Newsletter – The Electrification Of Fruit

Dear Reader,

Once again I would like to say that the autoresponder on my website should now be working as intended. If you signed up for my newsletter at the tail end of 2017 but you never received your free download then please let me know.

The series of short videos which I am gathering together under the title ‘Rough Cut Creativity’ are being added to but are not yet published. If you have not had a peek yet then you can find them via YouTube by clicking here.


#justdaydreaming

At what point did someone realise that the Earth was not flat? That is one big change in thinking. Try thinking ‘What If?’ about more everyday things (or even in your business) and see where that takes you. What if chips had never been invented? What would we be eating with fish or burgers?

#justthinking

Travel Agents are just Travel Agents, right? Wrong! Since I talk about finding The Difference That Makes The Difference, how about this? For all you business people out there, did you know that you can actually book flights months in advance (guaranteeing that seat and that price) but not have to pay until much closer to departure? Similar things can be done with hotel rooms too! It makes business travel much easier. For more ways to find out how the pain of travel can be taken away get in touch with Daniel Reed (email danielr@travel-pa.com or visit the Reed Travel website).

Banish boundaries


Now, back to the fruit ….

Whilst standing in the shower I let my mind wander a little (well quite a bit actually) and it settled upon the electrification of fruit as a topic. I began to wonder what electrified fruit might look, smell and feel like. What functionality would it have, what consumer needs would it fulfill? My sensible, logical side then said ‘don’t be silly you can’t electrify fruit’. And it might be right but flip this on its head, what if fruit could supply electricity?

Many of us have at some time created a ‘potato clock’, a device powered by a potato. That will not save the energy problems that we have because it produces very little current but the subject of fruit & veg together with electricity is a very interesting space for ideas (biomass etc).

This led me to think a little more seriously about assumptions and boundaries. Many people might assume that fruit and vegetables have no place mixing with electricity. Someone has created an arbitrary boundary there, a fence that says ‘do not enter’ to your brain. This might be a good idea but what if …?

Another interesting subject is that of stereotypes or categories. Do you remember when the EU first started meddling in food products? In Portugal, they produced Carrot Marmalade. I’m sure that it is a fine product and the EU obviously thought so too. They had previously decreed that marmalade must be made from fruit and so redefined carrots as fruit rather than vegetables.

This arbitrary and silly categorisation has far-reaching consequences but it is entirely unnecessary. It now forces EU bureaucrats to think of the category of fruit as containing carrots whilst the category vegetables does not contain carrots. This might mean that carrot growers are treated as exactly as fruit growers or excluded from obtaining grants or subsidies aimed at farmers or vegetable growers.

How often does our categorisation of objects or behaviours prevent us from solving problems or taking a potentially advantageous course of action? Instead of being controlled by labels, we should focus on what works and what does not. Maybe one day we will electrify fruit, who knows? Until then, let us trample over the arbitrary boundaries that are created.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

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What is ‘The Difference That Makes The Difference’?

Making the differencePeople often ask HOW do I find this mystical difference but they do not actually ask WHAT the difference actually is! Here is something that might shock you. I do not know either!

It is different for every business but here is an example that I experienced today. We are going to stay at the Shangri La Hotel at the Shard in London this weekend (it is our wedding anniversary). We have stayed in Shangri La hotels previously. They are not cheap but you get a good level of service along with great facilities. You expect this because of the price you pay.

Today I received an email from them. They are getting in touch ahead of our stay, finding out more about our arrival time and asking in advance if we have any preferences that they should know about. The email is, of course, automated, but I shall reply and see how well they can accommodate our preferences.

It does, however, make guests feel welcomed and excited about their stay. So what difference can you create that makes customers feel more excited about your offering compared to your competitors?

It might only be thicker paper for letters or invoices but it could make the difference. Are you a trainer that simply prints out copies of your PowerPoint slides on cheap paper? Perhaps it delegate’s notes could have their name and company printed on the front page for a start!

One of the key features of this difference is that it is not expected. It is not something that could be predicted because of the price you charge or by comparing your offerings to your competitors.

The other key thing to remember is that you or your business already have this information, it may be buried but it is there. You know your customers (individual or business), you know what would make them smile or even excite them.

If you want some help in discovering the difference that makes the difference then I can help. Simply make contact using any of the methods outlined on my website or click on the handy tab that appears on the bottom of every page.

Find that difference!

 

 

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Newsletter – Which way does your banana bend?

Dear Reader,

The autoresponder on my website should now be working as intended but if you signed up at the tail end of 2017 and you never received your free download then please let me know.

I have been busy recording a series of short videos which I am gathering together under the title ‘Rough Cut Creativity’ because they were created and uploaded on a whim. More titles are on the way soon but for now, there are four. They will soon appear on my website but readers can access them now via YouTube by clicking here.


#justdaydreaming

Tesco – helping you spend less every day. Pay attention Tesco. By spending we are giving you money, so we can only spend more, not less. Unless of course you are going to give us money!


#justthinking

This week I seem to have spent a lot of time in traffic staring at the rear end of another car. Do some manufacturers really think about the badges that they stick on the back? I know that Skoda, like Lada, have been a laughing stock in the past but they have improved quite a bit. Even so, do they think that the two words ‘Skoda’ and ‘Superb’ together will not cause laughter? Also they have a small car which they have crazily named ‘Roomster’. It might be like a Tardis inside but I immediately thought ‘hamster’. Maybe thats just me!

How much thought do you give to the words and phrases that describe your business?


Which way does your banana bendBack to the subject line of this email. I have asked the question ‘Which way does your banana bend?’ to many different groups in workshops that I have taken. Most people seem to freeze and you can see a thought bubble coming out of their head with WHAT? written in it. Once a chap did reply that his banana no longer bent because he had eaten it.

It is, of course, a trick question for us adults but maybe not for children. A child would see a banana laid out on a table in say ‘left’ or ‘right’ whereas an adult would just think ‘stupid question, it depends on how you are holding it’. The issue here is of course perspective.

What if you had been taught how to remove the skin from a banana but only if it bent round to the right? What would you do when confronted with a banana that bent round to the left? You could flip the banana over so that it appeared to bend the other way, or you could walk around the other side of the table which would have the same effect.

We do similar things when repairing cars or decorating. When something is the wrong way up we turn our head sideways, or even upside down to be able to see the problem clearly.

So why is that when we are confronted with business issues that we don’t try and look at problems in a different way before trying to solve them? Note that this is slightly different to the ‘Missing Sock’ issue from last month. Then we were concerned with doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Now I am posing the question of whether it is advantageous to look at a problem from a different viewpoint in order to get a different (and maybe better) solution.

So the answer to the question is maybe to the left, to the right or even straight depending on how I choose to look at things! Enjoy that banana.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

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The Fastest Coffin In Mexico City

Mexico City taxiThe picture reminds me of some good times had in Mexico City and a couple of key lessons regarding competition and simplicity. The famous old VW Beetle taxis are being phased out now but will remain in peoples thoughts forever.

Most were never in very good condition but somehow the drivers always seemed to be able to ply their trade. Many were modified by the removal of the front passenger seat. They were ideal vehicles for two people and a mountain of shopping.

The drivers were ingenious and found ways to keep the cars cool in hot weather and devised some very clever hacks to stop them being stolen. The cleverest (and most weird) thing I saw was during a ride around Mexico City late at night.

It was hot and we had the windows wound down whilst driving briskly (some might say VERY) across the city. We looked to our right and we were being overtaken by a green and white taxi with a huge coffin strapped to the top. This was not a small object but one of the enormous coffins favoured by the Roman Catholic church in Central and South America.

There was no roof rack or carrying device. The driver had wound down both side windows, laid a length of thick carpet over the roof, put the coffin on top (with some help I guess) and then used some stout rope to bind the coffin to the car by passing it through the car itself.

I assume that the driver then jumped in through the open window. I also made the assumption that the coffin was empty, but knowing Mexicans, it might not have been.

A nice story, I hear you ask, but what has this got to do with me? There are two real lessons to learn here.

The first is that ingenuity is not confined to the western or developed world. There are some very clever people everywhere and not just inventors. Not many years ago Aston Martin had some prototype cars made for the Geneva Motor Show – in India. The quality was superb and the cost was a fraction of what a UK or German company would have charged. Competition is everywhere.

The second lesson is that simplicity is key. How can you achieve the results you want in the most straightforward way? When we are out walking we try to find the shortest way home when we are tired, not try and be clever and find the most complicated.

Another example related to motor cars here! Cuba has for a long time been the subject of trade embargoes. Ingenious mechanics who desperately wanted brake fluid found that they did not need to try and work out the formula and then produce it in a manufacturing plant. They mixed a well known brand of shampoo with sugar – simple! This would not work for a car manufacturer of course but enabled some Cuban mechanics and car enthusiasts to remain on the road.

So remember, competition is everywhere and simplicity is key.

 

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Newsletter – Do you have a sock missing?

Dear Reader ,

Many of you subscribed to this newsletter after electing to receive a free copy of my Innovation Handbook. I recently discovered that the autoresponder on my website has not been working as it should so if you signed up at the tail end of 2017 you may not have been able to get their download. If this happened to you then please let me know.


I took a journey from Macclesfield to Stockport by train this week. When I boarded the train, the announcer said ‘this train is formed of 9 carriages’. When I left the train, the announcer said ‘this train is formed of 11 carriages’. How did we acquire 2 extra carriages without travelling faster than the speed of light? It just shows that in many cases we do not notice consistency, but lack of consistency is immediately obvious. How do you do in your business?


Would Accelereat be a good name for a new fast food business? Just a thought!


Where is the missing sockYou may very well be thinking about the slightly odd subject for this email. Well, it is linked to a new keynote that I am developing, although it is not quite there yet. The title may involve socks or washing machines but nothing is set in concrete. However, the sock/washing machine combo is a metaphor for what we tend to do in both our business and personal lives.

When we decide that something will not work, or that something is missing, we go looking for it. Most of us will look in exactly the same place as usual. For socks, we look hopefully inside the washing machine, or down the back of our sock drawer. At work, we often do more of what we normally, do or try a little of what our work colleagues (or competitors) do. Having done pretty much the same as usual we wonder why we have not got a different result!

As Albert Einstein is reported to have said ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them’. Now he was a chap who knew a thing or two so why not take a leaf out of his book and try looking at your issues (business or otherwise) in a different way and see what happens?

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website derekcheshire.com.

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Can I help you to find the difference that makes the difference?

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.

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