Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Keep the main thing, the main thing.


I was sent this image earlier in the week by a member of the extended Genius family… it’s self evident what the brief is, what’s expected and even has some political and behavioural guidelines around getting the project done.  Smart it is. Simple. Elegant.

Racing forward nearly 70 years later, we don’t see a great of this anymore. We get pitch documents, and proposals and white papers. These sometimes needlessly over complicate. The summary advice feels a bit obvious from time to time. And less we forget the agency and clients involved, they neatly place both logos at the foot of each page. Handy.

Before the world of latte drinking consultants developed, briefs like the above were ambitious and open enough to invite debate and question, but more often than not, shit happened and stuff got done. Perhaps the same sort of wishes are sketched out today in boardroom meetings and then handed to the procurement people to get into finer detail (and maybe there was indeed a more lengthy set of specifications for the floating barges) but the main objective was common to all. Everyone knew what was expected, what wasn’t, what to do and intuitively what to avoid. Call it a strategy if you like and type it up – but you still don’t make things happen. I like the idea of all our projects following the same format.

If it isn’t on a page – it won’t get done.

Next year represents a massive opportunity to spread more growth amongst our client base and spread even more genius thinking around.
My challenge to everyone on the books both within and outside of our business is to start 2014 with the key objective on a page. Let's all keep the main thing, the main thing. Think about that over the festive season.
See you in 2014.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

get a point of view and stick to it...

Been super busy of late - sorry reader.

Here's the best piece of genius I've seen in ages. I hope this guy is still working and hasn't quit as I think the language is brilliant:

I get it.
I love it.

some people get it.
and won't love it.

and that's just brilliant as it saves everyone a lot of time needlessly sitting on the fence...


Friday, 11 October 2013

car design : no innovation.

Here's and aesthetic ponder for you.
What colour is your car and why did you choose that colour?
Black?, silver?, gun metal grey?, a washed out metallic green? In shot BORING COLOURS. Why.
Go to a B+Q or a Wickes and you can get 2000 colours+ for the inside of your home. In fact with a colour match technology it’s possible to mix almost any shade form the three primary colours right?
Why then are car designers short on palettes. Are they exhausted from the years of development in getting the lines of the outside ‘just so’. Most cars are now (dare I say it) the same.  They’ve all got the same spec. and performance and equally as forgettable in shape as the next – unless you experiment.
But that’s the challenge – how can you experiment and express your personal style and brand when the choice is poor in style and colour? Surely the insight people at 'cars inc.' are aware that almost every other part of our material lives is open to personalisation... phones, fabrics, clothing, holiday choice, home décor, food, lifestyle, reading choices. it's all up for grabs.
Unless you want to buy a car.
any colour and shape you want as long as it's a shade of crappy grey or black and looks like a BMW.
I also heard how it might cut car crime. Consider this…
“and the getaway car madam?”
“looked like a saloon. Black I think, but it was dark…”
“and the getaway car madam?”
“oh, long, 6 wheels, mint green with dots…”

Friday, 27 September 2013

Our want for immediacy kills getting things done.

Long one this week - and rightly so. If you're in a rush. Stop and read.

I listened to the radio whilst driving into London last night. The topic was on broadband connection and speed of downloads.  People ringing up and complaining that they couldn’t download podcasts, songs or films without ‘unacceptable periods of waiting’. On hearing how long these people had to wait, I hear that in some circumstances they’d endured (wait for it) 20mins.




The world is in a rush to get things done fast, but I’m unclear as to WHY? There seems no benefit to accelerate waiting activity and reduce bottlenecks as observing behaviour after the fact simply doesn’t add up.

Let’s look at some examples.

I fly a great deal. I spend a great deal of time on planes.  Some long haul flights are 13 hours.  13 hours cut out of a day makes any productivity a right off. So either side of a 13hour flight you should concentrate on getting too the airport and enjoying the journey away from the airport. That’s it.

There are a proportion of business class flyers (and you know who you are) whose interpretation of hand luggage is grossly distorted. These people who are usually three gins to the wind upon boarding are the first to ‘tut’ when the pilot announces after a 13 hour flight that we’ll be an additional 20mins in the air to allow for air traffic clearance of something; like the world owes them a favour! Once down, no sooner have the tyres stopped moving – and in some cases still moving – these people are up out of the seats, grabbing their overpriced TUMI’s and marching up the aisle. They adopt a semi jog/walky stride (akin to a child with a loose bowel) up the HSBC ramp off to arrivals.  Of course without luggage to collect they can then breeze through passport and off to their destination ahead of everyone else.  WHY?

After 13hours you can’t have been that stupid to have booked a meeting. You are either going home, where you’ll potter about the kitchen and walk about the house, have a shower and aloow time to drag on or you’re off to a hotel room to do the same mundane personal human tasks like unpack a toiletries bag and order a club sandwich. There is nothing urgent you have to do and if you did organise something shame on your intelligence to do so with moments after a landing – did your professional life and diary planning and this flight come as a shock?

You’re dicks.

On the subject of high speed downloads. Think about it.  If your downloading a film that’s 2 hours, then why the fuss that it takes 20mins to come down your fibre optic.  Surely you’ve set aside a ‘free’ evening where you can open a bottle of wine, plump some sofa cushions, turn down the lights, light a candle and enjoy Fast’n’Furious6? Why not… er.. download the film overnight or during the day – I’m a little , no I’m a LOT shocked that the basic ingenuity of a human being can’t do this simple trade off.

Remember the computer games of the 1980’s when they arrived on cassette. We used to tip toe around the player as vibrations would make the tape heads wobble and the whole loading process would have to be started again.  After loading game over a period of 15mins we’d play ALL DAY. Why the review that things take so long to load when the rest of the day was spent playing the game – doesn’t make sense.

Some of us will remember ordering tapes, records, books, games, furniture, photos and so on using order forms and postage. 4-6 weeks we’d wait for precious holiday snaps to come back from ‘Trueprint’ or go to Our Price and ‘order’ a Bangles CD to arrive in the next delivery (often a week or two later).

My final example is more personal. I used to play piano. I’m now VERY rusty. ‘Back in the day’, I’d order sheet music which cost a small fortune and had a lead time of about 8 weeks and then I’d collect from the music store across town. I’d go home and I’d practise and practise.

I’ve now You Tube. Someone has generously filmed their fingers play in slow motion and printed out the score for me and for a few dollars I can download and print instantly the piece I want to play. Wish is exactly what I don’t do. In fact, I’ve reams of unplayed music scores sitting under a bed gathering dust. The piano has become a quasi coat shelf in the spare bedroom and I still won’t play.

My childhood in the 1980’s consisted of a great deal of waiting and looking back it probably did me a lot of good. The experience of NOT getting what I wanted immediately must have taught me something. If it didn’t then at least I know what it’s like to feel that way and adopt a way of living with such emotions.

Let’s now look at business as it’s here things get really interesting.  If at a personal level, we want things NOW and we travel business class with over sized hand luggage to leave the airport earlier than everyone else, to race home and download a film in seconds so we won’t watch it until another day… then it stands to reason all that passion and power would amplify in the corporate environment right? It would add up that all those impatient people who bang doors to get on overcrowded trains, who run up escalator stairs, who want a skinny late on the go and speed across town in white Range Rovers NEED to get shit done at work. It would be the case that in agency briefings we’d get told were working toward objective lead and time oriented briefs and projects and the senior managers really see this as a priority… right?

It’s not so is it.

Thomas Homer Dixon talks of an ingenuity gap between the natural capacity as humans to deal with the ever increasing world in which we live and design.  I think he’s right. I think also there is a patience vs. immediacy divide in the leaders, managers, business class flyers and film downloading population in the world.

My solution is to focus business in NOT doing anything.

Let’s face it, if we achieve this little by racing around then perhaps doing the opposite and learning some patience would probably accelerate thins for us all.

I’d also like to see patience and waiting getting more praise. I appreciate we have a surplus of cognition as we can get stuff done immediately. Some of use our time making YouTube videos and uploading Wiki pages – but for the rest of us, I’d like to see you learn how to manage the impact you have on others when you don’t get what you want in the time you want it.

To ring up a radio station and say 20mins is too long to download a film is unacceptable tells me a great deal about the value you have on the material things.

That’s worrying for us all. Shame on such society.


Go think it over. All of you.


p.s. I don’t hate all business class flyers – just those with over sized hand luggage in a rush. Dicks.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013



It’s been cited SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many times anything Jobby is academic.

I switch off if anyone mentions him or the business.  I believe you can learn absolutely nothing from the Apple story business whatsoever.  I have lost count of the number of clients who have said to me “what we need round here is our version of the i-pod” or “I want to be the Apple of [business discipline]”

Utter crap.

There is no greater accelerant to the growing ingenuity gap existing between today’s collective capability and the complexity of the modern world than every object Apples produces. 
If it were true that children once grew their imagination by playing with the box their toys came with, then now they sit at the side of the skate-park and play angry birds and not understand anything else. [Academic point perhaps]
I've yet to meet anyone with an 'app' that's genuinely useful.  Favourite one so far is 'can't make up my mind what dress to wear so I'll tell my other equally vacant friends and they can help me' app. 

But I stand firm on this. 

Business leaders who mention such stories for me lack imagination, ambition and difference.  It’s lazy thinking. I also this its poor consultancy to cite Apple and all the other usual suspects in any document, advice, proposal or paper you're sending to them.  Anyone can do that.  In fact, I knew (know) a lovely lady when on being asked a stupid question from a client replies "let me Google that for you" as a reply to make a point on this.  nice one.

If you're in the consulting business. If you're in the instructional design business.  If you position yourself as an innovator, a creative or an entrepreneur (posh way of saying self-employed), then earn your wage.  Think hard. Ask questions no-one else is asking. Say the opposite. do the opposite - concentrate on DOING the things you advise your clients to DO and stop trying to be all clever and wise with some over quoted story about Apple.

they make phones and stuff you need to plug in and charge up.

It's the 21st Century.
We're supposed to have hover boards, flying cars, white teeth and live to 100.

go turn on the news channels.
fix THAT.

or are you to busy taking a picture of your dog and telling people you've found a new restaurant using a QR code.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Accidental Genius - the best kind

how much would you pay for a plastic desk fan?

£5, £10, £15? tops right.

It's plastic.
it's going to be shitty and hardly last a lifetime.

Take note of this genius at my local Post Office.

We'd all like the idea of a steel art deco esq desk fan, no.  It building nostalgic-film-noir-Agatha Christie-esq images in our minds; oh how our commercial and personal affairs would be lifted by owning such a steel masterpiece...  but not at £42!

now £32 for the ghastly plastic land-fill fan doesn't seem a bad offer does it? a reluctant purchase perhaps but utter genius profitability for the Post Office owner. 

nice one.

Have a good Monday - I opened the window. Free breeze.


Friday, 23 August 2013

If you’re asking for feedback in the wrong way – you’ve nothing good to say about yourself.

On a recent commute to London I fancied a cuppa and a snack whilst awaiting the train. It’s transaction that must happen thousands of times a day across platform kiosks of the UK. I was told the following “if I give feedback about the service I could win an IPAD” (see below).


This was on my mind nearly all day.  Brilliant customer service should be that good it doesn’t need attention drawn to it. But this request and card combination is like a needy comedian. Don’t tell me you’re funny, make me laugh. It reminded me of the time I opened an account with HSBC and at the end of the hour or so to do so in branch, the young banker teller mentioned a feedback form would be on its way and he’d be grateful if I’d complete it as it helped the branch and him etc.  Had he NOT mentioned it – I’d be more likely to do so.

I’m sure there is some clever psychological principle behind all this associated with influence and behaviour and I’d appreciate anyone letting me know what it is. For me right now the advice is this: Don’t draw attention to something you want from people as a request to action. Your ‘attention grabbing/request’ becomes the behaviour of note and not the focus of the very thing you want apprising. For the station café, concentrate on making brilliant coffee, developing banter with the commuters and getting some energy into your café.  This will get more feedback and love for you than your IPAD raffle (which essentially it is). Similarly for you dear reader, if there is something you want from someone, have an attitude and behaviour about DOING not BEING. Too much of our time and effort is about our ambitions and wishes. Stick to what you know, do it well and fall in love with it.  THAT is what people will love you for.  If you’re asking for feedback in the wrong way – you’ve nothing good to say about yourself.




Friday, 28 June 2013

cutting costs can only get you so far.

We’ve spent a good time with clients over the last few weeks hearing they are STILL cutting costs, laying off people, restructuring, recalibrating, re-organising and in some cases probably re-spelling their business.


One way of remaining profitable or paying what staff you have left is to cut cost. I understand that, really I do. After a while though there is nothing else you can cut. You’re essentially turning off the gas that powers your machine.


Who in the business is taking risk, saying ‘yes’, spending money, trying things out, experimenting, investing effort and energy? It’s here the ‘new’ will be found and get you out of the mess you’re in. It’s easy to sit here and type that sentence but there is truth in the adage of ‘what got you here won’t get you there’; Many a grandmother has made omelettes by breaking some eggs.


All this cost cutting is easy for salaried people to commit to. On a good day it looks desultory and on a bad day, just pathetic.


Cut away. Save what you want.


And remain a big business with the same problems you had before – only this time you’ll have no-one left to fix them and a culture who’ve learnt how to say ‘no’.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Keep Clam and... PISS OFF.

I thought it was a passing summer fashion from a few years back, but no the ‘keep calm and carry on” thing is STILL going.

If this has been written about already and I'm last to mention anything then I've been avoiding it until I was sure I wasn't just feeling isolated and missing out on the 'fun'.
the cards were one thing... but I’ve noticed a new generation of messages turning into kitchen or hall hanging signage. These appear to have clichés such as “a cheerful house is a happy home”, or “a smile costs nothing” along with other references to dancing, wine, coffee and conversation.  Lots of middle class crap.

I’m saddened and embarrassed for us as:

You’re paying upwards of £20.00+ for something sprayed onto wood and brass chains. This is just shitty landfill assembled by children in china to hang on your fridge.

You could type out or at worst write out by hand on paper the sentiment.

But the worst and more saddening aspect is the belief that this shitty coloured trite makes us feel any better. Like we need to spend MORE on thinking and feeling what a good loving home takes for granted. Why we need to remind ourselves of it is one thing, but to have our family values and home north stars based on varieties of wine, dance moves and coffee conversation is just wrong. Any good intentioned sentiment is lost in the material acquisition of buying the bloody statement in the first place. Shame on you for doing so in John Lewis too.

I’ll choose my own emotions thank you  and I don’t need a poncy lavender board to tell me to do so.


Keep calm.

Piss off.


Friday, 7 June 2013

I thought Karen Brady would be a little more innovative...

t.v. this week provided much joy.

The Apprentice season 9 (season 9!!!) episode 6 required the teams to design corporate events.

Much as I'm tempted to get into the content of this, I won't.  My focus is on a Karen comment. I like Karen.  Never met her. Probably won't but for the record, this is all a good intention blog.


46mins into the programme the candidates are all facing the usual bollocking.

One pipes up and makes a comment about corporate people talking crap.


It’s at this point Karen says “you might find that a rough attitude when you stand up in front of a bank and ask them to invest in your business” (steely eyed look, yet retaining glamour)


Well Karen.


I disagree.


The last place anyone want to ask for investment is a bank. It’s a bit 19th century to go cap in hand to some uptight economist reading home county living banker and ask for a business loan to start an online cupcake business. the last thing we should give up is our opinions and attitude too.


The alternatives are MASSIVE.

Online lending and peer to peer support is growing by the second.

I have two pieces of stimulus to help
1. the excellent what’s mine is yours by Rachel Bosman and Roo Rogers describe in detail how the growing tide of co-created, co-shared and co-owned work and life is very much part of a successful and sustainable future. To be supplicant to a restrictive set of banking terms isn’t worthy or attractive to anyone with a modicum of ambition.  There are also countless currencies out in the virtual and semi virtual world that represent value and credit in context.  Imagine if we got a £1.00 for every ‘Like’...

2. In addition, I met with Microsoft’s CMO this week.  I heard Phillipa Snare talk very openly about her healthy distain for the establishment and authority.  So hooray for the opinions.


Much more attractive than fence sitting professionals.


Apart from you Karen – you’re an exception.  J



Monday, 20 May 2013

co-creation (or should I say the differents engine)...

Been busy this week in Brazil with some of the sharpest minds on the planet. are challenging the agency model. in fact, I think they're challenging nearly EVERY model.

I think it all needs a push too.

Why buy in ‘experts’ (nasty term) and additional heads of a few agency people when you can work with thousands of volunteers and like minded entrepreneurs on your challenge?

This isn’t about running a suggestion box in the foyer (please don’t do that either) or an online competition to arrive at the answer.
it's not about getting latte drinking agencies in (like me) who make ppts with the same examples (we know the usual suspects and I've written before about this).

This is co-creation.

I feel embarrassed I have only recently started to think about it.  Running an agency out of London it’s easy to get swept away and distracted by hundreds of other agencies and individuals all trying to do the same thing.  We use the same language in describing what we do. Usually this is about ‘being fresh and different with a little strategic thrown in’. I can’t think of a client who’d NOT want an agency who didn’t value working with customers and insights to arrive at new ideas – what’s the alternative... I leave the reader to ponder.

Co-creation gets me excited as if the facts are anything to go by then we can all say cheerio to the business models that got us here.  Good bye banks – peer to peer lending rising year on year. And perhaps goodbye brands too.  Co-creation is here and it’s time to ship up or ship out! I love the idea that consumers get a say in what they want the brands that they are fans of do and say. innovation is dying.  I'm surfing the co-creation wave.

Go to it and thanks Differents for the week.

I’m off to buy a 3D printer and find me some more brain power.

Friday, 3 May 2013

bitesize shot or weekend away...

Been racing around the world with the team recently hence lack of updates but here’s something to keep you going for now.

The health spa vs. massage debate.

Is it better to put your learners away for a week or expose them to a series of small bitesize chunks over a number of weeks or months...  mmmm.

Opening the batting in a consistently brilliant fashion is the guru of learning Dr Seb Bailey from the Mind Gym. Here’s a starter for 10:


my thoughts are. You learn not what the lecture told you but what it caused you to do.

If it’s content (regardless being 90mins or 9 days) failed to engage you (for whatever reason) then you’ll learn that you can attend workshops and check your email without being spotted, think negatively and daydream about running up to the MTV beach house...

Nail the causing piece and you’ve got it cracked.

In a shameless piece of trumpet blowing, we worked with the CEO and team of JWT MENA last week on unlocking business issues that had rattled around for a while. It took 3 days. These guys worked day and night. They rocked. Like Aerosmith BUT they also realised very strongly it is their immediate action after the workshop that seals the learning.

For me nothing happens during a learning intervention when the learner is conscious of his/her experience in the classroom. It’s when you pass it on AFTER the event you realise what has been acquired.

At the point of transfer you aint you; it’s like suspended animation. And like a CD on pause, 90mins or 3 days can pass instantly when you’re in that status.


Go think.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Put 'customers at the heart of everything we do' in a search engine and see what you get.  The highest number of related comments I got when search was 99 million.

What made me smile more wasn't the quantity of material, but the range. On one page I saw that both Thompson Reuters and William Hill the book keepers put customers at the heart of what they do.  Along with tanning salons, cake makers and of course, your business.

I believe that 'putting customers first' etc. has become another platitude.

three reasons I think it's a 'fail'.

1.  If you are putting customers first, you don't need to tell them.
2.  Customers is a generic term. No two are the same and although a few may be groups because they all want the same loan (or car, or t.v, or fake tan) they did so for different reasons, their friends will give them different comments and 5 minutes later, you can bet (on William Hill) they'll want something else that differs to each other.
3.  If every business achieved this customer utopia, then there would be no effort in the world needed at the customer end to discriminate and discern one quality of service from the other; think about it. It's because some offerings are poor that the customer chooses you over another - but then if such were the case we could do nothing and wait for everyone to make mistakes right? if only life were THAT easy.

But putting customers etc. almost creates a platform that no-one can own and thus you're setting the conditions around yourself that you can't satisfy.

odd one this.

I've been asked to think about a 'customer centric brief' and as such feel it's worth a longer explore to get to know the brief.

if only we did the same with all our customer requests...


Monday, 4 March 2013

note bag does not inflate.

Thomas Homer Dixon speaks of the ingenuity gap. That growing distance between the complex world in which we live and our natural ability to deal with it.  It’s a compelling argument.

Here’s some evidence to make you smile as it did me; evidence of genius at work.

See attached  shot from my local off licence.


I guess the owner got so tired of repeating herself time and again the request for customers to hang on until the machine WAS ready that she stuck the sticker on instead.  It took less than a minute of her time and has made her life at the till easier.
The designers of the chip and pin machine spent £millions in its development yet over look the insight that people do follow machines in a certain way despite being asked to do other actions...

I’ve spent several of the last few weeks on planes. Can’t help wonder when someone will come up with a cellotape solution to the international expectation setting clause of ‘bag will not inflate’...  perhaps design another bag or hope someone bridges the gap with some ingenuity.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Conference Cliches - 6 gems of advice so you rock rather than roll...

We’ve been about on lots of plane trips recently and spoken at a few events and got the year off to a strong start.  The tongue in check nature of what I write here is meant to provoke my dear readers into think long and hard about any content and delivery you have planned for your own conference appearances.

1. It’s massively important to make a link as explicit and as a strong as you can to the headline of the conference and the presentation you give. You audience are being boomed at all day by dozens of PowerPoints and stimulated by nothing but free mints an luke warm coffee. They don’t want to be given an intellectual resume of your business performance, your cleverness (that’s just isolating) and you shouldn’t ask them to work hard to understand your speech.  If the conference is about HR ENERGY, then your speech should be about HR ENERGY!!!

2. Write your content so a BABOON can understand it. If it contains material that hurts a scrabble player, take it out.  The best guide is FEWER. BETTER. WORDS.

3. Have pictures – they paint a thousand words, but don’t get them off ‘getty’ etc. anyone can do that.  Impress me with your own photography of a moment in life that you captured and made you think. If you don’t do that, I’ll just ignore you and play with my mobile along with the guy next to me.

4. you don’t need to out the ENTIRE CHART OF 1000 figures to show me result went up 65%.  Just tell me. I’ll believe you.

5. If you find yourself saying “the point i’m trying to make...” in your speech. It fills the room with doubt.

6. The reaction you get is the communication you give. (yeah, thought i’d leave you with a philosophical one)


And now some fun...

Here’s a chart of stand cliches.

In at number 5 is “man suit  holding world in his hands” . Not seen this one since “shrub in soil held delicately in palm of child’s hand” became out of fashion. What I enjoyed about this photo was the poor resolution of the printing.  Close up he looked like he was made of Lego.

In at 4 is “conference bag made from environmentally friendly fabric”.  This allows users to gather up as many pens, leaflets and free mousmats as possible before throwing them away in the trash to become more landfill; genius.

At 3 is conference muffins and sweets.  Nothing sells contract mobile packages, or fleet hire cars more than sponge and sugar and an empty glass bowl where all the sweets used to be

At 2 is a BIG EMPTY WHITE BOX. So ... your brand is about what exactly?

And my favourite from this year is an insight stand where the monitor is ... off all bloody day!!
 Not a single insight to be found despite three juniors searching their facebook page for the answer below.


See you next conference.




Friday, 25 January 2013


I’ve sat in front of this machine all day and only now feel I’ve got some of the stuff I wanted to do, done.

Things are made worse when laptops are taken away on business trips too.  It’s all to easy to get them out at the airport and in-flight to ‘work’ . But I pack mine in the hold as I know NOTHING gets done.

Watching some folk in the airport and on flights this week, here’s three conversations I think should have happened.


“Ashok, how are things?”

“Not so good boss. I got out the laptop in the lounge and brought up the PowerPoint.  I fiddled around with a few fonts, changed the background colours a few times, watched a YouTube video of a horse in Tescos and then moved slide 4 to slide position 18 and then back again. I moved that vertical bar on the left of the screen from left to right which made the appearance of all the slides go larger and then smaller and settled on how it was in the default setting. The new animation package on Win 8 is great so I made the first set of bullet points slide in like a skidding car and made all the strategy slides transition like breaking glass. I watched another YouTube video of a monkey riding a pig and then took out all the animations, shut down and boarded the plane”

“no different content then?”



“Simon, good to see you – how are the figures after the weekend”

“same as last time boss. All I really did on the business flight was change fonts in each column for 10mins until my meal came and then had the laptop sit on my drinks tray until the battery ran out. I was watching Batman for most of the flight. I paused it a couple of times and added a few formulas.  Most of the time #REF kept popping up in the menu bar so I gave up. With over 450 rows of numbers I figured I could write the words BATMAN LOVES ROBIN in the cells and no-one would notice. In the end I saved it under another name figures_edit_Sun_flight_01_Jan but nothing really has changed”


“Tracey! What news on the comms project?”

“As yes, I got all emails from head office that I had been cc’d on and spent the flight replying to all with either ‘yes’ or ‘fine’ to everything and replying all back. I thought that was a useful and totally productive way of using our IT resources!”

Stop taking your laptops away with you.

It’s wasting your time.

It’s wasting the earth’s energy resources.

And like this blog, only a few people appreciate the effort you made.


Friday, 18 January 2013

snow makes decision making simple

Another few cms of frosted water lands across the UK and Britain stops. We love a good snow drama and no doubt the papers will produce similar headlines to what they did last year.

No it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the UK that the snow has fallen/is falling. We obsess about the weather here on a daily instance. All conversations start with it and should you want to be a spy for a foreign country, please just strike up a conversation with us about the climate and we’ll suspect nothing.

That all said, the drop in temperature seems to do something to our powers of thinking, analysis, perspective and problem solving. Look no further than the data to draw your own interpretations.

The number of people whose car won’t start and/or get into trouble requiring rescue call out will be in its THOUSANDS.

The number of people who cancel meetings or work from home will be in its THOUSANDS.

Schools will close, shops will shut yet we’ll all have a valid (but irrational reason really) for doing so.

I have a theory that our brains ability to think about the future is high jacked at the mention of snow.  We take the path of least resistance.

We could check the car battery and pull it out of the car and into the house to keep warm and put die-icer in the doors locks to stop them freezing and a blanket on the windscreen to stop the frost. We could email and text everyone at the meeting tomorrow in advance to make sure that we’re all making special effort to get in and manage our travel and physicality so that we arrive on time, in a good mental state, prepared and ready to go; like any other given day. We can also ensure our children have adequate plans to get home without us.

This requires effort, energy and forethought.

Instead we cancel the day and play snowballs.


I think there is a great deal of learning in our snow approach if we lifted the DNA of ‘least resistance’ to other aspects of our lives when it comes to solving problems. Does the ppt. need ANOTHER page, do we need to involve yet ANOTHER stakeholder, do we need to ask yet ANOTHER boss and ‘just run things by him just in case’. The answer is no.

It’ll always be no.

And those who disagree are the ones who aren’t having fun right now in the soft blanket of happiness that’s just landed outside....



Friday, 11 January 2013

There’s an often misquoted saying from Alice in Wonderland that goes “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.

The actual passage for the literature nerds is:

 Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don’t much care where--" said Alice.

"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you’re sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough.”



We like this.

We’re spending a good part of the year with our clients aligning and exciting them around their visions for the future. It’s often the case we spend a great deal of time explaining that the vision is made up of many parts.  The mission of the business, the meaning the business has in the world, the reason for its existence, the process on how it’ll achieve its strategy and guidance on people behaviour – all this we think make part of the business vision.

How easy to get lost our clients can become.

So I stick to the simple questions that are often the most profound.

What do you want?

How will you get it?

How will you behave during that process?


Have these answers as your north star and you’ll always know where you’re going.  Good advice I say for the start of the new year...