“Bicycletic” Benefits

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Recently I joined the globally popular group of two wheeled self-propelled transportation riders commonly known as cyclists. As I sojourned along the picturesque bike paths of Melbourne that are strategically divorced from the motorised road system, I observed numerous behaviours in my fellow riders that have direct application and benefit in the corporate office.

Leadership
As a cyclist, you are indeed master of your own destiny. There is no point following the person riding in front of you, regardless of how attractive and cute that rear view may be, as this will only result in you reaching their goal, not yours. However, if you are happy being a follower, and not a leader, then make sure you enjoy the ride!

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Yes, there are many needs in this hierarchy, but to me, the most applicable and important one relates to the Physiological. After many hours propped vertically on your bike, bottom comfort is a mandatory requirement and a padded seat needs to be a pre-requisite. If not, walking, and other forms of social interaction in the corporate office following the riding experience becomes most awkward and potentially embarrassing.

Status
Riders need to dress for success and to portray that perceived professional appearance of looking like they know what they are doing, regardless of whether they actually have no “bicycletic” clue. Here’s where a stunning riding outfit embellishing the appropriate corporate logo, complimented with an equally expensive road bike with all the latest GPS navigational gadgetry becomes a necessity.

Emotional Control
Being polite and courteous in the corporate office is a must for any manager, regardless of how annoying and frustrating your colleagues may be. Similarly, an emotional outburst at a fellow rider, or daydreaming pedestrian, that gets in your way should not be tolerated. However, for that selfish pompous cyclist that stopped suddenly in front of me yesterday as you answered your mobile phone, I do not apologise for my verbal onslaught as it was absolutely warranted! (yes, you know who you are!)

Safety
All cyclists fully understand that they are smaller than a car and that when it comes to a clash of momentum, they will come a most definite second. HSE guidelines demand that a suitable helmet be placed correctly on your head, regardless of how it may impact your hairstyle. But, there is a place and a time for the use of your bell, and protocol dictates a subtle delicate ring when approaching and passing a slower rider, or walking hazard. But, a high frequency of bell ringing is just annoying and may lead to you being ostracised by your bike path community.

So next time you are experiencing the pleasurable joy of the sound of wind rushing over bike helmet, let your mind wander a little as you contemplate the above “bicycletic” thoughts. However, shutting your eyes to increase your concentration will have a negative side effect and may negate any corporate benefit.

Why not “Think Inside the Time Box”?

Time Jumper

This morning ritual of having breakfast in the Virgin Lounge at Melbourne airport was becoming an all too familiar experience. [1]

After satisfying my early morning Maslow’s basic survival needs with a long black coffee, wholemeal toast with lashings of vegemite, a petite bowl of muesli, I then mentally consumed the words in my newspaper looking for that insightful and learned spark of wisdom. Five minutes later, possibly six at a stretch, I had quickly come to the conclusion that I was bored. There was now only one thing for me to do in order to fill-in the time before I boarded my flight to Sydney, and that was to observe my fellow business travelers.

After a few minutes of visual critique, it became very apparent that the long sought personal goal of individual creativity which defined everyone as a unique individual, had somehow slipped between the cracks that morning. The more I looked, the more I could see many of my yet unknown business acquaintances partaking of coffee, cereal, toast with the occasional variant of a random accompaniment of difference (eg marmalade or honey), but in essence the selected diet was remarkably the same.

We wore similar suits, ties, cuff-links, shirts with that all too familiar checked pattern and colour, read the same newspapers, and even looked at each other with that same inquisitive look when a wild animal is startled from its habitual and comfortable lifestyle by an oncoming car headlight.

This got me thinking. How can we be creative if we are all seeking business innovation and inspiration via the same sources of knowledge and thought? The well-known term “thinking outside the box” came to mind, but is this the right way to discover new ideas? If we are all following the same methodology, all reading the same editions of the Harvard Business Review, the same business books, following the same sports, eating the same food, well, our sight outside the box is rather flawed and certainly lacks that required long distance vision, it will also be the same view as everyone else!

Why not try something a little bit different? Why not “think inside the box”, but with a major difference, that being time as a variant? There is a lot of untapped idea history “inside the time box”, the key is to open it up and use it. Many potentially brilliant ideas have literally died with creative thinkers of past generations. If their ideas had been passed down between the ages, their insights may have formed the basis of many unusual and different innovations that could only be fulfilled with the progression of time and today’s technology.

Alas, time travel is not possible, but what about actualising the environment and thought stimuli of past creative thinkers to excite and enlighten you and I today? The method is quite simple. Why not consider the following past time ideation starters:

  • Dress up in period costume and wear those antiquated spiffy clothes in the corporate office?
  • Don’t read today’s newspaper, read some old papers and get an appreciation of the business and life customs of the past?
  • Forget the long black coffee in the morning, have an old English ale instead? (assuming your HR Manager is OK with the concept)
  • Don’t drive to work, walk or take your personal horse and buggy?

I’m sure the experience would lead to some different and creative thoughts being established as you think” inside the time box”. Your business colleagues will also have the benefit of thinking differently as they observe you in the process of historical thought change and will marvel at your self-confidence and creative fortitude.

So next time you are sitting in the Virgin Lounge at Melbourne airport awaiting your flight, try and consider what you can do to implement some small amount of thinking “inside the time box”, I’m sure it will lead to a noticeable creative point of difference in your life. If the concept is too great to publicly display, then why not start off with a lesser innovative step, don’t have a long black coffee, have a soy milk chai latte with honey instead!

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[1] The Suit Trouser Length Creativity Index
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-suit-trouser-length-creativity-index/

Ideas that Think: “Idea-inks”

thinking.

“With so many great ideas out there, I know we will find the right one!”

I’m sure that many of you when doing a “braining storming” session have said this phrase to your colleagues in a desperate plea to find that truly innovative idea that will be the financial answer to all your company’s problems? However, in most occasions, I suspect you would have been disappointed with the result.

This got me thinking. What if we were to view “ideas”, rather than as a non-descript and transient thought, but as an idea with it’s own personal objectives and desires? Yes, I’m referring to “ideas that think”! Now this changes the game plan completely!

Let’s explore this concept further.

Firstly, let’s define these “ideas that think” which I will name “Idea-inks” for want of a better name.

Let’s assume that “Idea-inks” have their own unique and complex personality and they, like people, want to achieve self-actualization, just like in Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy. But they will also have basic survival desires to ensure their long-term ability to procreate. To do this, I can visualise “Idea-inks” wofting between corporate organizations trying to find the right environment that accommodates their requirements for psychological, safety, a sense of belonging, self esteem and that all important opportunity for innovation and creativity.

But what if your corporate culture is rather dull, boring and lacking the required inspiration for an “Idea-ink” to embed, establish roots and grow? If this sounds like your organization, then it’s not surprising that your brainstorming sessions lead to little, if any, new ideas being developed, after all, why should an “Idea-ink” want to live there, nor put the time into your company with little opportunity for potential long term self actualization prospects?

Corporate organizations need to “woo” the “Idea-inks” into your business. You need to make them feel welcome. But “Idea-inks” are not gullible, but rather insightful and quickly appreciate whether they are being sold something under false pretences.

If your business wants the most innovative ideas, then you want to target the most creative “Idea-inks”. Like all business transactions, if your corporate culture is poor, you will get the dud “Idea-inks”, if your work environment is continually dynamic and vibrant, you will be bombarded by a plethora of the most talented and inspiring “Idea-inks” fighting to maintain a presence in your office.

So the answer to getting a continual flow of the right business ideas into your corporate office is your culture and environment. Make sure you target the right “Idea-inks” for your company, and your creativity will be guaranteed!

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