A Dog’s Tail of Innovation

Dog-Irish_Terrier-The_characteristic_wiry,_blonde_beard_of_an_Irish_Terrier

My name is Rufus and, yes, I’m a dog, to be precise, an Irish terrier. I’ve been asked by my owner to explain the basic fundamentals of innovation to you humans. Apparently, you have made such a simple concept, so complex.

My formal qualifications? None. Except, I have fully mastered the requisite innovation skills to a point where everyone looks after me, so much so, that I do indeed have a wonderful dog’s life. I have no overrated and rather superfluous human academic skills, no Doctorate or Masters degrees, I have just sniffed things out, and have learnt by experience.

So what’s my formula to achieve innovation success? Simple, just be a dog.

Now I know that you don’t have any paws, phenomenal hearing, a superb woof, nor a sophisticated sense of odour recognition, but that’s just some of the inherent negatives that you regrettably have to put up with by being human. A dog has all of these, and does one important thing that humans appear to have lost the art of doing, that being, to use all of our skills without actually having to consciously think about using them, we just naturally do it.

A dog will happily follow an adventurous smell, not knowing where it may lead us. We don’t plan the route we may follow, we just use our noses to locate the object of interest, and if further investigation is required, we dig.

When was the last time you literally followed your nose and let your unhindered dog-like inquisitive interest take control? I suspect not that often, as from my dog perspective, you all appear to live and work in a professional world where there are strict processes and protocols to be observed.

Humans seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time sitting in front of the TV, computer, phone, reading or eating. Why not come out and spend more time with me, and together, we can smell the roses, and dig some massive holes together? I assure you, it will be fun, and with time, I’m sure you will get a taste for it.

So if you want to develop an innovation culture in your corporate office, just unleash the dog in you, have a good sniff, and make sure that you woof out loudly.

 

Cultural Transformation to a Tea!

Tea

I’m one of those tea drinkers that likes to have my tea in a long tall and transparent glass. There is something quite magical about observing the tealeaves gradually permeate their colour, taste and odour with the boiling clear water. With time, you will observe the tea colour swirling and leaving a distinctive trail in the water, with additional time, the tealeaves will transform the water into a uniform and translucent colour. The degree of tealeaf permeation, or transformation, can be controlled via the immersion duration time in the water.

Let’s take this analogy into the corporate office with respect to cultural transformation.

Many corporate cultures can be viewed like the glass of clear boiling water. To look externally at the glass, it is homogeneous, quite bland, and the only activity appears to be the vapour trail exuding from the top of the glass as a result of the high temperature (100C). However, unless something happens within the glass, the water will cool and the glass will reach a temperature that coincides with the surrounding room temperature. This is the boring corporate culture that is common in so many organizations today.

The key to cultural transformation is the introduction of a catalyst to initiate and drive change. However, prior to its introduction, the business management team need to identify and agree on what their unique and distinctive organizational culture needs to be? Let’s go back to the tea analogy. How will the business culture be defined? What will be its colour, taste, smell and intensity? How long will the process take to be achieved? What catalyst will be used to initiate and drive the cultural transformation? Will the employees, customers and the market like the final taste?

When tealeaves are added to the boiling water, the permeation can be accelerated via movement of the leaves, or the water itself via a stirring action. In other words, some action needs to occur to progress and maintain the transformation.

So when next you are considering the implementation of your next cultural transformation in your office, or if you are currently in the midst of one right now, may I suggest that you consider the following key elements:

1.A transparent glass enables your employees to see the degree of transformation permeation. Don’t hide the process, make it very visible.
2.Is the water hot? Is the corporate environment at the right temperature for the required cultural transformation?
3.What tea will be introduced into the water? What will be the catalyst that you will use to drive the change? What colour, taste, smell do you want to achieve that defines your corporate culture?
4.When should you introduce a spoon into the glass to stir things up a little? What stirring speed is optimum to achieve the desired effect?

Once the desired tea has been achieved, there is no point everyone just looking at it with admiration, make sure that all those involved in the transformation process drink the tea and provide management with feedback so the tea can be tweaked accordingly to maintain the optimum taste and enjoyment!

Don’t relax once you have obtained the targeted cultural transformation, as just like with tea, the organization’s tastes will change over time. Be prepared to continually experiment; maybe add some lemon, some honey, or another tea flavour to add that additional zest!

The Sensory Corporate Name

Typewriter Letters

With the increasing number of new companies being created in the corporate world, it is becoming common practice to see a variety of innovative and unusual business names being derived to capture the uniqueness of that organisation.

Each company wants to have a distinctive name that individually characterises and differentiates their business from that of their competition. To do this, a collage of different colours, fonts, tag lines and styles are used to develop and maintain a value proposition in an attempt to establish the essence of that business.

But what about doing something a little bit different……..?

So far, companies have only utilised one of the five physical human senses in building this new company identity, that being the sense of sight. But, what about using the other four senses?

Smell
The manufacturers of perfumes, coffee, tea and other sensory delights truly understand the power of smell to capture and stimulate certain desires. Why not incorporate smell into the new company name? For example, at the entrance to the corporate office, there could be a fine perfumery mist spray of the “essence” of that organisation? Employees could be provided with a perfume, aftershave, or body spray that reinforces the organisation aroma!

Taste
The organisation could develop their own corporate food dish that is served in their corporate cafeterias, or is proudly offered to visitors on arrival, just like an appetiser at the commencement of an evening meal? There could also be corporate flavoured cookies, together with a complementary corporate flavoured beverage?

Touch
Why does a company name need to be printed on flat paper, or a smooth surface? Why not make it undulating with bumps and troughs? Business cards could be textured with a unique feel that would make it readily stand out amongst all other business cards!

Hearing
All new organisations could develop their own corporate song to inspire all employees to have that sense of unity and belonging. This music could be surreptitiously piped into the entrance foyer and throughout the building as a motivational influence on employees. Corporate guests could also be provided with an audio CD of the song to savour and fully appreciate after their visit.

Just a thought….but this may lead to a sensory revolution in the world of corporate naming convention! You just never know??

 

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