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A “Kodak” Moment!!

 

 

Kodak dominated the photographic scene for over 100 years. Almost everyone used their films and the phrase “a Kodak moment” meaning a phkodak tri-x film boxoto opportunity was well known.

What happened since then has become a story of failure and missed opportunities ending with Kodak filing for bankruptcy in 2012. Kodak had not kept up with digital technology.

 

Yet it was a Kodak engineer, Steve Sasson who invented the first digital camera in 1975. He is quoted as saying later, “it was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘That’s cute, but don’t tell anyone about it. Kodak’s leaders thought they were in the film business – instead of the imaging business”

 

Kodak chose not to pursue digital photography afraid of losing their profitable film sales.

 

It is so easy to get side tracked and lose sight of the original reason why we do what we do. Why I became a joiner, or a social worker, a mechanic or housing officer, a teacher or a gardener. This can also be true for our relationships, our hobbies and for the causes we champion.  If we take our eye off the ball, we can easily miss the point.

 

But there is a twist to the tale: Kodak is back again as a new company, concentrating on a specific market and knowing what it’s there for.  I hope they have learned and like us, will

 

Keep the main thing the main thing!

 

 Written by Chic Lidstone, Industrial Chaplain to Dundee, Scotland 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going backwards with Starbucks

As I sat in the Starbucks today I had a sudden realisation. For a quickA_small_cup_of_coffee glance around confirmed that I was the only ‘leisure’ coffee drinker in the place. Since in this coffee house outside the Metro Centre in Newcastle, the customers were all surrounded by laptops, netbooks and phones. Business meetings predominated but singletons tapped furiously on keyboards surrounded by A4 pads creating undoubtedly the next… Starbucks

 

It seems then that these specialist coffee outlets have rediscovered the Georgian Coffee House. Actually the first coffee house in England was established in Oxford in 1652. However the idea soon spread to London. In time they became business hubs with no less than Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Christies and Sotherby’s all having their origins in these establishments. Whether they had the same bored and surly staff that I encountered in Starbucks today history doesn’t make unclear.

 

However, the earlier Restoration coffee houses had another clientele; because in that turbulent era they were the centres of political agitation and dissention. So much so, Charles II was all for closing them down. A reputation they were to reinvent in 19th Century Europe where they brought artist, writers and intellectuals together for discussion and debate. Now if Starbucks and its ilk were do that, we may indeed see a revisiting of something else – fresh thought to go with the fresh coffee.

 

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Public Libraries – future community hubs?

Where do men go on Saturday? Good question! In the past, it would have been football matches, golf courses and those ‘of a certain age’ the bowling club. But the public library – come off it!

Well so I thought until visiting my local book lender this Saturday morning. And it was packed out with males; some on laptops, others browsing the newspapers and more online on the library’s PCs. Some were even drinking coffee, looking at the books and nipping out for a quick puff on the now internally banned tobacco.

Now probably the recession requires those out of work to surf the job ads and those in work to study to stay so. Yet the sense of a busy community life about the place, both for  effort and pleasure, was palpable.

But libraries are for books and tatty governmental leaflets surely with the odd notice (in every sense of the word) for the local spiritualists’ meeting. Well, if  this is the purpose which the customers seem to want, don’t knock it. Since it might prevent public libraries,  going the way of the village pub, the parish church and the corner shop.

In fact, with our granulated, home-working, coffee shop meeting business environment, maybe these traditional ‘information centres’ have a future as communuty meeting points, business venues and just hubs for daily life. Evolve or die then in my book.


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Life in the Blue Ocean


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Yesterday an email flitted across my screen from ‘Tools for the Mind’. Now this is not a bargain outlet for brain-surgeons’ instruments, rather it is an emporium of management ideas. And one they were championing was the ‘blue ocean strategy’. Far from being some policy from the Cold War, this is a methodology to grow your business.

In essence, most organisations live in a crowded market where competition is rife. In fact, they are literally biting each other for custom. Therefore, this is – you’ve guessed it – the red ocean.

However, most successful companies discover brand new services and products clear of their competition. This is the open space of the blue ocean. And ‘blue sky’ thinking explains why CNN, Cirque de Soleil and Apple have found a very profitable life on the ocean blue.

So that set me thinking too. Where is the blue ocean for the Church? Since today so many of its traditional roles have been taken over by others – social services, pressure groups and schools to name but a few. Even the world’s spiritual arena is crowded with religions, philosophies and theologies.  But there is still one unique selling point of Jesus Christ’s business. and it is immortality.

Now there is an ocean of life on blue heaven.

 

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Customer Waiting?

“Assistant to electricals – customer waiting!” – the supermarket loudspeaker blares out and that half amuses and half annoys. For the suggestion is that if some unfortunate doesn’t get themselves amongst the kettles ‘tout suite’ then something unspeakable, possibly lingering, will happen to them. It’s all nonsense, of course. They’ll finish their cuppa and amble along in due course. Yet the illusion has been maintained – you are a valuable, even an invaluable, customer whose time is as rubies.  Moreover, the company’s fiction is sprayed around like fake coffee aroma – our clients have status instead of just being till roll receipts.

It’s for these reasons too we lap adverts of smiling call centre staffs, waving shop-keepers and bank tellers who are family friends. For deep down we want to be part of a community of which we are real part – where the people we meet have some sort of concern for us as humans. Needless to say this type of community is possible even sustainable; it just takes investment. That means the spending not of money but time and emotional energy. Since the bottom line is we get what we pay for. The question must be is there a “customer waiting!”

 

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