How to Breed Ideas?

chicjken

Great to hear that you have decided to become an idea breeder. It is a most rewarding hobby and one that will give you hours of joy and fulfilment. For those of you that have never done this before, don’t worry, it’s quite simple to do and requires minimal mental outlay, all you need is a focused mind.

I’ve been happily breeding ideas for many years, and if you are a novice, the following tips will get you quickly underway.

  1. Idea Type
    Yes, there are many types of ideas, so it’s important to know which ones you want to have in your idea collective (commonly known as an ideation coop). Ideas come in a vast array of different sizes, some are quite quick, others a bit of a laggard to fully develop, they can have short lives, others endure for many a lifetime. If you are uncertain as to which idea is best for you, I would suggest you consult your Thesaurus.
  2. Permit
    Many newcomers to this pastime often ask if they need a permit to breed ideas? The answer is no, so long as your ideas are not too noisy, as this may upset and distract those around you.
  3. Ideation Coop
    This is the most important facet in successfully breeding new ideas. Ideas like to be protected when they are born and require room for growth once they quickly start to develop. For this, a cosy thought box seems to work best, one with a special code that only you have access to thereby ensuring complete ideation security. Some breeders like to use a trademark or patent for their really special ideas, but this does come with a cost.
  4. Coop Maintenance
    New ideas will need creative nutrition to survive and maintain a healthy life. The best food for ideas is inspiration. It’s OK to start off small, but once your baby ideas get a taste for it, they will quickly grow and mature.
  5. Mating
    Ideas are very social and thoroughly enjoy a good interaction with other like-minded thoughts. They are capable of mating at any age, an activity which should be strongly encouraged, as it will ensure their long-term survival and a robust cross fertilisation of creativity which is an essential part of their development.

The next step is for you to give it a go! Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Ideas are very forgiving if you make a mistake, in fact, they appreciate it, as it shows that you are really committed to the ideation process.

Now go forth and breed!

The Very Social Idea

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If you have ever put yourself in the shoes of an idea, you would be exhausted!
Ideas are the biggest socialites in the known world and are universally recognised as the life of any party.

Ideas just hate the thought of being singular, they have an innate psychological need to be plural. Just put two solo ideas in a room and they will immediately start interacting with each other with a carefree and unrepentant promiscuity.

Ideas are also ageless, once created via a spark of unleashed human inspiration, they instantaneously become immortal and will happily congregate on mass within any hospitable corporate environment that willingly supports their requisite cosy culture of innovation.

However, there are some businesses that ideas have officially declared as a no-go zone. Those decreed as dull and boring organisations are like innovation vacuums that regrettably do not accommodate the individual and collective requirements of these festive wildlife thought manifestations. Once classified as an office of devastating inspirational lack, ideas will deliberately avoid these plagued businesses until a corporate culture of redemption has been successfully implemented, and publicly proven to be operationally effective. But once the requisite cultural correction has been made and externally communicated to the world of thought creation, then the ideas will fill the void with a gusto of spontaneity that would put any cashed-up pop-star to shame!

Now don’t assume that all ideas are identical. They are each different, and have a unique personality that frequently changes depending on their mood, and also to the environment to which they are exposed. But that diversity of thought is indeed their strength, as they, and their resultant factorially numbered offspring, all lead to a continual birth of new and wickedly clever innovations, none of which are ever the same.

So as a human, when next you walk into a corporate office and sense something unusually electric in the building, it is not your imagination, you are just responding to a large gathering of ideas having a hoot of a time!

The Virtual Innovation Librarian

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Why is it that some people just seem to have an endless plethora of brilliant ideas, whilst others struggle to generate just one? What’s the secret to their phenomenal creative success?

According to an obscure research paper soon to be published at some fictitious Boston University, the answer to these important questions is their illusive access to the highly prestigious, and most definitely secret, Virtual Innovation Librarian (VIT).

Respected sources advise that the VIT is an artificially intelligent imaginary persona that surreptitiously captures your unconscious thoughts when you are in mental state of slumber, or equivalent corporate boredom. The key requirement being, complete and total mindlessness. For those of you working in the corporate office, just think of all that untapped potential that lethargically resides in your vast employee database!

As the name suggests, the VIT is the keeper of an almost infinite number of thoughts that are meticulously categorised and indexed via the Dewey Decimal Idea Classification System (DDICS), following which, they are then permanently registered within a 4D electronic virtual depository. The DDICS classifications cover all good, and some of the not so good, ideation sparks of human life, business and various social activities from every person that has ever lived, or is currently alive, from the very first evolutionary stage when women and men decided it was time to think.

No, you don’t need a virtual library card to make a thoughtful withdrawal, the process is indeed much simpler and works via the following ingenious method:

  1. Deeply think of the problem that you want to solve.
  2. Open your mind and allow the VIT to have unrestricted access to all your inner thoughts and desires (some people call this mindfulness, meditation or just being lazy).
  3. The VIT then forages around with gusto in your cluttered mind trying to cross-match your nominated problem with all the other thoughts accumulated in the 4D electronic virtual depository.
  4. If a match is made with your problem, and no other person is wanting to also access that particular thought, you can borrow that idea and claim it as your own.
  5. However, there is a catch. These borrowed thoughts only reside in your mind for a limited time period, so if you don’t check them out and use the idea, you quickly lose the innovative solution (just like the content of a dream when you wake up, and rapidly forget the details).

Is there a charge for using this VIT ideation service?

No, it is complimentary to those individuals that recognise that innovation is an activity that needs to be continually worked, and shared freely amongst your work colleagues, thereby ensuring that there is a constant source of fresh ideas being generated for the future needs of mankind. As that saying goes, “give ideas, that you may receive ideas”.

For those businesses that don’t value innovation, well, the cost of the VIT will be well beyond your financial reserves, so may I suggest that you don’t bother thinking longer term, and just focus on enjoying today as your future is guaranteed to be rather uncertain.

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!

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!

Dirt IS Good

muddy-woman

An office colleague of mine was trying to convey the attributes of infrequent showering as a benefit to the environment, and her body, after reading an article in a leading Australian newspaper*. My altruistic persona understood the associated advantages with water and soap conservation, and for that individual sacrifice I was indeed grateful. However, I must admit that I was struggling to find common agreement with the potential impact on her personal hygiene and that unique, and highly distinctive human odourfication.

That night, whilst driving home in my air-conditioned clean car cocooned from all external negative atmospheric influences, I thought objectively about my colleague, and I came to the conclusion that Dirt was actually a very good thing, particularly for the process of fostering innovation in the corporate office. No, I’m not suggesting for a moment that a dirty unwashed body should be encouraged, particularly as I am still a strong believer in the virtues of daily ablutions, but I am purporting the advantages of having a “dirty mind”, one that is openly shared and encouraged amongst all employees.

Now for all of you that do have a “dirty mind”, immediately stop, go no further with your thought processes!  When I use the term “dirt”, I mean; mud, soil or clay….yes, that Dirt.

In the corporate office, there are many ideas generated, some great, others, well, not so great. However, many of these hypothetically brilliant ideas experience a relatively short creative life that quickly evaporate before they can be progressed to a state of potential future commercial benefit.

Think of a plant that needs time to cultivate roots in dirt from which it obtains the necessary nutrients for growth. If it is left unprotected without the life giving benefits of soil, it soon withers and dies. Similarly, your thoughts require a “dirty mind” to take hold, grow and develop. Here the “dirty mind” is your business culture and it needs to be one that is rich in a variety of ideas that support these fragile seeds of creative thought. Should your business be lacking the “Dirt” and be more like an arid desert where endless restrictive procedures prevail, then innovation has no hope of developing.

Yes, Dirt is good and a “dirty mind” should indeed be encouraged.

* http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/how-often-should-we-shower-much-less-often-than-you-think-20150310-140487.html

Small, Yet So Influential

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I looked intently into my colleagues deep blue eyes and asked if she really wanted to do this, because once we do it, there was no turning back? She nodded with a cheeky smile and said she was up for it, after all, it should be quite an experience! We smirked with a nervous anticipation at each other and the mutual course of action was agreed.

Together, we had the global power and reach to change the corporate business world. We were about to unleash a movement that would have a profound impact on suited workers of all ages.

She was the President of the largest clothing retailer in Europe. I, as her Vice-President of Marketing, was responsible for the viral release of her latest leading edge fashion thoughts and ideas.

I gingerly picked up the chosen fashion item and with great respect, stated how I was in awe of how something so small, was going to have such a monumental influence in business. She laughed and said, “If they only knew who wielded the power in the corporate world!”

With the colour and pattern selection made, I pressed the send button on my E-mail note to which a global fashion communication chain reaction immediately commenced. In the following hours, purchase orders from all the leading department stores around the world came flooding into our New York based Head Office. Production orders were sent to China and the petite clothing items were quickly manufactured on mass, complete with our authentic world-renowned Company label. The price mark-up would be 1000%, but we knew that the consumers would expect nothing less.

For the next 2 years, our sales growth was phenomenal. Our fashion item was seen adorning business suits in all the trendy magazines of glamour, worn by celebrities and many other wannabes, and those that just didn’t know any better.

In the quiet solitude of our very expensively furnished corporate New York boardroom, I again looked into those deep blue eyes of my colleague and gave an uncontrollable laugh! She looked at the pocket-handkerchief in my suit jacket and said, “Who would have thought!”

Recognising Innovation within the Corporate Cave

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I sat with a smug facial expression cross-legged on the lumpy dirt floor and surveyed my surroundings with intense pride. It was raining outside, yet no drops were seeping through my hand built stonewalls, and no streams of muddy water had eventuated within the precincts of my large cave.

My nineteen bɛərns (or was it twenty? I’d lost count over the various moon cycles) were playing happily with the latest fashion coloured pebbles that I had found in the adjacent dry riverbed. I watched them with interest as they quickly mastered the process of carving their individual hieroglyphic names into the rough rock walls with purpose and enthusiasm.

From under my long shaggy eyebrows, I peered at the mother of my children as she gestured that it was time for me to get off my naked hairy backside and go outside and slaughter a foreboding baby dinosaur, as the children were getting hungry and restless. As I was an obedient husband, knowing that any grunting retort was useless, I grabbed my large pointy wooden club, wiped the dark dry dust of my hairy torso and went outside the cave and sought out our dinner.

After a couple of days wandering the rugged countryside, I returned in a rather weary state with a large amount of dinosaur meat that was fully encapsulated within its dead body.

Now for the cooking process. I marvelled at the technology that my eldest son displayed as he used a flint rock and some dry bark to which various small sparks of fire eventually propagated. His days at the local Rock University had certainly paid off. I just wish that I had been born in the year 70,000,032 BC, rather than 30 years earlier!

After we had all eaten a large quantity of rarely cooked meat, I once again sat down crossed legged on my hairy bare bottom and watched my walls.

Now that I had some time to relax, I recalled a small box with white red headed sticks that I had found in my hunting dinosaur travels. If I were able to read, I would have seen a label on the box that identified the article as “safety matches”. How they got into the year 70,000,032 BC, I will never know, not that I really care because I have no idea as to their use, nor benefit. Instead, I jammed the box into a hole in my cave wall and plugged a wind draught that was causing the smoke from the fire to extinguish.
———
Let’s now move forward to the year 2015 AD.

If we were that hairy-bottomed caveman, and we had found those matches, we would have put them to good use and initiated the fire with the striking of a strategically placed burning match head. However, if we don’t recognise new technology, or innovation, we tend to keep repeating the same old trusted and proven boring processes.

The key is to have an open mind and to continually observe and accept different ideas, or thoughts, as they may lead to a new way of doing things within your business. Diversity of thought should be encouraged, and your work environment should facilitate different employee perspectives, that way, innovation will have a chance to prosper and not be stifled.

So make sure that you and your work colleagues “think outside the cave”, and should any of your workers continually be dusting their bottom, well, they don’t have a place in your business!

Problems Solved via The Dream Solution

Sleeping beauty

As we were now at 35,000 feet, the Virgin Airlines cabin crew inflight service announcement was eagerly welcomed into my ears, as I desperately needed a source of mental stimulation to solve a tricky business problem that had been troubling me for the past few hours.

I was seated in seat 3F and was soon greeted by the superbly smiling Flight Attendant named Louise who asked whether I would like coffee, tea, water or a “virtual dream enhancement”? I immediately chose the last option, and enquired as to the choices of dream selection. Louise advised that Virgin had recently expanded the range to include dreams of sporting prowess, intergalactic travel panorama, rock star status, romantic interludes, or the very popular random experience of surprise.

As I had a business problem to solve, I chose the “random experience of surprise” upon which Louise handed me a small vial of a dark blue viscous liquid that I quickly drank. About 30 seconds later, once the tingly peppermint sensation on my tongue had started to wear off, I could feel my body going to sleep and my mind gradually awakening. As with all dreams, my mind quickly experienced a variety of unusual scenarios, people, clothes and the breaking of many laws of physics that are not humanly possible. However, as I was a well-travelled Virgin Frequent Flyer of the Platinum class, I knew how to best utilise these virtual dream enhancements. To do this, I strategically “pre-positioned” my business problem in the front of my mind so it was instantaneously captured and was weaved through all of my random experiences of surprise.

No, I’m not telling you about my dream, as these visual insights into my personality are private, but you will be pleased to know that on arriving at my flight destination, I did indeed have an innovative solution to my business problem.

————–

Yes, the above is indeed fantasy, but is it? How often do we awake in the morning following a night of dreams in which we encountered ourselves performing an array of activities that we had no idea that we could achieve? And, it all seemed so real! Unfortunately, we tend to quickly forget the euphoria of these dream experiences and happily get back into our daily activity regime.

Next time you have a business problem to solve, why not invoke the use of the dream option? However, make sure you have a small notebook located next to your bed so you can quickly capture those numerous and uniquely distinctive creative ideas to assist you in your work activities later that day.

And should any Virgin Airlines management be reading, please let me know when your do actually introduce the “random experience of surprise” as I can’t wait to try it!

The Faceless Collective

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There are some companies that effortlessly symbolise the definition of true success. Their business names are iconic and are immediately recognisable by the young, the old, and those selectively aged in between.

There are no descriptive emotional tag-lines, no longwinded corporately clever arrangement of words, they are just “are”, and don’t need “to be”.

And here I was, sitting in the Board Room of one of these globally clever giants of industry, all by myself! It was an eerie and exciting feeling as I sucked in the room’s impressive atmosphere. I carefully crossed my legs under the highly polished large wooden boardroom table and cautiously, and gingerly, leaned back and pressed my back into the well-worn brown leather club chair.

The north side of the room had large floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlooked the Yarra River from high up on the 39th floor. This view was balanced by an array of large and formidable oil painting portraits of their esteemed leaders that had steered the company successfully over the past 83 years.

As I slowly studied the names under each painting, my eyes suddenly stopped when I read the polished brass name-tag of what appeared to be a most unusual portrait that was strategically, and I assumed deliberately, centred right in the middle of all the other framed canvasses. This painting was definitely larger in size, more brightly illuminated, and presumably highly prized, and worthy of more significant corporate value. The inscription in large black font read “Our Perpetual Innovator”. But the most striking aspect of this painting was the face, or should I say, its absence! Yes, this painting was of a “faceless”, yet distinguished individual. I was intrigued and decided to leave my comfortable leather chair and have a closer inspection. As I got closer, I noticed some additional words at the bottom; “Innovation is not derived from any individual, but from the collective”. I pondered these words and slowly understood their symbolic meaning, as this I suspected was the key fundamental aspect as to why this business was so successful.

This business recognised that many ideas, derived, and continually shared between the employees of this organisation, were the driving force behind their creativity. They had seen that this vast, and rich, source of innovation was not reliant upon a single individual, but the combined force of the collective.

Wow, if only all companies could recognise this fact!

So next time you are sitting in the Board Room of your company and happen to view the historical images of your past illustrious leaders, may I suggest you consider the power of the “Faceless Collective” and not just focus on any one individual?

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