Jester of The Order of the British Empire

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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

 

Twas the Present of Change

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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 Moodification Shirt

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Forget packing your vast array of shirts next time you travel on business because the “moodification shirt” is finally here! Yes, after years of secretive wardrobe testing by a leading Melbourne apparel designer on many willing, and some less so, randomly body shaped men and women, the fashion solution now sits comfortably on your back.

As the name suggests, the “moodification shirt” quickly adapts in a most unassuming way to all your changing psychological and physical needs.

According to the marketing blurb, this remarkable shirt provides the following phenomenal wearer features and benefits.

  1. Over indulgence rectification
    You have just consumed a little bit too much dinner and your shirt is starting to have that feeling of unwelcome tightness. Relax, as the “moodification shirt” will surreptitiously respond by expanding the fabric to the next shirt size thereby relieving the increasing tension growing your stomach.
  2. Increased heart rate
    Following some unexpected exercise, or a welcome romantic distraction, your heartbeat suddenly increases to a point where a traditional shirt no longer meets your requirements. The “moodification shirt” senses your increased blood palpitations and nonchalantly loosens your top two buttons to allow additional airflow and chest cooling.
  3. Fashion
    Although the “moodification shirt” appears to be white, it can quickly change colour and pattern via the pressing on the two buttons hidden in the lower body of the fabric. Pressing the white button changes the colour, the black button alters the pattern. Through a careful combination of the white and black buttons, the wearer can achieve a full colour array, vertical or horizontal stripes and even checks. For those that want the paisley pattern, at a small additional expense, a third shirt button can be purchased, but only for those individuals that meet the creative persona mindset qualifications.
  4. Hygiene
    No time for a shower? That’s no problem with the “moodification shirt”. Each shirt has an inbuilt odour sensor that is sewn into the collar. When the wearer’s personal woft reaches a discernible value, a pleasant to the nose sanitiser dust is quietly released from the fabric and quickly permeates throughout the shirt.
  5. Stains
    For those unexpected interactions where a pen, lipstick or other stain may find its way onto your shirt, there is no need to panic! By holding both the black and white buttons (see item 3) for 5 seconds engages an emergency colour coverup mechanism within the shirts fabric where the whole shirt changes to the colour of the stain, so it is completely unrecognisable.

So where can you buy this remarkable shirt and how much does it cost? Just go to any reputable retail store and ask the manager to see their range of “moodification shirts”. They won’t be on general display for all the common riff-raff to see, but are normally hidden in the private area allocated to the innovative business purchaser with creative clothing tastes.

Jazz – The Poignant Innovation

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Looking for business improvisation in your office? Well, focus on music as it provides a poignant innovation key.

According to one of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, the answer is to deliberately focus on the “white”, and not the “black”. Most traditional players of music are captivated by those pesky black notes, carefully placed with much thoughtful deliberation by the composer on the five well regimented lines of the staff. The orchestral focussed musician then, without any allowable hesitation, follows without question the vast array of strategically positioned crochets, quavers, semibreves, and even the occasional minim, with a well-practiced systematic bow, blow or beat of their beloved instrument. The result is a perfect and consistent replication of the musical selection, just as the composer had stipulated.

However, if you are a player of jazz, you tend to not be a musical conformist, but one that focuses more on the creative freedom represented by the unrestricted white score background devoid of all black notation. These innovative musical entrepreneurs utilise their deep, fundamental understanding of their instrument to collaborate in joint mutual harmony with a range of other diverse thinking performing colleagues to create the true essence of improvised jazz.

To complement the jazz player’s unhindered creative style, no formal orchestral dress attire is typically worn. Rather, you will observe a selection of them occasionally wearing a diverse range of coloured paisley patterned shirts, stylish mod-suits, denim, boots, dark glasses, and even a stylish hat.

Now consider the corporate office with all its conservative business rules and regulations, its staff brandishing the standard business suit, shirt, cuff-links and ties, analogous to the large, classical symphony orchestra lead by the CEO conductor. But don’t get me wrong, as for many businesses to succeed, this long standing and proven tradition is essential in ensuring that all employees are working off the same musical score, are working together with a common objective to manufacture a high quality performance that is appreciated by the expectant shareholder audience.

But should your business be striving for the development of a culture in which innovation can flourish, consider how a “jazz room” environment can be established where your employees can mix with other likeminded paisley clad individuals, can experiment with corporate melodies previously untried or heard, and are free to let their creative talents loose without any critical judgement or fear of failure. With time and practice, the result will produce some new and dynamic sounds that may be the start of a new direction for your business.

So what’s the key to business improvisation?  Try to not always focus on what you typically see, but allow yourself the opportunity to expand your creative horizons and explore the innovative vastness of what could potentially exist in the background.

 

The Power of Paisley

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In 1969, 400,000 people attended a music festival on a green dairy farm in New York state. This event was to be immortalised emotionally in history as “Woodstock”. It captured the attention of the world for its music, illicit drugs and some “other communal people bonding activities”. Those who participated, say, that it was one of the most memorable events of their lives. It also made an enduring impact on subsequent generations that many other music festivals have tried to emulate, but without the same impact.

But according to an obscure newspaper article recently discovered in the 1970 archives of the now defunct “New York Advertiser*”, the origin of the creative power supposedly unleashed on the unsuspecting youth at Woodstock, actually had its roots in another fashion phenomenon that was prevalent in that decade. The journalist involved apparently conducted extensive research by frequenting many then hip social establishments in New York, London, Paris and even in Melbourne. Unfortunately, this person cannot be contacted as they died of some mysterious illness, possibly as a side-effect of immersing themselves a little too much into the vices of that period. However, thankfully their factual legacy of research has again been unearthed.

After months of correlating interviews, notes, photographs, and other intense mind-bending observations, this brilliant journalist made a key psychedelic discovery that had swirling colours linked to its fundamental core. Yes, the research all lead to one insightful cause, that being the fabric paisley. If you have ever looked attentively at paisley, you will quickly succumb to that hypnotic effect where your eyes start to lose focus, followed by a sense of cross-eyed related dizziness that slowly, and involuntary, incapacitates the observer.  Those at Woodstock, incorrectly linked this perceived clumsy behaviour on the influence of various drug cocktails, but this was indeed an error in scientific fact.

Now for those of you working in the corporate office, take note as a powerful source of creativity has just been revealed. The answer is indeed simple and only requires your fellow employees to adorn a fashionable shirt, suit, skirt or sock tailored in this remarkable paisley fabric. But a word of caution is indeed required. Should your co-workers appear a tad too jolly at the end of the working day, relax, as you don’t need to promptly invoke your drug and alcohol policies, rather, just ask them to take off the offending item of clothing and the inappropriate behaviour will immediately cease.

Yes, it’s just the Power of Paisley.

 

*In case you were planning to do some research on this newspaper, yep, it’s fictitious.

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