Tag: trends

OOO too

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Welcome back, if you are returning to work after a summer break or a slower summer period.  (And enjoy the lengthening days and warmer weather if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.)

You may recall our analysis of Out of Office (OOO) messages in 2010 and our four blog refrain on the topic last year (this is the last in the series).

Our favourite message to have arrived this summer:
“Many thanks for your e-mail, which is extremely important to me. I am on holiday in Italy, and contractually obliged to eat and drink in considerable amounts, as well as laying in the sun and swimming a bit. I will be back soon, and I will address your query then. “


How casual?

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At our events we are often asked to recommend a dress code. Sometimes we go for “dress as you feel comfortable”.  We do this to try (not always successfully) to avoid the confusion of other codes.

Do you know the difference between all of these (that we have seen over the last few weeks): casual, business casual, smart casual, elegant casual –let alone business and formal?

One of us was caught out recently with business casual – not realising it meant for that group, a sharp suit and good shirt (minus the tie).

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The future of…..noise

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I was at the MCA in Sydney this week – great exhibition on time and clocks  (in the ‘seconds mater’, disorientating, modern, western sort of way). The new wing is pretty cool to look at – but deafening to wander around and, especially, to eat in. All block concrete and bouncing of airwaves.

Having mild tinnitus, and playing in a few bands, I am interested in noise.  And the future of noise.  I have a hunch that over the next 3 decades we will see noise in public places becoming a key issue (a bit like the journey on public smoking)

I have seen schools with impressive noise reduction in corridors (carpet on floor, soft display boards on walls) and there is already big business in managing acoustics in high end restaurants and offices. This site is starting to nudge in that direction with a focus on atmosphere.

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Fashions…in food

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The way we serve fancy food (course after course), is a relatively recent invention – see service a la Russe.

However, fashions change and now

1) At dinner parties, putting a file of food on the table to grab is fine

2) And many restaurants go for ‘sharing plates’

What prim and proper stuff is going on around you, that you need to question? Some default thinking?

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How fast can you move through the fad cycle?

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We noticed the Kony2012 video used the DVF approach (last weeks Blog)…there was not that much on the problem, with far more on the solutions (in contrast to some of the climate films for example).

What has surprised us is how fast the viral movement has been greeted by analysis, criticism, liberal and local critique and now humorous mocking.

Noble purpose work is hard…


Quick fashions

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Fast fashions…

1) Guys in pink shirt and pinstripe jackets with jeans

2) Girls in denim shorts and black tights

3) Croc shoes

Classic looks

1) Black jeans and polo necks

2) Denim jackets and white t shirts

3) Converse shoes!

And in business what are the fads passing through (eg email on hand held devices) vrs those valuable ideas worth having around (eg how teams learn)?

The lesson…avoid being the last person into the frivolous new.  And look out for the things that will (and do) sustain.


What and where is ‘typical’?

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Where do you see a typical cross-section of people in a nation?

In friendship groups – too like each other?

At an airport – too biased to those with money?

At the post office?  Probably not.

What about at a supermarket – depends which one?

A motorway service station?  Hmmm possibly…

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Fancy a flat white? You’ve had to wait a while…

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Flat white coffeeThe flat white coffee was invented in Auckland (or Sydney depending on who you ask) in the late 1980s.

Twenty years later, it is now being popularised in the UK by Costa (though they don’t quite do it like the attached shot from an independent coffee shop in Sydney).

Innovations can take a surprisingly long time to spread.

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Not what you might expect

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Saturday – Sheringham

By the steam railway station. On a bench amongst pretty flowers.

An older guy. Very dapper. White trousers. Immaculate shoes. Blue stipey blazer. White shirt. Red cravat. White hat.

Drinking cider straight from a 2-litre bottle of Blackthorn cider.


Sunday – Cambridge (market)

At the organic veg stall.

There is a huge selection. The season is overflowing with local produce.

Yet…there is more plastic used in packaging the items than in the adjacent M&S.

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21 years of newspapers

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What difference does 20 years make?

It doesn’t seem that long.

But a lot changes – often silently and unnoticed.

Comparing a few newspapers, both tabloid and broadsheets, from the same date 21 years apart reveals a few striking features:

1)    They are smaller – not just the shrunken Times, but the odd inch here and there on most titles.

2)    There was no use of colour, other than the defunct Today. Now it is everywhere, including the Metro, the new daily freebie in London.

In what ways do these changes in appearance reflect the changes in the newspaper market, the way we ‘consume’ news and the wider digital media landscape in general?

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