Month: April 2018

What is ‘The Difference That Makes The Difference’?

Making the differencePeople often ask HOW do I find this mystical difference but they do not actually ask WHAT the difference actually is! Here is something that might shock you. I do not know either!

It is different for every business but here is an example that I experienced today. We are going to stay at the Shangri La Hotel at the Shard in London this weekend (it is our wedding anniversary). We have stayed in Shangri La hotels previously. They are not cheap but you get a good level of service along with great facilities. You expect this because of the price you pay.

Today I received an email from them. They are getting in touch ahead of our stay, finding out more about our arrival time and asking in advance if we have any preferences that they should know about. The email is, of course, automated, but I shall reply and see how well they can accommodate our preferences.

It does, however, make guests feel welcomed and excited about their stay. So what difference can you create that makes customers feel more excited about your offering compared to your competitors?

It might only be thicker paper for letters or invoices but it could make the difference. Are you a trainer that simply prints out copies of your PowerPoint slides on cheap paper? Perhaps it delegate’s notes could have their name and company printed on the front page for a start!

One of the key features of this difference is that it is not expected. It is not something that could be predicted because of the price you charge or by comparing your offerings to your competitors.

The other key thing to remember is that you or your business already have this information, it may be buried but it is there. You know your customers (individual or business), you know what would make them smile or even excite them.

If you want some help in discovering the difference that makes the difference then I can help. Simply make contact using any of the methods outlined on my website or click on the handy tab that appears on the bottom of every page.

Find that difference!



Newsletter – Which way does your banana bend?

Dear Reader,

The autoresponder on my website should now be working as intended but if you signed up at the tail end of 2017 and you never received your free download then please let me know.

I have been busy recording a series of short videos which I am gathering together under the title ‘Rough Cut Creativity’ because they were created and uploaded on a whim. More titles are on the way soon but for now, there are four. They will soon appear on my website but readers can access them now via YouTube by clicking here.


Tesco – helping you spend less every day. Pay attention Tesco. By spending we are giving you money, so we can only spend more, not less. Unless of course you are going to give us money!


This week I seem to have spent a lot of time in traffic staring at the rear end of another car. Do some manufacturers really think about the badges that they stick on the back? I know that Skoda, like Lada, have been a laughing stock in the past but they have improved quite a bit. Even so, do they think that the two words ‘Skoda’ and ‘Superb’ together will not cause laughter? Also they have a small car which they have crazily named ‘Roomster’. It might be like a Tardis inside but I immediately thought ‘hamster’. Maybe thats just me!

How much thought do you give to the words and phrases that describe your business?

Which way does your banana bendBack to the subject line of this email. I have asked the question ‘Which way does your banana bend?’ to many different groups in workshops that I have taken. Most people seem to freeze and you can see a thought bubble coming out of their head with WHAT? written in it. Once a chap did reply that his banana no longer bent because he had eaten it.

It is, of course, a trick question for us adults but maybe not for children. A child would see a banana laid out on a table in say ‘left’ or ‘right’ whereas an adult would just think ‘stupid question, it depends on how you are holding it’. The issue here is of course perspective.

What if you had been taught how to remove the skin from a banana but only if it bent round to the right? What would you do when confronted with a banana that bent round to the left? You could flip the banana over so that it appeared to bend the other way, or you could walk around the other side of the table which would have the same effect.

We do similar things when repairing cars or decorating. When something is the wrong way up we turn our head sideways, or even upside down to be able to see the problem clearly.

So why is that when we are confronted with business issues that we don’t try and look at problems in a different way before trying to solve them? Note that this is slightly different to the ‘Missing Sock’ issue from last month. Then we were concerned with doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Now I am posing the question of whether it is advantageous to look at a problem from a different viewpoint in order to get a different (and maybe better) solution.

So the answer to the question is maybe to the left, to the right or even straight depending on how I choose to look at things! Enjoy that banana.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Ways I Can Help You

  1. Keynote speaker - How to avoid the Innovation black hole,  how to add Creativity to your business toolbox
  2. Innovation measurement - find out where your strengths lie using tools created from my Innovation Equation
  3. Innovation programs - help to set up and run your innovation initiatives.
  4. Workshops - idea generation, managing creative people and much more

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.