Hillary: Thinking Laterally!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hat tip to Skippy who alerts us to Hillary's newest attempt to reach out to voters on matters of great import. The war? The economy? No, no, silly voter. Hillary wants you to help her pick her theme song.

As E.A. Hanks explains in The Huffington Post, Hillary recently shelled out $70,000 for the wit and wisdom of one John Kao, in the form of the "Innovation Manifesto."

Senator Hillary Clinton is about to unleash a whole new version of herself. Again. This one is going to be a Hillary thinking outside of the box (!), thinking laterally (!!), and using innovation to find the way forward to the path of tomorrow where success isn't a secret, but a global promise (!!!).

Nothing grates on nerves quite like corporate-speak. It's the lingo of Type A suits everywhere, proselytizing to the inspirationally challenged while exploiting their own clip-art fetishes. Senator Clinton was thinking synergistically when she hired "serial innovator" John Kao (pronounced "Kao") as part of her senatorial campaign, and paid him $70,000 to show her that with can-do attitude she will flow with jazz magic.


Over all, this "manifesto" uses the word innovation upwards of sixty times, defined by Kao as "creativity applied with intention to create value." I think that means attempting to co-opt everything that's great, wring whatever money is possible out of it, and then move on to the next fad like a swarm of well-tailored locusts. By the time I got to the 25th use of the word "innovation," and was only on page three -- I was ready to proclaim that I did not think that word means what Kao thinks it means.

The entire manifesto can be downloaded as a pdf here. You can open to any page. It all sounds like this:

Innovation lives in places. It needs a home. Physical environment is a powerful enabler of innovation. Places serve as memory theaters within which knowledge is created, and persists as the object of ongoing collaborative process.

Pages and pages of this shit, folks; $70,000 dollars. I'm in the wrong line of work. Actually, this is the kind of self-important drivel that sent me running and screaming from the corporate board-room. I'm glad not to be a fly on the wall of Hillary's campaign meetings. I have a sneaking suspicion they sound an awful lot like this:

EXECUTIVE: We at the network want a dog with attitude. He's edgy, he's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

KRUSTY: So he's proactive, huh?

EXECUTIVE: Oh, God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

WRITER: Excuse me, but "proactive" and "paradigm"? Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that. I'm fired, aren't I?

MEYERS: Oh, yes.