What people think about at work

Ever wondered what your colleagues are thinking about? How about you…How many of these wily thoughts are you guilty of?


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Posted in Brainfood

LinkedIn Trends for South Africans

Searching for information to create a narrative about South African business media users, I discovered this infographic from Digitlab, illustrating LinkedIn trends during 2010 – 2011.

It shows that the 25-34 year age group is still the largest, with the 35 – 54 group increasing their activity. The section of the infographic on industries and their respective growth shows that Agriculture was the fastest growing industry over the last year. (Hmmm…interesting!) This sector outgrew hi-tech, corporate, finance and government.

The largest job sector on LinkedIn is Administration.

If you’re unemployed, you might want to see what transferable skills you have that are relevant to the Agricultural sector. The substantial size of the administration job sector shows that this is where a huge need exists, and, potentially  high levels of competition.


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Posted in Trends

What does it cost to run a startup?

What does it cost to run a startup?

Radel Artida from Staff.com sent this infographic to me for publication. Thanks for the content Radel, <raised eyebrow> how about including us South African’s in your next infographic?!





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Posted in Trends

Your Brain, Presents and Market Shares

We all like packages in various forms and sizes, no innuendo intended. But it’s fair to say that the ability to select appropriate gifts underpins all sorts of relationships – from economic to romance.

This infographic shows what goes on in the brain during the process of both giving and receiving. It also illustrates gift cards vs coupons as marketing campaigns and the origins of gifting. Think of early trade agreements where it was common for tribes to gift first in order to trade. Lol…I see politicians and executives lining up now to justify greasy palms!

Infographic Power of the Gift

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Posted in Brainfood, Business Innovation, Strategy Development

Famous Athletes and the Drugs they Took

Enhancement is no new concept and it’s not such a surprise that doping and the likes of Lance Armstrong exist. Personally, I’d pay to watch a race if its billed as the one where all athletes have been on an ‘enhancement’ program and where super human feats are expected.

I’m not into sports but superhuman yes! Am I condoning drugs in sports? Lets get it straight- I’m saying differentiate between the naturals and the enhancers. As long as the enhancers don’t try to pass their plasticism off as natural – I don’t see the problem.

I’m more cerebral than athletic – but to be fair the quality of cerebral activity is up for debate. Which leads me to the next point.

I’m pretty sure there are people taking brain enhancing pills somewhere – or even people being force fed them without their knowledge. Such as in Canada.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) does a whole lot of fascinating scintillating research – like the one about the average time people spend on housework in different countries. Men around the world spend an average of 131 minutes per day on cooking, Canadian women have their men enhanced to a level of 146 minutes per day spent on cooking, cleaning and chores. You don’t think there’s something going down there? Seriously?

Ok, well what about North Korea? Google lists it as one of the most secretive countries in the world. Don’t bother buying a guide book if you go there – a government approved tour guide takes you to government approved experiences. Sounds like the perfect site for brain enhancement to occur.

Back to doping in sport, its like saying blank CD’s shouldn’t be available to consumers. If we want to glorify the naturals then the sporting organisations need to drive the process – I do believe that Lance Armstrong was a facile bastard but I think its time we realized that we’ve set sportspeople up for failure in a supremely plastic society.

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Posted in Graphic Note

Break out of a Creative Rut

Sometimes you feel stuck, right?  Can’t think of solutions, no great ideas, not even your usual pickup lines are met with the same enthusiasm. Tired no Mojo? Drop the self pity, here’s here to break out of that creative rut and kick some ass.

infographic -- click the text links in the post for text versions of the visual material

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Posted in Brainfood, Managing Creative thinking

A Guide to Business Strategy


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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Strategy Development

Dirty Startups Clean Strategy

Conflicts kill passion and distract you from what’s important. What Gran said is true, pick your battles and stop running around like a headless chicken!

Pick a strategy, not a fight – especially when it comes to money! Here are ideas for startup funding.

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Strategy Development

A Burmese Train Jump and a Russian Traffic Jam inspire corporate change

Last year I conducted a Service Excellence intervention at the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO). These were amongst my favourite clips for illustrating problem solving skills, our inherent creativity and teamwork. Not only are they quite funny but they provoke interesting and entertaining discussions about culture too.

Apparently this village in Burma is too small to warrant trains stopping so the locals participate in teamwork in order to jump on. The best these train drivers can do to assist is to slow down slightly!

Talk about Outliers! Check out how these comrades take matters in their own hands!

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Posted in Brainfood, Business Innovation, Excellence

The Future Car

It seems the tag line for this infographic should be ‘The Future Drives itself!”

Heard of autonomous cars? They’re cars which, you guessed it -  drive themselves!

Scornful? Scroll down and see why this makes perfect sense in a world where accidents occur at least 3500 times a day.


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Posted in Brainfood, Technology

How To Kill Office Creativity


  1. When someone says they have an idea respond with “We don’t fix something that’s not broken!”
  2. If you absolutely have to endure a presentation about a new suggestion, yawn conspicuously. After about 5 minutes ask the presenter  if they could quickly pop out and grab you a cup of coffee whiloe you read through the slides. That should throw them!
  3. Paint the areas where staff like to congregate a green gray color, including the toilets and kitchen. The colour will have a cold and unwelcoming effect.
  4. Never employ someone with tattoos and body jewellery. Or curly hair. Write a Policy that emphasizes a sleek haircut.
  5. Only employ attractive people, the competition between them will heighten insecurities and allow you to manipulate their weaknesses. Unless it’s your personal assistant. Then go with quality first, appearance second.
  6. Reward staff who compliment you and never question you.
  7. Don’t decorate as it could encourage  a playful atmosphere. The only one smiling should be you.
  8. Ban the internet except email.

If any one of these characteristics sounds like you, go work in Japan. If they’ll have you. If not, try China. They’ll like you for sure…

If 2 are you, sell your company and take your megalomaniac self to an island, solitary so you can’t harm anyone. Take a cat.

If 3 or more are you. You must be one helluvah evangelist…


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Posted in Develop Creativity

‘Teaming’ with Ideas

So you want to shake things up a bit?
If you’re looking for a vibrant way of encouraging the generation of ideas, then brainstorming is a great way to get started.

When a brainstorming session is led with creativity and humor it can be a great imaginative problem solving space and an opportunity to let your hair down.

People participating for the first time might well feel inadequate and unsure of themselves. Others may be eagerly waiting for an opportunity to speak freely and embrace the creative safe space. If you’re planning to use brainstorming as a tool, here’s a bit of structure to help you get started and to ‘know your crowd.’

Before leading a session, it’s important to know what you want to achieve and to ensure that the best person is in the directors seat to lead the session.

The opposite to an invigorating productive brainstorm is a stale space where people repeat old ideas that have been shot down in the past.

It’s important to get your team to be open to developing fresh thoughts and not simply churning ideas that have been floating around and have never gone anywhere previously.

Identify the right question / problem statement to brainstorm in order to provide a fresh flood of ideas and new energy.

Sometimes someone will throw out an idea that’s just a slight variation of something discussed in the past because they believe that there’s a reason to merit that direction, perhaps they’re hoping that someone will eventually ‘get’ them. Other times people throw out something because they have an issue with management and see this as an opportunity to perhaps poke some fun at them. Someone else could use this free flowing creative safe-space to vent their frustrations.  When this occurs, the session leader should be sharp enough to recognize and redirect.

Don’t allow debate to create a contentious space where people become defensive.

In the words of Bob Marley

“Say you just can’t live that negative way,
If you know what I mean;
Make way for the positive day”

A brainstorm team that’s kept focused, happy, playful and respectful is ideal. That’s why a brains storm leader needs to be someone who can respond instinctively and manage personalities in order for each person to effectively contribute. It’s a tricky role and it’s often thought that the most innovative and inventive person should be sitting in the team and not leading the session. But a snappy thinker brimming with ideas will instinctively fire questions and provoke the groups thinking by knowing how to provoke a little constructive insanity and deconstructionist logic.

Of course that’s not always true either. If the leader loves to see their own ideas carried out and has little time for exploring others ideas – the creative Machiavelli’s, you’ll be in trouble. The leader can contribute ideas but should also be a keen listener, passionate about finding the magic amongst all the creative connections the group makes. They will link thoughts, see patterns that are going nowhere, open new doors for group think and be the catalyst for expressive productivity.

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Posted in Brainstorming, Knowledge Management, Lateral thinking, Managing Creative thinking, Strategy Development, Tools

Flow and Tapping into Creativity

Creativity has value to all businesses and steps can be taken to strengthen the workplace’s response and engagement with that energy. Business goals can be reached without bottling the flow of creative juices that exist within the creative minds of employees. Allow it to happen and you’ll probably see an improvement in productivity.

According to research by Teresa M. Amabile of Harvard University, three components are needed to enhance creativity in business :

  • Expertise (technical, procedural and intellectual knowledge),
  • Creative thinking skills (how flexibly and imaginatively people approach problems),
  • and Motivation (especially intrinsic motivation).

Motivation is perhaps not as simple as what you think! There are two types of motivation:

  • extrinsic motivation – external factors influence you, for example you’re afraid your boss is going to fire you so you work harder or you are hoping to be rewarded and want money.
  • intrinsic motivation – this is about having a passion which drives you to excel, reach satisfaction etc.

As  a manager, team leader or business owner you can take these steps to encourage motivation:

Motivate your staff
How to motivate your staff?
  • Challenge – match people with the right tasks, responsibilities and activities
  • Freedom – once they understand the big picture, let people figure out their own ways of reaching the goals;
  • Resources – such as time, money, space etc. Give people what they need and don’t expect people to share minimal resources;
  • Work group features –  divergent (age, culture etc) these are supportive teams where members share the excitement, willingness to help and recognize each others talents;
  • Encouragement from above –and we don’t mean heaven! Authority, management, supervisors etc must support the team, give recognition etc.
  • Organizational support – value emphasis, information sharing, collaboration and cross pollination.

If you establish an organisation that is supportive of creativity, you are more likely to find appropriate, useful and actionable innovations surfacing.

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Do or Die! Online Ignorance and Service Excellence

Customer support has made its way into the world of social media with about 47% of social media users  “actively seeking” customer service through social media. Ignoring your online service? Beware because about 30% say they prefer social media-based service to the traditional phone call.

It is estimated by the end of 2012, 80% of companies plan to use social media for customer service purposes. When given positive customer service through social media, around 71% of consumers will recommend the brand. Not only will customers recommend the brand, those who engage with companies via social media are likely to spend between 20% and 40% more money on those companies. (Brian Wallace)

More and more people are being influenced by social media as it allows for personal reflections and experiences as opposed to contrived marketing ploys. Check it out!


ClickSoftware Service Management Software

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Posted in Business Innovation, Excellence, Graphic Note, Strategy Development, Trends

Excellent Social Media Checklist for Organisations and Personal Branding

This infographic’s loaded with practical tips on how business owners and marketing professionals can leverage social media to increase reach and create added value for customers through active online communities.

These are great social media ideas for your business’ Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and blog!

WBG Sensible SocialMediaChecklist v2.0 Sensible Social Media Checklist for Business v.2.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]

This could be someone’s job description!

Enjoy making your cause a success and let me know what you think of these tips and feel free to add advice.

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Posted in Strategy Development, Technology, Tools

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