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Not burning the daylight hours!The 2015 Queen’s birthday weekend was a little different for me this year. For reasons that are beyond the scope of this post I took part in a 2 day safe tractor operation’s course at the Tocal agricultural college a little west of Newcastle.

The weather turned out amazing and on day 2 as the team were slashing a field and using the front loader I found myself sitting on the grass, steel capped boots on and taking in the tractors, bulls, stallions and cows wandering the fields. In this state of mindfulness I chuckled to myself that I might have missed my calling on the land, but there’s still time for that!

Shortly after we were chatting with the trainer who is living the self-sustainable dream. Rearing and slaughtering his own animals, learning new sustainable and organic practices and teaching others. But it was one particular comment that I instantly related back to my current career. He said “I never burn daylight hours“. Of course he was referencing the huge amount of work he needs to get done to keep his “just bigger than hobby farm” going but it made me think – do I burn daylight hours?

If you sub in “productive time” for “daylight hours” it’s highly relevant to anyone. I like the question because it’s not about “burning the midnight candle” that we all know with a love / hate relationship

Do you know where your time is spent? How long and on what? Taking it up a notch, is what you a working on the right thing to be working on?

I might put a sign up somewhere that says “Are you burning your daylight hours?”. It’ll remind me to think about the task at hand, is it the right task? It’ll also remind me of the people working hard to provide an outcome for me (food) while working to improve the practices and processes (business process optimisation?).

Are you burning daylight hours?

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Next job might need to be with a company that has an office in HK that I need to visit. Looks amazing!

This Expat's Life

I got a voucher for a free drink, so why not visit the lobby bar?

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Do you know how to Innovate?

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

InnovationI recently attended my works innovation state awards night. I think it’s great that any company both recognises the importance of employee led innovation and also that they take the time out to celebrate those innovations. The program has been running now for 4 years and has grown considerably in that time from one business unit to the entire company across all states. Brilliant! The “winners” in each state go onto the national awards to compete for the grand national awards. Last year the national champion was a talented guy from the trade marketing team who came up with Formula – an industry focused app for staff to learn to mix cocktails, brew a coffee plus more. A great way that a business can add value to another to another business!

Throughout the presentations it was great to see so many ideas from various area’s of the business that in some way helped the company along, whether that be in driving efficiency, providing value for our customer or even making sure employees are safe from occupational hazards.

All up I think it’s a great example of an innovation program succeeding.

It did however remind me of a thought I had a while ago, does your average employee know how to innovate? It’s a simple question but it talks to the heart of any innovation program. Do employee’s believe that an innovation is a bright spark that goes off while having a shower in the morning? Or perhaps they aren’t sure what the difference is between a true innovation and just “doing your job”? The latter is something I’m sure folks in IT or marketing have to think about given that in most cases they are often challenged with ways to makes things better!

But really – do you know how to innovate?

If you do – What processes do you use? Brainstorm? Mind Map? workshops?

The “lightbulb” moment is oftentimes perpetuated by urban legends. For instance, how many people actually believe that Isaac Newton had his defining thought when an apple fell on his head? Surely he would have had to have been pondering a related problem (even if) when that happened. And what about all those success stories we hear about entrepreneurs doing the zen thing and come back with great ideas? I’m sure some ideas appear like a lightning bolt but I’m even more sure that the majority of them appear after a huge amount of thinking, research and exploration. Hindsight is crystal clear and it’s easy to read these stories and think it was bound to happen.

Innovation becomes even murkier when tease apart incremental vs revolutionary ideas. Incremental is the small changes you make to an existing process or idea vs the game changers you often read about. So if you take someone else’s idea and make it better are you innovating? Taken to it’s extreme what’s the difference between creativity (making something new) and adaptation? Is anything truly new these days? Revolutionary makes headlines.

Tough questions that I’m not sure I have the answers to.Though I do know that before you embark on an enterprise innovation program you do need to have answers for them. When is an innovation above and beyond vs doing your job? To what level can you modify someone else’s idea and call it your own?

Does it really matter? Isn’t the purpose of an innovation program to excite employee’s to think outside the box and do things differently for the better of all?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s a joke I’ve seen once or twice a year but it’s still makes me laugh. There’s so much truth in it that the funny tears just keep building up. Well written!

Language warning for anyone that don’t need that in their lives.

August 31
– Just got transferred with work from Leeds UK to our new home in

Karratha, Western Australia.

Now this is a town that knows how to live!

Beautiful, sunny days and warm, balmy evenings.

I watched the sunset from a deckchair by our pool yesterday.

It was beautiful. I’ve finally found my new home. I love it here.

September 13 – Really heating up now. It got to 31 today.

No problem though. Living in air-conditioned home, driving air-conditioned

car.

What a pleasure to see the sun every day like this. I’m turning into a

sun-worshipper – no blasted rain like back in Leeds!!

September 30 – Had the back yard landscaped with tropical plants today. Lots

of palms and rocks. No more mowing lawns for me! Another scorcher today, but

I love it here. It’s Paradise!

October 10 – The temperature hasn’t been below 35 all week.

How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least today it’s windy

though. Keeps the flies off a bit. Acclimatizing is taking longer than we

expected.

October 15 – Fell asleep by the pool yesterday. Got third degree burns over

60% of my body. Missed three days off work. What a dumb thing to do..

Got to respect the old sun in a climate like this!

October 20 – Didn’t notice Kitty (our cat) sneaking into the car before I

left for work this morning. By the time I got back to the car after work,

Kitty had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag and stuck to the

upholstery. The car now smells like Whiskettes and cat shit. I’ve learned my

lesson though: no more pets in this heat.

October 25 – This wind is a bastard. It feels like a giant fucking blow

dryer. And it’s hot as hell! The home air conditioner is on the blink and

the repair man charged $200 just to drive over and tell me he needs to order

parts from fucking Perth ……The wife & the kids are complaining.

October 30 – The temperature’s up around 40 and the parts still haven’t

arrived for the fucking air conditioner. House is an oven so we’ve all been

sleeping outside by the pool for 3 nights now. Bloody $600,000 house and we

can’t even go inside. Why the hell did I ever come here?

November 4 – Finally got the fucking air-conditioner fixed. It cost $1,500

and gets the temperature down to around 25 degrees, but the humidity makes

it feel about 35. Stupid repairman. Fucking thief.

November 8 – If one more smart bastard says ‘Hot enough for you today?’ I’m

going to fucking throttle him. Fucking heat! By the time I get to work, the

car radiator is boiling over, my fucking clothes are soaking fucking wet and

I smell like baked cat. Fucking place is the end of the Earth.

November 9 – Tried to run some errands after work, wore shorts, and sat on

the black leather upholstery in my car. I thought my fucking arse was on

fire. I lost 2 layers of flesh, all the hair on the backs of my legs and off

my fucking arse. Now the car smells like burnt hair, fried arse and baked

cat.

Fuck. Fuck.. Fuck.

November 10 — The Weather report might as well be a fucking recording.. Hot

and sunny. Hot and sunny, Hot and fucking sunny. It never fucking changes!

It’s been too hot to do anything for 2 fucking months and the weatherman

says it might really warm up next week. Fuck!

November 15 – Doesn’t it ever rain in this damn fucking place? Water

restrictions will be next, so my $5,000 worth of palms might just dry up and

blow into the fucking pool. The only things that thrive in this fucking

hell-hole are the fucking flies. You don’t dare open your mouth for fear of

swallowing half a dozen of the little bastards!

November 20 – Welcome to HELL! It got to 45 fuckin’ degrees today. Now the

air conditioner’s gone in my car. The repair man came to fix it and said,

‘Hot enough for you today?’ I wanted to shove the fucking car up his fucking

arse. Anyway, had to spend the $2,500 mortgage payment to bail me out of

jail for assaulting the stupid prick.

Fucking Karratha! What kind of sick, demented fucking idiot would want to

live here!

December 1 – WHAT!!!! The FIRST day of Summer!!!! You are fucking kidding

me!

Teaching an old dog…..

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

With a little bit of searching (and desire) I’ve had two “wow” moments tonight. Some could argue these findings have brought me closer to my obsession but I like to think that it’s made me more efficient and therefore allowed me to move away from my obsession. Semantics aside they are going to help me. I fully recognise that this post might solicit some “Hmphs” and sneers because of my tardiness in finding them but I’ll post it none-the-less. Given I’m reasonably tech & social savvy and I’m just utilising them now means there might just be some other laggards out there that might benefit. J

  1. I love Google Reader. I’m yet to find another RSS reader that is as easy to use and do the things I need it to do. What I really need is an iPad RSS reader that’s as good as the web based Google Reader, but that’s another story.

    I use Google reader for most of my research and staying up to date with topics. Quite often I like to share what I find on Twitter, facebook etc. In the past I’ve navigated to the site (out of the RSS feed), highlighted / cut the URL and pasted into my intended location. For some this is tedious but being a near-digital-native I can do that as fast as my computer will go. BUT reducing the number of clicks is always going to help so it’s with upmost pleasure that I’ve found the “send-to” feature in Google reader.

    Interestingly this is fairly hidden away and not on by default. To enable “send to” for many different social sites navigate to Google Reader, select Setting (seen here with Google+ toolbar) then “Reader Settings”

    On the settings page select “send to” and select your social networks.


    Now on the bottom of each post in Google Reader you’ll find a send to click link item.

  2. The second WOW moment I had was when I realised I could blog to WordPress using Microsoft Word. This excites me mainly because I use the same process to blog to our corporate intranet page and it allows me to simply cut and paste images in-line with my blog. Brilliant!

    To do this, simply open up word, select New> Blog Post.

    When prompted add the URL (for wordpress) as http://<blog name>.wordpress.com/xmlrpc.php and your username and password for WordPress.

    It’s as easy as that.

Sneers and Hmphs aside, I’ve just made my life much easier. Hope this helps you to.

If you have any thoughts on how I can be as productive using both and Ipad and an Android smartphone, I’d love to hear your thoughts, though I’ll continue to play!