30 January 2007

Thinking out of the Blue Box Sky Envelope Fruit View

"Success teaches you nothing. Failures teach you everything. Making mistakes is the most important thing you can do." Sir James Dyson

Welcome to the 2nd anniversary of ding! and a new look for the newsletter as it goes fortnightly. I hope you continue to it full of informative, illuminating and entertaining articles and thoughts on creativity and how to generate ideas to innovate, market and improve your business to make it more profitable.

When Jargon Replaces Thinking

Many businesses find it impossible to run a meeting without lacing it with cliched jargon. Ridiculous phrases, odd metaphors and allegories seem to be increasingly used without a great deal of thought into what's really being said or any consideration for those present who may not have heard this nonsense before.

Investors in People ran a survey last year which found that a third of 3000 workers polled felt  excluded when gobbledygook jargon speak was used. Two thirds felt it gave the impression that bosses were being untrustworthy or hiding something. All those polled felt that it was a sign of bad management and showed the bosses didn't really know what they were talking about.

There are also cases of male bosses using male dominated sports metaphors without realising that their audience is mostly women. Some of these are used without knowledge of their origin, eg. 'stepping up to the plate' means nothing unless you know baseball. (The UK version would be stepping up to the crease, from cricket).

Here are some of the most used and what you could say instead:

Blue-sky thinking: Think of some idealistic or visionary ideas - don't worry about their practical application
Get our ducks in a row: Have things efficiently ordered
Brain dump: Tell everything you know about a particular topic
Think outside the box: Don't limit your thinking to within your job description
Joined-up thinking: Take into account how things affect each other
Drilling down: Get more detail about a particular issue
Push the envelope: Improve performance by going beyond commonly accepted boundaries
The helicopter view: An overview
Low-hanging fruit: The easiest targets
Guestimate: A guess
Going forward: from now on
Singing from the same hymn sheet: talking about the same subject

I know where you're coming from:
you are wrong

I'm all for metaphors and there's nothing really wrong with any of the above unless they are used when people don't understand them or used out of context. The most successful managers are those that recognise that communicating in a way that everyone can understand is the key to having an engaged, motivated and enthusiastic team. If you find yourself trapped in jargon land, print out the list and play Buzzword Bingo.

The Plain English Campaign have created a 'Gobbledygook Generator'. Click here to try it - You really can't fail with systemised organisational alignment.

Dyson gets a Knighthood

When renovating his home in the Cotswolds, James Dyson came up with the idea of a bag-less vacuum cleaner. Unlike everyone else in the world who moaned at their Hoover's lack of suction, Dyson did something about it and invented the Dual Cyclone. He went through 5127 prototypes to get a workable design which he quickly patented. In 1999 he took Hoover to court for infringing that patent. His company which employs 5,400 people around the world, is now worth $1billion.

In 2006 he set up the Dyson School of Design Innovation in Bath which aims to encourage Britain's next generation of designers and engineers.

"I have spent 35 years making things in a country that often has little regard for its manufacturers. It has left me more convinced than ever that engineering is this country's future. To survive against Chinese producers, we can't just rely on shallow styling. We need technology and design that they don't have. As long as we continue to innovate and produce products that have better features and work better, we can compete." Sir James Dyson

Percy - the Wisdom of a Cat
Post-Christmas materialism is on Percy's mind this month.

"No-one can tell you that anything is a bargain so ignore any signs saying so. Only you can make that distinction when comparing the price of something you were going to buy anyway. Nothing is ever really in a sale in the same way that you will never have any spare change - the world isn't about to end just yet.

Don't ever believe any offer that is only available today. If you still want it tomorrow then get it. If it really is only available today and there's no more tomorrow then there can't be a market for it so don't waste your money and time on something nobody wants. Finally, don't buy what you don't need with money that isn't yours to impress people you don't like."

Percy has written a book. Click here to learn more.

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Happy times and places,
Ayd Instone

www.aydinstone.com -- ding@ideasworkshop.co.uk
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