Ideas – Shaken, Not Stirred

James-Bond

For more than 5 decades, I’ve combined gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked ice, shaken well, never stirred, then strained into a spiffy glass, garnished with a twist of lemon, and then delightfully consumed with the added benefit of an irresistible drinking companion.

To some, I’m just James, to others, I’m known as Bond, or professionally by my British Government law exemption descriptor of 007.

During my working career, I have morphed in and out of countless bodies, have mastered numerous accents and have successfully portrayed an endless array of trend-setting fashion suit and hair styles. I have encountered many enemies and have strategically defeated evil with good. I have willingly mastered the requisite art of seduction to which I have gleamed many hidden secrets of national and personal importance.

As I sit alone at the bar in a socially acceptable part of London, I look curiously at my half consumed glass and wonder if the act of shaking, and definitely not stirring, is the true source of my non-alcoholic thought innovation? To assist with my serious mental contemplation, I straighten my expensive shirt cufflinks to strategically focus my mind on the origin of my creativity.

I quietly ponder, does the stirring activity yield complete thought homogenisation where the cherished essence of creative individuality quickly ceases to exist? Are these once creative concepts now no longer separate, powerful ideas, but rather just an accumulated entity of yet another cocktail ready to be consumed in a carefree attitude by the common masses?

Could it be that the deliberate act of shaking yields ideas that are refreshingly uncontaminated as discrete thoughts where their flavours are undiluted and full of zing-full concentration to be enjoyed by the experienced consumer?

As the beverage slowly permeated through the essence of my body, I became convinced that I had identified a unique aspect of the origin of innovation. The key is to gather a vast array of individual thoughts and to combine them in proportions where they remain uniquely discernable and do not lose their identity in the process.

For those working in the corporate office, the analogy suggests that you try not to stir all your creative individuals into a common corporate concoction where they lose their potency and marked influence in the organisation. Rather, incorporate them into your culture in a calculated measure where their flavour, intensity and influence is carefully shaken throughout the business in recognisable bursts that are appreciated and imaginatively welcome.

Yep, I think it’s time for another thoughtful drink. Cheers!

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.

The Link That Keeps You Together

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There is a small item of clothing that circumnavigates the midpoint of human creativity and has been used by mankind for generations.

It can be customised to meet the individual preferences of the wearer, and can effortlessly accommodate fluctuating changes in personal demeanour and appearance.

When absent, one’s self esteem can lead to unwelcome embarrassment where the observer may be shocked, or excited, by the unhindered display of private persona.

However, those in the fashion industry have been happily entwined by its functionality and fully utilise its support and timeless stability.

For those of you that excel in cryptic mental aptitude, you will have already determined that I am alluding to the creative virtues of the mechanical device colloquially known as the belt.

Without a belt, human creativity would have been severely limited as ones hands would have not been free to gesticulate innovative ideas, to constructively work requisite equipment, or walk in unperturbed inspirational thought, owing to the need to maintain a sense of dignity with one, or two hands continually stopping the dropping force of unplanned clothing gravity.

From a spiritual sense, the belt allows the clothing wearer to focus on thoughts deemed from above, rather that those below their waist, well, in the majority of cases anyway.

A single belt can transfer its supportive benefits between many users regardless of their sex, nationality, history or age, and is unperturbed by the status of the previous wearer.

So if you want to maintain a look of complete confidence in your creative work and social activities, make sure you wear a belt and the innovative support you seek will be continually maintained.

Hat Induced Creativity

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As the days get colder, the highly calibrated temperature sensor on the top of your head signals that some personal thermal protection may indeed be required. Now depending upon the hairocity concentration of your free flowing follicles, some individuals may not be the slightest bit concerned about the impending climatic cold change, whilst others with a large abundance of heat radiating skin will rapidly adopt the adornment of a suitable item of frabrical barrier resistance.

But with closer inspection, the observer will notice that head thermal fortification is chosen by all people, regardless of their follicular ability, age or sex. Yes, it seems that everyone wants to wear a hat. At first consideration, the process of selecting the right hat for your head would appear to be linked to fashion, warmth, or perhaps comfort, but no, this is surprisingly not the case.

In an obscure study recently published in the latest edition of Vogue magazine by some rather curious PhD students at a rather fashionable university in Melbourne, a theory has been proposed that has sent shockwaves through the millinery community. Apparently, the choice of one’s hat has a direct correlation with the creativity of the individual wearer, with some hats signalling extreme innovation tendencies.

Now, for any HR Managers reading this blog post, this hat theory provides a unique opportunity for you to effortlessly improve the innovation tendencies of those working within your corporate office with the simple placement of a hat upon your employee’s heads. But wait, not just any hat will suffice!

Those curious PhD students reported that the following hats provided the greatest innovation benefit:

The Beret: This remarkable hat has been providing creative inspiration to the wearer for centuries*, just consider the vast array of famous actors, painters and other wise individuals, so QED on this one!

The Beanie: For extreme cold environments, this hat reportedly provides the optimum thermal protection. The wearer also has numerous opportunities for creative personalisation via the selection of many colours, and the bigger the pompom on top, the more innovative the individual.

The Corner Tied Handkerchief: For some strange reason this hat has greatest favour with the English, particularly in the summer months. But should you meet someone attired with a white decorative hankie on their head in winter, well, these people will be extremely different and unique, so much so that some caution may be required prior to any interaction.

Yes, there are many other hat choices, but to foster a culture of innovation in your business that is foolproof, the beret and beanie are proven catalysts of creativity. So what are you waiting for? Go out and place a hat on your head! You will be warmer, stylish, wiser and many thoughts will start to quickly permeate, well, so says the theory developed by those curious PhD students, and I believe them!

 

*https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/its-the-stalk/

Claim your Pantaloon Freedom

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On standing up from my desk chair, I immediately felt the unexpected gaze of my colleagues. Some of the looks were based on admiration; others on envy, there was even the occasional involuntary gasp of astonishment. However, to me, the experience was refreshing and reminded me very much of my younger days.

Regardless of your sex, you have all experienced the feeling. It was in the days when we were unashamed to flaunt it all, our bare skin, free to the world, purposefully unhidden below any wads of consolidated fibres of corporate cloth.

We wore our innovative adventures with pride, and accumulated countless scars that testified our forays into the carefree and creative world in which we lived, unperturbed about the potential future consequences.

In our unprotected state, we immediately experienced the changing moods of our surrounding environment. For those of us with an abundance of hairs, these quickly stood erect in complete barometric harmony with the prevailing climatic conditions.

Yes, we were the wearers of shorts and our knees relished in their uncovering.

But at a certain age, our lives changed significantly when we decided, or were instructed by those that knew better, to wear trousers. At this point in time we became pantaloon conformists. No longer would our knees enjoy that continual breeze woft that symbolised our youthful exhilaration of openness.

As the years progressed, that haphazard child-like naivety and knee-free explorative thought slowly became extinct, particularly for those in the corporate office who habitually and unthinkingly wear a suit.

But relax, yours knees are quite resilient and will with the right air stimulation quickly revert back to their native state of youthfulness and inspiration. The corrective process is simple, just start wearing shorts in the office.

Don’t worry yourself about rules of fashion, you can wear long walk socks, short ankle length socks, or go ankle commando.

For that professional look, a tailored short does look the best, together with the belt that used to reside in your conservative suit trousers that will instantaneously welcome your new, and refreshing lease of life, now less rigidly “waistful”. Should you wear a business shirt, tie or jacket with your shorts? The choice is entirely up to you, but definitely not the corporate branded T-shirt, as you will want to vehemently maintain the creative personal innovation that your knees have fought so hard to physically obtain.

Yes, I was enjoying the experience of wearing shorts in the corporate office. My knees were once again unhindered, and so was my thought. In direct thoughtful knee correlation, my mind now gratefully welcomed its cloth shackle-less freedom, and acknowledged that I had once again rediscovered my true source of innovation.

Jazz – The Poignant Innovation

davebrubeckthequartet

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 Cardigan Effect

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If you are still searching for that illusive light bulb moment of inspiration that illuminates you on how to develop a culture of innovation within the corporate office, well, cover your shrinking expectant diluted pupils and look no further!

Those organisations that publicly acknowledge that they have attained this cultural goal of ongoing creative status fully understand, and vehemently practice, a little known law that many of you I’m sure have never heard of, or have ever been exposed to. The law is never discussed in any external academic of business journals, or in a public forum. Those CEOs that utilise this law protect it, and value it on an equal footing with any other prized intellectual property that they own.

The power of this law is like that of a welcome virus, and when unleashed without any senior management constraint within an organisation, it quickly takes hold and generates an uncontrollable innovative forward momentum.

The law is known as “The Cardigan Effect”. So how does it work you may gleefully ask? Let me explain.

The “cardigan” is a metaphor and is used to describe the relaxed, unhindered mental behaviour of an employee when they are not in the corporate office. When exhibiting “cardigan” behaviour, the employee speaks their mind openly; they have an opinion that they happily express with their family and friends. They solve problems, have suggestions and are not scared to challenge the status quo. They may be introverts, extroverts, or anything in between, and are content in realising and accepting their own unique persona.

But when many of these employees enter the corporate office, they remove their snug and comfortable “cardigan” and take on the excepted foreign characteristics and behaviour of the organisation. They become a different person, and all their inherent creativity becomes stifled, suppressed or non-existent.

Those organisations that have mastered the “Cardigan Effect” to drive a culture of innovation within their businesses allow, in fact fully encourage, their employees to wear their personalised “cardigans” in the office. The have created a work environment where their employees want to be their natural selves both in, and out of the office, there is no behavioural separation. However, there is one defining and strategic filter used for this “cardigan” behaviour, that being the organisations corporate values. Here the corporate values are not used to hinder the individual’s creativity, but rather to ensure consistency and a reference point for behaviour.

So how does an organisation create a work environment to fully reap the ongoing benefits of the “Cardigan Effect”? Well, it starts at the top with the Senior Executive team happily wearing their very own personal (not company supplied or corporately branded) “cardigans” publicly in the office. Some of their cardigans may not be that fashionable, may be a tad dirty, or may have a hole in the sleeve, if so, that’s even better. They need to consistently “walk the talk” and wear their “cardigans” everyday, not once off as part of a fad or promotion which most employees recognise quite quickly.

So on Monday as you dress for work, why not leave your usual corporate attire in the wardrobe and pull on your old and trusted “cardigan”. But more importantly, make sure that your home persona accompanies your “cardigan” as you enter the office. Then watch and behold just how fast this new and highly welcome innovation fashion trend quickly prevails!

The Office Well-Being Executive Manager

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The corridors of corporate life used to experience it at least once a day, typically around 3 PM. Those of you with a longer memory say it also occurred in the morning, but alas, those days are reluctantly gone, possibly, never to be repeated.

The eagerly awaited activity heralded an opportunity to have a short break from your normal work routine and to refresh your mind with small morsels of needed sustenance.

It was a welcome time for all pens to be lowered, inky nibs blotted, and writing paper pushed aside on your desk to make room for the appreciated earthenware additions.

For a brief few minutes, the worker could engage in a pseudo-flirtatious social dialogue and build a non-threatening personal rapport with the service provider, who was usually wearing a bland coloured corporate pinafore apron. Their official work title was “Tea Lady”, but they were the backbone of many successful organizations.

No office door was ever closed to the Tea Lady. They traversed the building pulling a trolley that was equipped with a large teapot, hot water, coffee, milk, a selection of biscuits (or cakes if you were lucky), and an array of cups and saucers, some of which occasionally matched. Their arrival could be heard well before they reached your desk, owing to the rattling of the crockery and the heightened conversation that they would always generate.

The role of Tea Lady was an unrecognized strategic cog in the corporate organizational hierarchy as they were privy to all levels of the business, from senior management, right down to the new starter or graduate. They could sense the mood of the corporate office, whether it was dynamic and innovative, or one that was struggling and ready to implode. The Tea Lady became the confidant of many employees, a person that they could talk to about work, home-life or their personal ambitions.

Business today needs a modern version of the Tea Lady, which would probably now have the more acceptable corporate title of “Office Well-Being Manager”. Many organizations have tried to foster various methods of casual communication within the corporate office with the introduction of “Chatter”, “Yammer” and other electronic applications, but none have been as effective as the old fashioned Tea Lady.

So why not reinvigorate the Tea Lady role with a more modern version?

Many employees want to have access to their senior management team, but may be too shy or a tad embarrassed to engage them in an open forum. One solution is to have a weekly (or monthly) roster where your Executive Team takes it in turns to be “Office Well-Being Executive Manager”. Yes, they would walk the office corridors with an electric powered beverage trolley fully equipped with the latest coffee (short black, long black, latte, cappuccino, flat white), tea (Early Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, herbal), soymilk chai lattes, and a selection of cakes (high fat, low fat, gluten free) or fruit. Besides your Executive Team learning new catering skills that they can add to their already impressive CVs, they would have instantaneous access to the pulse of the business and an opportunity to gain an insight on the nuances of their staff (and vice-versa).

So, when next you plan to have a well-earned rest break from your computer, may I suggest that you first stop, and listen. Hopefully you will hear the buzz of your corporately branded electric beverage trolley as it happily approaches your desk. Bon appetite!

Umbrellas, Be Gone with Them!

Singing

It’s a most awkward feeling, and you’ve all experienced it, particularly when you encounter someone of approximately the same height. There is a momentary sigh of slight relief when the oncoming individual is deemed to be shorter or taller, the larger the difference the better, until it is quickly replaced by the mandatory manoeuvring so as to avoid any unwelcome impact.

The unavoidable cause of this precipitous, and most stressful combative environment is rain, and its presence signals the use of the antiqued protection item called the umbrella. It doesn’t matter how hard or soft the rain may be, as soon as it falls from the sky, an array of umbrellas hurriedly appears and pedestrian life on the footpath becomes mayhem.

If there were a standard sized umbrella that just provided sufficient circumferential rain protection tailored to the average individual walker, this would greatly assist with commuter meander flow. But no, some undisciplined selfish people elect to brandish a massive brightly coloured golf umbrella, designed for maximum rainfall protection, that produces a pedestrian bottleneck wherever they walk.

There must be a better system of rain head protection, and I’m pleased to say that there is, and it’s called the Aerocap™.

After countless hours of creative thinking time, the Aerocap™ is now fully functional and ready for its inaugural market launch. Its design is simple, yet so effective. It has been fashionably styled by a famous Melbourne designer (who for some reason wants to remain anonymous), and can be purchased in an array of distinctive colours, fabrics and sizes to accommodate all heads.

So how does the Aerocap™ work you may ask? Well, let me educate you.

This innovative rain protection device comes with easy to follow instructions that are listed below:

  1. Place the Aerocap™ on your head.
  2. At the first sign of rain, gently press the carefully camouflaged “start button” that is situated just under the front cap peak.
    (Note 1: for the football team beanie version, press the big pompom. Note 2: for the beret version, press the stalk).
  3. Once the “start button” has been pressed, the top of your Aerocap™ will spontaneously open and an incredibly quiet high intensity airflow will be initiated in an upwards circular direction.
    (Note: You may feel as if you are being pushed with a downward momentum, but this is normal)
  4. Any rain will now be forcefully projected away from the Aerocap™ by the airflow keeping the wearer dry and happy.
  5. Throw away your umbrella, as you won’t need it any longer!

Disclaimer: The Aerocap™ is powered by a small amount of uranium. But don’t be alarmed, as keeping your head dry in the short term was deemed by the now deceased test user as being much more important than any long term radiation concerns).

There is another benefit with the Aerocap™ (not mentioned in the instructions) and that’s the impact it has on those recalcitrant pedestrians that still selfishly carry those large imposing golf umbrellas.

When the Aerocap™ wearer walks under one of these grossly flamboyant umbrellas, there is a detection sensor that quickly increases the air velocity that may result in the umbrella holder suddenly being projected 20 feet in the air. But don’t be too concerned, as by the time they land on the ground with a thump, you will be well gone and will not hear their verbal outbursts.

So how do you get an Aerocap™?

Any classy and sophisticated hatter will sell them. If not, just mention the brand name Aerocap™ to the sales person, and I’m sure you will be given an appropriate response.

The Answer to that Male Question

Shaving

There is “a question” that has been baffling mankind for centuries, and as “the answer” was unknown, professional men all around the world reluctantly decided to play it safe, just in case they got it wrong. That is, until now!

As I sat in private solace in the world-renowned Corporate Observation Research Zone (aka the Virgin Australia Lounge at Melbourne airport), after many minutes watching my fellow travelling compatriots, the clues to “the answer” slowly became apparent. For those of you that like details, the moment of discovery actually presented itself to me after my third long black coffee.

The attraction of the Virgin Australia Lounge is the diversity of corporate inhabitants that provide a huge array of visual observation fodder. There are men of all ages, some wearing suits, others casually dressed. Some with hair purposefully positioned on their face and heads, some with a deliberate close shaved facial nudified look, even those with an upper head appearance that conforms to their hairless heredity.

“The answer” to “the question” is that it doesn’t matter where your draw that “line of separation”.

Yes, men from the time they first decided to shave have been in a quandary as to where to position that mysterious demarcation line that signifies the end of the side-burn. To make matters even more confusing, should the man be fortunate enough to have a headless head, and has a beard, where should the top of the side-burn commence?

The author of this blog post is pleased to advise that men’s side-burn fashion has now progressed to the point where no facial rules apply. Men are now exercising their innovative side-burn freedom and are letting their razors do the talking without any limitation, or fear of visual retribution.

So men, next time you are confronted with a decision as where to “draw the line of separation”, relax, the choice is indeed yours. And should you make a mistake, all is good, as the hairy, or hairless, problem will be rectified in due course by the planned arrival of the following morning, when next you look in the mirror equipped with your trusty razor.

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