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Management Side
Week of 22 November 2021: Innovation is possible for anyone

Email Jim at jim.thompson@ipulpmedia.com

If you think you can't innovate, the problem is purely mental.

Johnny Carson was a great late-night comedian. If you have never watched him, you can find him on YouTube. It will be instructive.

Before Carson, most comedians had worked vaudeville, which was relatively easy. Tell jokes in one town tonight, repeat them in another town tomorrow night. Late night TV was different, you had to have fresh material on a 24-hour cycle. Carson became very good at this. Every day he mashed up the headlines of today. Say it was February. There is a big snow storm in Chicago and, the same day, there is a fashion show in New York with the latest summer designs. There is a joke there when you mash these two events together.

Creativity can work the same way. Say you have a wall mounted sump pump, and the bearings go out every six months. Well, we know pumps can't float. How do I make a pump float? Put it on a special purpose platform. Now its bearing alignment is tied to the platform not to the wall. Tether the platform to the wall and you are done.

You have problems with people coming to work. Everyone wants a new cellphone. You give everyone a cellphone with an unremovable app that pays them only when they get within a certain defined boundary at work. You can also design the app, so the phone is inoperable in conference rooms.

You want better housekeeping but everything you have tried doesn't work. Set up competition and rewards for housekeeping just like you already do for safety.

The more disparate issues you can mash together, the more creative you become. Of course, you can do this alone, but it is even more fun to do it with someone else.

Kids are another way to be creative. Describe a problem you have to your kids and offer them a bribe (whatever they like to do) if they give you an innovative answer. You will get some good ones this way.

Creativity can be learned and you can use it in many ways to make your work environment more productive and safer.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

________

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