Creativity vs. Innovation

How does management doubletalk define Creativity, and how does it differ from Innovation? Creativity is:

  1. the ability to think outside the square
  2. the capacity to invent the square
  3. the propensity to play with the sides of the square, thereby transmogrifying its squareness
  4. the obsession with a plethora of quasi-geometric metaphorical iterations, whilst evading productive and profitable work.


  • Hippopotamus (plural: hippopotamuses; hippopotami is wrong in three languages).

So much for Creativity per se. What’s Innovation then?

  1. Innovation is Creativity that you get paid for
  2. Innovation is Creativity that’s acceptable to engineers
  3. Innovation is Creativity for grown-ups
  4. Innovation is Creativity without government subsidy
  5. Innovation is Creativity. And vice versa. Get over it!

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How to speak like an MBA

The real trick to sounding smart in business is mastering three-word management terms. Select a word from each of the three paragraphs below. This innovative process will create a three-word description of a project or a management theory. No-one can remember every possibility, but as a mnemonic, commit these lists to memory and your troubles will be over.

  1. alphanumeric, annual, creative, ethical, historic, integrated, parallel, resource, scheduled, workplace
  2. balance, design, distribution, finance, marketing, morale, non-profit, operations, planning, sales
  3. big data, development, forecast, initiative, market, network, output, process, review, solution.

You’ll have thousands of options to choose from. Colleagues, superiors and subordinates will admire your originality, hold your linguistic dexterity in their highest esteem, and look up to your adroit leadership style.

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Values, vision, mission, strategy … bingo!

Prick up your ears each time you hear one of these key business buzzwords. When you hear two, go to high alert. If three are buzzing around a meeting in quick succession, tie your shoelaces tight and get ready to stand up. If all four are spoken at the one event, adopt one or more of these survival techniques:

  1. feign an acute myocardial infarction
  2. burst into tears
  3. fall asleep and start snoring
  4. rush to the bathroom
  5. prepare for your exit interview
  6. avoid eye contact
  7. develop Tourette’s syndrome
  8. press Ctrl+Alt+Del
  9. look busy, or
  10. shout ‘Bingo!’ and go home.

Here are some definitions to help with your decision-making:


  • Something to fall back on when the cashflow doesn’t.


  • Something that the CEO has at a management retreat, after too much alcohol and caffeine, followed by too little sleep;
  • a perfect response when you don’t understand the detail of a problem: “Is this congruent with out vision?”
  • A management retreat held at a beautiful resort, #2 in the sequence: values, vision, mission … and if there’s more money in the kitty and the end of the financial year – strategy.
  • Proof that contemporary management theory is the new religion.


Nobody actually knows what this means, so just nod wisely when it comes up as a thing to have, to do, and to believe in. Passionate statements help. Here are a few to get you started:

  • “I’m totally on board with the commitment to our mission being critical; it’s mission-critical”
  • “My position is that I’m a missionary for our mission”, or
  • “Our mission statement tells it like it will be”.


  • The scaffolding of the roadmap of the blueprint of the game plan of the infrastructure of the architecture of what we’re doing next week.

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How to give business terms even less meaning

Weasel words are words and phrases that set out to set you down the wrong path. They divert and hijack meaning, on purpose, with purpose. The etymology of the term is from about 1900, and refers to weasels eating the contents of eggs whilst leaving the shell intact. The weasel is a carnivorous mammal, and the term includes the better-known ferret and mink. There are several excellent ways to suck the protein out of business terms:

  1. overuse the words
  2. give the words more gravitas they they deserve
  3. completely change the meaning of the words
  4. make the words antonyms of themselves
  5. make your definitions of the words policy.

For instance:


  • A term used to mask the real motivation of employees: salary and wages.


  • A way to explain how badly a firm is doing by showing that competitors are performing more poorly still.


  • Originally a government concept, but now widely used in business as a succinct way of saying: “That’s why we do the things we do around here”.


  • If policy is the strategy, then a program is a tactic in the implementation of that strategy; if strategy is the ‘why’, a program is the ‘what’.


  • Either a positive or negative characterisation of one’s own firm in the marketplace, depending on whether one is winning or losing.

Corporate Governance

  • A phrasal noun much discussed when companies fail; something to do with people who are meant to reign in out-of-control CEOs, except when those executives are doing well and not getting caught.

Business Ethics

  • An oxymoron describing all manner of good and bad things as good and bad, but not necessarily in that order.

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Excuses for having a day off work

Absenteeism is simply transparent, even honest, presenteeism. You shouldn’t be reprimanded for being straightforward. Here’s a ready-to-use Excuse Maker … to justify the unbelievable. Next time you sleep in, slack off, or are so hung-over that you can’t invent a reason on the spot, try one of these explanations:

  1. You took the boss’s instructions to think more, literally, and spent a whole day being pensive. Who knew executives could be metaphoric?
  2. You were benchmarking how well your department had systematised workflow to cope with an unexpected service delivery supply reduction.
  3. You didn’t. Denial can be an effective rebuttal. The person making you accountable may then become embarrassed and owe you lots of brownie points.
  4. You were at the other worksite. This time-honoured method relies on actually having another worksite. Don’t become confused and think you’re still at your old job. Remember, they offshored your role for falsifying leave records.

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