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Erica Sciolti: Blue sky thinking should have died a death with Windows 95

Written by Ashwin Rattan Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:42
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Erica Sciolti is the Publishing Manager at the Energy Institute.

 

Asked to come up with her least favourite corporate jargon, she supplied the following:

 

I have a few recurring pet peeves.

 

1. Blue sky.

 

You'd have thought that blue sky thinking would have died a death at the same time as Windows 95, but it keeps on bouncing back in mutated forms 'Let's blue sky this' or 'we've blue skied the project' are simply nonsensical. If you want me to think creatively, do not assume that either I, or my ideas, need to be batted into a sub-zero, GHG laden environment. Oh, and I shan't be getting out of a box to think, either.

 

2. Euphemisms for a 'problem'.

 

Firstly, I LIKE being a problem-solver. Having a problem is a point of departure for being creative. Things need resolving in problematic environments. The most common euphemism: 'challenge' is much more combative and confrontational as a term. A colleague in a large international organisation informed me that they are now encouraged to refer to their operational and business problems as 'opportunities'. Don't get me wrong, I can see what the motivational psychologists are trying to do here, but it's just so clumsy. And, cliched as it is, how else can you finish the immortal quote 'Houston, we have a ... '?

 

3. Valued client.

 

This term should only be used if the person using it is able to define a specific value to each individual client, e.g. the client has been 'valued'. It seems to be a lazy phrase which I now cynically translate to mean 'we'd like you to think that our business relationship is important and unique, but we can't quite tell you why'.

 

To counter these, the more ridiculous ones are sublime. 'Let's run this up the flagpole and see who salutes it' is one of my all time favourites. My colleague, who is a big 'Back to the Future' fan and often asks if we have 'passed the windmill' point on projects.

 

And if you want to view about 500 more definitions, check out Julia Streets's The Lingua Franca of the Corporate Banker

Last modified on Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:54

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