Packaging is a nightmare and it is costing us all dearly

Have you noticed how terrible much of the packaging we get today is.

  • Its nearly inaccessible – the use of plastic to wrap products is causing injury as people try to access the product they purchased and the type of plastic is sharp and hard to open, it is also in a lot of cases is not recycleable, so you cut your hands to shreds, you clutter up your waste bins with things that go to landfill
  • The instructions and safety are wasteful of paper all in the name of globalisation and compliance – Have you ever bought a product where the regulatory notice and the instructions actually take up more space than the product itself, no one reads them and the actual information you want to have gone on a single plastic credit card sized piece of paper.  so who is it helping and how does it save the planet or deliver a good experience for the consumer, in short it does not it in some twisted way is the bean counters and manufacturing managers who think it is a good because they have a common product they send out across the world.
  • Power supply cables – Because we cannot agree standards, we end up with nearly a meter of copper cable we through away everytime as we do not need it as it for a different country.  What does a copper three core wound cable cost and if you sell a million products its a million meters of cable that ends up in the bin or a cupboard for two years before it ends up in the bin
  • Font size on the side of tins and packets – You now need an electron microscope or at least  a magnifying glass to read the information on the side of tins, packets and other products.  Why?, is it a desire to be regulatory compliant first and not consumer centric first.  People do want to know what to do but it is lost in all the other information that regulators now say need to be provided to be legally compliant.  but no one reads it do they.

So what are the common themes here

  • Regulatory compliance trumps being customer centric
  • Customer experience is considered secondary to convenience for retailers in terms of packaging
  • Operational and manufacturing cost efficiency trumps protection of our natural resources and the environment

Now lets be clear some people do try to do better. Amazon use cardboard for their packaging, it is recycleable, it is cheap and it is based on recycle material. I know I give them a hard time for so many other failings but they get this largely correct even if the reason they do is it is cheapest option with a brand carry on environmentally responsible, corporate social responsibility as a spin off benefit

If you look at clothes retailers they use plastic which cannot be recycled but is waterproof.  Big retailers of electrical products are simply demanding packaging that goes on a display unit easily and no consideration is being made for the waste of natural resources.

Here is an example:  I got three memory sticks the size of a domino each from Amazon. They arrived in a cardboard box on a cardboard display pack with a plastic built in.  I saved petrol by having them posted, bought at  a cheaper price than in store by 30% and also got free delivery.

So is there someone out there doing the maths, how much natural resource are we wasting in terms of

  • plastics of many types
  • copper cable
  • distribution costs due to space wasted
  • medical supplies repairing the damage caused by packaging
  • land fill for things that cannot be replaced

Should we be asking ourselves

  • How many pence in every pound we spend
  • How much time do we waste a year dealing with poor packaging
  • How much stress does poor packaging cost
  • How did the madness of bean counters and manufacturing managers become more important than the environment and the customer.
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Helping people develop their thinking is so empowering

I am big fan of mind mapping as a means of exposing thought processes and allowing you to develop your thinking clearly. Tony Buzan is as it turns out the inventor of mind mapping as an approach.  I found this video this week from the CEO of ThinkBuzan who are selling mind mapping software based on his principles.  There are many other open source and commercial offerings.  So in order to help your children and express themselves and help anyone work through ideas, challenges or issues please look into mind mapping.

To see the transformation in understanding it can bring is inspiring, the see the release it provides for someone trying to express themselves when they cannot find the words or translate the words in their brain to something others can understand is emotional.

If you want to try out software that is free or open source or online then also try some of these

http://www.imapbuilder.com/download.php

http://www.xmind.net/

http://www.mindmeister.com/

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

http://www.imapbuilder.com/download.php

http://thinkbuzan.com/

Time for reflection and rest

I am living in a bubble for a brief period of time semi disconnected from everyday life and responsibilities.  With the age of the internet this becomes harder to achieve as it becomes purely choice by oneself to cut yourself off from all things. Personally a little bit of engagement on the things that motivate and inspire me helps with the work of writing, thinking and problem solving.

The ability to process matters long held in the buffer and turn them around and around to look at them in different ways without daily operational and tactical pressures and decisions sapping time is a good thing.

Is it possible to forget everything for a few weeks, NO in my view, but is it possible to shift focus and change priorities yes.  I sleep more, I read more, I think more flexibly, I get more time on my own.  all good things, but I also get to play more, talk more if I want to and spend time with people I love

Isn’t it amazing

Just when you are looking forward to a break, one you feel you need and in fairness probably deserve even by you own exacting standards, the very people you hoped to spend the time with during the break decided that the agenda for the break has shifted and they want to discuss weighty matters or try and address longstanding semi intractable problems just when you would rather leave all that behind for a period of R&D.

Well I have a few days to manage expectations and try and align everyone’s goals, he is hoping for harmony

The Wooden Bowl

I hope you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson.

The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult.. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.

When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

‘We must do something about father,’ said the son.

‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. there, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.

Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded, ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up. ‘ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.  The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

  • I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day,the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
  • I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a
  • ‘life.’
  • I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
  • I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with just absorbing things. You need to be able to give something back sometimes.
  • I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.  But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
  • I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
  • I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
  • I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch – holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
  • I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
  • I’ve learned that you should pass what insights and learnings on to everyone you care about.

FRIENDSHIP CANDLE

THE DATE THE CANDLE WAS STARTED

This candle was lit on the 15th of September 1998

“Things” happen for a reason … TRUE – Another chain letter well meaning but….

A True story which one wants to share but again it comes with the message you MUST share it within minutes.

The brand new pastor and his wife,newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything
done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews,plastering walls,painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.  On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.  The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service,headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory coloured, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colours and a Cross embroidered right in the centre. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall.

He bought it and headed back to the church. By this time it had started to snow.

An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it.The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the centre aisle. Her face was as white as a sheet.

“Pastor,”she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before,in Austria .  The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just got the”The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.  Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for house cleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve.

The church was almost full.The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.
One older man, whom the pastor recognised from the neighbourhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid – who says God does work in mysterious ways

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you.. His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares we know He will see us through. So when the road you’re travelling seems difficult at best, just remember I’m here praying and God will do the rest. Pass this on to those you want God to bless and remember to send it back to the one who asked God to bless you first.

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer  for the person who sent this to you.

Father, God, bless all my friends and family in what ever it is that You know they may be needing this day!

May their lives be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as they seek to have a closer relationship with You.
Amen.

Chain letters with wise words combined with unwanted pressure to share

I don’t know about you but chain letters sort of inspire me whilst irritating me at the same time. On one hand there is often great thoughts and wisdom within them that can be inspirational, and on the other hand a threat of some form if you do not carry it on.  I don’t like threats so I do not forward such things on with the threat within them.

Here is an interesting take God’s role in your life.

Concentrate on this Sentence

‘To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.’ When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence… ‘The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.’ Something good will happen to you today; something that you have been waiting to hear. 

This is not a joke; someone will call you by phone or will speak to you about something that you were waiting to hear. Do not break!


There comes a point in your life when you realize:

  • Who matters,
  • Who never did,
  • Who won’t anymore…
  • And who always will.

So, don’t worry about people from your past, there’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.

Give these flowers to everyone you don’t want to lose in 2012