Tuesday, 28 February 2012

listen carefully, the answer is there

A short one this week.

A wise man once told me that if you listen carefully, the answer to most challenges exists in the explanation and context setting of the problem or brief.

I believe his words hold true and I still believe he be a wise old man also.

This adage I see in various literatures all the time just re-expressed in different fashions. Not necessarily the every cloud has silver lining versions but the every problem we face has in equal parts all the ingredients from which to build a solution.

There's a lovely harmony in that.

something a little larger than everyday life and something that provides me personally with faith, hope and belief that if I go in to a situation to help a client then i'll spot the things they say to me ans use them to create the solution. It's as if you make a step toward the earths rotation, it'll spin a little faster to help you.

if you listen hard enough, what you seek will make itself clear.

This week will be a good week.

Happy Birthday Kursty by the way.

(and me for Monday)



Tuesday, 21 February 2012

the tighter the specification you have, the less it'll be the same...

Sorry for the delay – had car trouble.

It’s another musical one.

Check this out:


and then this out:


The same piece of music (one of my favourites) but performed by different people. There is definitely a difference. Personally, the Chinese sisters are note crisp, technically brilliant and sharp on the Cadenza at the end whereas Sir George Solti and the boys provide a fuller, mature and more emotional delivery...

And it’s here I try an make a point.

Classical music has notes. Strick instructions on what to play, when and how loud. Music notation jumps across language and cultural barriers. So an F major scale played in China sounds EXACTLY the same as an F major scale played in Italy.

Or does it.

My music teach told me a G sharp is played differently than a A flat (they are the same tonic note). It took me a while to understand how or why but in the context of something bright and cheerful and fizzy, a G sharp is part of the positive message. In a piece that’s sad and pensive, the same note revisited with be an A flat and in that context it takes the listener to a new direction.

It’s the same for good design be it product or instructional.

We may lay down instructions that make total sense to us. We may stipulate how something should be said, what should be instructed and some exercises and suggestions to land the points. Some clients insist on the very stories, statistics and punch lines. Yet still the workshop experience is different for all who attend.

When it comes to the built environment, we can stipulate colour, form, shape and design specifications – yet beauty still is in the eye of the beholder.

Our clients’ always want something that they can scale and spread across culture and language etc. They believe that making the instructions as clear as possible that they’ll succeed in doing so. Like a magic marker or a pantone colour – we think it’ll work the same with humans.
But it doesn’t and it won’t. Ever.

In fact, the more specific an instruction you give, the more stimulus you provide for people to be even more creative as it’s those very boundaries that create the framework for people to experiment, express emotion and personal interpretation.

Look no further than personal interpretation of the same two pieces of music.

Mozart would be proud.

Friday, 10 February 2012

ship safe in harbour blah blah

A good week this week. Back from Dubai and time to get going on all the conversations we had whilst we were out there.

And it’s good to do things.

If in doubt, do something. Anything. You’ll learn more about getting things right if you create something and put it into the world that sitting around worrying about the finer details and the possible pitfalls.
The truth is, if people want to find fault with you and your efforts, they will. Let’s face it some folk if given a ton of diamonds would still complain as they couldn’t lift it.

So you have choice. Either sit and wait until you see that the conditions are perfect and you’re happy that all is aligned and readily meeting your standards. Or set sail with the knowledge you built the best boat you could.

There’s a different energy to each. One is that of caution and over emphasis on risk and fear of failure. The other a more ‘can do’ and ‘let’s go’...

All this of course you know. You’ve read it before in a thousand articles, or you’ve heard it as advice down the pub or from a boss, coach or mentor. I’m just re-expressing using different language or metaphors that which you know to be true.

Why then is it still the case I’m repeating myself and why is it still the case that we need to be reminded of the ‘do something’ message?

I think we’ve been living in the knowledge age for too long. There’s no question that people I meet are bright, intelligent, well read, experienced and able. Most have a point of view and most are happy... and at the same time restless, annoyed, secretly frustrated, irritated by little things (and sometimes me) and irked. Knowledge and sharing gives you all you the resources we need to make change happen but it’s the last link in the chain which still appears to be missed; that of the doing. And the doing is an action, a human action.

Now stop reading.

Go do.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

100% guest Satisfaction - is that the best you can do?

Our week in Dubai is coming to an end. We’ve had countless meetings, sessions and introduction to many more fabulous people – theGeniusBox will surely do well from this.

Of course each night we have weary heads and need soft beds and hotels are a second home to me and the team. Hugely disappointing when this hotel chain (Radisson) claims across a dozen or so card props around my room that this hotel offers 100% Guest Satisfaction.

What total shit.

Satisfaction can’t be ‘owned’ by anyone other than he who experiences and chooses it. I don’t choose satisfaction as for me it’s a base expectation of everything I do. I expect to be satisfied when I drink water that it will quench my thirst. If I don’t then I drink more.

What’s equally upsetting about the hotel mission is that it can be achieved with no effort.

I am totally 100% satisfied that this hotel isn’t as good as the one across the road with the bigger rooms, the broader restaurant nenu, the more attractive hotel staff and the clientele. Totally 100% satisfied that such is the case. Well done indeed Radisson. Without any hard work you have succeed in your promise that sat at my door from the start. I choose my satisfaction, not you.

The platitude at the bottom of the Radisson also says ‘hotels that love to say yes!’... yes to what exactly. I am paying people to be at my beck and call as it’s a hotel for crying out loud. It’s like saying We’re a hotel that loves to have rooms...

Finally the ‘let’s all be green’ shower card says I should re-cycle the towel to stop the lakes and rivers being overwhelmed with detergents. There are no lakes and rivers in Dubai. I guess this card was flown in with another kit of ‘hotel in a box’ props and unpacked without care or attention.

Something supported with the ironic typo at the bottom of the card saying “every little things count”

Small matters piss me off.

If we fix the small stuff – there’s no big stuff to worry about.

100% satisfied indeed.