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).

The Moodification Shirt

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Forget packing your vast array of shirts next time you travel on business because the “moodification shirt” is finally here! Yes, after years of secretive wardrobe testing by a leading Melbourne apparel designer on many willing, and some less so, randomly body shaped men and women, the fashion solution now sits comfortably on your back.

As the name suggests, the “moodification shirt” quickly adapts in a most unassuming way to all your changing psychological and physical needs.

According to the marketing blurb, this remarkable shirt provides the following phenomenal wearer features and benefits.

  1. Over indulgence rectification
    You have just consumed a little bit too much dinner and your shirt is starting to have that feeling of unwelcome tightness. Relax, as the “moodification shirt” will surreptitiously respond by expanding the fabric to the next shirt size thereby relieving the increasing tension growing your stomach.
  2. Increased heart rate
    Following some unexpected exercise, or a welcome romantic distraction, your heartbeat suddenly increases to a point where a traditional shirt no longer meets your requirements. The “moodification shirt” senses your increased blood palpitations and nonchalantly loosens your top two buttons to allow additional airflow and chest cooling.
  3. Fashion
    Although the “moodification shirt” appears to be white, it can quickly change colour and pattern via the pressing on the two buttons hidden in the lower body of the fabric. Pressing the white button changes the colour, the black button alters the pattern. Through a careful combination of the white and black buttons, the wearer can achieve a full colour array, vertical or horizontal stripes and even checks. For those that want the paisley pattern, at a small additional expense, a third shirt button can be purchased, but only for those individuals that meet the creative persona mindset qualifications.
  4. Hygiene
    No time for a shower? That’s no problem with the “moodification shirt”. Each shirt has an inbuilt odour sensor that is sewn into the collar. When the wearer’s personal woft reaches a discernible value, a pleasant to the nose sanitiser dust is quietly released from the fabric and quickly permeates throughout the shirt.
  5. Stains
    For those unexpected interactions where a pen, lipstick or other stain may find its way onto your shirt, there is no need to panic! By holding both the black and white buttons (see item 3) for 5 seconds engages an emergency colour coverup mechanism within the shirts fabric where the whole shirt changes to the colour of the stain, so it is completely unrecognisable.

So where can you buy this remarkable shirt and how much does it cost? Just go to any reputable retail store and ask the manager to see their range of “moodification shirts”. They won’t be on general display for all the common riff-raff to see, but are normally hidden in the private area allocated to the innovative business purchaser with creative clothing tastes.

The Tasteful Application of the iChup™

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A soon to be conducted research study by a famous, yet remarkably unpretentious University located near Oxford, has yielded a highly plausible theory regarding the primary catalyst that supports a truly innovative mind.

The theory examined the resources used by the leading creative thinkers prevalent in the 1940s with those commonly found today, and the results were indisputable.

The majority of the great thinkers of the 1940s relied on a common, and most readily available thinking tool that transcribed their thoughts onto paper for private contemplation, mass distribution, and eventual critique amongst their peers. This tool was highly malleable and could be customised to the palate of the holder following long thoughtful periods of mastication. The tool was typically made from wood, with a pointed graphite core that blunted with continual use. Its name was the pencil.

However, with the advent of the computer, the role of the pencil slowly disappeared from the hand of the thinking person and was surreptitiously replaced with the keyboard, and the mouse.

The researchers, from that University located near Oxford, spent many hours studying the chewing habits of a small, yet highly representative sample of computer users (about three actually). Those observed, were found to exhibit no visible characteristics of creativity, but more importantly, not one of them placed any IT implement in their mouth. Besides shouting the letters Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum) quite loudly following this remarkable observation, they smugly realised that they had indeed discovered the true supportive tool for innovation.

Yes, there is a direct correlation between those with a creative mind, and those that thoughtfully chew a pencil.

A few years later, a Research Scientist at Apple just happened to read the findings of this chewing link to innovation and a strategic project was immediately funded. Following the expenditure of many millions of dollars, the consumption of endless cups of soy-milk chai lattes with honey, the iChup™ was finally invented, even more quickly commercialised, and can now be seen in the mouths of many innovative computer users today.

As the name suggests, the iChup™ does have the appearance of a Chupa Chup, and the method of operation is indeed via mouth placement, but that is as far as the similarly goes as the iChup™ has many more mind pleasing features.

Feature 1: Bluetooth Connectivity
The iChup™ has a small surface sensor that measures the tension applied by your teeth as the device is gleefully moved around your mouth thereby ensuring minimal dental damage. The measurement output can be linked via Bluetooth to your computer, or your mobile phone utilising the iChup™ App.

Feature 2: Stress Relaxation
For those thinkers that are stressed, the iChup™ has been designed for under tongue placement. Once in position, the iChup™ has a range of vibration settings that can be selected by the user to obtain maximum stress relaxation.

Feature 3: Taste
The iChup™’s hollow centre has been designed to accommodate a variety of tasteful liquids that are pleasantly discharged over an 8 hour workday. A range of flavours can be purchased, the more popular ones being mint, cola, honey, and for those that like the taste of pencils, there is even a special wooden one.

The iChup™ has been a real success for Apple and one that reinforces that old saying; “Don’t Forget the Past. Learn from It”.

And yes, I still like to use a pencil, still have the taste for it, and find that many creative thoughts quickly appear when applied to paper.

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.

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 Battle of the Left and the Right

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And so the tussle starts, yet again, as my daily morning alarm triggers the conscious awakening between my two better halves. The barrage of questions are initiated, and rebuffed, as both sides of me begin the battle for short term body dominance. At the end of the day, my internal scoreboard signifies a winner, but there is only one victor, that being me. Yes, after years of mind training, I have finally mastered my own unique and personal source of creativity. But, we all have this innate ability, we just need to let the dynamics of our left and right brain thought processes engage in mutually beneficial conflict for assured perpetual self-development.

All of us have experienced the continuous battles within our own individual minds, either consciously of perhaps subconsciously. These intellectual disagreements may come in a variety of guises, such as the choice between eating a healthy breakfast, or alternatively choosing a full fat one with all the delicious trimmings, others could be habitually shaving your face in the morning without question (yes, I’m assuming you are male), or challenging the status quo and electing to go with that fashionable facial stubicular appearance.

Now it just so happens that there is an important section of “mass” within your brain that operates centrally between the left and right spheres, and this location is the strategic source of all your innovation. This is the battlefield where your mathematical and creative ideas have a virtual punch up and fight for the opportunity to implement their personalized wishes over your actions. However, you, as the owner of this battlefield, need to be tactically clever to ensure that both sides have an equal chance of winning. Should one brain side win a tad too often it will become a little bit too cocky, alternatively, the other side may become demoralized and could give up trying to play the mind game and a dangerous state of imbalance will prevail. Should this occur, this is where negative personality issues may become evident which could lead to a variety of unwanted and socially unacceptable psychological problems within the owner.

So next time you have the sensation of feeling a debate of choice within your mind, relax, all is ok, it’s just your brain engaging in some power play between the left and the right sections. But do make sure that they play fair thereby ensuring that you reap the ongoing rewards of your personal innovation.

The Mesmeric Corporate Prognosis

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My esteemed colleagues, yes, I can sense your excitement and anticipation! But please relax as you need not wait any longer! After years of pain staking personal research sitting in the entrance foyers of the top 100 global companies, I am now pleased to announce that I have discovered the origins of this incapacitating corporate behavioural phenomenon.

This crippling condition that has inhibited the innovative thinking processes of employees for many decades, now has a medical name, that being “Corporate Mesmeric Innovative Retardation”, or CMIR for short. But more importantly, there is an antidote that is quite painless, and one that can be quickly administered to the corporate employee with immediate effect.

How did I discover this condition? Well, the intensive research required a high level of painstaking incognito behaviour on my behalf involving the wearing a beige nondescript suit, together with countless hours reading The Times, The Wall Street Journal and other local newspapers so as to not be noticed by the employees as they entered the corporate office. Unfortunately, I am still scared by the lack of fashion colour and style, but it was a burden that I was willing to bare for the sake of worldly corporate progress, I’m told the nightmares will eventually subside. The upside, is that my knowledge of world affairs, including the stock market, has resulted in various personal financial gains derived from highly profitable share trading, and a vast array of exclusive invitations to attend numerous London and New York high society trivia quizzes where I am deemed the font of all knowledge, and a most prized team member.

So what did the extensive research tell me? Although my study will be printed in next month’s edition of the Harvard Business Review, I’m sure that the HBR Publisher won’t mind me providing you all with a brief overview of my findings.

They key aspect to my world breaking research was the use of eagled-eyed observation. After countless detailed and personally exhaustive people watching experiences, I noticed the behaviour of all employees (particularly the attractive ones) as they entered the corporate office first thing in the morning, and then as they left that evening. The behavioural change in those inflicted employees at some businesses was profound, it was almost as if I was looking at two different people! Prior to them walking into the corporate reception area, they had a happy persona and exhibited all the normal signs of chirpiness, a willingness of thought, and a noticeable desire to learn. But once their foot stepped onto the marble tiled entrance foyer, it was as if an invisible intensely powerful force quickly sucked all the creativity from them, to which an innovative void remained until they departed the building at 5 PM sharp. At 5:01 PM, their creative vacuum was immediately replaced with their original pre-work positive behaviour. Yes, it was truly remarkable observation to behold!

Although quite mystifying, not all corporate businesses had employees that suffered from the dreaded CMIR condition. To understand the cause as to why this unexplained phenomenon may have occurred, I had to dig deeper into the observational evidence and decided to introduce the HR Managers of the companies studied into the rich complexity, and subtle machinations, of my academic research. After numerous soy milk chai lattes, and what seemed like an endless consumption of gluten-free bagels, I came to a momentous and decisive eureka moment. Apparently, the culture of the organization had a direct correlation with the onset of the CMIR. Should the culture be viewed negatively, then a high frequency of CMIR suffers prevailed. The trigger for most employees who had acute CMIR was the initial sighting of the company logo, typically first seen when they entered the company premises in the morning.  On viewing the logo, a negative and mesmeric effect immediately struck down the creatively-fragile employee resulting in a mind destroying innovation purge, luckily this was a reversible retardation that quickly ceased when exiting the building at 5 PM.

Yes, you are correct in assuming that those companies that had a positive and dynamic corporate culture that was well respected, and one that harmoniously and gleefully fitted with the employee’s lifestyle goals, experienced no CMIR sufferers. So the answer is simple. To eradicate any corrosive and long-term damaging CMIR influences in your business, management do need to focus on the right corporate culture to ensure that their business logo immediately inspires your employees when first sighted as they enter your office.

And should you need any assistance in the process, my consulting fees are indeed negotiable (but please, no gluten free bagels).

What does your bowl say about you?

Day 96 - Thinking about it...

As usual, I arrived in our corporate office early and made that all too familiar journey of walk into our club lounge where the ingredients of a basic breakfast awaited me. There was the usual array of cereal, muesli, fruit, whole milk, light milk, the obligatory soy milk, and of course coffee and a plethora of teas.

But this morning, something was noticeably different. Rather than being confronted with the usual food branding, some clever and rather innovative colleague had labeled each item with a unique and curiously descriptive name. There was also a page of instructions that each breakfast eater had to follow, otherwise they would be excluded from this unique eating activity.

The first instruction was to grab a white bowl and mug from the cupboard and scribe my name on it with the black marker pen provided. However, rather than just spelling my name, I had to add the words “personality” after it. As such, my bowl and mug were named “Steven’s personality”.

I was then asked to peruse the array of cereals which were now labelled as ‘creative’ (aka muesli), ‘conservative’ (aka corn flakes), ‘fun’ (aka Coco Pops), ‘vitality’ (aka porridge). What looked like full cream milk was called ‘communication”, light milk (‘vision’) and soy milk (‘humour’). The process continued for all the fruit and beverage selections to which other descriptive tags were applied.

Once my food and beverage selection had been made, I was then requested by the instructions to write these pseudonyms on the bowl and the mug which was to be a reminder of personality for that day.

Although the process sounded like a bit of fun, after a week of breakfast personality profiling, there were some interesting learnings from the activity:

1. You are what you eat.
2. We can be so set in our ways which, we may not see until you observe the same food and beverage personality pseudonyms written in black pen on our bowl and mug each day.
3. Change is not as hard as you think, just reach out and try something new (eg different cereal, fruit, milk). If you don’t like the ‘taste’ of it, well, learn from the experience and explore something that is more suited to your palate.
4. Variety is indeed the spice of life.

My personality, well, I’m quite content with a bowl of Fruit Loops, yes, say no more!

These Feet are on My Beach!

Miina

Old speedos and my faded blue seersucker shirt were not the appropriate choice of clothing for my daily 5 AM walk along the beach this morning. I was feeling decidedly cold, windblown and wet, but I wouldn’t have changed it for all the money in the world (well, maybe for $2M I could be swayed?). These magical moments alone on the beach were my time for quiet solitude where I could consider life, the universe, and those things really important to me (like what to have for breakfast?). However, this particular morning, I was not alone!

Yes, my private thoughtful beach sojourn had been violated by the presence of another person’s feet. I could see the evidence of their self-righteous, pompous, egocentric footprints in the sand! How dare they, I thought, this was my beach! After a few minutes my annoyance began to decline (mainly because I was freezing) and my mind started to ponder the identity of this mysterious and cheeky individual.

On looking at their footprints, I could determine that it was a slender foot, most likely that of an adult, but I couldn’t tell their age, sex, nor whether they might be an interesting person to engage with in a constructive dialogue. But, I needed to know why they were on my beach, at my sacred time in the morning, so I decided to follow the footprints and track them down. I was in luck as the waves had not erased the foot trail of evidence. I was on a mission now and my walking speed increased, particularly as I could just make out a figure in the distance wearing a red bathing costume and a bright matching red beanie. I started to run as I was now nearing the owner of those feet. However, as I was drawing significantly nearer, I immediately stopped as I thought I may have the appearance of a depraved minimalist fashion beach stalker and could be a tad frightening for those you didn’t know me. I was so close, yet so far from the origin of those footprints!

But then, the owner of the feet turned around, paused, sighted my beach attire and walked straight to me! I froze and the next thing I heard was “Good morning, great morning for a walk. Do you come here often? My name is Susan by the way.” For the next 30 minutes we got to know each other as we shared our common like for the beach and other topics of mutual interest (including breakfast).

I was so pleased that I had explored those footprints and not just blankly looked at them as I focused on my private walk of thought that morning. Unfortunately, we are often too absorbed in our own personal affairs to take the time to explore new events and unknown people around us. Sometimes, it takes effort, persistence and a lot of work to seek out these new experiences, but it will most definitively benefit you, and the other owners of the footprints you encounter.

Go on, give the exploration of “new feet” a go!

Grand Chef de Woft

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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!

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