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/

The Office Busyness Indicator (OBI)

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It is now a frequent occurrence to see numerous health conscious corporate office cohorts trekking the surrounding streets as they brandish a vibrant assortment of “Thought Creation Leadership Sticks”. Thankfully, gone are the days where lunchtime consists of habitually sitting in front of your computer, whilst quickly munching on a bland vegemite and cheese sandwich, accompanied by yet another cup of coffee. No, lunchtime now signals the start of many a “walk of thought” where employees leave their computer monitors behind, whack on some runners, a stylish hat, and do some exercise to stimulate their thought processes in gleeful and creative conversation.

Many corporate offices measure their “walk of thought” prowess through the competitive use of a “Workweek Hustle” FITBIT competition. Here a leader scoreboard tallies each walker’s steps, or lack there of, each Monday through to Friday, concluding at precisely midnight. For those of you that are familiar with this activity, it is a common practice to see many participants walking late into the Friday evening in an attempt to add those additional precious steps that might just provide them with the highly sought after FITBIT badge of victory!

However, in a recent research study, at a yet to be famous university, the findings indicate that there is a direct causal link between the average weekly FITBIT count of all active “walk of thoughters”, and their office busyness. This link is called the Office Busyness Indicator (OBI). If one views the average team steps on a weekly basis, a busyness trend becomes all too apparent. When the corporate office is experiencing a high workload, or is stressed, the average step count is low. But when the employees are feeling creative, vibrant and in need of some thoughtful collaboration, the number of steps rises significantly as they engage in happy, walk-full dialog.

So, should you be a Human Resources Manager reading this blog post, the answer is clear. Just encourage all your employees to become “walk of thoughters”, equip them with a FITBIT, chart their weekly OBI result, and you will have a real-time scientific insight into the mood of your organization. Simple.

The Lazy Creative

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It can happen via a deliberate wrist glance, a nonchalant button press, or the frequent refreshing of a specifically purchased iPhone App. You have all observed it in action. Yes, it’s the now quite common hourly habit of the corporate office FITBIT wearer as they compete with their fellow fanatical walkers for the esteemed victor of the Workweek Hustle.

But in a recent study, at a soon to be prestigious Australian Institute of Sport, a rather unusual finding has been discovered that has found a direct correlation with a person’s aptitude for innovation, and their FITBIT daily step count. Contrary to what you may think, the lower the FITBIT number, the higher the innovation intellect.

The majority of the corporate office population view those in their working ranks with a very Low FITBIT Step Count (LFSC) as being rather lazy. However, the study results found this to be remarkably furthest from the truth.

Those of your colleagues with a LFSC typically commenced their innovation training early in their youth as a teenager. A visual clue to their future LFSC creative talent would be their clothes, towels and food plates being strategically placed on the floor in their bedrooms. As the days of litter and odour progressed unhindered, a frustrated parent would finally succumb to the mess and tidy their room, with no stepping activity required at all from the clever child.

For teenagers that mastered this skill, their LFSC innovative prowess continued into their working life where the role of the parent was replaced by a fellow work colleague. Here they would sit comfortably at their desk, with their ears and eyes seeking out a potential parental worker surrogate to ensure that their need for physical exertion was significantly minimized. If you are not familiar with their innovative FITBIT step reduction techniques, take note of the following behavioural clues:

  1. The Coffee Run: They will hear the murmurings of colleagues thinking of making a dash to the nearest café for a coffee. Using their creative talent, they will feign extreme busyness and will ask you to get them a coffee on their behalf. If they are masterly at their LFSC craft, you will also be paying for them, with no hope or expectation of a reciprocal arrangement.
  1. The Carpark: In the office carpark, the innovative LFSC colleague will park in the closest position next to the elevator thereby ensuring the least number of walking steps. Some may even place a “Reserved” sign to guarantee this requirement.
  1. The Video Conference: Rather than having to walk to a meeting, the LFSC colleague will cunningly schedule a video conference, even if the colleagues invited sit only a few desks away.

So next time you have a FITBIT Workweek Hustle and you power your way on a daily basis to stepping superiority, may I suggest that you have a look at the work colleague that always comes last. Yes, they are the truly innovative people in your corporate office as it takes creative ingenuity to be that lazy!

The Future Outer Look

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Although located on the 536th floor, the view from my private office window is identical to those located on the lower and upper levels where I look straight into a neighbouring building situated just a few centimetres away, the only separation being a sound proof block of thick, perfectly transparent glass. Modern city building regulations stipulate that all walls of construction need to allow the unhindered transmission of light to conform with the strict environmental conditions of work as decreed by the World Office Worker Organisation (WOWO), year of issue 2056.

For those of you unfamiliar with the architectural designs for those of us fortunate enough to be working for a maximum of 2 hours a day, office layouts have definitely changed from the good old days of our grandparents.  Yes, no longer do workers have to reside in the primitive conditions associated with the open planned corporate office. Now, each employee has his, or her, very own dedicated floor space in the building that ensures complete sound solitude, together with the ability to creatively think without any unwelcome, or untimely interruption.

Most corporate office buildings, particularly those located in the CBD, are over 5,000 floors high, lined up side-by-side with military precision along the street frontage, and are constructed entirely from toughened glass blocks as per the WOWO building legislation. However, by the standards of yesteryear, these buildings are not very wide, in fact only 5 metres which matches the WOWO allocated floor width for each employee.

Through an innovative design pioneered by a charitable private Australian research establishment, these impressive tall buildings no longer require an elevator for vertical transportation. Instead, there are two hollow chimney chutes that transcend the entire height of the building located at each end of the floor. The key to this invention was to have the corporate Finance Team located in the upper floors, and the Marketing Department situated in the basement. As hot air rises, it quickly creates an upward wind gust that increases in velocity until it reaches the upper heights of the building where it interacts with the strong negative drag, and then rapidly condenses to form a downward airflow. The result is the formation of an employee transportation system that effortlessly moves people, or objects, up and down the building in a consistent clockwise rotation.

Now should you work in an earthquake location, have no fear as each tall building is linked via a simple locking block designed by Lego Constructions. This company also specialises in amazingly fast building construction techniques, and their corresponding destruction, should it be required.

Occasionally the employee of the corporate office may want to have a meeting with other coworkers not via the traditional video conference, but one involving a real person interaction. The answer is again quite simple utilising the construction techniques developed by Lego Constructions. If a larger meeting room is required, each employee floor is equipped with a block extraction tong which enables a simple person sized hole to be developed in the adjacent building. However, when using the extraction tong, it is important not to remove any blocks located in the hollow chimney chutes as this may result in a large influx of transported employees quickly filling up your allocated floor.

For those employees that have the occasional need for visual privacy from all potential onlookers within and outside the building, Lego Constructions have a simple solution. In each transparent glass building block there is a small sensor that measures the first onset of any employee blush or embarrassment. Should this sensor be triggered, a rapid temperature reduction is initiated within the block that frosts the outer surface that quickly distorts any light transition so a person’s concealment is ensured when required.

Yes, the view from my office window is quite impressive, but like all employees, I wonder what the view is like from other side of the transparent wall adjourning my building? A thought to ponder as I tirelessly works my requisite 2 hours.

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 Scenic Desk

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You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

Caputignis: Business Greatness

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What makes a good company great? Forget looking to the traditional sources of business, academia and other highly paid consultants for a complex answer as the solution is deceptively simple.

After years of tireless observation in the corporate office, the source of company greatness was found to wholly reside in the “caputignis” level of the organization. Those with a classical education grounded firmly in Latin will know exactly what this word means, that being “head sparkification” (caput = head, ignis = spark).

The classification of “great” can be readily substituted with “innovation”, as a great company is one that is immediately known for its phenomenal ingenuity and corresponding business success in the marketplace.

Caputignis is thought to be an emotional energy state that is generated when the employee has a spark of creativity. However, unless this fleeting moment of inspiration is rapidly captured and harnessed within the corporate office, it will quickly vanish and will be permanently extinguished by a conservative organizational culture. For those unfortunate companies where this occurs, their caputignis levels were found to be very low.

Now for those businesses that were deemed by the financial market to be great, their caputignis levels were recorded as being extremely high, continuous and homogenous in all their work activities. The culture of these companies was publicly and internally acknowledged as being highly innovative, and almost electrifying in its nature, so much so that any creative sparks generated by individuals, or work teams, were instantaneously conducted throughout the organization. Here the employees as a collective, worked and shared ideas thereby generating a highly reactive caputignis flux that stimulated and encouraged innovation, together with an overflowing plethora of new thoughts.

Do you need to purchase an expensive caputignis measuring device to see where your organization sits on the greatness level? No, there is a more cost effective approach, that being the vibe that your employees feel when they are in the corporate office. If they are continually bubbling with new mind-sets, and end the working day with a feeling of excitement, then your caputignis level is high. Alternatively, if your organization struggles with the generation of innovative ideas, then you need to work on establishing an employee culture that stimulates head sparkification.

So what makes a good company great? Caputignis.

Green Rolls and Hands? Nope!

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For those of you that notice things, you will have seen this overt activity as it nonchalantly happens at precisely the same time every work day, typically around 12 PM.

The routine has been slowly increasing in acceptance, and is now seen gastronomically throughout the global corporate lunching fraternity. The more worrying part with this viral consumptive eating trend, is that it has been gradually eroding the employee’s ability to be creative with each unassuming, yet decisive, bite.

Other visual clues to this habitual eating disorder are the sporadic green flakes, annoyingly wedged firmly between the consumer’s front teeth, that unfortunately quickly diminish the potency of any beneficial smile that may have permeated from the nominated cuisine experience.

Owing to the well marketed hand-held appeal and versatility of this unique luncheon product, your corporate colleagues will recklessly chomp on it without any personal welfare concern as they freely walk, engage in other physical exercise, or whilst happily sitting in a relaxed stationary position at their work desks.

Yes, I’m talking about sushi!

Unfortunately, this repeated daily eating sushi experience has markedly diminished their innovation skills as they no longer use their sensory exploration nous to seek out other equally satisfying food alternatives. After years of reckless sushi eating, this innovation retardation can be readily validated via the application of any up to date Myers Briggs personality profiling where comparisons can be easily made to when they didn’t have this eating disorder, and when their taste buds enjoyed a diverse choice in luncheon opportunities.

So the answer is clear. If you want to quickly increase innovation in your corporate office, urgently circulate an official HR decree than bans the eating of sushi with immediate effect.  Your business, your work colleagues, and the other non-sushi selling establishments in your office area, will thank you greatly.

“White Rabbit” Behaviour

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According to a recent and widely acclaimed behavioural study, one of the biggest killers of innovation in the corporate office is the effect known as “White Rabbit” disease. Once a business is infested with this potent virus, it quickly spreads, and is difficult to exterminate without the introduction of a brutal change management regime.

The “White Rabbit” disease gets its name from the fictional character in the book “Alice in Wonderland” (Lewis Carroll), where a large white rabbit is seen to be in a continual state of panic, whilst shouting the words “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

Those employees exhibiting “White Rabbit” behaviour are easily identifiable. They will be the visibly stressed people rushing from meeting to meeting, always running late, and will be constantly letting you know just how busy they are with strong verbal flagellation sighs of self-importance.

If your organisation is deemed to have too many “White Rabbit” sufferers, and should an appropriate course of corrective action not be immediately implemented by a suitably qualified corporate physician, a stock market directive of absolute quarantine may be imposed. A short time later, a quick financial business vaporization will then prevail with irreversible effect.

But there is a simple and effective treatment that can be easily applied to those afflicted with the “White Rabbit” disease, and one which also acts as a long term inoculation for those that don’t yet exhibit any of the symptoms.

The treatment is called “time”. Not just any “time”, but “thinking time”, where the psychological stress and strain of those affected, who believe they have a need to rush in the corporate office, is eliminated from their daily ritual. The habitual application of “thinking time” leads to the development of a creative thought which tends to free the poor suffer of all anxiety, which apparently has a direct causal link with the onset of “White Rabbit” disease.

Repeated applications of the treatment also appears to fortify the organization’s resistance to the affliction with lasting effect, as their employee’s ability to think creatively is reinforced, and in due course, may even lead to the encouraging signs of innovation.

So the answer is clear. When the first indications of “White Rabbit” disease become apparent, be swift with the copious application of “thinking time”, before it is too late!

 

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

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