The most interesting bag lady…ever!

It was the dim and distant past (OK a few years ago) and as part of a leadership development programme we (two of our brave band) was scrabbling around for something to provide stimulation for a workshop on ‘Commercial Awareness’. Please bear in mind these were the dark days before Kit Bag had embarked on it’s mission to rid the world of mediocre team building and what we could find was either a) BORING or b) extortionate in price.

Later that same evening whilst indulging in some Twitter banter we struck up conversation with a lady called Calypso or Clippy to her friends (and fans) who runs a small business designing and manufacturing several ranges of bags that apart from fulfilling the core purpose of carrying stuff also allow the owner to customise them with pictures of their own. They look something like this…


A few e-mails, a phone chat and a rather boozy lunch later and we had the most fun concept – a workshop with Clippykit as the subject but the best bit was that Clippy herself would join the day, providing real life insight, answering questions and becoming part of the learning. Since that first day we’ve run it a few times for various groups and the combination of the story, Clippy and the opportunities for the group to explore her business always works really well.

We’ve teamed up Clippy to offer this as a product in the kit bag and you can find more details about it here or buy one of her bags here (they make awesome gifts – we can attest to that!)


From the best to the worst…

So late last Spring we tweeted an open invite for guests to contribute to a series of blog posts. The only parameter was they had to come under the title “The Best Learning Experience I ever had”. We had some fabulous contributions and you can find a link to some of them here and from there the breadcrumbs to the rest should be easy!!

In conversation with one of our partners, Doug Shaw, yesterday we happened upon the idea of another series with the opposite title “The Worst Learning Experience I ever had”. In Doug’s words “the worst ones always give the best learning”. So form an orderly queue Ladies & Gents and comment or DM us on Twitter if you’d like to be included.

Some thoughts to start the school year

We came across this through a Facebook friend, the inimitable Ms. Ailsa Suttie. It was originally created to the comedian George Carlin but from a bit of t’interweb hunting it now appears it was written by a Minister from Washington state by the name of Dr. Moorehead. Whoever wrote it, we thought there were some good thoughts for reflection before we all (those of us who didn’t go back to school last week) jump back into the fray.

Happy New Year all….

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind

Testimonial from ResMed

As we mentioned in our post earlier, we received a very flattering testimonial from ResMed who commissioned and played our new product ‘Bread’.

Andrew Huxter, Director of Finance & Operations, sent this:

We had a challenge to look at the team and the individuals within it and help them develop both their strategic ability and planning skills. We worked with the team at Kitbag to develop ‘Bread’ – a simple game that illustrates the challenges of planning in today’s world. A fun business-based framework that challenged the team to remove themselves from their comfort of their own field of experience and expertise and immerse themselves into the world of bread – something everyone knows but very few people think about. The game required the teams to manage through and assimilate the minefield (and reality) of incomplete and exhaustive data in order to make their strategic choice that they could recommend being implemented.

It was a great session. The participants got absorbed and those (including myself) supporting it could see how the insight behind the design of the game drove some great discussions which we can use to change thinking in the business.

Thanks Andrew – much appreciated!!

New stuff in our Kitbag

We’ve got some products we absolutely love running, they were where Kitbag started and have been really well received as we’ve gone through this our first year but every kitbag needs refreshing from time to time and thanks to some client feedback and a client request we’ve got 2 new products to add to the bag.


The first was based on a request from medical devices company Resmed. They were bringing their European commercial team together for a 3 day meeting and needed an exercise or game that was both fun but also stimulated thought they could transport back into the realities of their business. It also had to be accessible to a multi-national multi-lingual audience, couldn’t be expensive and had to be completed in half a day – no challenge then!

We came up with Bread – a simple exercise that takes the team into the world of the bread category in retail and challenges them to use provided and collected data to understand how the category could be grown. Thankfully the game worked (we’ve had a great testimonial from their FD) and they are cool with it now becoming one of our core products

You can find out more about the Bread game (as they named it) here

Bid the Grid

The second new product is a response to repeated client feedback that whilst they loved playing ‘The Property Trading Game’ they didn’t like being bound to London. They wanted the fun, challenge and immersion that The Property Trading Game provided but needed it to be portable to where their organisation or client needed an intervention – our answer is Bid the Grid.

Teams compete to finish a number of tasks they have to bid for from our grid – scoring points on completion to find the eventual winner. It tests the team as a whole, in pairs and as individuals making them plan and allocate tasks working out who will be best at what. The race against time and the other team(s) will drive behaviour that will give the participants lots of food for thought (for that read reflection) and the facilitators some great data to help them help the groups develop.

You can find more information about Bid the Grid here

Now, please form an orderly queue and let us know if we need to get a new order pad printed 😉

A new player for the game…

It’s been a busy October so far with new products being designed (more on that later) and some of our previous clients coming back to get more stuff from our kit bag – happy days!

The thing we are most excited about is another partner to join the fold. PTHR and it’s punk rock star Perry Timms (aka the most networked man in HR) have joined the Kitbag fold to take the game to a new group of clients. Perry has been a big supporter of ours since launch and it’s great to have him on board.

You can find more about PTHR and our other partners Change Continuum and What Goes Around on Our Partners page.

The best learning experience I ever had – Ian Pettigrew

Today’s guest post comes from Ian Pettigrew. Ian runs Kingfisher Coaching and be found on Twitter here.

Inspired by Mike Collins’ post, Ian’s best ever learning experience also involves a track day but with a very different outcome…

On 6th September 1999 at Donington Park I had an amazing day with a motorbike on a race-track and learned a lot.

At slow speeds, race-tracks seem like they’re badly designed and disjointed as nothing quite seems to fit together. But once you’re at full pelt, clear racing lines start to emerge and each corner flows seamlessly into the next.

And that’s the feeling I had. Absolutely flat out, the most amazing feeling. 150 mph down the Dunlop Straight, shifting my weight forwards to keep the front wheel on the ground for the bumpy bit under the bridge and then shifting my weight from side to side as each corner seamlessly flowed into the next.

Until they didn’t

It went, as the biking expression goes, “Earth, Sky, Earth, Sky. Ambulance.”

Another rider did something I wasn’t expecting, and I was forced to take McLeans far tighter than I’d intended and far tighter than I should for the speed I was doing. There are various ways that a bike can crash and I had a ‘highside’ and went over the handlebars of the bike at what I think was around 90mph. I bounced a few times on the track and ended up in the gravel trap.

What followed next was a bit of a blur of race doctors and paramedics apologising for cutting through my one-piece racing leathers and then Hospital, spending hours in A&E immobilised on a spinal board while they identified what I’d broken and tried to find one of my vertebrae that wasn’t showing up on any X-Rays.

Jumping straight to the end of the story, it all works out OK. After a few operations to pin things and adjust and remove some pins, I am fine. I consider myself hugely fortunate. I was doing something I love and I came a cropper. I have nobody else to blame.

I learned a very important lesson. That day is the closest I have come to dying and my thoughts for the few hours after the accident are crystal clear in my memory. There were no thoughts of regret or fear and I just felt annoyed. And the reason is this: The 12 months before the accident, I’d been doing a job that I shouldn’t have been doing. I knew it wasn’t the right job and the right environment for me. It was slowly wearing me down and it was doing me no favours. But I stayed in it.

My main thought in the hours after the accident was if that was how I’d spent my last 12 months on this Earth, I’d have been really, really disappointed! My choice to put up with things that were wrong suddenly looked very different to me.

This life isn’t a dress rehearsal and we should make the most of it. It can be easy to go with the comfortable option, or to put up with things you know you shouldn’t and sacrifice the pursuit of your dreams. But just because it seems easy, it doesn’t make it right.

I’m hoping to be around for a long time but if this were my last year on this Earth, I’d still be happy with what I’ve done this last year and the choices I’ve made.

I learned a valuable lesson from my motorbike accident that continues to inspire the decisions I make each day.