excuse me whilst i vomit….

kath kidosn Kath Kidston – a complex brand I can’t get my head around. I mean what the hell does everyone see in the designs like this. I go into the retail premises and find them crammed with yummy mummies aching to get a their kids rooms kitted out in this shite. What sort of person would subject their kid to a room full of this vomit inducing puffery. Worse still, these people buy it for themselves thinking that a bit of Kath Kidston is what they need to make their life puffey, tranquil and complete. My God.

That’s not to say I don’t like everything about the brand – and it is a brand. I can stand some designs in fact I caught myself picking up some bedding a few months ago and saw myself running through the cornfields in the sunshine back to cottage to lay on a KK duvet. Luckily my partner was there to bring me back into the real world so we stepped out side into a crowd of hoodies swearing at a granny. Phew – I love reality.

Anyway, this Eiderdown is not nice, but if you like, it can be bought from http://www.cathkidston.co.uk/p-12736-cath-kidston-rose-blue-eiderdown.aspxvomit
Our crisp new Rose Blue print bedspread is made from finest quality cotton. Looks great with matching duvet and pillowcases – choose from single (135x200cm), double (200x200cm), king (230×220) or super king (260x220cm) duvet covers.

Yeah, I’d be interested to find out what ‘finest quality cotton‘ is btw.

linen punk


sleeping under cardboard never looked so good

cardboardYeerp check this out. The cardboard box bedding has been around a few months now and is getting a wider audience daily. With the recession deepening, perhaps we can go half way to living in a cardboard box by buying this bedding and preparing ourselves for living under the Arches in an IKEA box.

The cotton has a thread count of 144 threads per square inch, so it’s soft to the touch virtually non-iron. The duvet cover is produced in Pakistan and child labour is not used.

30% of the gross profits go to Centrepoint, the UK charity for homeless young people aged 16-25 (charity number 292411). Every night Centrepoint provides support and housing for 800 vulnerable homeless young people

Linen Punk gives this set an 9.5 out of 10. Not 10 as think I might feel a little dirty every day.

You get this at http://www.dutchbydesign.com/products-Home-Duvet-Cover-King_LC-2007003.htm – or stand outside the recycling plant and get some originals.cardboard 2


genuis moi

starckIf you are sitting in front of the TV on Monday night around 9pm, I would recommend you flick over to BBC2 and indulge yourself in a fascinating program called Design for Life.

The program is similar to The Apprentice in that a group of contestants are all tasked, with various projects with the winner gaining a prestigious work placement. The difference here is that Philippe Starck plays the role of judge/client/interviewer instead of Sir Alan and the contenders all have design rather than business backgrounds.

The programme is intriguing as none of them really have a clue what Starck is talking about. This isn’t because of language or cultural barriers, it’s because Starck is a one-off: completely off-the-wall with his ideas, and his brain ticks over faster than his mouth can articulate. In other words he fits the mould of a true creative genius.

It’s a frustrating experience watching the team briefings and the feedback meetings. You get the impression that neither Starck nor the contestants can express themselves clearly to each other, which is strange as both have similar creative roots so their thoughts shouldn’t be poles apart. Obviously working with such a charismatic genius creates its own set of problems. So what can be done to create more understanding between a highly creative leader and the rest of the group?

The first building block is to make sure that the leader understands this problem – this may be harder for some than others – it will take a lot of perseverance from a team of communication advisors. The second is to add people to the leader’s team who can understand what the leader wants and can express these views in a clear contextual manner to the rest of the workforce. The third building block is to work with different forms of media to find the most suitable one for mass communicating.

If these communication concepts were used during the programme, then the contestants would have a clearer understanding of the briefs they’re given and what Starck really wants from them. In a business context clearer understanding of what leaders want will ultimately lead to a more productive and efficient workforce.


how innovators think

lightbulbHow Do Innovators Think?
5:21 PM Monday September 28, 2009
by Bronwyn Fryer Harvard Business Review

What makes visionary entrepreneurs such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman, and P&G’s A.G. Lafley tick? In a question-and-answer session with HBR contributing editor Bronwyn Fryer, Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of Insead explain how the “Innovators’ DNA” works.
Fryer: You conducted a six-year study surveying 3,000 creative executives and conducting an additional 500 individual interviews. During this study you found five “discovery skills” that distinguish them. What are these skills?
Dyer: The first skill is what we call “associating.” It’s a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas. The second skill is questioning – an ability to ask “what if”, “why”, and “why not” questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture. The third is the ability to closely observe details, particularly the details of people’s behavior. Another skill is the ability to experiment – the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds. And finally, they are really good at networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn.

Fryer: Which of these skills do you think is the most important?

Jeff: We’ve found that questioning turbo-charges observing, experimenting, and networking, but questioning on its own doesn’t have a direct effect without the others. Overall, associating is the key skill because new ideas aren’t created without connecting problems or ideas in ways that they haven’t been connected before. The other behaviors are inputs that trigger associating–so they are a means of getting to a creative end.
Gregersen: You might summarize all of the skills we’ve noted in one word: “inquisitiveness.” I spent 20 years studying great global leaders, and that was the big common denominator. It’s the same kind of inquisitiveness you see in small children.

Fryer: How else do you think the innovative entrepreneurs you studied differ from average executives?
Dyer: We asked all the executives in our study to tell us about how they came up with a strategic or innovative idea. That one was easy for the creative executives, but surprisingly difficult for the more traditional ones. Interestingly, all the innovative entrepreneurs also talked about being triggered, or having what you might call “eureka” moments. In describing how they came up with a product or business idea, they would use phrases like “I saw someone doing this, or I overheard someone say that, and that’s when it hit me.”
Fryer: But since most executives are very smart, why do you think they can’t, or don’t, think inquisitively?
Dyer: We think there are far more discovery driven people in companies than anyone realizes. We’ve found that 15% of executives are deeply innovative, meaning they’ve invented a new product or started an innovative venture. But the problem is that even the most creative people are often careful about asking questions for fear of looking stupid, or because they know the organization won’t value it.

Gregersen: If you look at 4 year olds, they are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. But by the time they are 6 ½ years old they stop asking questions because they quickly learn that teachers value the right answers more than provocative questions. High school students rarely show inquisitiveness. And by the time they’re grown up and are in corporate settings, they have already had the curiosity drummed out of them. 80% of executives spend less than 20% of their time on discovering new ideas. Unless, of course, they work for a company like Apple or Google.

We also believe that the most innovative entrepreneurs were very lucky to have been raised in an atmosphere where inquisitiveness was encouraged. We were stuck by the stories they told about being sustained by people who cared about experimentation and exploration. Sometimes these people were relatives, but sometimes they were neighbors, teachers or other influential adults. A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity. To paraphrase the famous Apple ad campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different).

Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University, Hal Gregersen of Insead, and Clay Christensen of HBS further explore this topic in an article which will appear in the December issue of Harvard Business Review