Jester of The Order of the British Empire


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


Go Forth and Roll


To the uneducated onlooker, it’s just a smooth, flat, manicured lawn that smugly exudes with the woft of establishmentarianism.

To some, it’s a green “Bermuda Rectangle” just waiting to surreptitiously unleash a variety of random and mysterious challenges to those that don’t respect its hidden subtleties.

But, for those privileged few that are in the know, it’s a potential thought forum that continually challenges even the sharpest and most experienced mind.

Those that confidently grace its grassy surface, are willing to accept the supreme contest that demands continual innovation, are happy to relish a victory when truly deserved, these esteemed individuals will marvel at the astonishing personal learnings derived from the experience.

These sporting gladiators are equipped with an array of colourful Henselite bowls, some fortunate enough to embellish the esteemed and coveted MCC emblem. Their feet are adorned with the requisite flat soled shoes in smooth respect for the turf, and to ensure no annoying groove indentations that may upset the grassy equilibrium. In their trouser pocket, a small white towel dangles precariously awaiting just the right moment to dab the beads of stress induced perspiration from the player’s forehead, and to lovingly wipe any foreign matter from their spherical hand held implement.

In response, the cunning and mindful lawn calls on the prevailing climatic conditions to spontaneously muster up a sporting environment that contains all the random seasonal elements; wind, rain, sun, shadows, even the occasional swooping magpie, with the strategic wicked intent of annoying the player.

Even the bowls, which should have a long term and an unquestionable loyalty to their owner, typically side with the lawn, and have an unpredictable bias that continually throws the frustrated bowler off guard.

The game is called lawn bowls, and one that is relished by many insightful men and women around the world.

So, if you are looking for a sport that demands a thoughtful and ongoing mindset of continual innovation, may you seek no further, as the answer has you literally standing on the green.

Yes, just go forth and roll!

What’s on Your Corporate Clothesline?


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.








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.

Twas the Present of Change


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.

The Answer is Nothing

Beautiful funny girl shaving with foam & razor her face

According to Professor Elsa Outinen, a leading business academic from Helsinki University, nothingness, is the unequivocal source of Finnish ingenuity.

You only need to look at the management team of Nokia to appreciate how they incorporated this long standing Finnish tradition into the core stimuli for their business success, one that helped make their mobile phones the most coveted item around the telecommunications world.

Sources close to Nokia say that it was a well-known fact that the most creative thinkers in their R&D team commenced each day with a habitual unclothed plunge in the corporate sauna to initiate their innovative prowess. Even the HR Director was known to happily participate, and unquestionably approved of the bare skinned activity. Alas, Nokia’s business dominance faltered in the latter years, when it was deemed by those that theoretically knew better, that saunas should be a place of prescribed bathing costume coverage to ensure the worldly attainment of social corporate respectability.

Professor Outinen spent a lifetime researching the thought provoking benefits derived from Finnish nothingness, and apparently, it all comes down to skin sensitivity and pore receptivity. For many years, barbers have known this closely guarded fact, and have most cleverly financially exploited that joyous awakening feeling men experience following a close cut facial shave. This also explains the high dominance of highly intellectual men who elect to adorn their bald headed appearance, thereby maximising their naked skin porosity.

For those of you a tad too embarrassed to nonchalantly discard your clothes, and then quickly plunge into a deep body covering bubbling hot sauna to maintain your personal dignity, relax, as there is another less public option available to you.

Yes, you can grow a moustache, beard, or let the hairs on your legs protrude without any hindrance. Then, when your level of hairy visual discomfort can no longer be tolerated, you can strategically re-invigorate your skin with the application of a very sharp razor. Once done, you will instantaneously experience that Finnish feeling of naked skin porosity, together with the associated personal thoughtful benefit of true creative inspiration.

Yes, the answer is indeed Nothing.

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).

No Splashing Allowed

Bath Shoot-6963

Many a creative thought has been generated in the bath, just ask that revered Greek Scholar Archimedes who did his best thinking when immersed in a tub.

Now this got a currently little known, yet soon to be famous Research Scientist at a leading Boston University pondering the origin of that eureka moment. Following many years of water immersed individual contemplation (well, that’s the official academic description used on her funding application), this dedicated “batharian” explored the innovation correlation between many factors involved in the practice of creative bathification.

Equipped with a waterproof black pen, she meticulously studied a vast array of bathing techniques and diligently recorded each bathing episode on the inner white enamel bath surface. As the hours of analysis continued, the water colour in the bath gradually turned from a clear transparency to an obscure studious composition that matched her dark ink penned font markings, thereby necessitating the need for many repeat purchases of new bath study environments.

She explored every conceivable bathing influence that included temperature, depth, bubbles, degrees of nakedness, outside, inside, altitude, bath composition, even friendship interactions.

After many thousands of litres of water draining through the plughole, she did indeed discover her own eureka moment, one that has indeed raised the temperature in the innovation debate as to the origin of creative thought.

For all those seekers of the creative truth, the answer was apparently right before our eyes as we sat, or lounged in the bath in blissful relaxation, that being turbulence. Yes, turbulence.

This clever “batharian” discovered that there is an inverse relationship between water turbulence and the creative prowess of the person residing in the bath. If a person is stressed, they tend to squirm in the bath, wash themselves, splash, or get restless. Any chance of creative thoughts being generated is minimal. However, if they are at peace with themselves, they just happily laze in the bath and savour the restful warming experience which leads to the progression of a plethora of original ideas. At this stage of their creativity, the bath water is still and turbulence is non-existent.

So for those of you in the corporate office, should you want to initiate a eureka moment amongst your employees, install a bath, just like in the Roman times. But a word of caution. Please ensure that there is a large sign strategically positioned in clear view of all those in the bath stating, “No Splashing Allowed”, as you don’t want any negative turbulent thought prevailing to the surface.

The Brave New Office


In a rather obscure, and regrettably, often ignored, paragraph in the classic 1935 novel supposedly written by Aldous Huxley titled “Brave New Office”, there is a clue as to the true source of sustained business innovation. Unfortunately, many corporate leaders have deliberately not heeded this now wise futuristic premonition and their leadership has suffered the perilous consequences.

Huxley outlines a corporate office in which humanistic creativity is directly linked to electronic devices for their inspiration and ongoing mental stimulation.

The paragraph states, “It was time for me to develop a corporate business plan so I carefully followed the detailed directions stipulated by my CEO (Central Emotion Organiser) and sat in the padded ideation chair located in the soundproof chamber, fastened the thought stabilisation seat belt around my waist and gently placed the mind activation headphones on my ears. I was now in complete isolation from the surrounding office and could only hear the thoughtful messages being directed to me by those ultimately more sagacious than myself.

Using the electronic thought pad placed within easy reach, I dutifully typed the words of communicated instructions that I obeyed without any need to question their authority or reasoning. Once done, I then touched the send button and the masterly corporate business plan was immediately replicated and distributed throughout the organisation for implementation by my fellow workers.

The whole process took less than 60 seconds to complete. Who could have imagined that many years ago, those in the corporate world that we now call “creative savages”, used nothing but the archaic ideation tools of their own mind, complemented with the incomprehensible use of a hand driven ink device that engraved odd-shaped letters on a fibrous paper medium. In the words of my CEO, totally unbelievable!”

The year is 2017 and I now look at all the electronic thought enhancement tools the corporate office now uses to drive innovation. We are all totally reliant upon our computer, iPhone, E-mail, TV, and a plethora of other associated and interlinked communication devices.

Why not try something brave, and definitely not new, in your corporate office?

Yes, it’s most likely hidden in the back of your stationery cupboard covered in a deep layer of cobwebs. Once you find it, it’s called a pen and a writing pad. To use it, just let your thoughts go free, unhindered by any electronic support device and scribe in free hand any ideas presented to you. With time, I promise that you will get used to it, you might even enjoy the positive emotive sensory feeling associated with writing!

Go on, free the creative savage within you, and redefine your Brave New Office.

Enduring Fashionable Zest


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.

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