A short holiday break

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to you. It’s just another work day here but we will be taking the day to spend with the kids and enjoy our version of Christmas. Whatever your beliefs, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the best.
I’ll be back with new posts in a few days.

2UNFOLD multi-use laptop bag

A laptop bag that doesn’t look like a laptop bag. The 2unfold has the ability to fold down compact or to open to full size, revealing a number of different bags in one.

The 2UNFOLD multi-use laptop bag is carefully handmade in Italy by highly skilled artisans. Crafted from premium italian hand-picked, hand-tanned and hand-finished leather matched with an exquisite italian cotton canvas. This bag is something of a sartorial transformer, the 2UNFOLD offers eight different ways for you to sport it.

Read more

Preparing for a travel day from hell

Our yearly sojourn home is in excess of 30 hrs door to door. The long flight, inescapably bad customer service while flying in Canada, and tight security all take it’s toll. Karen Fawcett faced with a similarly lengthy trip recommends a visit to a spa to help you relax prior to the trip. It’s a fine idea. What works for me is to simply ensure I am healthy and well rested prior to departure. Most of the experience is beyond your control so I find it’s primarily a matter of acceptance and endurance.

As I sit overlooking Hong Kong’s landscape, there’s a nagging feeling radiating through my consciousness that tomorrow is not going to be calm. I know that in preparation for the journey I will need some serious therapeutic relaxation.
I am faced with 24 hours of sitting on three planes, waiting in airport lounges, clearing customs and hopefully arriving at my chosen destination as scheduled, in order to celebrate the holidays with my family. Rather than taking time to look at a last few Hindu and Buddhist temples, I’m praying to the airline and the weather gods.

Continue reading at tripso.com

Tips to Avoid the Airline Carrier Cold

Flying home for Christmas? Independent traveller has some commonsense tips to help you avoid catching a cold while trapped in the cabin of an airplane.

Airline carriers are also formidable carriers of the common cold; a recent study says you may be more than 100 times as likely to catch a cold on a plane as in your normal daily rounds, according to a study publishing in the Journal of Environmental Health Research.

Continue reading: Avoiding the Airplane Cold

Goof off at work, read a book, ignore e-mail

I find reading prior to starting work, 50 minute work periods, and a breath of fresh air to be great ways to keep me focused and on task.

We’ve all heard the conventional wisdom about good work habits. Many of us have attended time management classes, participated in workshops and have been advised to “work smarter, not harder.”
Work habits that might seem less productive will make you more effective, say experts.
Some ideas, however, appear at first glance to be unusual or even counterintuitive. But for some employees, these habits keep them productive and motivated. More importantly, these habits help them get the job done.
Here are some surprising work habits that might seem to contradict conventional wisdom, but have helped these workers achieve their goals.

Continue at CNN.com

Pablo Link Task Lamp

Very beautiful. Perfect for the corner of your desk.

Designed for easy disassembly of minimal component parts enables reclamation and recycling, Link is an efficient, sustainable, cradle-to-cradle design. As in many of Stathis’ designs, great attention was placed on efficiency, both in conceptualizing the design as well as in its material realization. By utilizing the minimum number of component parts (all purposed for more than one function), and reducing their overall mass to only that which is deemed essential, a behind-the-scenes goal of hyper-efficient manufacturing and best environmental stewardship is achieved.

Available at Design Republic.

Weekend bag

A bag with flair that looks just about perfect to stuff some clothes in and escape for the weekend (hence I guess the bags name). It has the required pockets on the inside and out plus is made from durable canvas with large zippers. Bigger is better with zippers at least.
Check it out at the wejetset store

Let Everyone Have Ideas

Most companies operate under the assumption that big ideas come from a few big brains: the inspired founder, the eccentric inventor, the visionary boss. But there’s a fine line between individual genius and know-it-all arrogance. What happens when rivals become so numerous, when technologies move so quickly, that no corporate honcho can think of everything? Then it’s time to invent a less top-down approach to innovation, to make it everybody’s business to come up with great ideas.
… creativity is no longer about which companies have the most visionary executives, but who has the most compelling “architecture of participation.”

Continue at The New York Times

The Truth About Brainstorming

We’ve all sat through meetings designed to spark exciting new ideas only to be disappointed by their boring, obvious mediocre output. So fruitless and frustrating is group brainstorming that many managers say the whole effort is pointless. Maybe it’s better to just let individuals come up with ideas on their own.
And maybe not.

Read The Truth About Brainstorming

Do something new every three years

Change and fixed time constraints work wonders for fostering creativity and new ideas and perspectives.

When I was at The Economist, there was a policy to rotate everyone every three years. The idea was that fresh eyes were more important than experience. “Foreign everywhere” was the mantra, and around your second year in Cairo, you could expect to get a call from the editor asking you to consider Mumbai or Sao Paolo–ideally two places you’d never been to and knew nothing about.

Continue at The Long Tail

Billy Work Bag

Certainly the name aptly describes the look of this bag. Great detailing. “Soft irregular hand-dyed leather outer with nylon twill interior lining. Metal zip closure. Adjustable shoulder straps. Measures approximately 42cm x 9cm x 28cm”.
Check it out at Blackbird

M/S Travel Duffle

Perfect for the rigors of travel, the M/S Travel by Mismo is made from heavy-duty plain-woven canvas with thick, full-grain leather trims. The canvas has an added water-repellent coating and is stain resistant. This duffle features a large interiour pocket and two exteriour pockets suitable for iPod, mobile, passport, etc.. This is my favourite type of duffle, both for the styling and the obvious durability.
Find it at Mismo

Reframing Recession: Lessons from the potato

The headlines have been intimidating us for months. Between the credit crunch and skyrocketing costs for food and fuel, a recession of some kind seems imminent. Of course, we have experienced much of it before, but as we busily develop plans to weather the downturn, we tend to forget that recessions have plenty to teach us about optimism. Go back 200 years and consider the humble potato. In the 1790s, conflict, political upheaval and even climate change had created a situation we would recognise today. Across Europe, repeated crop failures had devastated the grain market. Into the gap stepped the unloved, unconsidered and until then, unpopular, potato. Two centuries after being introduced to England, it became a staple of the British diet.
Mark Jones and Fran Samalionis probe challenges and pitfalls in the process and outline five steps that leverage positive results.

Reframing Recession: Lessons from the potato

Happiness and the Art of Innovation

In my experience, few solutions actually address what I believe to be a fundamental enabler of innovative behavior in organizations. Now, I’m no psychologist. Nor am I an expert in organizational behavior. But I’ve been playing the innovation game since 41 was President, and as I look back on what made for innovative behavior and what didn’t, there’s one thing I would point to: personal happiness.
The proof is in the pudding. We can all agree that Honda innovates on a routine basis, and it’s very likely due to a happy workforce. What Honda recognizes is that people who are led with an eye toward flow really don’t need to be “managed” at all, as you’re setting them up to live in a place where intrinsic motivation is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule.

Read at Businessweek