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A new book from Don Watson listing the latest, the best (worst) weasel words and including many contributions to this site has just been published. To read a sample and order a copy of Worst Words: A compendium of contemporary cant, gibberish and jargon, go to the Random House website.

From the publishers: What is ‘cluster deployment', and how can you be sure to ‘engage multiple stakeholders through your strategic delivery channel'? What's the difference between ‘backcasting' and ‘backfilling' and could it ever matter? 

The language of business and work grows ever more depleted, barren and senseless. Politicians hide in thickets of endless repeated messages, platitudes and clichés, or behind such shameless Newspeak as ‘operational matters'. The thing is viral: leaping from corporate windows of opportunity, it has taken hold in universities and schools, the public service, hospitals, local councils, fire brigades, the weather bureau. (What is the difference between rain and a rain event?)

Don Watson returns to the follies he described in Death Sentence and Weasel Words. With his trademark management-jargon mockery, he will make you cringe and laugh and possibly die of shame. But above all he will ask you to resist: to fight in the fields and in the streets – and in the offices and on the internet - and never surrender.'

This site is for people who have silently wept into a crumpled copy of their workplace’s mission statement; who have been underpinned by a strategically aligned, innovative, creative, sustainable synergy.

Leading edge and innovative communications expert

'Engage a specialist, leading edge and innovative communications expert (who is firstly and foremostly a communications expert rather than from a town planning background) to assist Council in conducting further effective ‘plain-English’ community conversations in relation to the proposed new zones.' Monash Council staff can't explain amendments to their planning scheme. Monash Council Meeting minutes, 27 October, 2015.

Customer service gesture

What Victorian Public Transport officials give someone after their on the spot fine as been reviewed. Treasure Jennings, Victorian Public Transport Ombudsman, ABC Radio, 20 November, 2015. Thanks to Alan who asks: 'Is that a refund?' Alan also heard an invitation to a 'seasonal one off pop up' on ABC radio and wonders if it's another term for an invitation to a Christmas party.

'Boots on the ground' and other military jargon are designed to confuse

'When it comes to describing our military engagements across the world, Orwellian seems to be the language of choice for the US government. They consistently use the alchemy of bureaucratic language to transform words with clear meaning into jargon. This baffles any attempt to truly inform the public and keeps our national defense insidery and anti-democratic.' Scott Beauchamp, The Guardian, 13 November, 2015.

Clinical interventionist practitioner

What you become after completing a Master of Clinical Teaching at the University of Melbourne where you 'Discover the latest evidence based research and learn how it can change your teaching to enhance learning and development outcomes'. Thanks to Mark.

On-boarding a professional with keen stakeholder engagement capabilities

'Join a leading organisation that provides the vision and the implementation of key developmental programs focused on domestic policies. This Communications branch is looking to on-board a project manager that can facilitate a re-development of the organisation’s website.

To help execute a key project within the digital team; a new role has been identified for a project manager to engage with business areas to plan and develop content that will be featured on their central digital channel. This is a unique role for a professional with keen stakeholder engagement capabilities, and the ability to drive outcomes with strong organisational skills.' Ad on Seek.com. Thanks to Margot.

Ground disturbance event with significant seismicity

Or earthquake. Heard on the Discovery Channel.

Road Policing Command

Or police. QueenslandThanks to Walter for both of these.

Student Recruitment 2.0

'Learn how you can use webinars to recruit new students.
Recruiting students requires the ability to adapt. Go where the students are… online!
All throughout this month, we will be hosting special online sessions about new ways to reach international students as part of the recruitment strategy. In this Online Coffee Break we will comment some of the new tendencies in student recruitment 2.0 as well as how to generate quality leads through online open days.

Learn how leading universities such as Sorbonne Paris, IE Business School, Karolinska Institutet & the University of Stellenbosch Business School have benefited from these methods. Don't miss it!'


Student Recruitment Webinars. Thanks to Mark.

Airbnb and existenzminimum

'Certainly, the impacts of Airbnb on architectural typologies are already tangible. We are witnessing a shift towards new and modified residential configurations to accommodate co-habitation or dual occupation which, increasingly, may start to drive housing diversity.

Another product of the Airbnb phenomenon is the revival of urban “existenzminimum”: making use of existing left-over spaces that are plainly too small for long-term rental but that resonate and fetch a good price with experience-seeking Airbnb guests.' From an article by an academic in architecture. Thanks to Terry.

Twitter CEO can't help using weasel words


We are moving forward with a restructuring of our workforce so we can put our company on a stronger path to grow. Emails like this are usually riddled with corporate speak so I'm going to give it to you straight.

The team has been working around the clock to produce streamlined roadmap for Twitter, Vine, and Periscope and they are shaping up to be strong. The roadmap is focused on the experiences which will have the greatest impact. We launched the first of these experiences last week with Moments, a great beginning, and a bold peek into the future of how people will see what's going on in the world.

The roadmap is also a plan to change how we work, and what we need to do that work. Product and Engineering are going to make the most significant structural changes to reflect our plan ahead. We feel strongly that Engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team, while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce. And the rest of the organization will be streamlined in parallel.

So we have made an extremely tough decision: we plan to part ways with up to 336 people from across the company. We are doing this with the utmost respect for each and every person. Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages and help finding a new job.

Let's take this time to express our gratitude to all of those who are leaving us. We will honor them by doing our best to serve all the people that use Twitter. We do so with a more purpose-built team, which we'll continue to build strength into over time, as we are now enabled to reinvest in our most impactful priorities.

Thank you all for your trust and understanding here. This isn't easy. But it is right. The world needs a strong Twitter, and this is another step to get there. As always, please reach out to me directly with any ideas or questions.

Jack (Dorsey, CEO Twitter). Memo to employees, 13 October, 2015. Read a suggested version that does get rid of the jargon.

Capability Framework

'The Centre’s Professional Learning Framework (below), provides the basis of design for the Professional Learning program which consists of full day and half day workshops, seminars, webinars and networks delivered by highly skilled and experienced facilitators in a range of national, state and regional locations. Some learning activities are online and all have an applied learning approach, encouraging VET professionals to embed new ideas and practices in the workplace.

Diagram of the Vet Development Centre capability framework

 VET Development Centre: Building Workforce Capability

Resonant phrases

What former Australian Prime Minister Abbott calls political slogans. Sydney Morning Herald. 29 September, 2015.

Moving with enterprise

'We came here with a plan to be physical in a football sense and put pressure on the opposition. We wanted to move the ball with enterprise.' West Adelaide Football Club coach. The Advertiser, 27 September, 2015. Thanks to Tom.

Greenfield position

'General manager - Operations.  The GM Operations will have a proven track record in establishing an organisation from a greenfield position, and in developing and implementing service delivery strategies within a complex organisation and a geographically distributed environment...' Job ad for the Australian National Disability Agency, September 2015. Thanks to Roy Stall.

VP Academic Relationships and Knowledge Architecture.

Job title. Thanks to Mark.

Turnbull and the narrative

'One of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's most important jobs is to get business people believing in themselves and Australia's future again. He can begin the process by discarding a negative narrative that the Liberal Party developed in Opposition and became trapped by in government.' Sydney Morning Herald

'Turnbull wants to be the new face of a government that sells the economic story better, driving a comprehensible narrative that stimulates business investment and boosts productivity while also being easily understood by voters.' Channel News Asia

'We are mindful that the global economy has faced numerous challenges during this period but we have long argued that confidence is structurally weaker due to the lack of strong national leadership, little focus on much-needed reform to boost long-run growth, and the lack of a clear economic narrative," said Su-Lin Ong, a senior economist at RBC Capital markets. Reuters

'It would not be surprising to see at least a short-term boost in business and consumer confidence with the change in leader and a new, more positive, economic narrative.' BetaShares chief economist David Bassanese, Australian Financial Review.

'Morgan Stanley’s Australia economic team believe “Australia is still lacking a clear narrative on growth beyond the housing boom that has been pivotal in absorbing the headwinds from the resources sector.' Business INsider

'Yet the fall did provide a timely reminder of the challenges facing the new Prime Minister and the urgency with which he must present a strong and confidence-boosting growth narrative.' The Australian.

'It is likely new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will bring a stronger Asia-Pacific focus to Australia’s foreign policy and has already begun to establish a narrative based around economic liberalism, but his government will still struggle to execute one of its signature foreign policy initiatives: the China free trade agreement.' The Mandarin.

Rebranding, bold vision, new positioning ...

'As you have already heard, news of our recent brand changes has been creating quite the buzz around Western Sydney! With a bold vision for our future, the University is rebranding with a new positioning that affirms our place in Western Sydney and the world. Our new identity reflects the pride we take in our place, our role in the community, and our growing international reach and reputation as a student-centered and research-led university.' Alumni Manager, University of Western Sydney - no - it's now Western Sydney University. Thanks to Ian.

Pathway to where?

'Pathway to Paris is a global organizing project aimed at building a working coalition of engaged partners, including citizens and stakeholders, NGOs, multilateral institutions, scholars, leading policy-makers, and the private sector, to coordinate a strong and effective consensus agreement at COP21 in Paris. The project aims to build an always-active Citizens' Climate Engagement Network for direct participation, to ensure a lasting and meaningful role for citizens, stakeholders, youth and marginalized groups, in shaping transformational climate policy.' The UN's 'World We Want 2015' website. Thanks to Rick Bradford.

Agnostic evaluation to enhance customer experience

'Komosion focuses on understanding and enhancing your customer's experience, using digital tools and traditional touchpoints. We create customer engagement via digital channels, technologies and tools ... We are agnostic and evaluate, scope and build using technologies best suited to customer needs.' Thanks to Mark.

Senior Worldwide Creative Cloud Evangelist

Job title at Adobe. Thanks to Mark.

Drive exciting journey for key stakeholders

'The Manager, Study and Learning Centre (Student Programs) will embrace the changes ahead, thinking outside of the box to enhance and re-imagine the Study and Learning Centre's student support models. You will be expected to manage a series of projects aimed at developing, trialling and evaluating new customer service and program delivery models. Over the next three years, the opportunity exists not only to transition staff into new physical environments, but also into new ways of working and drive the Study and Learning Centre, its staff and key stakeholders on an exciting journey.'  Job advertisement for Manager, Study & Learning Centre, RMIT, Victoria. August 2015. Thanks to Mark.

Values based leadership approach etc. etc.

'Motivated, successful and highly credible, you will develop strategy, drive initiatives, lead a dynamic team and foster a customer focus to service delivery. With a demonstrated values based leadership approach and extensive experience, you will be outcome focused with the ability to work broadly across the organisation and manage complex stakeholder relationships. 
The total remuneration package of $136,000 includes superannuation and private use of a vehicle.' Advertisement for Manager Information Services, Colac Otway Shire. August, 2015.

Lawfare, vigilante litigation

'In the last week, we’ve seen a decision overturning an approval for a project involving a major Indian investment in Australia ... It was ‘lawfare’ brought by activist groups to whom the skink is simply a patsy. They just wanted to kill the project because they don’t like fossil fuels.' Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment, National Press Club Address, 12 August, 2015.

'The Government has decided to protect Australian jobs by removing from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) the provision that allows radical green activists to engage in vigilante litigation to stop important economic projects. Section 487 of the EPBC Act provides a red carpet for radical activists who have a political, but not a legal interest, in a development to use aggressive litigation tactics to disrupt and sabotage important projects.' Attorney-General for Australia George Brandis, Media release, 18 August, 2015.

Sustaining strategic initiatives

'...the role of Deputy Commissioner (Operational Capability and Performance) will be re-aligned to become the Chief Strategy Officer (Capability and Performance).  This civilian role is essential in developing, communicating, executing and sustaining the strategic initiatives of QFES and will have a greater focus on business aspects of the organisation such as strategy, organisational alignment, governance, risk, performance and high level engagement.' Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. Thanks to anonymous.

Narrative commonalities

'I do not intend to address the couple’s relationship suffice to say it is imbued with ambivalence: both having many commonalities emanating from their histories that create what could be a long lasting connection of alternative relationships that are a reflection of this. Such is this connection that they may collude to undermine the placement ... Due to SH’s apparent difficulties identifying the concerns, I asked her to convey a narrative about her observations.’ Faced with this particular section, the judge said: ‘What would be wrong in saying, “I asked her to tell me?”’ 'Social worker's jargon is like a foreign language, says angry judge as he calls for reports to be written in language that everyone involved can understand', Steve Doughty, Daily Mail UK, 3 August 2015.

New value pools and customer decision journeys

'To help make this definition more concrete, we’ve broken it down into three attributes: creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure ... For some companies, capturing new frontiers may be about developing entirely new businesses in adjacent categories; for others, it may be about identifying and going after new value pools in existing sectors ... being digital means being closely attuned to how customer decision journeys are evolving in the broadest sense. That means understanding how customer behaviors and expectations are developing inside and outside your business... 

Critically, digital isn’t about just working to deliver a one-off customer journey. It’s about implementing a cyclical dynamic where processes and capabilities are constantly evolving based on inputs from the customer, fostering ongoing product or service loyalty. Making this happen requires an interconnected set of four core capabilities: Proactive decision making, Contextual interactivity, Real-time automation and Journey-focused innovation...

The final element of our definition of digital is about the technological and organizational processes that allow an enterprise to be agile and fast...

Digital is about unlocking growth now. How companies might interpret or act on that definition will vary, but having a clear understanding of what digital means allows business leaders to develop a shared vision of how it can be used to capture value.'

'What ‘digital’ really means', McKinsey Digital July 2015. Thanks to Andrew.

Impactful learning opportunity

'Thank you so very much for envisioning the most impactful learning opportunity I have attended in my time with development.' Johns Hopkins Medicine Philanthropy Institute March 2015 newsletter. Thanks to anonymous. Also in this issue:

'The JHMPI Summer Institute is an intensive, three-day, training program for experienced professionals in medical development. It provides students with new ideas, conceptual frameworks, skills, and tools, and helps them build new "models" for their practice - models that they continue to develop after leaving Baltimore, and which elevate their own "brand" of medical development to a new level of awareness, sophistication, and effectiveness. A central focus of the Summer Institute is grateful patient fundraising, a hallmark of our success at the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine.'

Fighting terrorism with business jargon followed by a best practice workshop

'That can be done by:

1. Establishing a regional network of civil society groups to foster peer-to-peer learning and partnerships, including with the private sector.
2. Developing a regional guide for government and civil society on effective engagement with the private sector, to facilitate closer collaboration on countering violent extremism.
3. Creating a regional best practice guide for the development of rule-of-law-based legislative responses to inhibit the dissemination of terrorist propaganda.
4. Developing a compendium of regional counter narratives to amplify effective messages across the region.
5. And investing in enhancing the role of communities to challenge terrorist propaganda, including by building the technical capability of grassroots organisations to elevate non-extremist voices that resonate with target audiences.
6. We will aim, through key bodies such as Hedayah and the UN SC Counter-terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate to collect and disseminate local, national, regional and global experiences; to identify effective practices; and to address violent extremism.

And we welcome the initiative like the one announced today by our Republic of Korea colleague, Mr Shin Dong-ik, to hold a workshop next month to examine best practice partnerships between business and civil society to counter violent extremism.' Australian Attorney-General George Brandis, closing remarks at Australia's Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, 12 June 2015. Thanks to Jenny.

Complexability, Sensemaker, Voice of the Customer

'Spent today with my colleagues from Complexability at a workshop where we are developing a Sensemaker project on the Voice of the Customer. Step one is to work with a number of NGOs to understand the boundaries of the system and the issues to be included. When this is completed it will be very useful for community and service delivery organisations in helping them listen to their consumers experience.' From a Facebook page. Thanks to anonymous.

Complexability 'enable you to take effective action about your complex issues through specifically designed complexity tools and processes for

- Engagement of staff and other stakeholder
- Sensemaking
- Strategy development
- Innovation
- Detecting emerging trends
- Monitoring and evaluating outcomes and impact.

Multi-pronged innovation model

'We dissected the Linkin Park ecosystem and architected a framework to execute our new long-term vision. We restructured Machine Shop, moving it from a brand agency model to a multi-pronged innovation model based on four verticals: video content, global brand partnerships, merchandise, and venture capital.' Kiel Berry, Executive Vice President of Machine Shop. From 'The riff: Linkin Park and Harvard turn the jargon up to 11', Financial Times, 24 June, 2014.

That space

`I’ve made it perfectly clear to local government that failure in that space is unacceptable and if there were to be failure in that space then obviously the state government would have to take action.' Tasmanian Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, The Examiner, 19 May, 2015. Thanks to Peter.

Minister for gobbledegook: SNP minister ridiculed for 'jargon and guff' in press release on improving standards of English

'Let me equally be clear that the teachers at that table will be fully-qualified and well-trained – and they must be joined by parents who feel fully-engaged and well-informed about how they and their children are being supported to realise their aspirations.' Scotland's education minister, Daily Mail, 21 May, 2015.

Not selling; informing.

'Ronald McDonald never sells to children. He informs and inspires through magic and fun.' Shelley Rosen of the McDonald's Corp, in the movie Fed Up. Thanks to Greg.

'Why bother telling it straight when jargon is around?'

“Verizon’s vision is to provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multi-screen network platform. This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.” Gulf News, 21 May, 2015.

Advanced life support medical intensive care unit

Or an ambulance. Dallas City Council member Sandy Greyson asked at a Public Safety Committee briefing, “Why can’t we call an ambulance ‘an ambulance'?"
The Dallas Morning News, 27 April, 2014.

Dogfooding your reporting deliverables

'Reporting is a key component of the rollout and reporting phase. As a part of our dogfooding deployment efforts, we must keep upper management and other concerned groups (for example, product teams, tactical deployment teams, and Marketing) up to date with regular, predictable, and consistent reports. The reporting deliverables vary by audience.' Microsoft

'move in a standardised aquatic environment' - swimming lessons

'go from the self and the here towards the other and the beyond' - study foreign languages

Strategic Relationships Manager

Job title at Jenolan Caves in NSW where team building activities aim to:

* enhance relationships in the workplace,
* develop a united commitment in a collaborative climate and
* create a greater understanding of the relevance of teamwork and the importance of leadership. Thanks to Peter.

Agenda, capability, strategy, world-class, initiative, review...

'The STEM agenda will help ensure that Australia’s world-class science and world-leading industry collectively secure our future economic strength and prosperity. Building our STEM capability is critical to increasing Australia’s future scientific performance. It is vital that we have a strong and effective national approach.

In addition to discussing STEM, items for the Commonwealth Science Council included setting national science and research priorities, implementation of the Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research strategy, carrying out the Industry Growth Centres initiative and the Research Infrastructure Review.' The Commonwealth Science Council, chaired by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Minister for Industry and Science. 13 April, 2015. (STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)


'The Government started a conversation on this with the launch of the Intergenerational Report last month. And today I want to advance this conversation with you ... I am pleased that this is an open public forum, so that all interested members of the wider community can listen to experts and participate in this conversation.' Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, Speech to the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research Public Forum on the Intergenerational Report, 8 April, 2015.

'... Scott Morrison is having conversations with stakeholders and we are always prepared to have conversations with well-meaning and well-intentioned members represented across the Parliament to see whether there are better ways of ensuring that we can make sure that the pension is sustainable over the medium to long term.' Mathias Cormann, Australian Finance Minister, ABC 7.30 Report, 6 April, 2015.

'Again, I'm not going to get into specific outcomes. You're asking me to go five months ahead of where we are now, which is to open the conversation about all the issues and this 200-page report…' Joe Hockey, ABC interview, 31 March, 2015.

'Now, whilst we might not always agree with each other, there is some genuine conversation that needs to be had about the common purpose ... And I am here today to make a further contribution to that national conversation by releasing the Federal Government’s discussion paper on taxation reform ... Today is the start of the conversation and the opportunity for Australians to be part of a reform that will give all of us a better tax system.' Joe Hockey, Launch of the Tax Discussion Paper, 30 March, 2015.

'... because if you're having a fair dinkum conversation with the Australian people, everyone should be fully informed about what the pressures are on the tax system ... Well we will prosecute a case for change in various areas of taxation, but ultimately we've got to get the right policy outcome, and the best place to start is with the best policy outcome. And again, that involves a conversation with the nation. ' Joe Hockey, ABC interview, 30 March, 2015.

'The Northern Territory Government is beginning a mature conversation about the future of both the Territory Insurance Office and the Darwin Port.' NT Government.

'We have been engaging Australian communities in a conversation about the need for our organisation to change since June 2014. Read some of the conversation summaries to see what we’ve already discussed.' Australia Post

'We want the Real Conversation to reach everyone and the more people that get on board, the bigger and better the conversation will be ... This event is a fantastic opportunity for employers to benchmark their existing equality and diversity practices.' Welsh Government.

'Onondaga County residents are being asked to engage in a community conversation about the future of local governments.' WAER.org

'Be part of the conversation. Whitehorse corridor draft functional plan. The Whitehorse corridor is the portion of the Alaska Highway that runs through the City of Whitehorse limits.' Yukon Government.

'We would urge all government departments to use the WGA as the key tool for all policy and decision making. By taking into account longer term financial liabilities such as pensions we can start to have a comprehensive conversation about the state of the public finances.' ICAEW. A world leader of the accountancy and finance profession.

'The Power of Future Conversation, Government Version. Most government agencies tend to let past experiences and outdated paradigms get in the way of seeing the endless possibilities before them. Agency and departmental leaders can use the principles in this program to immediately refocus their team communications in a way that will help them achieve positive change and growth.' CRM Learning: Compelling Interpersonal Skills Training for Powerful Organizations

Lifestyle choices

'What we can't do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have'. Australian PM Tony Abbott backing the Western Australian Government's plans to close nearly half of the state's 274 remote Indigenous communities.
10 March, 2015.

Metadata laws cure blindness

'Now, as we know, technology is changing all the time and telecommunications companies are not keeping these records for as long as they did. We have, if you like, a burning platform and as a result of that burning platform, increasingly, police and other crime fighting agencies are going blind.' Australian PM Tony Abbott, 5 February, 2015.

Cascading representations

'So, we're making these representations. We're making our position clear right around the world that this is a number one priority of the Australian Government: to protect the Barrier Reef and, of course, then at every level there are further representations, cascading representations, right through the system ...  But, as I've said, this is a plan that has buy in from just about all the stakeholders...' Australian PM Tony Abbott, 21 March, 2015.

building partner capacity (BPC) training mission

'...the Government has decided to commence the preparation of a military force to contribute to a building partner capacity training mission in Iraq.' Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, 3 March, 2015.

'Over-firm denial' belongs in jargon hall of fame

'The 'over-firm denial' must surely be added to the political euphemism hall of fame, following Grant Shapps' admission that he did flog get-rich-quick schemes using a pseudonym while working as a serving MP - a fact he had previously denied. The Tory party chairman has now admitted those denials were "over-firmly" stated.' The Media Blog, 16 March, 2015.

Medicare 'Price Signal' becomes 'Value Signal'

'I’m saying that by pressing the pause button on existing policy, I want to make sure that when we come down with a value signal in health that we get it right and that we have broad support from the medical profession.'

Journalist: Can you explain the difference between a value signal and a copayment?

Minister Ley: Well there is already a value signal but perhaps it’s not working as well as it may. What we mean is that people need to value the services that their GPs provide and accept that unless you’re in a vulnerable category maybe those services don’t come absolutely for free and that where there is an ability to pay that you value the high quality service that you receive that you do indeed pay something.'

Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley at a press conference, 28 February 2015. Thanks to Ric for letting us know about the change.

Price Signal

'I want to make it clear that in my consultations I will be guided by these four principles - protecting Medicare for the long-term, ensuring bulk billing remains for vulnerable and concessional patients, maintaining our high quality care and treatment for all Australians, a price signal of a modest co-payment into the health system for those who have the capacity to pay.'  Sussan Ley, Australian Health Minister, press conference, 15 January 2015. Thanks to Ric from Kangaroo Valley.

What the Doctors Reform Society say a price signal is:

They are designed to stop lower-income Australians from seeing GPs while leaving the rich unaffected by what to them is a small co-payment ...The government is encouraging private health insurance companies to cover co-payments for their members...a clear indication that the government believes either that it is only the poorer half of the population that uses doctors too much or that it simply does not want such people to have adequate health care...  From a letter to The Age from Tim Woodruff, vice president, Doctors Reform Society, 20 January 2015.

Cultural Improvement Implementation Project (CIIP)

'The intent of the CIIP is to remodel and address the barriers and enablers that have been identified, demonstrating a clear commitment to cultural reform and compliance with continued, concentrated effort to achieve enduring cultural change, recognised as an organisation that embraces diversity.

The Cultural Improvement Implementation Project will:

    • Manage the implementation of the 30 Allison Report recommendations
    • Include the broader cultural compliance issues; and
    • Undertake the related areas of work within:      
      • QFES Identity and Culture Transformation
        • Transforming culture through leadership
        • Develop QFES cultural reform strategy
        • Implement and measure cultural reform
        • Strategic Doctrine
      • One Team Working Together
        • Common operating environment
        • QFES structural reform
        • Embed and review current operating model
        • Capability and workforce framework
        • Implement new business training model
        • Workforce sustainability review

To date, CIIP has established five workstreams to oversee the Allison Report recommendations and associated areas of work, these workstreams are:

    • Leadership
    • Accountability and Focus
    • Building Capability 
    • Talent Pipeline
    • Flexibility'

Acting Commissioner, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Commissioner's Update, 13 March, 2015. Thanks to anonymous.

Revitalise with redundancies

'Fairfax Media has announced plans to revitalise its newsrooms in regional Victoria with a significant investment in new systems, training and equipment for journalists and sales staff ... If the proposal goes ahead the company expects voluntary redundancies of around 80 full-time equivalent positions across Victoria. This includes 62 editorial roles such as management, sub-editing and photography. Administration and some sales positions are also affected.' The Bendigo Advertiser, 11 March, 2015.

Customer Experience Reference Architecture

'In order to deliver exceptional customer experience, an emphasis within the business must be put on customer experience specifically from the customer’s perspective i.e. a customer-centric approach. This requires that the company take a holistic approach to address the total customer experience as opposed to a siloed approach. Thus, both the business and IT need to be organized and incentivized to deliver exceptional customer experience ...In essence architecture principles translate business needs into IT mandates that the solution must meet. Because architecture principles span the entire solution, they are at a much higher-level than functional requirements. Establishing architecture principles drives the overall technical solution ... With respect to the customer lifecycle, the focus for these components is on the Need and Recommend phases of the customer lifecycle. Marketing is fundamentally about driving need for products and services.'

From Oracle's 'Customer Experience Reference Architecture'. Thanks to John Spavin

Easier navigation in the grocery environment

'Nurofen pain-specific products provide easier navigation of pain relief options in the grocery environment for consumers who are experiencing a type of pain.' Reckitt Benckiser (Australia), makers of Nurofen, commenting on the The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) report that at least four Nurofen products marketed as being formulated to treat specific ailments, including back pain and migraines, all contain the same active ingredient.


'While East West Link users are expected to receive considerable benefits from using the project, the other CBD-oriented traffic is likely to receive a disbenefit due to marginally increased travel times created by the additional traffic.' From the business case for the proposed East West Link in Melbourne, Victoria. 

Rapid disassembly

'The tests’ results worried the technicians: Two of the airbag inflaters Takata had retrieved from the junkyards showed cracks and the start of “rapid disassembly” during the tests, Takata’s preferred term for explosion, according to the two people.' From a New York Times article (6 Nov 2014) on a worldwide recall of cars equipped with Japanese manufacturer Tanaka's airbags. Thanks to John Williams.

Weasel words. Mots de Weasel.

'The language is favoured by politicians because it allows them to speak “the truth” while dodging the actual, uh, truth.

As mayor, Rob Ford was an especially cunning linguist. While pesky “maggots” badgered him for weeks about a reputed crack video, Robbie doggedly stuck to his Weasel script.

“I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”

Brilliant. To this day that statement remains “true,” even though Toronto cops have the video. Well, it’s Weasel “true,” anyway.' 'Our pols fluent in Weasel words', by Mike Strobel, Toronto Sun, 17 February, 2015.


'Each department has its own horizon scanning policy development machinery. If I was to identify the first risk, it is this work is stove-piped...That mechanism starts before the disruptive challenge. Some of the stove-piping is broken down to get departments together about the issues that are approaching.' 'Jon Day, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was accused by MPs of inhabiting a “2014 episode of Yes Minister” after instructing them on stovepipes, back-casting and horizon scanning.' From 'We stovepipe too much management jargon, admits spy master' by Matthew Holehouse, The Telegraph, 9 December, 2014.

Patient threshold score

'We prioritise patients to ensure those most in need receive treatment first, however the health budget is finite and some patients who would benefit from elective surgery will not meet the criteria. Patients who do not meet the criteria are referred back to their GP who manage their condition in the community and refer them when they further deteriorate for reassessment.

The score at which a patient is accepted for surgery is determined by a number of clinical considerations, such as the patients other health conditions and their level of pain, and the capacity of the service to provide treatment within a timely manner. The threshold is set at a level where the number at or above the threshold equals the average number of surgeries the service can complete each month.' Thanks to Brian who comments: 'Your health and pain will be determined and will have nothing to do with your chances of receiving surgery.  It is about the money.'

Citizen Experience Portfolio

'The Citizen Experience Portfolio has an intimate knowledge of citizen expectations and emergent trends and strategically defines and navigates BDM’s service delivery model to ensure a relevant and sustainable citizen-centric offering. The Portfolio is comprised of the Citizen Service and Citizen Experience Development Teams and has responsibility for the development, implementation and evaluation of services that place the expectations and needs of citizens at the core.

The Portfolio initiates and enables the collaborative exploration and dynamic adaptation of BDM’s citizen-centric service delivery model and citizen value proposition.

The Citizen Experience Development Team is responsible for the development and implementation of business transformation and service development initiatives and accompanying processes and tools. This Team also leads the exploration, analysis and development of citizen-centric discretionary services.' From a job advertisement for a 'Citizen Services Ambassador' at Births, Deaths and Marriages Office in the Victorian State Government. Thanks to Nick Price who rang to find out what the job actually was and was told it is a Customer Service and Administrative role.

Dehumanising language

'During a debate in the House of Lords, he [Lord Freud, a minister in the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions] appeared to describe the changing number of disabled people likely to receive the employment and support allowance as a “bulge of, effectively, stock”. After a furious response by the people he was talking about, this was transcribed by Hansard as “stopped”, rendering the sentence meaningless. I’ve listened to the word several times on the parliamentary video. Like others, I struggle to hear it as anything but “stock”.

If we’re right, he is not the only person at his department who uses this term. Its website describes disabled people entering the government’s work programme for between three and six months as “3/6Mth stock”. Perhaps this makes sense when you remember that they are a source of profit for the companies running the programme. The department’s delivery plan recommends using “credit reference agency data to cleanse the stock of fraud and error”. To cleanse the stock: remember that.'. ''Cleansing the stock' and other ways governments talk about human beings', George Monbiot, The Guardian, 22 October, 2014. Thanks to David.

Track and optimize your engagement

'Track and optimize with the new Tweet Activity Dashboard - Get free access to detailed analytics on your Tweet activity like total views and engagements for the past 4 weeks.' Thanks to Craig Duncan

ABC Efficiency Dividends - not cuts

"Well, they're not cuts ... Well, the ABC has been exempted from efficiency dividends for the last 20 years, efficiency dividends which apply to every other department in government, every other agency of government that is funded by the taxpayer. We believe it's important that the ABC, like every other taxpayer funded organisation …operates efficiently.' Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in a radio interview talking about budget cuts to the ABC. The Age, 19 November, 2014.

Vague and undefined?

'This proposal is concerned with the concept of boundary as a place of programmatic slippage that provokes transactivity between coterminous social territories. To begin, one must eliminate the idea of boundary as demarcation line, replacing it with a vague and undefined intensification of space.' BG Architecture's website: a proposal for a design competition for Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Thanks to Matthew.

Piloting a toolkit

'Provide knowledge on how to communicate and promote immunizations among health care workers by piloting a tailor-made immunization toolkit.
- Increase awareness and promote health care workers' immunizations through a widely disseminated and pilot tested immunization promotion toolkit for health care workers. The toolkit will include recommendation, communication guidelines, tools and fact sheets.' From a HProlmmune presentation, a project aiming to promote immunization among Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Europe. Thanks to David FitzSimons.

Cluster your engaging compliant brands

'Together with other members of the Australian Services cluster (or another cluster as directed from time to time), this position will supply the stories which bring X work alive and ensure that the priorities, approach and impact of X priority work area (along with key messages and beneficiary need and impact stories) are promoted as broadly as possible. The communications you produce need to be:

  • Consistently messaged, brand compliant, engaging and of a high quality.
  • Appropriately pitched beneficiary story packages (written stories, transcripts, images, quotes, background material, obtaining price points from the marketing team) to meet the audience requirements of a variety of stakeholders (such as, for example, X  people, financial supporters or prospects, traditional or social media consumers and industry partners).
  • Representative of  good stewardship and fair allocation of resources – this includes working with existing or pre-agreed templates for the delivery of content as much as possible.

You will also be required to:

From time to time you will need to produce (to final artwork stage) bespoke collateral designed to engage beneficiaries related to your cluster. Thanks to anonymous.

Welcome to Sense?

'Welcome to Sense. We are a confident, creative agency, where strategic planning and meticulous evaluation lead to faultlessly executed brand experiences.' Sense London. Thanks to Courtenay Rule.

Involuntary separations

What the Australian Department of Defense calls dismissals. ABC News, 5 August, 2014. Thanks to Peter Anson.

Human-centric transformation program

'I am pleased to announce that Deloitte and the Customer Experience Company (CEC) will begin working with the Department on Monday to work with the Department to implement the next phase of the Corporate Services Transformation Program, which aims to ensure that the Department’s corporate services are efficient and effective and meet the needs of our Divisions.

For the next six months, the Deloitte and CEC partnership will work alongside the Corporate Services Management Office to deliver the required outputs of the two-year Transformation Program. The main approach of the next six months will be ‘human-centric’, whereby the CSMO and Deloitte/CEC will work with staff, namely frontline staff, to understand and co-design our future state of Corporate Services.' Thanks to Robin and Leah.

Omnibus variation

'The individual variations are being coordinated in an Omnibus variation to streamline the Territory Plan Variation process.' In a letter from the Manager, Community Engagement, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Develpment Directorate, ACT to residents about an information session. Thanks to Tom from Watson.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison doorstop.

Q: Minister, is there a boat in trouble off Christmas Island?
A: It is our standard practice as you know, under Operation Sovereign Borders, to report on any significant events regarding maritime operations at sea, particularly where there are safety of life at sea issues associated, and I am advised I have no such reports to provide.
Q: Is there a boat?
A: Well, I have answered the question.
Q: … So are you saying that boats are not leaving (for Australia)?
A: We are always ready for boats that may arrive and we always anticipate that they may seek to come and we are always ready. We are ready today, we were ready yesterday and we will be ready tomorrow and the government’s policies will continue to prevail.
Q: So Mr Morrison, you are not even going to confirm there is a boat, you are not going to say what is happening if people are in the water? Their boat is leaking, we are told – leaking oil – and you are not going to say anything about that situation?
A: What I have said is that it is our practice to report on significant events at sea, particularly when they involve safety of life at sea. Now there is no such report for me to provide to you today. If there was a significant event happening then I would be reporting on it.
Q: So what does that mean?
A: You are a bright journalist. I’m sure you can work it out.
Q: No, we are asking you, Sir. You are the minister.
A: And I have given you my response.
Q: So could you clarify, Sir, for us  at what point does an event become a significant event involving a boat on the water?
A: When you see me here standing and reporting on it.
Q: And you are standing here reporting.
A: I am not. I am saying there is no such report for me to provide to you today.
Q: Are you saying that it could be a hoax that people are saying they are in trouble?
A: I am not saying anything of that at all. I am not confirming any of these matters. This should come as no surprise to you. This has been our practice now for the entire period of this operation. This is another day at the office for Operation Sovereign Borders.

'Scott Morrison interview takes on Pythonesque proportions' by Annabel Crabb, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July, 2014.

Last month it was revealed Scott Morrison’s departments employ more than 95 communications staff and spin doctors, costing at least $8million a year.


'So it just increases the options and the optionality.' Chief Financial Officer for Qantas, Gareth Evans, speaking on the ABC PM program, 28 August, 2014. Thanks to Jennie and Ian.

Just Listed

Two In One For A Successful Lifestyle Outcome

Brands and their Influence

'Values drive our behaviour, underpin culture, influence who we vote for and what we buy. Values change markets, yes even the share market and grow sales. From understanding these drivers, you can harness their influence through your brand to grow business, improve business continuance and so much more.

Our site is designed to provide you with information on leading brand and influence practices. Our consultancy offers innovations in brand and influence that will improve sales and marketing efforts, increase reputations and grow customer loyalty.'

'Apart from an extensive design and brand experience, Monika Evers is also trained in a number of values and transformation modalities: NLP; Dip Shamanism; WOM; MBTI. Her understanding of the unconscious, values and beliefs underpins her unique MetaBrand System® of processes and strategies in brand, influence and loyalty.'

Seven drivers of reputation

'As a key stakeholder of Origin, we are keen to seek your feedback on how we can improve our ongoing engagement with your organisation through an independent and confidential study. This perception study, based on the internationally recognised RepTrakTM model tracks mass market and Key Opinion Leaders' views about Origin against seven drivers of reputation.' Letter to a key opinion leader from Origin Energy.

Engagement and connectivity
'The University of Limerick (UL), Ireland with over 13,000 students and 1,300 staff is an energetic and enterprising institution with a proud record of innovation and excellence in education, research and scholarship. The dynamic, entrepreneurial and pioneering values which drive UL’s mission and strategy ensures that we capitalise on local, national and international engagement and connectivity. We are renowned for providing an outstanding student experience and conducting leading edge research. Our commitment is to make a difference by shaping the future through educating and empowering our students.' In a job advertisement from the University of Limerick in Ireland. Thanks to Matthias Maiwald.

Our vision - Enhancing Life and Liveability

'Our Strategic Direction formalises our vision of ‘enhancing life and liveability’ for our region. It establishes our commitment to achieve this by working with others to overcome the challenges we face.

To deliver successful outcomes we're focussing on our approach to doing things, as well as what we do.' Melbourne Water. Thanks to Andrew Orr.

I don't understand my children's school reports

'Some examples:

“His concrete understanding of number and place value allows him to effectively implement a range of strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems”

When I take away the bullshit from this, I guess he can add and subtract. Apparently he has an “ability to model inclusion to his peers”

So he’s inclusive? Or a psychopath who is able to “model” inclusion but really not give a rat’s?

“He is learning to stay focused and engaged on his tasks so he can fulfill his potential and complete them within the set time frame.”

Leaving aside the bad grammar, we actually found out he was being kept behind at recess because his hand-writing was so slow. From him.' Paul Chai, Daily Life, 3 June, 2014.

The CBC report is, shall we say, unwieldy in its use of jargon

'Report: “Local service is at the heart of the public broadcaster’s role and remains a top priority for audiences. Local news, in particular, is prized by Canadians. A space for us all reaffirms the importance of a regional presence across the country and commits to being even more local than today, but at less cost.”

Translation: We plan to produce just as much local news with fewer staff, for less money. A job posting will soon go up for shamans, alchemists, magicians and grifters who have ideas on how this might be accomplished. (These are non-union positions.)

Report: “CBC/Radio-Canada will identify important target segments, and be intentional about the specific purpose of each service for the respective segment. The focus is to engage target segments intensely with some, but not all, services; to engage Canadians in the public space in a way that is meaningful and personal to the individual.”

Translation: Okay, I was stumped by this for a bit, but I think it means that news about birds and books and other things of interest to old people will continue to be found on radio at 6 a.m., while the rest of you can play the latest game about Drake’s pants on your iPhones. Could be wrong, though.' Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail, 28 June 2014.

Decision Accelerator Parking?


Thanks to Jesse Penny who took this photo in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Jesse comments: 'When I was leaving the parking lot, I couldn't help but notice that they have a designated area for decision accelerators, whatever that means.'

Craig Duncan knows all about this - read his comments on our blog.

Manage perceptions

'We will ultimately need a cup redesign but the short term action is manage perceptions.' Paul Berman, DePuy's director of hip marketing, April 2008. From the ABC Four Corners Report: 'The DePuy ASR hip replacement - a metal on metal device which was implanted in almost 100,000 patients worldwide, including 5,500 here in Australia. The device failed thousands, some of them poisoned by cobalt and chromium. Most have needed further painful, and often unsuccessful, surgery.'


'The Centre's focus is the delivery of person-centred, strengths-based and outcome-focused counselling. The emphasis of our work is building on past successes to work through current challenges and achieve specific related outcomes.' Counselling Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Thanks to Dey Alexander.

Underpinning environmental impacts

'LCA is a method to calculate environmental burden of a whole system, for example, poultry production, and so far there has been no consistency globally in the way that assessments have been conducted.  The FAO project has significant benefits.  Firstly it provides guidelines that will underpin future research and allow harmonisation within the poultry sector in terms of how environmental impacts are conducted. Secondly, these guidelines provide a framework that can underpin possible future product environmental footprinting of food products, and for monitoring improvements in industry performance in terms of its environmental impacts.' Stephen Wiedemann, an agricultural scientist with FSA Consulting. In a press release: 'Australian Chicken Meat Industry Participates in the Development of Global Environmental Guidelines for Poultry'.

Lost in translation: the impact of medical jargon on patient-centred care

'On the managerial side, it's no secret that the NHS has a healthy (or otherwise) liking for waffly jargon. Whether touting vague initiatives such as the now-defunct world-class commissioning or talking offline about negative uplifts (eg funding cuts), NHS managers are notorious for their mastery of nonsensespeak.

Perhaps it was inevitable that the world's fifth largest employer should develop its own particular way of abusing the English language. Fortunately, there is a light-hearted side to it all, with NHS staff and others posting lists of their most-despised terms. It's less amusing, though, when considered as a symptom of a managerial, target-driven culture that, by undermining patient-focused care, has contributed significantly to major disasters...' Conor Farrington, Guardian Professional,1 July 2014

Did PowerPoint Ruin GM?

'Here’s one way General Motors Co.Chief Executive Mary Barra can start fixing her company’s management culture: Ban PowerPoint ...What if someone had simply stood up, without a visual prop, and said: “People are dying.”' Joseph B White, Wall Street Journal, 6 June 2014.