Words Unspoken, But So Understood

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“Click” went the camera.

“That was a brilliant pose Janice! You looked fantastic with the bright light warming you as you stood in the doorway with your arms raised. Who would have believed that it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne and it only stopped raining an hour ago”, said Henry Talbot (1960s Fashion Photographer*).

Janice laughed. “I hope you aren’t doing a close up as the large goose bumps on my arms would want a special credit in the photograph owing to their prominence!”

The photo was taken sometime between 1956 and 1961 and it had pride of place on the wall in my corporate office. The dated dialog between Janice and Henry was completely unknown to me; however, I just loved the look of the black and white photograph. Every time I saw Janice, I smiled as she provided me with a brief moment of inspiration that momentarily took me on a mental journey into a glamorous and unknown world that mingled with her past.

A thought then arose as I pondered her photograph.

Janice and Henry were in dialog when the image was taken; they were communicating and embellished the cultural mood of their time. The photograph was a snapshot in history that I, as the observer, brought to life in my mind approximately 60 years later. Other corporate colleagues visiting my office would also see Janice, yet their fabrication of her persona would indeed be different to mine.

So what if a photographer took an image of me sitting at my desk? How would observers view me in 60 years from now? Would they comment on my suit, my bow tie, my cuff links, or my corporate image?

No, I suspect none of these, but hopefully they would notice my smile. A smile that should be responding to a business culture that was innovative, creative and one that made me happy and content. Yes, a photograph does indeed tell a thousand words. The key is a want to listen.

Now for those HR Managers reading this blog post, take note. Why don’t you walk around your corporate office and surreptitiously shoot a candid, unprompted image of your employees. Look deep into the photograph and make sure that you analyse the true and honest feelings that your colleagues are portraying. Take a range of images over time and study the trend. The true answer will be in their smile.

I again looked up at the image of Janice and once again gave her a silent nod of appreciation. “Thanks Janice for your timeless and continual inspiration”.

Image: Fashion Illustration for Sportscraft, Model Janice Wakely, Photographer Henry Talbot

* http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ebooks/HenryTalbot/index.php?chapter=2

“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.

The Experience of E-Class Flight

Annex - Grant, Cary (Only Angels Have Wings)_05

Once again, I had to go through the drudgery of booking my Qantas flight QF9 from Melbourne to London. It was a business flight that I reluctantly did every month, I loved it when I arrived at my London destination, but the long flight, well, I despised every torturous hour associated with it.

Owing to the frequency of my travel, the online booking process typically only took me a few minutes to complete. As usual, I entered my well-versed Qantas Frequent Flyer number, but once done, a new and rather unexpected screen mysteriously opened up in my booking. Initially I was a tad flabbergasted, as I was accustomed to seeing the usual cabin selection options of First, Business and the various Economy options. But this time, I was presented with some rather unusual seating option classifications; S, F or E to which I was quite intrigued. Apparently, owing to a combination of my lofty Frequent Flyer status, and my personal profile (possibly also due to my habitual bow-tie wearing fashion statements as professionally noted by the more discerning Qantas flight stewardesses), I had been offered the opportunity to participate in a rather unique test flight to London. I was then provided with an option to proceed, or to go back to the booking screen of normality. I had 30 seconds to make my choice. After a brief microsecond period of some limited superficial in depth thinking, I had quickly made my decision and without any hesitation selected the button marked “Go for it”.

Immediately, I entered a new and differently badged Qantas booking screen and discovered that S = Serious, F = Fun and E = Experience. Without going into all the aircraft cabin classification descriptive paraphernalia, and for the sake of verbal brevity, all you need to know is that I selected E-class (and checked the 12 page disclaimer box to confirm my booking).

A few days later, I arrived at Melbourne airport dressed in the minimalist clothing as prescribed by Qantas for the newly designated E-class traveller. Once checked in by the delightful and somewhat suspiciously and rather endlessly smirking Qantas staff, I was handed my E-class travel kit. In it were some face masked goggles, a tight fitting Qantas embroidered and personally monogrammed rubber suit that made me look like a spiffy surfer, some matching rubber boots, gloves and snug hat (we didn’t need to wear the latter until further advised). I was then ushered into an impressive private Qantas Club Lounge and saw a variety of other cautiously optimistic travellers.

There were those dressed like me, some looking slightly embarrassed as these suits were so body hugging that nothing was left to the imagination. There were others dressed in the traditional long haul international air travel casual attire; apparently these people had booked F-class. There was a small minority dressed in their stock-standard business suits, skirts, and other conservative items; they were obviously the S-class travellers.

A few minutes later we boarded the plane, but I was soon to discover that this was no ordinary Qantas plane, far from it. As I was in E-class, we boarded first as we had to make our way to the rear of the aircraft.

As we walked through the plane, the first thing that was immediately apparent was that the usual row of passenger seats had been removed. In the First/Business class seating location, there was a range of individually placed workstations, desks, sofas-chairs, computer screens, private sleeping booths, showers and a fine dining restaurant. This was S-class and it was designed for the serious business worker!

In the middle section of the plane, F-class resided. Here a vast array of computer games, cinemas, snooker tables, dartboards, massage rooms, spas, saunas and a healthy organic restaurant was located. This was an area that encouraged fun, frivolity and definitely no work. For those passengers that were a little bit overcome with too much excitement, there were large brightly coloured beanbags, lounge chairs and some private sleep booths.

After a few minutes I finally arrived in my designated E-class and was asked to adorn my complete rubber uniform. I, and my fellow apprehensive thrill seekers were then ushered in groups of four into separate doorways that led into a small-enclosed capsule. It was at this stage, as my heart sounded to pound a little too loudly, that I started to question my enthusiasm and whether I had made the right travel choice, but there was no turning back now, particularly as it would take me hours to peel this wetsuit from my body, no, the only choice was to proceed.

In the capsule there were no seats, just a long cushioned black couch and what looked like a surfboard leg rope, but I quickly ascertained that this was actually an oxygen chord that was soon plugged into my goggle facemask by yet another smiling Flight Attendant. I was now starting to sweat quite profusely in my wet suit with some trepidation, particularly as I vividly recalled the long-winded and fine font disclaimer that I had recently signed without reading any of the content.

A few minutes later, I was strapped in with my fellow E-class pioneers and soon felt the immense vibration of the aircraft’s B777 engines permeating through my body as we became airborne. Then it happened.

An almighty noise occurred and my capsule started to quickly separate from the plane, the only link being a metal umbilical chord. To my delight (and horror), the aerodynamic capsule was completely encapsulated with an external wall of highly transparent glass, and a massive array of strategically positioned air vents. I immediately felt the cold icy air gusting ferociously all over my body. Suddenly, the tight straps tying me, and my fellow E-classers, to the couch were released. We were now free flowing and quickly started to body surf the air currents! A sign now appeared on the capsule console saying, “Welcome to E-class”.

After a few hours, I quickly mastered the flying technique and was sought out by other passengers for tips on how to stay aloft without getting that unfashionable, and rather uncomfortable, wind puffed look when a high velocity slip stream entered the wearers protective rubber body suit without formal invitation.

Yes, the time quickly passed as I literally flew to London, and what an experience!

In recognition for my E-class prowess, I have now been issued with a special Qantas Frequent Flyer card, one that provides me with travel privileges that cannot be disclosed so as to avoid envy from other passengers. Would I fly E-class again? No, I’ve moved beyond that, I now fly EE-class, one that is very exclusive.

So next time you fly on business, may I suggest that you try and think that little bit differently with your selected cabin class and airline? And should you get the opportunity to ever travel E-class, most definitely do so as it will be worth it, trust me.

If The Head Fits, Then Wear It

1950-mens-fedora-stetson-whippet

This afternoon I was standing nonchalantly at the corner of a busy road intersection painfully aware of the intense bright Australian sun beaming down on my hairless head with absolute ferocity. “Why was I not wearing a hat?” It was quite stupid really when I actually thought about, particularly when reminded by my delicate skinned head as it quickly transitioned to a pink coloured and progressively uncomfortable warm state.

Looking around at my fellow Melbourne city lunchtime walkers, I literally saw no hats adorning the head of any fashionable suit clad man, nor elegantly and spiffily dressed woman. The only hats observed seemed to be situated on the heads of the elderly, or those below the age of 20 in the shape of a mod-looking cap, complete with a market approved logo emblazoned just above its peak. In the years past, men and woman all wore hats that complemented and embellished their business attire, and which provided them with a distinctive look that was most dashing, sophisticated, and had that mark of business professionalism. So, why the change in our cultural hat appreciation? Was it due to the long, free flowing hairstyles of the sixties, seventies and eighties decades where the hair-boof factor made wearing a hat not socially acceptable, nor possible, owing to the excessive follicular volume?

One will never know, but the time is now ripe for a global corporate hat revolution!

Oui, Vive Le Chapeau!

My fellow corporate office compatriots, go on, don’t procrastinate any longer, take action, heed this call to your head and wear a hat!

I can hear your objections, one in particular, that being, what about the dreaded look of “hat hair”? Relax, all will be just fine, mainly as this newly acquired hair look will soon become a fashion statement that publicly notifies the world that you have elected to protect the longer term wellbeing of your head, and are now an accredited and chicly respected wearer of hats! Yes, you will be a modern trendsetter, and one that will soon be a stylish pioneer that will be ogled with extreme envy by the unfortunate hatless few.

Now, for any HR Managers reading this blog post, there is now one strategically important office furniture addition that you will quickly need to purchase to maintain employee morale, that being a hat stand so as to cope with the massive influx of hats!

Seasonal Dress Solutions for the Discerning Corporate Woman

Smile

In the continuing series of fashion solutions for the corporate woman*, another “Eureka Moment” prevailed on me when walking in Melbourne this afternoon as I noticed a fellow walker struggling with an inappropriate clothing choice.

For those of you that are unaccustomed to the nuances of the weather in this cosmopolitan and dynamic worldly city, let me educate you on the meteorological wonders that commonly prevail with predictable uncertainty. Each day is one of climatic surprise. All four seasons may eventuate, or three of them may be forcefully overpowered with one season that is feeling quite dominant and wanting to make an impression on the unwary female population. As such, your first clothing selection based on your initial weather observations early in the morning may lead to catastrophic clothing wardrobe malfunctions later that day.

Yes, there is an answer. I can already hear the sighs of womanly relief (and from your supportive male colleagues).

What about the following creative wardrobe solutions:

1. The Warming Patch
Why not have “warming patches” sewn into strategic locations in the dress which can be quickly heated via a small battery surreptitiously hidden in a concealed pocket? When it gets cold, with a simple flick of a switch, body heating will immediately prevail.

2. Body Atomiser
On those hot days when the dress fabric is a tad too thick, why not use an all over body atomiser where a fine water particle mist is released thereby initiating a cooling feeling for the individual? A small atomiser nozzle could be built into the side rims of the wearer’s sunglasses or their fashionable cap?

3. Zips
A dress comprised of detachable sections (sleeves, skirt, back, etc) that could be removed (or added to) via the simple use of discrete zips. When the weather gets too hot, just zip off those dress sections that are too heavy and warm, or if a cold wind necessitates additional warm, just zip on an extra piece of clothing?

4. Emergency Solution
If all else fails, what about having a high pitched customised whistle that only your large specially trained fashion dog can hear and respond to within minutes of your plea for help. Upon the whistle activation, the fashion dog leaps out from the centrally located corporate dog kennel fully equipped with a suitable change of clothes, complete with a portable tent for privacy whilst changing your attire.

Now for all you fashion designers reading this blog post (of which I’m sure there are many), don’t forget where you first heard of these remarkable ideas for the corporate woman as I’m sure they will provide an innovation shift in the wardrobe of many a discerning lady. Vogue Magazine, I look forward to my invitation to the Melbourne Fashion Parade!

* https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/corporate-dress-design-with-wind-gust-resistance/

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/

The Discovery of the “Homo Game-ien”

Historical archaeology excavations at the old Champoeg townsite, Champoeg State Park, Oregon (USA) 1974

From the lofty height of the lectern in the famous ballroom of the Grand Venus Hotel, although partially dazzled by the lights that illuminated the stage where I nervously stood, I smirked as I perused the vast audience of my fellow archaeologists.

The year was 4015, and I, a Professor at the galaxy renowned University of Pluto, was about to give a speech on my department’s recent archaeological dig in a remote part of an ancient civilization on the plant Earth.

“Ladies, Gentlemen and other socially acceptable, but yet to be officially classified life forms, welcome to this galaxy shattering presentation on the discovery of the missing link that has been troubling archaeologists, sociologists, scientists, marketers, and retailers for many millenniums. Yes, we believe we have unearthed the remains of a “Homo Game-ien.” To which, the audience erupted into spontaneous applause and enthusiastic cheers of delight!

“Whilst on a geological survey in the ancient city that the locals of that time called “Melbourne”, although we were initially searching for the rare metal deposits typically found in years of accumulated and discarded iPads, iPhones, xBoxs and PlayStations, we made a totally unexpected discovery. Yes, that was the body of a “Homo Game-ien”.

The body was remarkably well preserved. A post mortem analysis indicated high chemical levels of McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Subway and other food substitutes, all of which would have ensured that the body remained in perfect condition for at least another two thousand years.

The body was male, and a dental analysis highlighted minimal wear on the teeth, probably owing to no real meat being consumed, only meat in a minced form (aka “ham-burger”) which we believe was a staple form of protein around that time.

We have named the body “Vans” owing to the name being evident on numerous articles of clothing worn by the individual. We can only surmise that wearing clothing with your name on it was a form of communication between other males of that time period. This is also based on the large number of archaic and rather primitive electronic games surrounding the body that would have hindered actual audible dialogue.

“Van” was also rather obese. This might be due to the copious number of food substitutes with exceptionally high sugar and chemical content (now banned in our society) that were found in close proximity to the body. These chemically rich food sources appear to have been sealed in an oil based plastic substrate to ensure a shelf-life of at least seven “Van” lifetimes.

An interesting and most unusual observation was the lack of fingerprint definition on “Van’s” thumb and index fingers that was mirrored on both hands. We are still trying to understand the cause of this effect, but we did find a black object in his hands with the words “Controller” branded on it, which is the subject of further investigation.

Unfortunately, that is all the information that “Van” was able to provide us. The answer as to why the “Homo Game-ien” became extinct we do not know, but the lack of social interaction with their fellow “Homo Sapiens”, particularly those that were female, that freely roamed that part of the Earth, might be a strong contributor to the cause?

Thank you for your time.”

My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers

The 39 Steps - Metro - Man 1 & 2

I paused at the top of the escalator and took a deep breath as I read the poorly illuminated conference sign that would direct me downwards to the basement of this 2 star hotel in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

I dusted “on” my black suit, with matching black scruffy shirt; at least I didn’t have to worry about my black shoes as they were already quite dirty and had a few prominent scratches that looked most imposing and disrespectful.

There were no issues with my hair being uncombed, mainly because I was fortunate not to have any, so I decided to mess up my long eyebrows, just for added visual effect.

Perfect I thought, I was now ready to head downstairs to the Awards Ceremony, at which I was tipped to receive the most prestigious award, that being for “Disservice to Innovation in the Corporate Office”. I had been working on this achievement for the past twenty years, had successfully infiltrated many global architectural firms in Europe, North America and Australasia, and more importantly, no one had yet realized what I had been doing!

What still surprises me the most was that senior business leaders and managers all applauded my efforts, all happily accepted my designs without fully understanding the consequences, and; they eagerly paid me a massive fortune in the process, to which I am indeed most personally grateful. To top it all off, they unashamedly made my office concepts a blueprint standard of excellence which was adopted, without any intellectual thought, by all organisations that considered themselves leaders in creativity! I still laugh when I think about that last comment!

I glanced at the chipped hands on my tired looking watch and saw that it was now time to make my tardy entrance to the ceremony. As I slowly descended down the escalator, I reached into my suit pocket and had another brief look at my hastily written acceptance speech, just in case it was required.

Written in my messy black inked scribble, I reread the words….”Thank you for this great dishonor! Yes, it’s still hard to believe that my once crazy thought and so fantastically disruptive idea, which I initially developed so many years ago as a joke, is still being used in the corporate office! And to make it even more remarkable, this superbly dysfunctional concept is still cited by experts as being one of the strategic keys to innovation! I smiled, as I imagined the thunderous applause that I would receive from my fellow mischief makers on doing a job so well, for so long, and I was still fooling those that should know better!

I was so looking forward to making the celebratory champagne drinking toast, which would be; “My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers, I give you the “Open Planned Office!”

Why Would You Fly With Any Other Airline?

2307virgin
My flight boarding pass indicated that I was to sit in seat 4A on Virgin Australia flight VA568 from Sydney to Melbourne. As I entered the plane, I took my special, and highly prized, Virgin Service Glasses (VSG) from the collection bin just inside the plane door and found my way to my allocated seat.

Now the VSG are not your average glasses. No, VSG are unique to Virgin Australia and the main reason why this airline is achieving phenomenal sales success in this competitive domestic airline market.

In seat 4B, my fellow passenger was a young business woman, and she too was quite excited at the prospect of wearing her VSG on the flight. In what looked like synchronicity, we both took our VSG out of the protective cases and placed them delicately on our faces.

A few minutes later, the metal, robotic Flight Attendant, as is typically found on all Australian flights, commenced the automatic routine of moving up and down the plane aisle to answer any questions and to make sure that all passengers had fastened their seatbelts in preparation for the scheduled takeoff.

As I was now wearing my VSG, instead of seeing a robotic Flight Attendant, I only saw an attractive young blonde woman wearing a red Virgin uniform with bright red lipstick. However, the woman passenger in seat 4B saw a different image. She saw a young, dark haired, rather muscular male Flight Attendant wearing tight trousers and an equally tight fitting shirt. Yes, in case you were wondering, we were both looking at the same robot.

Now this is the rather special characteristic associated with the VSG. They provide the wearer with a fictional person that complements the particular mood that they are in at that specific time of the day. If I, or the woman sitting in seat 4B, had have caught an earlier flight, the Flight Attendant image we would have been presented with in our VSG would have been completely different. This is the charm of the VSG, each flying experience is unique and varied.

From the perspective of the airline, they can utilise the services of a cost effective, bland, inanimate, ugly looking, metallic robot to do all the mundane inflight activities. However, the VSG passengers, only observe the Flight Attendant of the dreams!

The result is a well behaved and exceptionally polite group of passengers, as no passenger wants to upset, or offend their special Flight Attendant!

So next time you are flying on a Virgin Australia plane and you receive a friendly wink from the Flight Attendant, don’t think about the gesture too emotionally, as you may be rather disappointed once you have removed your VSG. And in case you were wondering, the VSG only works on the plane, you can’t take them home and try them out on some non-robotic, unsuspecting individual!

Note: If only this wasn’t fiction!

Exploits of the “Paid Gentlemen”

Spy vs Spy

It was indeed a masterful, and strategically well executed plan in which the “paid gentlemen” (and I use the term “gentlemen” quite loosely let me assure you), had finally found what they were looking for after ransacking the Melbourne corporate office they had stealthily entered in the early hours of the morning precisely thirty minutes earlier. Dressed in the latest Australian Vogue approved designer fashion espionage dark clothing, with matching matte black soft kangaroo leather gloves so as to leave no fingerprints, and wearing matching black sound deadening yachting boat shoes, they systematically searched all potential hiding places.

To find the treasured item they were seeking, absolute darkness and silence was a non-negotiable prerequisite. Any search equipment illuminating light, such as torches, mobile phone screens, or audible communication between the “paid gentleman”, would make finding their objective impossible, as it would immediately, and permanently, disrupt its purity thereby making it worthless. As this was a risk they were not willing to take, specialist and custom fitting Ray-ban infrared goggles, together with some rather spiffy complex hand signals were the “paid gentleman’s” search accessories of choice.

To their great excitement, and might I say massive relief, they finally found that what they sought in a very sneaky and rather cunningly clever hiding location. The item was packaged in a lead lined small wooden red box. The “paid gentlemen” then placed this precious red box into a small attaché suitcase and locked it decisively using the twelve-digit lock combination that they would only divulge on receipt of their exorbitant $500M payment from the unscrupulous buyer.

Following a highly tense sixty-minute flight from Melbourne to Sydney, a surreptitious rendezvous with the seeker of the valuable item was arranged at a secret location in a prestigious hotel in Darling Harbour. It was there that the private exchange took place, upon which the now well “paid gentlemen” slowly departed the scene with a sense of relief and a new feeling of personal affluence.

The new illegal, and rather thrilled, keeper of the item quickly went up to her penthouse hotel suite on the ninth floor and swiftly bolted the room door. All lights were turned off; all window blinds were drawn to ensure complete darkness. She hurriedly unfolded the piece of paper on which the well “paid gentlemen” had written the twelve-digit code, and one by one the numbers were accurately entered until the small wooded red box was revealed. Her heart was now thumping so loud she thought her eardrums might explode with anticipation! Her trembling slender fingers toyed with the box latch and she opened it slowly. As the box opened, what seemed like a burning green gas hissed loudly upon release, followed by a large explosive pop. The startled woman quickly opened the box to make sure that the contents were OK and noticed that there was nothing inside apart from a small typed yellow parchment. She speedily grabbed her metal-rimmed spectacles and read out loud the following words: “Innovation is not something you can buy or steal. Innovation needs creativity!”.

In a fit of temper, combined with a rich and complex range of choice expletives, she heeded these words, and with a sense of “innovation and creativity”, she picked up the red box and attaché case and threw them straight out an open hotel window and then burst into tears with extreme disappointment and massive financial loss. Seconds later, these two hurtling objects landed with decisive and heavy force upon the unprotected and fragile heads of the soon to be very dead “well paid gentlemen” as they gleefully walked out the hotel with their unscrupulous financial gains.

With justice done, the small red wooden box bounced a couple of times on the footpath awaiting the next potential seeker of innovation and creativity!

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