Offbeat: Quirky news from off the training track

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It's a funny old world! Read the quirky stories off the beaten track of the training world that have caught our eye this week....

Logical Stupidity: Is nonsense the key to innovation?

Key to successAn unconventional concept 'Logical Stupidity' has been developed by Peter Greenwall, who has drawn on 20 years experience in the corporate and entertainment arenas to help business brains, bogged down by office grievances and gossip, to harness the power of frustration and turn criticism into hard cash.

Taking the tried and tested showbiz formula of turning problems and neuroses into songs and humour - from 'Seinfeld' to 'Dilbert' and 'The Simpsons' to 'Little Miss Sunshine' - Logical Stupidity deals with the psychology, theory and practice of innovation.

Peter Greenwall explains: "There is no shortage of places to find stupidity – it's the world's most abundant natural resource - and this book explores them all! Rather than repeating the predictable business mantra of playing to your strengths, I explain how to rehash and redesign your dysfunctions into positive projects. Once you see yourself as the star of your own reality sitcom, you'll discover the source of all ideas - the COC-UP: Center Of Confusion inside a Universal Problem."

Peter adds: "Logical Stupidity is based on the universal law that opposite forces are part of the same process - just as you can't have an action without an equal and opposite reaction, there can be no comedy without tragedy, no success without failure, no hits without flops – and without stupidity there would be no reason to find a better way, which is the essence of innovation."

The unconventional programme is supported by the Logical Stupidity website where participants in the programme are invited to upload and share their projects. Each clip will be auditioned to feature in a clickumentary and a musical about innovation.

'Logical Stupidity – innovation by navigating through nonsense' can be ordered from www.lulu.com or downloaded as a free condensed e-book from www.logicalstupidity.com

Click here to hear songs from the logical stupidity website:
www.logicalstupidity.com/videoshare/music.php

Moonlighting magician sacked from insurance giant

Pack of palying cardsInsurance firm Legal and General has sacked 'Mr Hocus Pocus', a moonlighting children's magician, for working whilst on sick leave for stress.

Reported by The Daily Mail, Peter Hopkins, 38, who earned £30,000 a year at the firm, had been away from his job for six months with stress when he performed as a 'friendly wizard' Mr Hocus Pocus.

An employment tribunal heard that an HR officer from the firm, who was in the audience at a christening party, spotted Mr Hopkins in his shiny green wizard's robe and pointed hat.

Hopkins, who was sacked, told the hearing: "My doctor encouraged me to perform my magic shows. It was felt it would help me back to health by overcoming the stress-related illness."

The tribunal in Cardiff ruled in favour of Legal and General and said that the company had acted fairly.

According to the paper, Ian Steele, for Legal and General said: "The website for your magic shows was operational throughout your sickness period and your advert was in the Yellow Pages."

The tribunal further heard that Hopkins had previously been warned by the company after being caught performing a show while he was supposedly off work with flu.

Throw out that cactus now!

Meditating businessmanAdopting office Feng Shui can boost productivity and profitability, according to commercial property broker Officebroker.

"A better office environment means more motivated employees," says Officebroker's MD, Jim Venables. "Evidence also suggests that pleasant working conditions enhance staff loyalty and improve productivity."

Most people believe the environment in which they work has an impact on their performance. Indeed, a recent survey by one of Britain's leading high street banks revealed that messy offices can stop workers from doing their jobs properly and can even result in one in five workers wanting to quit.

While factors such as natural light, air conditioning and a culture of keeping the office tidy and businesslike, all affect the overall ambience of an office, in some countries businesses consider the working environment to be so important that Feng Shui is widely used to boost luck, wealth, health and harmony.

"Feng Shui is widely used by Chinese, Japanese and Indian firms and increasingly, European businesses are starting to employ the 'Art of Placement' in a bid to improve staff performance," says Jim.

"In today's competitive business environment, companies are considering anything which might enhance their overall performance. As a result, we are seeing more of our European and UK clients employing Feng Shui consultants in a bid to give themselves a competitive edge."

"Whether you consider Feng Shui to be a bit far fetched or a valuable business tool, it is worth remembering that this ancient art has been widely used by businesses across the world for thousands of years," says Jim.

Angela Ang, the founding consultant of UK-based Rising Dragon Feng Shui offers businesses the following advice:
  • Bosses should sit in the corner farthest away from the door to adopt the 'command' position
  • Letting natural sunlight into an office creates positive 'yang chi' which helps to promote better staff productivity and morale
  • Avoid cacti or sharp looking plants in the office as their small, sharp leaves cause 'shar chi'. As air passes through the plants it will become fierce and sharp, affecting office harmony
  • Desks should be organized and uncluttered so employees can focus their brain power on work rather than have it dispersed on little things that don't matter
  • Mirrors should never be hung in an office as they can reflect negative energy around
  • To allow for the free flow of chi, ensure that all wires are hidden. Multi tangled wires can generate 'snake shar' and create accidents

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