New product innovation is vital for lots of organisations. Sometimes though the idea for a new product can come from unusual places.
VELCRO is a type of hook and loop fastener which we’ve all seen. It has that characteristic “rasping” sound when you pull it apart and will stick back together with the minimum of fuss. It’s commonly used in clothing and shoes to replace buttons, zips and laces.
So, who came up with the idea?
George de Mestral was a Swiss engineer and in 1941 he got the inspiration for VELCRO whilst out with his dog in the Alps.
He noticed that as his dog ran past Burdock plants, the burrs of the plant (a tiny seed covered in hundreds of microscopic ‘hooks’) would catch onto his dog’s fur.
That was his “eureka moment” and he spent the next 10 years investigating how he could get “hooks” like those found on the plant to engage with the “loops” found on materials.
The key thing was to be able to secure it together but then pull it apart (and then keep on repeating this without it breaking!)
Luckily, he had friends in the weaving industry who helped him work on prototypes and the end result was that in 1955 he filed his first patent for the hook and loop fasteners.
He also needed a distinctive name to go with his invention and he came up with VELCRO.
VELCRO is in fact a combination of the French words “velour” (velvet) and “crochet” (hook). VELCRO therefore in effect means “hooked velvet”.
Since it’s launch it has gone on to become one of the most used items in clothing and all of this came about as a result of a man walking with his dog in 1941.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Velcro_Blue.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-05-13 07:08:382022-05-13 14:00:20I’ll stick to that…
112 years ago Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann invented the chocolate bar Toblerone. The name is a play on the names “Tobler” and “Torrone”, the Italian word for honey and almond nougat.
It is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and anyone that has travelled through a major airport will almost certainly have seen the famous chocolate bar produced by Kraft Foods for sale in one of the duty free outlets.
One of the most important aspects of a successful brand is the logo.
The Toblerone logo is well known but do you see an animal hidden inside it?
Toblerone originated in Bern, Switzerland – a city whose name is rumored to mean, “City of bears”. Look at the logo again closely and you will find a bear facing to the right and stood on its hind legs.
Although I’m biased I love the ExP logo. According to the designers it is fresh, sharp, simple and easy to remember. Also, the “ExP Man” in the middle emphasises the people aspect of the business.
It’s great but there is another logo which I think is extremely clever.
If you look at the Yoga Australia Logo what do you see?
At first glance the logo may look like a simple picture of a woman doing her yoga exercise but if you look at it carefully the body posture is creating the Australia Map.
A great design and thankfully I didn’t pose for it as the map would have looked like a crumpled mess.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/toblerone.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-26 05:54:062022-04-26 15:05:04Does your corporate logo cover a continent?
One of the five fundamental ethical principles is Integrity.
Being straightforward and honest is a vital characteristic of being a professional accountant.
Most people who are studying for their professional exams have one thing on their mind. Namely, to pass their exams but four students who were studying for their ACCA exams had other things on their minds and at the same time, were not the brightest individuals out there.
What they planned to do was to register for some Computer Based Exams (CBEs) and then whilst sitting the exams they would use their mobile phones to take photos of the computer screen showing the questions. They would then sell these photos with the questions on them via the internet.
The four individuals involved, Chen Yiyun, Hiujiao Ru, Zehui Gong and Ziying Wang decided to sell the questions on Taobao Marketplace, a Chinese shopping website.
They no doubt thought that this was an extremely clever way of making some money. What could possibly go wrong by taking photos of the questions and then selling them online?
One of the other fundamental ethical principles is that of Professional Competence.
Now, if these individuals had even a minuscule amount of Professional Competence, they would have reviewed the photos before selling them.
Alas for them they didn’t review them.
If they had reviewed them, they would have seen at the top of the computer screen in the photos their ACCA student registration number and the exam centre.
ACCA were made aware of the questions being for sale and made a test purchase on the Taobao Marketplace. Given the student registration numbers were on the screen, they didn’t need a team of top detectives to identify the individuals involved.
Unsurprisingly, the four individuals are now ex-students of ACCA having been found guilty of misconduct and they were ordered to pay costs ranging from £3,500 to £7,000.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ACCA-exam-cheating.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-18 07:38:372022-04-26 15:05:44Exams for sale….
There are over 300 million twitter accounts and more than 500 million tweets are sent per day. That’s an impressive figure that works out at over 5,000 tweets per second.
It can be a useful tool for companies. They can use it to engage with their customers and potential customers by way of branding and promotional activities. They can also use it as a form of a helpdesk or customer support. The Dutch airline KLM for example uses Twitter and Facebook to enable customers to contact them and get a reply within an hour.
Most companies will use Twitter to promote items or get their message out but Twitter user @edgette22 has identified a secret the fast food giant KFC has been keeping within their Twitter account.
KFC is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s, with nearly 20,000 locations globally in over 100 countries.
They also have over a million Twitter followers.
But they only follow 11 people.
And the 11 people they follow are a strange mix.
Geri Halliwell, Mel B, Emma Bunton, Mel C and Victoria Beckham (in other words the 5 ladies who made up the Spice Girls).
They also follow Herb Scribner, Herb J. Wesson Jr, Herb Waters, Herb Dean, Herb Sendek and Herb Alpert.
Or to put it another way, KFC follow five Spice Girls and 6 Herbs.
Five spices and six herbs?
That sounds familiar as the secret recipe for KFC chicken is 11 herbs and spices.
Either the social media department of KFC were having a quiet day and decided to play a few games or it was a deliberate move to get people talking about KFC when their followers were noticed.
Either way, congratulations are due to whoever was behind the idea.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/KFC_twitter.png10321834Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-03-27 09:36:082022-04-01 15:56:28Some spicy people to follow…
That’s the question some Manchester City supporters may be asking themselves soon.
We’re not talking about their performance on the football pitch but rather their move into Facebook’s metaverse.
The metaverse is an imagined digital world that people can explore as avatars. Facebook are leading this new technology, and they’re aiming for “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you”.
On the football side of things Manchester City are currently top of the Premium League but they are also taking the lead in developing activities in the metaverse with the club recently announcing plans to build a football stadium inside the metaverse.
With the help of virtual reality experts at Sony, Manchester City are hoping to create a world where fans can come together and support their team in ways never before possible.
The plan is that supporters will be able to experience the Eithad Stadium without visiting it in person. They will be able to view a game in real time via their virtual avatar and be able to interact with the people around them.
This could be a game-changer for sports fans around the world who previously would never have been able to visit the real stadium in Manchester but there are also benefits for the club.
“The whole point we could imagine of having a metaverse is you can recreate a game, you could watch the game live, you’re part of the action in a different way through different angles and you can fill the stadium as much as you want because it’s unlimited, it’s completely virtual,” Nuria Tarre, City Football Group’s chief marketing and fan engagement officer was reported as saying to the i-newspaper.
Whilst purist football supporters may not be in favour of virtual stadiums there are benefits to supporters who may not be able to get to the real stadium as well as potentially significant financial benefits for clubs.
Anyone fancy a virtual kick around?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/football-metaverse-1.png14462556Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-02-27 16:20:262022-02-27 16:33:31Is this real or not?
Working from home has become a fact of life for a lot of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Synonymous with working from home are the video conferencing facilities such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
The growth in use of these technologies has been phenomenal. Back in December 2019 for example there were on average 10 million daily meeting participants on zoom. Fast forward to today and the daily averages are around 300 million.
The technologies have been incredibly useful for keeping teams together and maintaining working practices but with back-to-back zoom meetings sometimes going on for hours some people are suffering from “zoom fatigue”.
There’s also the issue of what happens if you are desperate for a cup of coffee or a call of nature during a particularly long and boring meeting?
It’s pretty obvious on the screen if you try and sneak out for a couple of minutes and taking your laptop with you to the kitchen or toilet is best avoided.
Enter freezingcam.com which as the name suggests enables you to simply click a button on screen and your webcam will freeze and give the impression that you are having internet connection issues.
After quickly popping out of the room to do whatever you wanted to do, you can get back to your desk, click the unfreeze button and lo and behold you are back at the meeting and everyone thinks you were having internet issues rather than looking for those chocolate digestive biscuits in the kitchen…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/zoom_call.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-02-16 06:41:492022-02-16 15:32:29Enjoy the freeze…
The Carlsberg Group is one of the oldest brewing groups in the world. They were established way back in 1847 and their portfolio of products include Tuborg, Baltika and of course, Carlsberg.
They sell a lot of beer and their products are sold in more than 150 markets.
The “6 pack” is synonymous with beer and no, I’m not talking about the 6 pack on the beer drinkers abs. Rather, I’m talking about the 6 pack of beer that people can buy from shops.
One unfortunate problem with the 6 pack is that the cans are held together with a plastic wrapping. With so many 6 packs being sold around the world that means a lot of plastic is used.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental damage that plastic is doing and Carlsberg have come up with a pretty innovative solution to reducing plastic on their 6 packs.
They have introduced what they call a “snap pack”.
In the snap pack the cans of beer are held together by glue rather than plastic wrapping. The cans of beer can be “snapped off”.
This saves a significant amount of plastic – according to Carlsberg this equates to reducing plastic waste by more than 1,200 tonnes a year. That’s a huge amount and is the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags.
Bo Oksnebjerg, Secretary General in WWF Denmark, was quoted as saying “Our wildlife is drowning in plastic – and the problem is unfortunately growing considerably. We therefore need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging. With these new solutions, Carlsberg has taken the first big steps on the journey towards a more clean and green future.”
Nice work Carlsberg and I’ll drink to that. Or should I say, I’ll snap one off and drink to that…
Are you happy when you spend money? I guess the answer depends on what you’re spending the money on but over in China, KFC have technology which enables a person to pay for their KFC meal with a smile.
Yes, a smile.
Nothing else is needed – no bank card, no phone app. Just a smile.
That’s a pretty advanced system and involves facial recognition technology.
Customers who want to get their dose of fast food at the KFC branch in Hangzhou can leave their cash and cards behind and instead smile at a scanner, press confirm and then hey presto you’ve paid for your meal without moving your hands and you will soon be tucking into your Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Payment is taken from a cash account which has been linked to the person’s face.
China has some of the most advanced facial scanning technology in the world. Collecting images of the public doesn’t need any consent in China and the technology is likely to spread.
For example, it’s been reported that students in several universities in China are now registering by scanning their faces and lecturers will soon be able to track the facial expressions of students to see how well they are following the lectures.
It may be advisable for these students to master the act of hiding those yawns during a boring lecture and instead start to practice for the KFC they’re planning to get after the lecture…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/pay-by-a-smile.jpg14122510Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-09-01 05:42:532021-09-01 08:15:26Is this worth smiling for?
If a company outsources jobs, in some situations it can be seen as good business practice but if an individual outsources his own job then what is that seen as?
Outsourcing is where a company gets another organisation to undertake a job or business function that would have previously been completed in-house. This is often done for cost saving reasons and an illustration of outsourcing would for example be getting another organisation to maintain your payroll.
A while ago there was the first example I’d heard of an individual outsourcing his own job.
Verison is one of the leading telecoms companies in the US and their security team provided details of a case study where an employee by the name of “Bob” who was a top developer had actually outsourced his own job to China without his employers knowing about it.
In other words, he had received his salary from his employers but had personally paid for somebody else to do his job at a cheaper rate without his employer knowing about it!
He was paid in excess of USD 100,000 for his job and yet he was paying a Chinese consulting firm less than 20% of that to do the job for him.
According to Verison a typical day for Bob was:
9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos (!!) 11:30 a.m. – Take lunch 1:00 p.m. – Ebay time. 2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn 4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management. 5:00 p.m. – Go home
Despite not actually doing any of the work himself his performance reviews were excellent and he had been regarded as the best developer in the building.
So, in summary – he was paid a pretty good salary and all he did was play around on the internet.
All his real work was outsourced by him to a Chinese company. He paid them whilst his employer paid him 5 times the amount that he had paid the Chinese company.
Bob lost his job but it does raise an interesting debate as when a company outsources it’s seen as a clever move but when an individual outsources their own job they end up losing that job.
Anyway, whilst you’re thinking of that particular point I’d like to mention that the next blog article will be written by a Chinese company but please don’t tell my employer.
Meanwhile I’m off to watch some cat videos…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/cat-video.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-08-13 15:51:252021-08-16 10:58:22Would you do this with your job?
If you look at the finance side of running a bar then things should (in theory) be quite simple. Revenue is what your customers pay for the drinks they buy and the main expenses are the amount you pay to the brewery for the beer, staff wages and property costs.
Over in Belgium though some bars have faced a unique problem which is causing unwanted expenses but it looks though that they have come up with some ingenious solutions.
Belgium is famous for its beers. Monks from local Abbeys started brewing different types of beer in the 12th century and nowadays some of the bars in tourist areas in Brussels and Bruges stock several hundred different types of beers.
Each of these beers has their own particular glass which it is served in. These glasses come in all shapes and sizes and are nice looking objects.
Unfortunately for the bar owners they are also very collectable in the eyes of certain tourists. As a result, lots of these glasses go missing as tourists take them for a souvenir.
This can involve a significant number of glasses. Tens of thousands of glasses a year are stolen in Belgium and replacing these glasses represents a significant cost.
Some of the bars are coming up with innovative ideas to stop the thefts.
The Bruges Beerwall café had 4,000 glasses taken in one year and has now introduced security alarms which are attached to each glass. If a glass is taken past the scanner at the door an alarm sounds.
A slightly less hi-tech solution to the problem (but arguably as effective) can be found at the Dulle Griet bar in the Belgium town of Ghent.
The bar stocks over 500 different types of beers and has some very attractive glasses in which these are served. If you want to have a drink though you have to hand over some security to make sure you don’t steal the glass.
The security is a shoe.
And not just any shoe but one of the shoes you are wearing. You hand it over and it is put in a basket which is then pulled up to the ceiling so that you can have a drink knowing that your “security shoe” is safe in the basket.
A great idea by the bar to keep the thefts of their glasses to a minimum and it has proved so successful that it has now become a bit of a tourist attraction with people popping in to look at the basket and have a drink.
One thought does spring to mind though and with 500 tasty beers on the menu I wonder how many customers have had one too many drinks and woke up in the morning with different shoes on each foot….
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/belgium-beer-profits.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-07-16 02:04:332021-07-16 06:06:44Don’t put your foot in it…
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