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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The Skill of Counter Jerkification Innovation

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When I say the word “Jerk”, I’m sure you immediately visualise the face of one of your annoying colleagues in the corporate office. Although they don’t have the letters J E R K branded on their forehead, we all know them by their offensive manner, cruel personality and detrimental influence on you, your colleagues and the organisation.

Even though they are indeed the full embodiment of the “Jerk” classification, there is one positive aspect that you, and your colleagues, will have learnt whilst you have been forced to engage with this unpleasant individual. This is the talent called “Counter Jerkification Innovation” (or CJI for those that like acronyms).

Many of you may have already developed this prized CJI talent from your days at school, employment at other organisations, or when dealing with various politicians (especially if you are a Trump advisor). Your CJI talent may have been dormant for many years, but fret not, as it is readily reactivated once you put your mind to it!

There are two parts to a successful CJI implementation corporate office program, that being; Reactive and Proactive CJI.

(1) Reactive CJI:
This is the creativity that you and co-workers develop as a defensive mechanism to counteract the impact of the “Jerk” in your work environment. Here you are continually trying to lessen the impact of the “Jerk” through an innovative avoidance strategy to minimise your “Jerk” interactions, thereby reducing the “Jerk’s” negative influence.

After a prolonged period of Reactive CJI, you will quickly develop a cunning, and most devious mindset, utilising the skills of guerrilla office warfare that will be rapidly recognised and appreciated by your fellow co-workers also trying to avoid the “Jerk”.

(2) Proactive CJI:
Once your Reactive CJI skillset has been mastered, you will naturally progress to the creative self-actualization attainment level of Proactive CJI where you will instinctively decide to utilise your crafty mindset skills to initiate, and implement, a targeted “Jerk” retaliation campaign. If properly implemented, your “Jerk” will quickly change their modus operandi, or will seek a rapid organisational exit strategy.

Yes, you will have now neutralized the “Jerk”, and will be deemed a prized CJI hero within your business. Any residual “Jerks” still left in your organisation will also seek a departure strategy, as they too will have realised that their days of “Jerk” tolerance are indeed numbered.

However, a word of caution for those that do successfully achieve the mental state of Proactive CJI. It is important that you continually seek 360 degree feedback from your work colleagues to ensure that you do not take on those hated “Jerk” personality traits, just in case you obtain too much personal pleasure from the CJI process!

It’s a Thong Thing

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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, as you have 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!

The Law of Innovative Featherization

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In the intense summer heat that was encapsulating all those residing in Italy in the year 1591, a young mathematics student named Baggio was strategically positioned under the shade of a well-placed olive tree about 100 metres from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From there, he could just see his Professor of Mathematics, a man called Galileo Galilei, carefully reaching over a crumbling restraining wall at the top of the tower with both arms fully extended. In each hand, Galileo gently released two spheres of different mass in an attempt to prove one of his now famous laws.

However, on this particular attempt, one of the heavier spheres collided with an unfortunate pigeon that just happened to be flying past the tower. The result was a mass array of loosened feathers, a pigeon with a monster headache, and an angry Galileo uttering some obscenities knowing that he again needed to walk up the 284 steps and repeat the damn experiment!

Although Baggio did feel some empathy for his mathematics professor who was known to have consumed a tad too much pasta, and would have welcomed the invention of an elevator should it have existed, his gaze was fixed on the trajectory of the poor pigeon’s once owned feathers that now individually wofted with gleeful freedom in the prevailing wind gusts.

Little did Baggio know it, but this feather observation formed the basis of the now well known “Law of Innovative Featherization”, which some modern day students from the University of Pisa have colloquially named “Baggio’s Law” out of respect.

What Baggio identified was that creative ideas are like feathers. Once an idea is identified, it takes time to settle and to be slowly formulated into something practical and worthwhile. However, whilst that process is occurring, the idea floats around, just like a feather.

The key to “Baggio’s Law” is in how the creative feathers are accumulated, and then consolidated into what science now classifies as an invention. For example, not all birds that have feathers can fly. Similarly, not all ideas are useful.

In proving the “Law of Innovative Featherization”, scientists devised numerous clever experiments, some of which have been successful, unfortunately, many of which have failed, the latter being Baggio.

In 1593, after studying many a pigeon, a bare bottomed Baggio carefully applied a warm glue mixture to his body, then rolled around for about 5 minutes in a blanket of loose feathers to achieve the state of full featherization. Once the glue had set, and the feathers were firmly affixed, he, like Galileo, waddled up the 284 steps to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There he waited for the right summer wind gust, took flight and flapped to his doom.

In 1903, the Wright brothers also tried to prove the “Law of Innovative Featherization”, however, unlike Baggio, they devised a flying machine that happily worked to the relief of Orville and Wilbur, and those fearfully watching.

With the “Law of Innovative Featherization” now proven and demonstrated, there was no stopping mankind from taking to the skies, and eventually into space, and it was all due to the insightful, yet luck-less, Baggio.

So next time you see a feather slowly dancing in the wind, take notice, stop and think of Baggio, but make sure you keep clear of any thoughts of glue application, as it will not assist your creative well-being, and just make you sticky.

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