For innovative slumber, think CollaborApp™

sleep Z

In the Technology section of the 1 April edition of the New York Times, Apple has announced the release of CollaborApp™, which is a radically new, and reportedly disruptive concept in business innovation.

Key to CollaborApp™ is the use of an artificial intelligence Bot called “Cogitaire” which surreptitiously tempts, and masterly teases the user into freeing their thoughts and ideas through voluntary thought extraction and cogitation whilst they are happily asleep. Yes, sleeping!

According to an Apple spokesperson, the idea for CollaborApp™ came from the online collaboration process where ideas are shared, and enhanced from different employees across the organization, all with a range of diverse backgrounds and personal experiences. However, with CollaborApp™, the collaboration is not done whilst the user is awake where they are subject to various competing time pressures, and other work commitment distractions. No, this App needs the user to be in a blissful state of slumber in order to be most effective.

CollaborApp™ works via the following process:

  1. Prior to employees going to sleep, they initiate the CollaborApp™ setting on their iPhone and place their earphones comfortably within their ears.
  2. Once asleep, the business problem to be solved is then presented to the employee via the Cogitaire Bot, who then unassumingly stimulates the users mental thought processes. By the way, in case you are wondering, Cognitaire’s persona morphs into whatever character imagined by the user in order to get the optimum thought creativity initiated. Cognitaire is also proficient in all known languages, even the most obscure ones.
  3. Whilst the user is blissfully sleeping, Cogitaire continually collates and shares all the updated idea solutions generated across the many users participating that night to ensure a passively robust analysis of the problem.
  4. In the morning, when the user awakes, an impressive infographic is presented that encapsulates all the innovative thought process developed by the vast employee collective.

Yes, the process sounds quite simple, and accordingly to Apple, it is very effective in generating a range of creative solutions with a much higher innovation calibre typically achieved via traditional collaboration techniques.

Now there is a cautionary paragraph found within the fine print in the Apple CollaborApp™ media release. It advises spouses, partners and others involved romantically, or those that are just curious, not to use the App for reasons Apple state are most obvious, as some things are best left unknown.

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!

Colleagues….I want that coconut!

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Looking up at the coconut which appears quite strongly adhered to the lofty heights of the palm tree, my mind starts to actively permeate thoughts of how I could knock the little bugger off the branch and get it!

The options available to me are:
1. To climb up the tree and cut it off?
2. Throw a large projectile with maximum force?
3. Bribe someone to make the required climbing effort for me?
4. Sit here and wait for the coconut to naturally fall off in its own good time?

As I’m an impatient man, I decided to use option 5 and just cut the tree down thereby gaining easy access to the long anticipated item.

Now that I have attained this coconut prize, what should I do with it? The choices and decisions seem to never end!

This coconut analogy is quite similar to how we generate and develop new ideas in the corporate office.
Just like the process of attaining the coconut, we have many options available to us. We can use group discussions, brainstorming, team meetings, quiet walks, or sit in solitude hoping for that gem of an idea to come forward and materialise!

Once we have the idea (the coconut) what do we then do with it? How do we develop it into a commercially successful opportunity that generates income for the corporate business? Or do we just “settle”, and accumulate our ideas (or coconuts) for a day in the future when they may be required?

The choice is yours, but whilst I sit here looking up at that sneaky little and illusive coconut, I will always want to get it and develop thoughts of what that coconut may initiate!

That “Gaelic Place”

Big Mac

“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”.

On reading this sentence, many of you would immediately think of that global hamburger chain identified with the golden arches that I call that “Gaelic Place”.

To many children and adults from all around the world, this is their common perception of a hamburger. But what if we replaced the following ingredients…

Beef patties WITH lamb rissoles?
Special sauce WITH leaves of mint?
Lettuce WITH spinach?
Cheese WITH fetta?
Pickles WITH chutney?
Onions WITH beetroot?
Sesame seed bun WITH Toasted wholemeal bread?

I’m sure that those frequent and loyal eaters at the “Gaelic Place” would not recognise these replacement ingredients when constructed together as a hamburger!?

Let’s just ponder this thought for a moment and expand the discussion a little bit further. Many foods, fashions, music, plus many other items used daily, have become stereotyped by a consistent and standardised formula or delivery methodology. This can also be observed in the corporate workplace where everyone seems to dress in the same work attire, similarly, the offices have that regular format of appearance, funnily enough, very much like the business model used by that “Gaelic Place”?

The same can also be said about the process of innovation where most businesses utilise the same old standard approach of “brainstorming” to try and develop some new ideas.  I have even heard of some brainstorming sessions feasting on a selection of “Gaelic Place” food assortments to assist with the participant’s creative receptivity!

To foster some creativity in the workplace, why not try some new “ingredients”, just like the replacement “WITH” examples provided in the hamburger example above.  Some of these alternative “ingredients” could be:

Standard Work Attire WITH a bow-tie, cravat, kilt, swimming costume?
Corporate Office WITH an external location (the zoo, a picnic ground, railway train, gymnasium)?
Business Co-workers WITH kindergarten children, a choir, actors, artists, the French Foreign Legion?

In summary, there is more than one type of hamburger, the key is to expand your taste-buds with a variety of new ingredients so you continue to think that little bit differently!

Chatter Vocabulary in the Air

Leather Seats

For those of you who travel regularly by plane, you will know the “joy” of being strapped into your allocated seat for a few hours. You have the smallest possible personal space, and those sitting next to you can be riveting company and fun to be with, or exceptionally dull – unfortunately the later being most common!

This got me thinking…how could we make this journey of travel more interesting and utilize the many creative skills of the passengers who are getting a tad bored?

One possible solution is to invite passengers to participate in an anonymous “chatter” group discussion on a selected brainstorming topic during the flight. To be included, they would press a special “call button” which adds their seat number into the discussion. A Flight Attendant then provides them with an electronic writing tablet that allows communication with the other interested passengers.

Chatter Texts with impressive vocabulary would be then start to quickly permeate through the cabin during the flight, for example:

Seat 12A:   “Oh yes, I agree with you, but have you considered….”
Seat 29D:   “Thank you 12A, but I think it should be expanded to include…”
Seat 1F:      “Interesting concept, particularly if you consider the habitat of the West Australian wombat…”
Etc, etc…

At the conclusion of the flight, those involved could elect to have a copy of the transcript E-mailed to them, just in case there were any creative gems of inspiration written!

To me, this would be a much better use of people’s travel time and would make the total plane experience much more interesting and potentially productive.

Mood Glasses

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I’ve always been of the opinion that it would be brilliant to have some glasses that change colour to reflect your mood. But, what if we reversed this idea so the colour of the glasses dictated how we felt and thought? Now this would be interesting!

To achieve the following states of thinking, let’s consider some examples of the coloured glasses that could be used:

BLUE: Innovation and Creativity
RED: Critical Thinking
GREEN: Sustainability and the Environment
PURPLE: Romantic
YELLOW: Assertive
ORANGE: Physical strength
CRACKS in the glasses: Danger and warning
OTHER COLOUR VARIATIONS: Endless possibilities!

When the wearer takes off the glasses they go back to their usual state of thinking so the effect is only temporary.

Some potential scenarios for using these coloured glasses:

Scenario 1: Blue Glasses
The objective is to initiate a brainstorming session. Those participating would all wear their BLUE glasses. All participants would be really creative…..even those who are typically rather boring!

Scenario 2: Red Glasses
The output of the brainstorming session needs to be reviewed by the team.

Scenario 3: Yellow Glasses
It is appraisal time at work and you need that extra confidence to tackle a few issues with your boss. Putting on the YELLOW glasses gives you that extra assertiveness and self belief.

Scenario 4: Orange Glasses
You are about to start a game of football and you are a little out of physical shape. You put on the ORANGE glasses and you become a peak athlete!

The next thought then becomes, what if you had RAINBOW glasses???

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