An adventure & story for our Times!

Extract from The Gamekeepers: the Highland Games published Dec. 2019

Chapter 1: The Estate

I stared with disbelief as we left behind civilisation and everything including the last road built in the 21st century before a ten mile drive along a bumpy potholed track that led to the old rot iron gates of the Highland Estate. We are sixty miles north of Inverness with no sight of another vehicle or human being, my mobile reception has gone and my solar powered battery died on me within three hours of leaving Glasgow. Why did no one bother to tell me that this is the only place in the civilized world in the year 2030 that only uses a landline or a radio? How am I going to survive cut off from the outside world for eight weeks in the remote Scottish Highlands? I have nothing but my grandparents, a load of sheep, highland cows, and deer to keep me company.

   At least one of us will have a memorable summer I thought to myself as I looked across at my lovable golden retriever Polly, as she sat with her nose peeking through the half opened window of the Land Rover enjoying the fresh Scottish breeze on her face. I thought this was just another one of Mum’s empty threats like no more football training or athletics for a few weeks for skipping school and refusing to do my homework. Mum was brutal for saying one thing and doing another, ‘Rhona I’ll send you to stay with your gran for the summer she’ll sort you out!’ she shouted screaming across the apartment.

   How wrong was I? Not this time, now I’m stuck with two old coffin dodgers nearly in their seventies who spend all their time in the remote Highlands detached from civilization and other human beings. Gran spends more time talking to animals than people and Grandad spends his hours like a mad boffin tinkering with his inventions or testing his latest environmental breakthrough in engineering. Maybe that’s a bit severe? My grandparents did not say a thing when they arrived to collect me from our apartment, as my mum and dad ranted on about ‘the younger generation’.

    ‘They are the now generation, I think the term for it is techno-addicts. They are totally disconnected from reality, they live virtual lives; observe everything and experience nothing!’ retorted Dad.

   ‘Honestly they are like cloned hermits that only come out of their bedrooms to refuel. I can’t get a word out of her unless it’s via a mobile phone or a text message,’ Mum said scathingly.

   It was funny watching Gran as she sat on her hands trying to restrain herself, Grandad must have warned her not to say anything. For once in her life she kept her head down and bit her lip as my mum and dad ranted on. The strange thing was I kept waiting for her to stand up and point her finger at them saying, ‘I told you so!’

   My grandparents knew exactly who the dysfunctional ones in the family were. Gran insisted that towards the end of my eight week stay Mum and Dad swap their two weeks in the Mediterranean for two weeks in Inverness. Gran was the master negotiator and diplomat she just played along with them as she knew disagreeing with them would get her nowhere. ‘Maybe you need some quiet time together just as a family, away from all the distractions of work and other people,’ said Gran.

   My parents do nothing but work I am sent off to another after school club or left with the babysitter, and for what another pay rise or promotion? Even on holiday they send me to the Kids Club while mum spends all her time on her mobile phone on the latest social media platform or her I-pad answering e-mail. Dad’s not much better you can’t get him away from his mobile phone someone’s always calling him ‘It’s an emergency, I have to take this!’

   I know it is a bit old fashioned, but is that not what that 1980’s invention called the answering machine is for? It takes half the holiday for them to wind down from the stresses and pre-occupations of work before they have a single meaningful conversation with me, some family holiday!

   We slowly approached the gates and its sandstone wall that stretched as far as the eye could see. I immediately noticed some of Grandad’s conservation handy work, with a water recycling system I overheard him talking about with Dad. We passed a series of man-made ditches filled with bamboo which were connected to small via ducts that ran down the hill from both the estates perimeter and sewerage system. The entrance was the same as I remembered it; lined with an array of pink, purple, and white heathers interspersed with solar powered lights. You immediately understood from its appearance that you were entering somewhere important, a place that was cared for with a sincere sense of pride and attention with its majestic rot iron gates of Celtic scrolls pristinely painted in gold and black.

   We reached the gates and Gran immediately lined up the land rover next to the large rainwater tank labelled water & tea-tree, and submerged the vehicle into a decontamination ditch before climbing up and onto a cattle grate. As the land rover came to a halt Grandad got out of the passenger’s seat and stepped down and out of the vehicle to unlock the series of padlock’s that secured the Estate. It was now eight o’clock and the fog made it impossible to see anything five feet in front of us as Grandad quietly opened the large majestic gates.

   As the four by four entered the gates over the cattle grate Grandad dislodged a spray gun from the static power washer positioned inside the gates. He began carefully washing and decontaminating the underside of the car, its wheels, wheel flaps and finally his Wellington boots. He then released the lever attached to the cattle grate opening the valves that released the possible contaminated water into the viaducts outside the gates and down the steep hill to the bamboo ditches. Gran drove the land rover into the Estate as Grandad locked the gate securely behind us and jumped back into the vehicle. ‘What was that for Grandad?’ I asked.

   ‘You can never be too careful we have lots of endangered animals and wildlife on the estate it’s our responsibility to ensure we look after them. Some of our breeds of cattle, deer and sheep are the last of their kind and we can’t afford another culling from the last outbreak of foot and mouth or another exotic disease. We have tried our best over the years to learn from our mistakes and invest in good practices and innovative solutions to make the area a haven for our birds of prey, wild life and livestock. The estates tall stone wall is now intact and is encased by a heavily wooded boundary this is the only entrance and exit and means to access the grounds by road. The only other access into the area would be swimming up the River Ullapool and under the narrow bridge at the Achall falls.’

   ‘I’d love to see anyone attempt that challenge, you’d need to be an Olympian athlete to make that feat!’ said Gran jokingly.

   ‘At the fall we’ve created a natural filtration system that prevents our biggest threat plastics entering the grounds and damaging the ecosystem,’ said Grandad.

   When I spoke to my friends about my grandparents most of them were bemused when I told them my Gran was the ‘Gamekeeper’ not my grandad. Grandad was an inventor that could turn his hand to anything and knew everything about water technology, mechanics and engineering. His garage was like an inventor’s dream full of welding gear, engineering tools, mixed with shelves full of electronic components and the latest gadgets in solar and wind technology imported from every corner of the globe.

   As we made our way down the curved and bumpy track we could see the bright porch light of my grandparent’s cottage with its row of old sash windows, large curved wooden front door and the outline of Gran’s beautiful sunflowers casting its shadow on the old sandstone brick. The four by four approached the large meandering stream that flowed down the hillside and into the loch. As we crossed at the shallowest point the vehicle shoogled from side to side while we felt every rock and stone on the streams bed. As I looked back over my shoulder and across the stream, the moon appeared behind the fog and for a few seconds it lit up a small outcrop with six grey standing stones. The silhouette of stones created a dark contrast on the horizon like six dominant pillars wedged between the back drop of the two mountain ranges to the right and left of the loch as the moon cast a white reflection on the still Loch Achall.

   ‘What’s that Gran I can’t remember seeing that before?’ I said pointing to the far side of the stream below the ruins of the old burnt out Estate House.

   ‘That’s the sacred standing stones they are the reason this area and its wild life are safe for the foreseeable future. As a heritage sight, the law now protects the land so it cannot be exploited as a country theme park for Europe’s aristocracy or bought up to build another monstrous wind farm or salmon farm. It has become a real blessing in the conservation of the endangered animals, wild salmon, and birds of prey that inhabit the estate,’ said Gran.

   As we gradually made our way towards the old cottage suppressed emotions welled up in my chest triggering memories of us all spending time together as a family. As I looked at the roof of the cottage, I suddenly recalled that very last visit and how Dad helped Grandad install new solar roof tiles and a home generator for storing energy. I recalled my grandparents conversation with my parents of how they had seen a big difference these past few winters as they were now totally self-sufficient and no longer at the mercy of nature and the ever changing weather patterns. Hazy thoughts and memories gradually turned from grey to full colour; being five years old watching on as Gran sat at the kitchen table with her old Singer sewing machine with her rows upon rows of colourful jars full of old reclaimed buttons, ribbons, zips, wools and fastenings. Gran was thee recycler she never threw anything away from furniture to clothes. She understood the original environmental cost it took to create items and the importance of extending their usefulness. She could create things from nothing; turning old trousers into shorts and old scraps of fabrics into cushions, throws and dust rags. She could breathe new life into things the rest of us discarded and became bored with, that only added to the never-ending landfill sites that were destroying our ecosystem.

   I had forgotten how much I had learnt before starting school and moving to Glasgow to live, just being with my gran & grandad. I remembered fondly my summers spent helping Gran in the garden tending, watering, and picking the bright red tomatoes, peppers, and crops of black currants and strawberries for freezing, pickling, or making jam. I could recall feeling like a little sponge soaking up everything around me as I constantly quizzed my Gran about the names of all the different herbs, plants, and crops on the grounds.

   Gran was a wealth of knowledge on all the endangered species, their habitats, their place in the ecosystem. She even taught me how to distinguish between each species the Kestrel, Osprey, Golden Eagle, Falcon and Buzzard with the different sounds that each of the birds made from their chirps, croons, trills, hoots to warbles. I had great memories of long walks with my Gran and our favourite game of trying to distinguish one bird sound from another. Gran had taught me how to care for my environment with simple habits like how we recycled our waste & water and how small ripples; created big waves and big changes.

   While Gran inspired my interest in nature Grandad taught me to think for myself, by sharing his knowledge of innovation and engineering. I loved listening to him talk about his latest inventions explaining how he had created his remote livestock food dispenser, water filtration systems or fire-fighting Fogging System®. His barn was always filled with new technology from his life saving kidney belt that he always carried with him in emergencies out on the estate, that was invented by two of his old and dearest friends over 20 years ago for our ever changing Scottish climate. My granddad was a wealth of knowledge and expertise that was motivated by his love for protecting and caring for the surrounding creatures and wildlife.

   As we approached the cottage a smile emerged on my face as I saw the tops of the old chimney pots and fondly remembered the reason why I loved this place so much. How could I have forgotten those memories of us all coorying up together at night as we sat around a warm open fire, toasting outsiders or if we were really lucky marshmallows as Grandad entertained us with his famous Scottish myths! Oh! How Grandad would sit into the wee small hours telling Scottish stories about the Brownie elf folk; house elves, the Banshee or Bean nighe; a female spirit that forewarns of a death, the Kelpie; the shape shifting water horse and the Selkie; the seal that transforms into a human. His stories taught me how nature could sense things, communicate warnings and offer spiritual guidance and wisdom to humans. He loved talking about a time when humans weren’t hypnotized by an ever expanding and dominating technological age.

   I sat back with my back against the seat of the car and began asking myself why had I forgotten all those fond memories? Why had I suppressed what naturally and intuitively brought me such joy and happiness? A lot can happen in seven years being in a noisy city 24/7 crammed with people, cars and multi-storey buildings isolated from the beauty of nature, the fresh air and wide open spaces. It’s amazing how we adapt to our surroundings and accept them as the norm, never questioning what it would be like to live in a different environment. Mum and Dad always went on about how great the city was; the buzz, the activity, the choice of nightlife, theatres, museums, pubs, restaurants and culture. Maybe they were truly happy? Maybe being busy never stopping to think always chasing and experiencing the next fad was fulfilling their dream? 

   The four by four finally came to a halt and Grandad jumped out with a cheeky grin shouting, ‘Welcome home Lass!’

   Gran immediately walked towards the outside garden tap and drain and quickly brushed and washed the underside of her boots. As Polly & I stepped out of the vehicle I immediately grabbed Polly’s leash, my mobile phone and iPad, football boots and ball. ‘I don’t think you’ll have much use for them over the coming weeks,’ Gran said apologetically as she looked at my gadgets and reached into the vehicle to unload my backpack and holdall, directing me to the outdoor tap.

   ‘You never know I might take up football, maybe you can teach me a few tricks Rhona?’ asked Grandad as he helped me with my football and boots, trying to console the obvious disappointment on my face as I stood cleaning my boots.

So what! I thought to myself, just another frustrating reality as to what the coming weeks had in store for me.

After a light bite to eat and familiarising myself with the old cottage I finally excused myself for the evening as I set upstairs to unpack my backpack and holdall. ‘Good night Gran & Grandad see you in the morning,’ I said making my way towards the hallway.

   ‘What! Are you too old to give your old grandad a good night cuddle?’ he said as he jumped to his feet, and grabbed me in a bear hug and kissed me on the cheek. Gran laughed and looked up affectionately as she sat at the fireplace smothered in a sea of old battered second hand books that she had bought on her ritual visit to the Glasgow Barra’s before returning home. 

   ‘Good night Rhona, thanks honey for the help with the dishes see you in the morning,’ said Gran.

   Feeling appreciated and acknowledged, I smiled to myself and slowly climbed up the squeaky wooden staircase to Mum’s old bedroom with Polly following loyally at my heels. I was not going to admit it, but I was looking forward to my bed. I forgot how good Gran’s brushed cotton sheets, felt blankets, plump feather down pillows and duvet were. I was just praying that Gran did not tell Mum that I went to my bed before ten o’clock otherwise I would never hear the end of it.

   Bedtime was a bit of a sore point in our house, it always started and ended with an argument about my homework, the state of my bedroom or what chores I had not done. Luckily I always knew that Dad would come to my defence and bring Mum round, he was the peacekeeper in our house. Unfortunately that did not work here, Gran was no push over and though Grandad was a big pussycat he demanded your respect; but then again he earned it. I could not really argue with my grandparent’s they did not talk about principles they lived by them. You always knew where you stood with them everything was consistent, disciplined and logical they never changed their mind on a decision, they followed through every threat! Everything was black or white there were no grey areas. They lived by old-fashioned principle of stark truth nothing was sugar coated.

   I unpacked Polly’s dog bed before I slowly put away all my clothes and emptied the contents of my toiletries in the top drawer of the tall boy. I placed my gadgets on the window sill realising that recharging them would be futile, as it was not going to be that kind of holiday. As I climbed into bed and fell over to sleep, I was shortly woken by the high whistle of an eagles call echoing outside. Startled by the noise Polly began whimpering and scratching at the bedroom door, desperate to get out. As I tried to hush Polly I slowly tip-toed to the bedroom window and quietly tried to push up and open the old stiff sash window. Instantly Polly bolted to my side perching her paws on the windowsill, whimpering at the strange noise in the distance. 

   As I peered across the fields the noise seemed to reverberate from the standing stones with a mysterious purple haze gliding across the grass like a deep thick fog winding a trail that led to the cottage and then dispersed in the breeze. A few minutes passed and the noise faded as quickly as it had begun and the grounds once more fell into silence as the soft harr hovered across the loch like a soft white blanket. As Polly finally calmed down, she sighed to herself and returned to nestle down on her bed on the wooden floor at the foot of my bed. I quietly closed the bedroom window and climbed back into bed staring at the beamed ceiling reflecting on today’s events, curious to learn more about these mysterious standing stones.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction! Inspired by my father and his environmental inventions, & highlights the importance of how each persons’ choices in life can have an unfathomable impact on the World. As a successful entrepreneur and inventor of products in water technology for over 50 years his products and inventions have won accolades i.e. One of the first companies to successfully tackle the clean-up operation of the Esso Bernicia oil spill of 1978 at Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands of Scotland. As a supplier to the farming community his engineering products were invaluable in the containment of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001 and essential in various decontamination and clean-up operations in various industries & sectors contributing to the sustainability of our wildlife and natural environment. The firefighting Fire Fogging system invention depicted in this book was on standby to assist in the 2019 land speed record in South Africa and is supplied to over 70% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Service and 75% of UK National Parks with their system operating worldwide in Australia, China, Falkland Islands, Ireland, Lebanon, Oman and Russia. And can be found on standby on the set of James Bond movies at Pinewood studios or on the Queens prestigious Windsor Castle Estate. His knowledge and expertise in the use of water technology in various natural emergencies is unmeasurable and demonstrates how each of us can make a big difference in the world by our persistence to be the best at what we do!

The Gamekeepers- Truth is often Stranger than Fiction!

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction! The book 'The Gamekeeper' was inspired by my father and his environmental inventions, & highlights the importance of how each persons’ choices in life can have an unfathomable impact on the World. As a successful entrepreneur and inventor of products in water technology for over 50 years his products and inventions have won accolades i.e. One of the first companies to successfully tackle the clean-up operation of the Esso Bernicia oil spill of 1978 at Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands of Scotland. As a supplier to the farming community his engineering products were invaluable in the containment of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001 and essential in various decontamination and clean-up operations in various industries & sectors contributing to the sustainability of our wildlife and natural environment. The firefighting Fire Fogging system invention depicted in this book was on standby to assist in the 2019 land speed record in South Africa and is supplied to over 70% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Service and 75% of UK National Parks with their system operating worldwide in Australia, China, Falkland Islands, Ireland, Lebanon, Oman and Russia. And can be found on standby on the set of James Bond movies at Pinewood studios or on the Queens prestigious Windsor Castle Estate. His knowledge and expertise in the use of water technology in various natural emergencies is unmeasurable and demonstrates how each of us can make a big difference in the world by our persistence to be the best at what we do!

Be inspired & empowered and meet the Gamekeepers or as we like to say in Scottish Gaelic 'A Geamairean' ! You won't be disappointed! Young Adult fantasy fiction based around Scottish mythology and a good measure of 21st century innovation. Be dazzled with spectacular endangered creatures and wildlife and join a young girl on her journey and challenge of self discovery along with her best friend Polly (her dog) and five majestic creatures. Join her as she battles against a great Kelpie, wolves and mermaids in her challenge to save the wildlife of Scotland from extinction! A magical adventure about friendship, personal development and lives challenges. Stunningly depicted through the eyes of an artist and lover of wildlife and Scottish mythology! Learn more- you won't be disappointed refreshingly original and apt to the current challenges we are facing in 2020!

https://youtu.be/dxQXCNn00c0

Designovation Philosophy Products!

https://youtu.be/7r9jVViJEXM

Above are just a few of the textile products sampled & produced ny Designovation.

'We first tested our Designovation®formula & philosophy with the development of our product the 'Totykids' travel system and my husbands innovation the 'Shoogle' children’s exer-gaming & fitness Product.' Denise

Within a 3 month period​ we completed the Shoogle's research, proof of principle, prototyping and I.P filing (trademark, design & patent rights). As our first product developed using our Designovation Philosophy it was nominated & exhibited for 4 months in the prestigious Glasgow Science Center, it has a granted patent, academic testing from the University of West of Scotland PLUS trademark (winning a trademark infringement challenge from one of the world’s biggest brands.)

https://youtu.be/yWYY4F3-a7w

How Important are Creative Thinkers to our Economy?

Over the years I have avidly studied & researched entrepreneurs from attending their seminars, reading their books to talking to them face to face. Through my contradicting career in both business and design my research has concluded that the disappointing mortality rate for business start-ups in the UK beyond year one is based on the absence of one essential SECRET ingredient PLUS;

  • Understanding of how to Design & Engineer a sustainable business fit for the 21st Century. 
  • Knowledge of whether you have the characteristics of the Entrepreneur.

The ONE essential ingredient rarely discussed in business is the same essential ingredient which is responsible for creating solutions, progress, innovation & economic growth and is central to my books ‘The Enterprise Black Box Thinking’ & ‘The Entrepreneur White Ball Thinking’.

Why do we need a new ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORMULA?

Look at the UK statistics!

  • Why are the majority of New business's Sole traders with no employees?
  • Why do we have such ridiculous Business failures- or infant mortality rates Year 5? mortality rates Year 10? in the UK.

Here is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle- our current obsession with robotic process's, systems, and the franchise phenomenon is eroding free thinking and our economical competitiveness for growth.Why? 

At the age of 25 as a relatively new business start-up, I had already read & listened to multiple business books and audio programs due to being brought up in a family in business. I was introduced to a book by a fellow young Scottish entrepreneur (whom later made his multi million pound fortune in Mobile Telephones). This book totally transformed my perception and thinking of business forever, and provided a solution to building a business which later enabled me to build a successful micro business (allowing me as a mother to put my young family first). 

That book was Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited”. Almost 20 years on this is still one of my No.2 Favourite books which I have recommended to countless business friends. For those of you unfamiliar with the E-Myth it simply promotes the benefits and logic behind the franchise culture and business's built on strong, methodical systems and operating systems.

Disappointingly though 20 years on it's success and like minded business philosophies have been taken quite literally. Tell me if I am wrong, we now have a culture of business obsessed with operating systems & rules. 8 out of 10 Call Centres or banks etc. are scripted, impersonal, many with systems for systems sake, rules over ride personal initiative and common sense.

Yes rules, systems and processes are essential to business but this is only 50% of what makes a successful & sustainable business & economy. The fact is that our Greatest Entrepreneurs & thinkers don't define the characteristics of the business analyst or bureaucrat:  

Apple- Steve Jobs/ Steve Wozniak -Innovation, Design, Engineering,Imagination.

Microsoft- Bill Gates- Technology, Ideas, Vision.

Dyson-James Dyson- IP, Patents, Innovation, Engineering.

Paypal/Tesla/ Solar City/SpaceX- Elon Musk- Vision, Engineering, Science.

They epitomise freedom of expression, thought & ideas, they are predominantly rebels and are all ultimately free thinkers.

  • Where are the creative thinkers, Designers & Innovators in your organisation?
  • What are you investing your time & resources in?
  • Why not Products & R&D? (MUST see Dyson/Dimbleby lecture ) is all your focus on Advertising & MARKETING?? http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/12_december/09/dyson.shtml)
  • Are you generating new ideas & models of enterprise? or are you bogged down in refining processes systems & rules?
  • Are you creating the next innovation & investing in IP or are you too focused on building a safe unimaginative business model i.e. franchise, service business. 
  • Are you building a team of skilled, free thinkers i.e. engineers, technicians, scientists? or a predominantly robotic workforce another Call centre culture.

I wrote ‘The Enterprise Black Box Thinking’ & ‘The Entrepreneur White Ball Thinking’ to promote the importance of Creativity, Creative Thinkers, Designers & Inventors. Interested in learning more? READ ON!

To Patent or Not to Patent?

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Here we have our suggestions and turn on Intellectual property through our personal experience of I.P.Lawyers, Patents, Trademarks, Design Right and Copyright. We have a few unique suggestions as a small business that has had a crash course in I.P. and the various pitfalls of I.P. from; facing a lengthy & costly patenting process to obtain a patent and dealing with a trademark infringement challenge with one of the worlds biggest internet brands & succeeding.

Please consider the following question and statements:

Do you need your idea protected or not, and what are you prepared to gamble? Finances & Time?

No.1 Are you prepared to invest the time and resources to obtain a patent for your idea or product? If so you need a realistic financial plan and funds for a lengthy & costly legal process that realistically may take 4 to 5 years before you see a return on your investment. This does not guarantee a water tight patent that hasn't already been super ceded or become out of date before you get it to market. But with a good idea and patent you could potentially have a very lucrative & legally protected product long term.

Or

No.2 Alternatively with the same resources, finance, time and energy forget a patent & take the risk of being the first product & brand to market. Could you prototype, tool and manufacture the product and saturate the market before the competition catch on. And invest in building a brand synonymous to the product and identifiable to the consumer, start turning a profit and create something more powerful than a patent.

Before even looking at developing a product and considering a patent ask yourself?

What is your Long term goal?
To establish a business around a product? Manufacture?
Or License the product? Sell product/ concept? Build a range of products?


Do you have a Budget for the following?
Prototyping
IP; Intellectual property i.e. patents & protection of idea.
Business Plan, Manufacturing, Marketing
Total Budget?


Do you have a time scale?
Sampling
Final prototyping
Branding
IP: Trademark & Patent
Completion Date/ Co. Sale

Do you have experience in this market or business?
Do you have routes to market?
Contacts in manufacturing/retail?
Existing company/customer base?

How are you protecting your idea? 
Have you disclosed details of your product to any 3rd parties? 
Do you have a confidentiality agreement? 
Do you have an IP Lawyer?
Have you filed Design rights?
Have you filed for a Trademark?
Have you filed a Patent?

If you are looking at developing a textile product please feel free to contact us for details on our business consultancy rates and services. Why not see if we are the right match for your project?

www.designovation.co.uk

info@designovation.co.uk

Designovation; the process for bringing plans into reality!

  • Who replaced the word Hoover with a Dyson?
  • Where would Apple be without Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak? Where would we be without our I-pads, I-phones etc.?
  • Where would Disney be without Walt Disney and his brother Roy and their team of Imagineers? What would our childhood memories be without Disney?
  • What will our children's future and our environment look like without more people like Elon Musk? Without SpaceX, TESLA, Solar City?

Where does enterprise, economic wealth & prosperity start i.e. The Industrial Revolution in Scotland in the mid-eighteenth century and the late nineteenth century, the IT explosion in California’s Silicon Valley in the 1970’s etc. Each of the above explosions began in cities filled with great Designers, Innovators & Creative thinkers that possessed something different from everyone else. Some say they had a dream, an innovation, inspiration- I call it something else!

My fascination for understanding entrepreneurs began over thirty years ago in my early teens observing and listening to my father and the many business owners I met through the family business in manufacturing and engineering. From my life long interest in entrepreneurs it brought me to one conclusion- there is an essential ingredient shared by great achievers in life and individuals who fulfil their potential. The same ingredient is responsible for the execution of solutions, progress, innovation & economic growth.

DESIGNOVATION?

I believe that our current challenges in our economy hinge on the absence of a word that describes this ingredient. I call it Designovation.

What is Designovation? I hear you say.

As children we were brought up to know the words dream, creation, innovation but never a word called designovation. Yet this is the word that truly describes the essential ingredient that differentiates the following individuals from everyone else on the planet from; Carnegie, Walton, Roddick, Dyson, Jobs, Gates, Disney, Kroc, Musk to Branson.

They each understood and practiced the following;

Dreaming; the formulation of an unpractical & unrealistic idea.

Imagination; forming ideas not present to the senses.

But more importantly even although the word did not exist they each practiced and embodied this word;

Designovation; the process for bringing plans into reality,

Are we encouraged to have both a Dream, an Imagination & a Designovation? 

Would you like to learn more? 

How would you like to create your Designovation?

Learn more about the Designovation Philosophy- 

Available from Amazon in both Paperback & Ebook

Also available on AppleBooks

Part One: The Entrepreneur; White Ball Thinking

How to Dress for Business by D. F. McKeever Author

Visual Communication

Many years ago I was invited as a young entrepreneur to attend the first entrepreneurial convention in the European Parliament in Brussels. One evening during a dinner for some of the British delegates I met a retired gentlemen who was a representative and volunteer for a leading British entrepreneur charity where we had an in depth conversation on the subject of image. He recalled for me his first job as a young apprentice in the 1940’s in journalism, where on arriving for his first day at work he was sent to the Editors office, on Bond Street. 

Principle One; Image matters.

I waited patiently for over an hour in the Editors reception, only to be instructed by the secretary that I was to spend the day standing on the corner of Bond Street, with one clear instruction “to people watch”, and not to return until the end of the day. 

At the end of the day I returned to the Editors office where the secretary told me to go home and return the next day. 

The next day I returned to his office as instructed and waited patiently. Finally the editor appeared in the reception instructing his secretary that he would be back in 30 minutes, at that the Editor turned and nodded and gestured for me to follow him. As he walked briskly downstairs and out onto Bond Street he asked:

'So George, what did you learn yesterday? ' 

Nervously, I answered 'There’s a lot of people on Bond Street.'

The editor took me to the corner of Bond Street and stepping backwards into the recess of a closed door way asked 'What do you see, George?'

Before you start any career in journalism the most valuable lesson I can teach you is this; 

'People can tell you a million things without uttering a single word, and if you want to learn one of the most valuable communication tools in life and master journalism, you must first learn how to read people. Many stories can be told by our appearance, clothing, grooming, posture, facial expressions; it communicates our personality, attitude, emotions, economical and social status, sophistication and success.''

He maintained that no matter what generation or culture you come from, whether you are standing on Bond Street in London, Time Square in New York. Even when standing in a room full of strangers or meeting someone for the first time before you open your mouth you have already told your story and firmly established that very important first impression rightly or wrongly

Principle Two; Be honest with your customer, what is your company really about?

Consumers today are exceptionally image savvy. And due to the volume of subliminal marketing and advertising that we are bombarded with daily we are all acutely aware if the image being painted for us is false or incongruent with your brand and marketing message.

Many successful companies like Pixar Studios & Innocents (Health drinks) thrive because they are totally transparent and genuine about their priorities as a company. They realised from day one that there was no place for dress codes or uniforms because their organisation is primarily about self expression and creativity and serve their customers by ensuring the integrity of their creativity in every aspect of their business. 

Other international companies i.e. Disney, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, UPS etc realise that a uniform and dress code must be executed precisely and is essential to their brand identity, company success and profitability- because their role is to serve the customers needs before their needs of the employee.

Clothing and image can be a very emotive issue for many people, because primarily it is a major part of self expression and personal identity. Secondly many of our clothing choices are made emotionally rather than rationally. When being honest about your company culture you have to face up to one of the biggest arguments and challenge which I have always had; addressing the balance between personal freedom of self expression which I passionately believe in and the lack of common sense where a strict disciplined image is essential in the workplace. Customers today expect and demand leadership, confidence and assertiveness from a company and brand.

21st Century & Image

First and foremost individuals must accept even in the 21st century there are clearly defined careers where their primary function and role is to serve the customer. Personal image and identity are irrelevant where a disciplined image, uniform and dress code are both essential and necessary to communicate authority, confidence, respect and maintain order & safety i.e. Police, Fire Service, Military, Immigration, Legal profession, Aviation etc.

A typical example is the case of the 70’s Air stewardess’s, who had been issued with overtly feminine uniforms with no authoritative value. Passenger’s lives were put at risk as well meaning male passenger’s put the air stewardess’s off the plane during an emergency crash landing leaving no one qualified & trained to get passengers safely off the plane. 

A good professional image or uniform when executed correctly will convey authority and confidence it will also demand attention and respect in various roles of responsibility. Within these roles attention to details in dress code are essential the simplest bending of the rules can totally destroy the effectiveness of an otherwise very effective uniform.

If you would like to learn more about D.F.McKeever and her books please visit: 

Available in both E-book & Paperback AMAZON BOOKS 

Are Colleges teaching graduates how to sustain an income & career in the Arts?

Since an early age I have always loved listening to great storytellers; especially authentic life stories. An interest that began listening to my Dad with his adventures as an entrepreneur selling his latest engineering invention’s. This continued into adulthood as a business person listening to the fascinating stories of self made entrepreneurs and professionals.

Memorable Meetings

One of my fondest memories came when I met two distinguished gentlemen in the Hilton Edinburgh one day. For what was supposed to be a brief business meeting- developed into the most insightful and positive three hour’s of my career in business. 

One of the many topics we spoke about that day from patents, trademarks to business systems and theories was the immense creative unrealised potential of our great Art Colleges in Scotland. With the ear of an ex-board member of one of Scotland’s leading Art Colleges I raised a question to Norman. Whether our Art Colleges were teaching graduates how to sustain an income and career in the Arts on graduating?

Unlike other Art & Design graduates I had an equal measure of commercial business skills that came from being born and bred into an entrepreneurial family. But what about all that creative talent exiting those Art College gates every year?

Truth is often stranger than Fiction!

Norman shared one brilliant story about the successful Scottish Artist Jack Vettriano.

On Leith Walk in the outskirts of Edinburgh is a small Barbers that Norman regularly visited for many years. Another customer that shared the same barbers was a poor dishevelled undiscovered artist called ‘Jack Vettriano’.

Norman recalled the regular banter and jokes in the barbers about Jack and his unpaid barbers tab and the barber continually commenting that he was promised one of his paintings in exchange for his bill.

Several months past and Norman noticed Jack’s absence and enquired to the barber about Jack, only to be told that he was now living somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Weeks and months passed and then one day as Norman sat in the barbers a new smartly dressed and transformed Jack Vettriano appeared in the barber’s doorway with the money for his unpaid barbers tab. With Norman recounting one of the most important things that Jack said;

”I am now a brand!”

And well the rest is history!

33 years on from graduating from Art College I ask the question. How many creative students graduate with the additional skills to sustain an income and career in their chosen field?

Thank you Norman & Gilbert 

Why is your Brand & Trademark so important?

One of the biggest mistakes in business or in my industry product design is branding. No matter how wonderful a product idea or innovation you have your brand name & identity is crucial. This is one area where cash is often wasted and crucial mistakes made. It is essential that you obtain the correct expertise and advice. Especially when making what may seem like a simple decision like the choice of company name or logo design or even more importantly securing your URL's.

As a designer I have had years of experience in developing brands, logo's and filing trademarks. I've even had the pleasure of a trademark challenge from one of the worlds biggest brands over a brand my husband & I own which ends in the letters 'oogle'.

Here are just a few suggestions for the business start-up, new inventors or if you are looking to rebrand your existing business.

The ultimate word in in branding is being "congruent" from your company name, your logo, web design, to vehicle or uniform design. Everything must synchronize to tell the same story, one that appeals to your customer needs and wants.

COMPANY NAME

Make your name short, memorable and unique. Ensure it is available; does someone already have the trademark, registered company or URL's. Do you have your domains.com or.co.uk ?Avoid misspellings, negative connotations or conflicts with your major competitors. (see www.companieshouse.org.uk & www.ipo.gov.uk)

URL'S

Securing ownership of your domains is now as equally important as obtaining an available company name or title. We live in the technology age where your website is as important as your social media network profile.(see www.uk2.net)

 REGISTERED COMPANY NAME

If you plan to be a sole trader or partnership, still think ahead if you decide to become a limited company. Is the company name or brand owned by someone else? What will be the cost and loss to you and your customers down the line of lost brand continuity. And at worse re-branding; vehicles, signage, stationary, paper work, website etc.

TRADEMARKS/ LOGO MARK

Like your registered company name it is essential that you check for any conflicts with other companies, brands, competitors in relation to your logo mark, symbol to your choice of colour pantone & font.

MARKETING MEDIUMS

Your marketing mediums start and end with everything from; stationary, brochures, website, social networking pages to premises signage, interior design, staff uniforms, vehicle design to dress code. Your marketing mediums represent your visual company C.V, they are the visual communication of your company to your customer, supplier and competitors.    

Interested in learning more? Read on! Amazon or Apple Books

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