The Masterly Tram Innovation Plan

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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.

The Law of Scrabble

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Letters are tricky objects, particularly so when left alone to their own arrangement. For centuries now, these 26 individual English characters have been portrayed as inanimate symbols, but that was indeed furthest from the reader’s comprehension.

Letters are most devious and have the imaginative ability to mentally reach out to the writer to get them combined into an alignment of grammatical strength where they can dictate their self-gratifying messages of command.

To avoid any potential human mutiny to their authority, Letters have created a complex array of continually updated syntax to ensure ongoing user bamboozlement, and to ensure that their vocabulary importance in never challenged, nor questioned.

Letters frequently align themselves in a position of strength and are usually not left on their lonesome, except for their leader “A”, a Letter that is quite unique and content to operate in isolation.

However, in the year 1938, the ordered life of the Letter changed forever. Yes, the culprit was a man called Alfred Mosher Butts and he challenged the happy status quo of the Letter by introducing the element of randomness into how Letters might be utilized by the thinker. No longer would a full powerful complement of 26 Letters hold the verbal attention of the user; Mr Butts cleverly restricted their influence to an unwordly 7 haphazard Letters for thoughtful “sentencifical” construct. As the years unfolded, the Butt’s invention was eventually known as the “Law of Scrabble” and it is still in operation today, and looks likely to prevail for many years into the future.

Now for those of you that work in the corporate office, you will be interested to know that the “Law of Scrabble” signalled the start of the modern age of innovation as mankind was now no longer subservient to the whimsical and tiresome demands of Letters. Yes, the users of Letters were now masters of their own written destiny of creative prose.

The year 1938 heralded noun and verbal freedom, and the patenting of many new writing inventions were quickly transcribed into inked existence via the application of the “Law of Scrabble”. Some of the more marked 1938 inventions were; the ballpoint pen that was triumphantly verbalised by Ladislo Biro, similarly the invention of the dry photocopier by Chester Carlson that dissipated any remnants of Letter uniqueness with an easily obtainable mirrored copy.

The “Law of Scrabble” also opened the reading person’s eyes to the real definition of the word called innovation. For decades, Letters of the English language had successfully masked its true meaning via the application of many obtuse rhymes, and a plethora of other devious grammatical diversions.

The “Law of Scrabble” allowed mankind to uncouple the individual letters used in the word innovation (10 letters) into two smaller, and more readily understood words, each within the 7 letter Scrabble limitation. These two words were: “In” (2 letters) and “Novate” (6 letters), which when combined formed the word “Innovate.

Now, should you use a dictionary that has its allegiances with those treacherous Letters, you would find that the definition for “Innovate” is: “To do something in a new way”. Reading between the lines, this definition wants mankind to keep using the old traditional Letters, but just mix them around a tad. Yes, our reliance on the Letter would indeed continue and the worker in the corporate office would be none the wiser, nor creative.

But by using the letter revelation yielded via the application of the “Law of Scrabble”, a slightly different meaning is cleverly unravelled counter to the wishes of the Letters:

In: “used to indicate location or position within something”,
Novate: “to replace (an old obligation) by a new obligation

So the word “Innovate” means to replace old Letters with new and different Letters. Or in more colloquial language, think differently, and use new Letters, some of which when assembled may form a word you have not previously encountered or understood. But the key is to be bold, italic and even indulge in some embellished conjugation when required. Yes, extend your vocabulary and seek new words, some of which may even be in a new language! The result will be the attainment of verbal innovation!

The Thought Creation Leadership Stick

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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

I pondered these William Shakespeare words as I respectfully picked up my “Thought Creation Leadership Stick” and quietly acknowledged that I had just been “thrust”. Yes, it was my allocated turn to lead my fellow corporate office lunchtime walkers on a journey of fictitious discovery.

Like clockwork, at precisely 12:00 PM, those employees yearning for creative daily enrichment hurriedly assembled in the marbled office reception area eagerly awaiting the arrival of the scheduled holder of the Thought Creation Leadership Stick. Each person looked like any other typical employee, apart from the comfy grass-stained walking shoes brandishing their feet, and the small discrete hiking pack emblazoned with the corporate logo that snuggly contained a healthy company supplied lunch.

As I was now thrustfully tasked with my honoured opportunity of creative greatness, I carefully lifted the Stick of leadership authority that signalled to all onlookers the commencement of the lunchtime walk.

Off we went with an air of corporate cohesion, with me leading out the front as I mentally prepared for the numerous planned requisite creative stops. But this was not just any lunchtime walk. No sir, this was a walk in which the leader had to innovatively entertain everyone with an almost believable, yet highly fictitious, story along the way.

Each walk had an allocated duration of exactly 60 minutes, and to constructively utilise this time, I elected to take my walking colleagues along the muddy banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. As stipulated by my esteemed position of holder of the Stick, we stopped at various picturesque locations where I creatively described the non-existent basic cave markings of prehistoric Melbourne man, the enticing smells wofting up from aboriginal campfires cooking a charcoaled selection of tasty barramundi fish fillets and yabbies, the first European naval ships equipped with copious stocks of rum soaked barrels, and the exploratory “beaming up” of our competition’s most valuable staff by the Martian aliens.

At the conclusion of the allocated walking time, we all returned to the corporate office with our FITBIT step count massively increased, our minds full of thoughtful creative inspiration, and an empty backpack symbolising a most content and happy stomach.

As holder of the Stick, I then proudly passed the leadership symbol over to a fellow colleague, which they accepted with a strong sense of humility and equally nervous anticipation.

So should you want to develop a culture of innovation in your corporate office, together with some complementary employee exercise, then may I suggest that you also have greatness thrust upon you and pick up your own Thought Creation Leadership Stick!

The Eyes of Electronic Stimulation

eyes

The E-mail designated “High Priority” in large red font from the HSE Director arrived in my Inbox at exactly 5 PM. It advised all employees that tomorrow was going to be an “Electronic Free Day”. I, and my fellow work colleagues, read the following safety directive as stipulated with keen interest.

Attention All Staff,

Owing to a dramatic increase in the number of deteriorating eyesight complaints derived from employee’s continually using work computers, iPhones, iPads and other electronic visual stimulators, we have been advised by our insurance underwriters that we have now reached the maximum number of optical claims allowed for this year.

As such, we have decided to mitigate this corporate eyeball risk by announcing that every Wednesday will now be deemed an “Electronic Free Day” (EFD), commencing tomorrow.

The IT department has been advised to implement an unconditional electricity supply freeze on all computer assets which will be effective between the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.

When arriving at work, please place all personal smartphone devices, tablets, kindles, and other such like into the nominated collection baskets as advised by the Safety Wardens. Any refusal will result in immediate dismissal.

At your workstation, each employee will be greeted with a pen (complete with ink), writing paper (devoid of any words) that are to be used to capture any creative thoughts that may be generated during the work day. For those staff that may have forgotten how to use these work implements, a special tutorial has been scheduled in the auditorium at 9 AM.

On your desk, you will also find a personalised information sheet that provides some suggested finger exercises to ensure that no repetitive strain injuries (RSI) occur, please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the movements.

We value your eye safety, particularly as it will reduce our insurance premiums.

The management team thanks you for your understanding and optical conformance, so together, our business future will be visually bright.

Regards

HSE Director

The Experience of E-Class Flight

Annex - Grant, Cary (Only Angels Have Wings)_05

Once again, I had to go through the drudgery of booking my Qantas flight QF9 from Melbourne to London. It was a business flight that I reluctantly did every month, I loved it when I arrived at my London destination, but the long flight, well, I despised every torturous hour associated with it.

Owing to the frequency of my travel, the online booking process typically only took me a few minutes to complete. As usual, I entered my well-versed Qantas Frequent Flyer number, but once done, a new and rather unexpected screen mysteriously opened up in my booking. Initially I was a tad flabbergasted, as I was accustomed to seeing the usual cabin selection options of First, Business and the various Economy options. But this time, I was presented with some rather unusual seating option classifications; S, F or E to which I was quite intrigued. Apparently, owing to a combination of my lofty Frequent Flyer status, and my personal profile (possibly also due to my habitual bow-tie wearing fashion statements as professionally noted by the more discerning Qantas flight stewardesses), I had been offered the opportunity to participate in a rather unique test flight to London. I was then provided with an option to proceed, or to go back to the booking screen of normality. I had 30 seconds to make my choice. After a brief microsecond period of some limited superficial in depth thinking, I had quickly made my decision and without any hesitation selected the button marked “Go for it”.

Immediately, I entered a new and differently badged Qantas booking screen and discovered that S = Serious, F = Fun and E = Experience. Without going into all the aircraft cabin classification descriptive paraphernalia, and for the sake of verbal brevity, all you need to know is that I selected E-class (and checked the 12 page disclaimer box to confirm my booking).

A few days later, I arrived at Melbourne airport dressed in the minimalist clothing as prescribed by Qantas for the newly designated E-class traveller. Once checked in by the delightful and somewhat suspiciously and rather endlessly smirking Qantas staff, I was handed my E-class travel kit. In it were some face masked goggles, a tight fitting Qantas embroidered and personally monogrammed rubber suit that made me look like a spiffy surfer, some matching rubber boots, gloves and snug hat (we didn’t need to wear the latter until further advised). I was then ushered into an impressive private Qantas Club Lounge and saw a variety of other cautiously optimistic travellers.

There were those dressed like me, some looking slightly embarrassed as these suits were so body hugging that nothing was left to the imagination. There were others dressed in the traditional long haul international air travel casual attire; apparently these people had booked F-class. There was a small minority dressed in their stock-standard business suits, skirts, and other conservative items; they were obviously the S-class travellers.

A few minutes later we boarded the plane, but I was soon to discover that this was no ordinary Qantas plane, far from it. As I was in E-class, we boarded first as we had to make our way to the rear of the aircraft.

As we walked through the plane, the first thing that was immediately apparent was that the usual row of passenger seats had been removed. In the First/Business class seating location, there was a range of individually placed workstations, desks, sofas-chairs, computer screens, private sleeping booths, showers and a fine dining restaurant. This was S-class and it was designed for the serious business worker!

In the middle section of the plane, F-class resided. Here a vast array of computer games, cinemas, snooker tables, dartboards, massage rooms, spas, saunas and a healthy organic restaurant was located. This was an area that encouraged fun, frivolity and definitely no work. For those passengers that were a little bit overcome with too much excitement, there were large brightly coloured beanbags, lounge chairs and some private sleep booths.

After a few minutes I finally arrived in my designated E-class and was asked to adorn my complete rubber uniform. I, and my fellow apprehensive thrill seekers were then ushered in groups of four into separate doorways that led into a small-enclosed capsule. It was at this stage, as my heart sounded to pound a little too loudly, that I started to question my enthusiasm and whether I had made the right travel choice, but there was no turning back now, particularly as it would take me hours to peel this wetsuit from my body, no, the only choice was to proceed.

In the capsule there were no seats, just a long cushioned black couch and what looked like a surfboard leg rope, but I quickly ascertained that this was actually an oxygen chord that was soon plugged into my goggle facemask by yet another smiling Flight Attendant. I was now starting to sweat quite profusely in my wet suit with some trepidation, particularly as I vividly recalled the long-winded and fine font disclaimer that I had recently signed without reading any of the content.

A few minutes later, I was strapped in with my fellow E-class pioneers and soon felt the immense vibration of the aircraft’s B777 engines permeating through my body as we became airborne. Then it happened.

An almighty noise occurred and my capsule started to quickly separate from the plane, the only link being a metal umbilical chord. To my delight (and horror), the aerodynamic capsule was completely encapsulated with an external wall of highly transparent glass, and a massive array of strategically positioned air vents. I immediately felt the cold icy air gusting ferociously all over my body. Suddenly, the tight straps tying me, and my fellow E-classers, to the couch were released. We were now free flowing and quickly started to body surf the air currents! A sign now appeared on the capsule console saying, “Welcome to E-class”.

After a few hours, I quickly mastered the flying technique and was sought out by other passengers for tips on how to stay aloft without getting that unfashionable, and rather uncomfortable, wind puffed look when a high velocity slip stream entered the wearers protective rubber body suit without formal invitation.

Yes, the time quickly passed as I literally flew to London, and what an experience!

In recognition for my E-class prowess, I have now been issued with a special Qantas Frequent Flyer card, one that provides me with travel privileges that cannot be disclosed so as to avoid envy from other passengers. Would I fly E-class again? No, I’ve moved beyond that, I now fly EE-class, one that is very exclusive.

So next time you fly on business, may I suggest that you try and think that little bit differently with your selected cabin class and airline? And should you get the opportunity to ever travel E-class, most definitely do so as it will be worth it, trust me.

The Theory of Toe-Show

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There is a little known, yet so very powerful, antique humanistic theory that is the key foundation in the development of creativity in the corporate office.

This theory has been in existence since the time of primitive man, reached its peak during the ancient Greek and Roman eras, and then regrettably, rapidly diminished with the advent of a more mobilised lifestyle and technology. Fortunately, we have all experienced momentary glimpses of its glory when we are imbibed in our unprotected casual or social interactive home state, but it is rarely seen in its natural physical form in the business environment.

For those exclusive individuals that are in the know, it is called the Theory of Toe-Show. Yes, this important theory relates to your feet, more precisely, your naked feet, unprotected by socks, stockings or shoes, but fully bare to the eyes of the world.

As you ponder the machinations of the Theory of Toe-Show, try and visualise yourself arriving home from the corporate office after a long, hard mind-draining day. What is the first thing that you do to alleviate and rectify your highly-strung mental state? Yes, you take your shoes off and introduce your poor bound feet to a world of nakedness and comfort, and typically exclaim an audible sigh of relief at the attainment of extreme personal satisfaction. Your mind quickly appreciates this mental toe showing and immediately responds with an unhindered release of creative thoughts that would never be aired in your corporate state of status quo.

Prior to the advent of shoes, our feet enjoyed a fully naked status as they were gleefully exposed to the full ambience of their geographic surroundings. The Theory of Toe-Show states that there is a direct link between your feet and your innate creativity. The more you cover your feet with shoes (and such-like), the more your mind is masked from the innovative sparks of your native imagination.

Think of the great Greek and Roman philosophers, their military leaders, their extraordinary astronomers, and their other leading and memorable personas. The origin of this creativity was indeed their minimalistic footwear. Yes, they wore sandals, or just wandered around quite content in bare footed bliss, fully aware that this was the source of their creative intelligence.

So next time you are trying to develop a culture of creativity and innovation in your corporate office, the answer is simple. All you need to do is to implement the Theory of Toe-Show and leave your shoes at the office door and many ideas (and potentially some odours) will quickly prevail.

 

The Mesmeric Corporate Prognosis

hypnotist

My esteemed colleagues, yes, I can sense your excitement and anticipation! But please relax as you need not wait any longer! After years of pain staking personal research sitting in the entrance foyers of the top 100 global companies, I am now pleased to announce that I have discovered the origins of this incapacitating corporate behavioural phenomenon.

This crippling condition that has inhibited the innovative thinking processes of employees for many decades, now has a medical name, that being “Corporate Mesmeric Innovative Retardation”, or CMIR for short. But more importantly, there is an antidote that is quite painless, and one that can be quickly administered to the corporate employee with immediate effect.

How did I discover this condition? Well, the intensive research required a high level of painstaking incognito behaviour on my behalf involving the wearing a beige nondescript suit, together with countless hours reading The Times, The Wall Street Journal and other local newspapers so as to not be noticed by the employees as they entered the corporate office. Unfortunately, I am still scared by the lack of fashion colour and style, but it was a burden that I was willing to bare for the sake of worldly corporate progress, I’m told the nightmares will eventually subside. The upside, is that my knowledge of world affairs, including the stock market, has resulted in various personal financial gains derived from highly profitable share trading, and a vast array of exclusive invitations to attend numerous London and New York high society trivia quizzes where I am deemed the font of all knowledge, and a most prized team member.

So what did the extensive research tell me? Although my study will be printed in next month’s edition of the Harvard Business Review, I’m sure that the HBR Publisher won’t mind me providing you all with a brief overview of my findings.

They key aspect to my world breaking research was the use of eagled-eyed observation. After countless detailed and personally exhaustive people watching experiences, I noticed the behaviour of all employees (particularly the attractive ones) as they entered the corporate office first thing in the morning, and then as they left that evening. The behavioural change in those inflicted employees at some businesses was profound, it was almost as if I was looking at two different people! Prior to them walking into the corporate reception area, they had a happy persona and exhibited all the normal signs of chirpiness, a willingness of thought, and a noticeable desire to learn. But once their foot stepped onto the marble tiled entrance foyer, it was as if an invisible intensely powerful force quickly sucked all the creativity from them, to which an innovative void remained until they departed the building at 5 PM sharp. At 5:01 PM, their creative vacuum was immediately replaced with their original pre-work positive behaviour. Yes, it was truly remarkable observation to behold!

Although quite mystifying, not all corporate businesses had employees that suffered from the dreaded CMIR condition. To understand the cause as to why this unexplained phenomenon may have occurred, I had to dig deeper into the observational evidence and decided to introduce the HR Managers of the companies studied into the rich complexity, and subtle machinations, of my academic research. After numerous soy milk chai lattes, and what seemed like an endless consumption of gluten-free bagels, I came to a momentous and decisive eureka moment. Apparently, the culture of the organization had a direct correlation with the onset of the CMIR. Should the culture be viewed negatively, then a high frequency of CMIR suffers prevailed. The trigger for most employees who had acute CMIR was the initial sighting of the company logo, typically first seen when they entered the company premises in the morning.  On viewing the logo, a negative and mesmeric effect immediately struck down the creatively-fragile employee resulting in a mind destroying innovation purge, luckily this was a reversible retardation that quickly ceased when exiting the building at 5 PM.

Yes, you are correct in assuming that those companies that had a positive and dynamic corporate culture that was well respected, and one that harmoniously and gleefully fitted with the employee’s lifestyle goals, experienced no CMIR sufferers. So the answer is simple. To eradicate any corrosive and long-term damaging CMIR influences in your business, management do need to focus on the right corporate culture to ensure that their business logo immediately inspires your employees when first sighted as they enter your office.

And should you need any assistance in the process, my consulting fees are indeed negotiable (but please, no gluten free bagels).

Why Would You Fly With Any Other Airline?

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My flight boarding pass indicated that I was to sit in seat 4A on Virgin Australia flight VA568 from Sydney to Melbourne. As I entered the plane, I took my special, and highly prized, Virgin Service Glasses (VSG) from the collection bin just inside the plane door and found my way to my allocated seat.

Now the VSG are not your average glasses. No, VSG are unique to Virgin Australia and the main reason why this airline is achieving phenomenal sales success in this competitive domestic airline market.

In seat 4B, my fellow passenger was a young business woman, and she too was quite excited at the prospect of wearing her VSG on the flight. In what looked like synchronicity, we both took our VSG out of the protective cases and placed them delicately on our faces.

A few minutes later, the metal, robotic Flight Attendant, as is typically found on all Australian flights, commenced the automatic routine of moving up and down the plane aisle to answer any questions and to make sure that all passengers had fastened their seatbelts in preparation for the scheduled takeoff.

As I was now wearing my VSG, instead of seeing a robotic Flight Attendant, I only saw an attractive young blonde woman wearing a red Virgin uniform with bright red lipstick. However, the woman passenger in seat 4B saw a different image. She saw a young, dark haired, rather muscular male Flight Attendant wearing tight trousers and an equally tight fitting shirt. Yes, in case you were wondering, we were both looking at the same robot.

Now this is the rather special characteristic associated with the VSG. They provide the wearer with a fictional person that complements the particular mood that they are in at that specific time of the day. If I, or the woman sitting in seat 4B, had have caught an earlier flight, the Flight Attendant image we would have been presented with in our VSG would have been completely different. This is the charm of the VSG, each flying experience is unique and varied.

From the perspective of the airline, they can utilise the services of a cost effective, bland, inanimate, ugly looking, metallic robot to do all the mundane inflight activities. However, the VSG passengers, only observe the Flight Attendant of the dreams!

The result is a well behaved and exceptionally polite group of passengers, as no passenger wants to upset, or offend their special Flight Attendant!

So next time you are flying on a Virgin Australia plane and you receive a friendly wink from the Flight Attendant, don’t think about the gesture too emotionally, as you may be rather disappointed once you have removed your VSG. And in case you were wondering, the VSG only works on the plane, you can’t take them home and try them out on some non-robotic, unsuspecting individual!

Note: If only this wasn’t fiction!

Me, Myself and “I”

Sonrisa ante el espejo

I” opened the door and peered into the “private lounge room” where all the other “I”s were already seated. Like “me”, they all had that look of exhaustion on “their” faces. “We” had obviously all had a long, tough and quite demanding day observing “ourselves”.

Many of the “I”s sat in “their” favourite comfy leather chair with “their” heads supported in “their” hands. Glasses of spirited drinks were being sombrely consumed in an attempt to liven up the mood of the collective “us”, but with little avail, it was obviously time to verbally out pour and share the critical mirrored views of “us”.

Each “I” in turn then shared how each of the original version of “them” had performed during the day with our family, work colleagues and socially. Yes, it was a communal reflective 360 feedback session in which all the “I”s gave constructive feedback on “themselves” for the mutual benefit of the individual they represented.

Now you may be asking, “What is Steven Cramer talking about this time”? Well, what if each of us had a hidden personality called “I” that watched and took notes on how we behaved during the day? Whilst we were sleeping, these “I”s then vacated our body and met up in that “private lounge room” with all the other “I”s that we came into contact during that day. The collective “I”s would then provide feedback on what we did well, what needed improvement, or what should be quickly purged from our personality so as to avoid a repeat negative occurrence! Armed with this reflective information, our “I” would then return to our body in the early hours of the morning and have a “good chat” with “ourselves”. The following day, we would subconsciously implement what the “I” had learnt and our personalities and people skills would reap the reward from this “I” effort.

Now I can hear you all saying that this is only fantasy! But is it? Next time you are half asleep and you “think” that you feel a small part of you quickly dashing out the bedroom door, don’t be alarmed, it’s just your “I” heading out for a night of social “I”nteraction.

The Chair of Accumulated Thought

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Imagine this…located in one of the most innovative corporate organizations, whose name I won’t mention as you all know the company, there is a particular chair located in a quiet room located in the north west corner of the building.

Now this chair is quite unassuming. It is a hazelnut coloured leather chair, that is well worn and has some deep indentations from a large number of bottoms residing for extended periods of time as they enjoyed the comfortable sitting experience.

The uniqueness of this chair is that each occupant leaves a thought impression behind them that is absorbed and read by the next and subsequent beneficiaries who have the good fortune to sit in it.

This chair, also known within this corporate company as the “chair of accumulated thought” is used to derive and develop new innovations related to products and processes.

So how does it work? Well, it’s a bit like “walking in someone else’s shoes”. Once you have true empathy, you are able to view issues from another person’s perspective and this new and stimulating knowledge can be used to provide you with a completely different insight into solving a particular issue you may be facing. The brilliance of the “chair of accumulated thought” is that the empathetic experiences compound upon each other thereby providing a complex and truly original solution to any problem that could not simply be solved alone by any individual.

Yes, you are right, the “chair of accumulated thought” does not actually exist. But, it could quite easily if we shared our experiences and thoughts openly and freely with each other when trying to solve a problem. In many situations, our own personal prejudices and self-doubts limit or hinder our ideas that tend to lead to a less than optimum solution being achieved.

So next time you are solving a complex problem, or trying to develop that spark of thought innovation, why not try to utilise the “chair of accumulated thought”. May I suggest you take it in turn to actually sit in a chair by yourself and write down your thoughts in a writing pad strategically placed on the arm of the chair. The next person who sits in the chair, then reads your thoughts of prose, quietly absorbs your thinking and then adds their ideas on the page under yours. This process continues until all your colleagues assigned to solve the problem have had the opportunity to sit and write in the chair. It would be rather interesting to read the words accumulated at the end? Who knows what creative thought solutions may permeate from the activity!!

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