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 Friday Free Job Day

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According to a fictitious survey in the Australian Financial Review, I work for one of the most innovative companies in Australia, and I know why!

One of the activities that differentiates my company from our competition, is a highly anticipated employee event that occurs without fail on the last Friday of the month. No, it’s not allowing staff to wear casual clothes (which happens weekly anyway – see rules below), it’s our Friday Free Job Day (FFJD).

So what is this FFJD and how does it work you may ask?

Well, it’s surprisingly simple, and the process has produced some remarkable process improvements, but more importantly, a truly dynamic and progressive culture of innovation within our company.

At precisely 6 PM on the last Thursday night of the working month, each employee is sent an SMS that advises them what job they will be doing the following day so they can dress, and mentally prepare accordingly. For instance, I might be advised that I will be the CEO, the CFO, the Marketing Director, the Head of HR, or the Office Manager, just to name a few. When I arrive at my allocated office on the Friday morning, the actual person fulfilling that job has vacated their office and has left me a list outlining the 5 biggest challenges hindering them in their role. My task for that day is to explore ideas that address, and potentially solve the 5 outlined issues. At the conclusion of the day, I leave my ideas of solution on their desk for them to review, consider and to explore further when they arrive at work on Monday morning.

Through the use of a fresh set of eyes, the results have been staggering, but more importantly, the positive impact on employee morale has been phenomenal.

Another derived benefit of the FFJD process is that each employee gains a greater insight into how the business operates, and how their role impacts those around them.

So for those companies that think Casual Friday is a sign of your corporate innovation brilliance, think bigger, try the Friday Free Job Day once a month and the results achieved will happily surprise you.

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Commandments for Casual Friday Attire:
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commandments-for-casual-friday-attire/

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.

This is Your Captain Speaking

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It’s brilliant how there is a lock on the plane’s cockpit door these days! If only the passengers knew the truth!

Would you like some ice with your Macallan whiskey, or are you having it neat like I am? By the way, do you have a light for my Gurkha Black Dragon cigar, I haven’t quite mastered the smoking technique yet and the damn thing keeps going out.

Yep, I love being a Boeing 737 pilot, this is indeed the best job in the world!

What? It’s my turn to talk to the passengers? No problem, I think you have had a tad too many Jack Daniel’s as you are starting to slur your words, and might just give the game away. No problem, I’ll do it. Can you give me the microphone? What flight number are we again, oh yes, VA346 travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne.

“Hmmm, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of the flight crew, I would like to thank you for flying with Virgin Australia, as we know you have a choice of airlines. We will shortly be starting our decent into Melbourne and should be arriving at the gate in about 30 minutes. We trust you have enjoyed the flight and we look forward to seeing you next time you fly”.

Phew! I’m glad that’s over! I almost forgot that I was a Virgin Australia pilot and was about to go into my well-versed Qantas script by mistake. We really should get management to put a visual reminder on the TV monitor so we know which airline we are actually flying for, and also the flight number information. I do get confused with all these airlines they ask us to be drone pilots for, particularly those East European ones!

How about a game of cards? If I recall I beat you quite well at poker last time we played? What, you don’t think there is enough time before we need to take control of the remote controls and actually land the real plane? No problem, could you hand me the microphone again?

“Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that we have been placed in a holding pattern by the control tower at Melbourne airport owing to another plane declaring an emergency. We are not sure how long we will be delayed, but it could be a while. We will provide further updates when they come to hand. In the meantime, please relax and our delightful flight crew will come through the cabin with yet another round of wonderful refreshments.”

That should give us about twenty minutes of playing time, would you like to deal the cards, or shall I?

Comment: Next time you fly, ask yourself, is the Captain actually on the plane, or sitting in a comfortable leather chair many miles away flying via drone remote control from their home whilst sipping a whisky,  smoking a cigar and wearing their pyjamas? Now that’s what I call innovation!

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/

The Masterly Tram Innovation Plan

tram

In 1967 a document written by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was officially stamped “Strictly Confidential” and was granted Restricted Access under the Australian Secrets Act for a period of 50 years. A few weeks ago, this document titled “A Plan to Enhance Tram Commuter Innovation via Strategic Design Disruption” was obtained under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Laws and was promptly delivered to an eagerly awaiting Melbourne newspaper journalist.

After a few hours of detailed reading, the journalist dropped the heavy red leather bound 100 page document onto her office floor with a loud thud in a state of total astonishment and disbelief. She had just read a master plan cleverly constructed by the MMTB that explained in great detail how the Melbourne tram network was designed, developed and implemented as part of a secret psychological behavioural study commissioned by a leading Melbourne University Professor.  According to this Professor, the supple, malleable mind of the unsuspecting naive Melbourne tram user could be surreptitiously modified to think creatively via the use of some simple transport network modifications. Under the cloak of innovation, the following modes of tram operation were devised.

  1.  Punctuality
    An official MMTB tram timetable was published which made the commuter think that a tram might be arriving/departing according to the schedule. But no, this was never the intention, as all tram drivers were provided with a different, totally random timetable that had no correlation with that used by the commuter.
    The Benefit: This forced the commuter to develop innovative justifications to explain why they were always late. There was also an additional bonus of suspense as the commuter never really knew when the tram was going to arrive or depart.
  1. Tram Stop
    Tram Drivers were instructed never to stop in the middle of a designated tram stop, but always a few feet before, or after it. Some were even told not to actually stop, but to reduce the tram speed to an observable calculated velocity where the commuter thought it was just slow enough not to cause them significant personal harm as they scurried for the open door moving past them.
    The Benefit: In an attempt to reduce the growing problem of commuter obesity, this provided the traveller with some daily physical exercise, and always made sure that their reflexes were primed to leap into a partially open tram door when available.
  1. Tram Seats
    When the trams were being serviced at the depot in preparation for the following days commuter allocation, MMTB cleaners were instructed to deliberately dirty up a few seats, or to make some of them totally unserviceable.
    The Benefit: The forced some fortunate commuters to joyfully stretch their legs by having the delight of standing up for their entire tram journey. It also created a competitive seat culture where commuters were strategically jockeying for the remaining usable seats.
  1. Temperature Control
    Although most trams were fitted with large windows to regulate air flow to assist with commuter comfort, many of these windows were deliberately welded shut.
    The Benefit: The majority of the Melbourne commuters had never experienced the health benefits of a sauna. Here the MMTB gleefully provided this as part of the tram service with no additional ticket surcharge.
  1. Tram Break Down
    Tram Drivers were instructed to randomly turn the power off in their trams and feign an unplanned mechanical failure.
    The Benefit: This provided the commuter with an opportunity to bond and share personal experiences with their fellow travellers whilst they were all crammed into the stationary overheating tram. It was also great advertising for the MMTB as their trams became a readily identifiable symbol of iconic transport that all frustrated and fuming car drivers could continually look at whilst they sat for extended periods of time in the resultant traffic jam.

As you can imagine, the journalist was flabbergasted at the creative ingenuity of the MMTB in their attempt to create a culture of innovation on their Melbourne transport network. But what the journalist didn’t know, was that other cities all around the world adopted the MMTB commuter philosophy and applied the psychological learnings in all their trains, buses, trams, ferries and even some airlines. Was it successful? We will never know, however, the memoirs of that leading 1967 Melbourne University Professor do record that he never used public transport and was an avid car driver.

For innovative slumber, think CollaborApp™

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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.

Claim your Pantaloon Freedom

office-shorts

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.

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!

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