men for years, that being, what is the perfect length? Should it be short, or long? After extensive academic research, it appears that the simple answer is, it depends entirely on how you feel at a particular point in time.

In 1926, the economist George Taylor at the Wharton School of Business developed the Hemline Index after he noticed a connection between economic prosperity and short skirts. The shorter the skirt, the higher the Index.

A soon to be world renowned Director of Thought Creation developed The Suit Trouser Length Creativity Index that purported a direct correlation with an individual’s innovation tendencies, that being, the greater the distance between the trouser cuff and their shoes, the higher the creativity.

Following years of Gaelic research, a lesser-known historian from Glasgow University found a similar link between kilt length and the courage exhibited by a Scotsman in battle. Apparently, the shorter the kilt, the greater number of thistle scratches which stimulated the wearer’s shouting and running ability.

Utilising all this extensive research, including many additional and worthy obscure publications, The House of Cloth is pleased to announce the AppCloth.

Yes, the AppCloth is now available for those discerning fashion wearers that want to match their daily creativity mood with their personal designer clothing selections. Through the use of a patented, and very clever biometric length analyser linked to the wearer’s iPhone, the AppCloth calculates how the individual is feeling. If the feedback signal received is a tad sluggish, well, this immediately indicates that the user may be experiencing a potentially low ideation day. To overcome this negativity, AppCloth would suggest that clothing be worn to stimulate the wearer’s innovation, that being a short skirt, short length trousers, or a mini-kilt.

Alternatively, if the AppCloth receives a signal that indicates an extreme state of hyperactivity, then a full-length clothing attire would be suggested to counteract potential severe embarrassment, just in case something a little too short be worn.

As with all new fashion disruptive innovative inventions, the individual does have the option to completely ignore any clothing recommendations, but please carefully read AppCloth’s short, twenty page, font 6, disclaimer, so you fully understand your rights as a consumer.

For more information on AppCloth, please go to the App Store, or your favourite and well trusted clothing department’s website.

Enduring Fashionable Zest

Dior

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.

It’s a Thong Thing

flip-flops

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 Modern Chonmage – The Man Bun

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The year is 1585 and a drip of beaded perspiration slowly meanders down the nose of Okudaira’s servant as he carefully shaves his master’s head to accentuate the grand chonmage of this great samurai. His trusted servant is all too aware that should he impart the slightest blemish on this feared warrior’s scalp, he too will quickly experience an even larger, and yet more terminal, cut upon his own head. After a few more tense moments the servant finally relaxes as Okudaira grunts with approval as he gleefully looks at his long, oiled, black hair topknot, now fully emphasised against his scar ravaged battle weary freshly shaved smooth skin.

But this chonmage was not worn for fashion. No, it was used by the mighty Japanese samurai to securely affix their helmet in place during battle; otherwise it would slide off their servant shaven heads leading to unthinkable catastrophic consequences. As the years progressed, this small clump of hair came to signify their high standing in society and a symbol of their fearsome military innovation and creativity.

Today, the samurai no longer roam the Japanese countryside, but the memory of their fortitude still remains and is seen on the heads of many young men and women in the form of the “man bun” or the ponytail.

Why is it done? Well, hair just seems to get in the way of those individuals who display that “can do” attitude and aggressive fighting spirit. Therefore, the only solution left to these hair embellished individuals is to tie it up and keep it in submissive order, or go the full head shaven bald look, however, not everyone suits that suave look of awesome sophistication.

Yes, it seems that there is a directly observable correlation between an individual’s ability to participate successfully in a physical activity involving agility and fortitude, with that of their hair containment (or no hair). If you like to have long hair, the obvious answer is to focus on those restful pursuits where your hair can avoid repressive entanglement. However, if you want to have the best of both follicle worlds, then maybe seek out the career of a Judge, where you can enjoy the benefits of minimal hair retardation, and can wear a wig.

So if you want to be a winner in life, control your hair, wear a “man bun”, grow a ponytail, or shave your head for maximum benefit.

Or, be bold, be bald.

Be a Leader in All Things Creative

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You all know that unforgettable first experience. Your heartbeat quickly increases to the point where you can actually hear that rhythmic booming sound of blood throbbing in your ears. You look sheepishly with a sense of nervous reluctance and trepidation up and down the street, just in case there is anyone that may know you. Then you dare yourself to do it. You finally muster up the courage, place it hurriedly on your head, pull it down a tad to achieve the requisite appearance, and then lose your fashion virginity. Yes, you are now a beret wearer.

You think that all eyes are upon you as you surreptitiously walk to your destination. But actually, those who observe you only have thoughts of deep admiration and respect for your individual fortitude and creative head wear selection.

As your days of fashionable beret wearing progresses, you will quickly find that your feeling of head self-consciousness completely diminishes and you will laughingly question yourself as to why you had the initial apprehension or thoughts of doubt. However, you have unwittingly placed an innovation stake in the ground that is a landmark creative catalyst to your fellow workers, those that pass you by on the street, and to your family.

Yes, many people are scared to speak up, to share an idea, or to challenge the status quo for fear of looking foolish. But, like your first beret wearing experience, when you have done it once, or even twice, you achieve a confidence to stand up and portray your personality. This act not only empowers you, but those around you to follow in your beret wearing footsteps!

So, if you don’t yet have a beret, go and buy one and place it with innovative pride upon your head. Then go forth and show the world that you are a leader in all things creative!

Ideas – Shaken, Not Stirred

James-Bond

For more than 5 decades, I’ve combined gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked ice, shaken well, never stirred, then strained into a spiffy glass, garnished with a twist of lemon, and then delightfully consumed with the added benefit of an irresistible drinking companion.

To some, I’m just James, to others, I’m known as Bond, or professionally by my British Government law exemption descriptor of 007.

During my working career, I have morphed in and out of countless bodies, have mastered numerous accents and have successfully portrayed an endless array of trend-setting fashion suit and hair styles. I have encountered many enemies and have strategically defeated evil with good. I have willingly mastered the requisite art of seduction to which I have gleamed many hidden secrets of national and personal importance.

As I sit alone at the bar in a socially acceptable part of London, I look curiously at my half consumed glass and wonder if the act of shaking, and definitely not stirring, is the true source of my non-alcoholic thought innovation? To assist with my serious mental contemplation, I straighten my expensive shirt cufflinks to strategically focus my mind on the origin of my creativity.

I quietly ponder, does the stirring activity yield complete thought homogenisation where the cherished essence of creative individuality quickly ceases to exist? Are these once creative concepts now no longer separate, powerful ideas, but rather just an accumulated entity of yet another cocktail ready to be consumed in a carefree attitude by the common masses?

Could it be that the deliberate act of shaking yields ideas that are refreshingly uncontaminated as discrete thoughts where their flavours are undiluted and full of zing-full concentration to be enjoyed by the experienced consumer?

As the beverage slowly permeated through the essence of my body, I became convinced that I had identified a unique aspect of the origin of innovation. The key is to gather a vast array of individual thoughts and to combine them in proportions where they remain uniquely discernable and do not lose their identity in the process.

For those working in the corporate office, the analogy suggests that you try not to stir all your creative individuals into a common corporate concoction where they lose their potency and marked influence in the organisation. Rather, incorporate them into your culture in a calculated measure where their flavour, intensity and influence is carefully shaken throughout the business in recognisable bursts that are appreciated and imaginatively welcome.

Yep, I think it’s time for another thoughtful drink. Cheers!

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