What we've been thinking about and working on lately...

what we've been talking about

So none of us really enjoy being the new person – it can be pretty daunting.  However, we don’t often look at it from the other direction. 


Having a new person start in your team can also be daunting - will they fit in?  How long will it take to get them up to speed? Will they be as good or better than their predecessor?


Recently I’ve been working with several new and different people on various projects.  I guess I’ve been lucky – they are all great!  What has been most amazing is the energy and enthusiasm they have brought to the projects. New ideas, fresh energy, some much needed inspiration.


It’s easy to get stuck doing the same things in the same way.  Fresh blood can shake things up a bit, shed some new light and make it exciting for all of us all over again.


That’s me – feeling inspired just by having some new friends/colleagues to play with!!

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I’m often posed the question ‘ we’re going to invest in some time together as a team, what’s the quickest/easiest/cheapest way to ensure we get some new thinking and everyone feels able to contribute’ at this point I’m meant to come up with a complex framework and some clever words to help pave the way. My answer is usually much more simple ‘go offsite’.

Our habits, patterns and thoughts of behaviour are so associated with our environment that we can inadvertently become fixed in our way of thinking when we’re physically in the same office which we reside in day to day. Find somewhere new; somewhere people can breathe, relax, get some fresh air have space to move, lounge and be themselves. This doesn’t mean a swanky hotel (not everyone’s idea of relaxing!) just somewhere where people can be people.

We recently invited a leadership team to work with us from our offices on Exmoor. They lounged on sofas, took lungfuls of fresh Exmoor air and plotted their strategy for the next 3 years whilst sat watching the river rush by in the warm spring sunshine. They wore jeans and hoodies, ate locally produced food from the pub across the road and pots of coffee from the local roast house. They left happier more relaxed and importantly with clarity; about why they were in it and where they were going. They ran the next day to book in to come back in 6 months time.

So my advice remains the same, go offsite, you might be surprised at the results.


At Tinder-box we can run team sessions and away days from our base on Exmoor, please call us for more details.

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About 12 years ago I remember being in my university library waiting impatiently for Google to load.  I remember how digital cameras could only hold a handful of images at a time and the smallest external hard drive was the size of my laptop and cost a fortune!

Technology was advancing but it was at the clunky stage, where it quite often made you more infuriated than helped a situation. 

12 years on in 2015 and the technological landscape is very different, it’s faster, cheaper, more effective and intuitive.  Most of us couldn’t picture life without it and I certainly couldn’t picture my work life without it!

So what will the landscape look like a decade away? As workspaces become more open plan and built around wellbeing as much as the work (Facebook, BBC, Google, Apple, Amazon) and with new forms of interaction, like holograms and displays that offer "high empathy presence", we’re already seeing a huge shift. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK says “In ten years' time, I hope we will have broken free of many of the physical ties of our current working world.”

In a BBC article “Should we fear the future workplace - or embrace change?”  Dave Coplin shares his view of the future saying:

“My hope remains that technology will increasingly afford greater freedom in where, when and how we work.

The success of the future of work will come down to one thing. People.

It will be the extent to which the people are engaged with the "purpose" of their organisation that will dictate the success or failure of that organisation in the future.

Engaged employees embrace change, they look for growth and learning in all they do and best of all they unleash the full potential of new technology.

They do this by using it to find new ways of working rather than simply making the old ways of working happen a bit quicker.”

We know about the pros of technology in the workplace but we must also be aware of the implications and how to use it wisely. Coplin goes on to say “Only failure awaits those who use the technology to replace what we are capable of - ask any driver who has blindly followed GPS directions only to find themselves confronted with too low a bridge or too narrow a street.”

Another thing to consider is that technology can get in the way of work, take a look at this BBC article about how digital distractions are eroding our ability to concentrate.

Many of our clients are now opting for virtual events over face to face, especially when gathering groups of people from across the globe.  They are embracing technology and adapting with it to suit their needs.  Are you?

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‘Yes’ opens up new possibilities, builds on ideas and drives a conversation forward to new horizons. When we hear ‘yes’ we engage, we commit, we see new opportunities. When we hear ‘no’ we disconnect, we shut down, we comply. 

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about ceding to another person’s needs, wants and ideas this is about that spark that ignites new ideas and the human energy and commitment to make it happen.    

It goes like this; 

  • “Let’s write a blog every week for our website”
  • “Yes, and we could take it in turns” 
  • “Yes, and we could have a rota so we can be thinking about it in advance” 
  • “Yes, and we could invite other people to be guest bloggers” 
  • “Yes, and we could also send the links out on twitter” 
  • “Yes, and we could put it on our other social media platforms like facebook and linkedin”    

Another version of the conversation could have been; 

  • “Let’s write a blog every week for our website”
  • “We’re all really busy and I’m not sure anyone would read it. I’m not sure it’s worth the effort” (essentially ‘no’).    

And because we write a blog every week we have all sorts of interesting people contact us via various social media platforms, none of that would have happened without our ‘yes’ a few years ago.    

So, on this bright sunny June day, if you’re looking for something new and exciting, I implore you to say ‘yes’.  

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London 2012 was the breakthrough games for the summer Paralympics.  The recent winter games in Sochi arguably proved to be an even greater breakthrough. The majority of people didn’t even know there was a winter Paralympics.  After all, how much of Vancouver 2010 did you watch on TV?

Sporting competition is possible in Paralympic sport because of classification, the system that creates the framework for athletes to compete against one another.  On first glance it appears labyrinthine and indecipherable but it works in the same way that classification works in Boxing.  You can have a featherweight champion of the world and a heavyweight one.  Both are equally good but are not going to be seen in the ring together. 

The difference is that classification of disabilities and impairments is not intuitive.  Bundle that in with peoples’ perceived insecurities in discussing disability and its easier not to bother talking about it at all and that was exactly the approach of broadcasters prior to the London 2012 Paralympics.

In place of this knowledge was an underlying tone in broadcast presentation that glossed over this series of rules maintaining the long held idea that the audience couldn’t possibly understand it.  So they should just accept that they were there and that someone much wiser had thought it all through.  So relax, sit back and appreciate the heroes that we are about to place before you.  What?!!?

Why is football so popular?  Is it because everyone watching is wondering what’s going on, or is it because everyone understands every last second, therefore feeling they can express and opinion? (for better or worse)

As for heroes, who are yours?  I bet you can say why you hold each one in such high esteem.  Each one the result of series of conscious decisions defined by parameters that enabled you to gauge what each hero/heroine had achieved, empowering you to choose which ones were special to you.

In using explanatory innovations like the LEXI graphics system, Channel 4’s coverage of London 2012 was the first time that disability classification in sport was just treated as an extension of the rules.  The risks were huge.  Would the audience find it offensive, too unpalatable or just plain boring?  Would they desert for other channels leaving a tiny audience of die-hards behind?

London 2012 turned out the highest audience figures that Channel 4 had seen in ten years.  Sochi followed in the same vain building on the new fans of Paralympic sport.

  1. Engage with your audience/customers by telling them fully about what you are doing.
  2. Make the explanation itself engaging.  Good enough to be a product in itself.
  3. Allow people to generate an emotional engagement with what you are doing on their terms and they will be more numerous and faithful than ever.
  4. Have a cup of tea and a cheeky smile at having done something new.

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