Can you deliver innovative innovation?

I spotted the following text on a website that advertises projects being put out to tender for local businesses. Do let me know in the comments if you think you understand what the job actually entails.

I’ve cut and pasted it exactly as it appeared, though for your reading pleasure, I’ve annotated the most egregious bits.

About the Opportunity:
********** urgently require an associate(s) to deliver our ******* project as below. Once shortlisted you will be asked to provide an appropriate quote.

Goods/works/services we need to buy


The project will be delivering against the following activities:
******** is a brand new project where the Focus is on specialist environmental supportand and will bridge the gap between mainstream Business London Support programme and instrumental innovation programmes, [Instrumental innovation – yay, my favourite kind of innovation!] especially those emerging through the London Development Agency (LDA

[Now we’ve got off to a bad start here because random capitalisation, sloppy punctuation and a disregard for where words begin and end count as environmental pollution in my book.]


Start up, Micro – Small businesses (approx 50 employees)


The project will have a special focus on SMEs in Food, Creative, Technology and Environmental sectors.
The project builds upon existing services provided.[But we won’t tell you what those services are because that would make it too easy.] Supporting the development of business-led networks/networking to encourage collaboration and cross-sector innovation. [Still lovin’ all this innovation – especially now I know it’s “cross-sector innovation”]For Start up, Micro – Small businesses to work towards a sustainable greener business.SME must be over 12mths trading
Program is a process of business development with an environmental sustainable innovative approach. [Oh, I get it, for this bit you just wrote a load of buzzwords on separate pieces of paper, put them in a bag, shook it up and wrote them down in the order they came out. Nice work! Great that you got “innovative” in there, too – this project wasn’t sounding innovative enough to me before now.]

size / scale of our requirements


51 – Provision of a minimum level of assistance of at least two days. [Two days’ work between now and summer 2011? Me likey the sound of that? Or is that two days x 51? I’m confused. Either way, though, I like the whole idea of providing a minimum level of assistance.]
5 – A first involvement between at least one SME and one knowledge base organisation, achieving the minimum level of assistance. [Hang on, I won’t even be expected to “provide” a minimum level of assistance – merely “achieve” it? Liking the fact that your expectations are so low. That might come in handy as I’ve no idea what a “knowledge base organisation” is. Or, for that matter, a “first involvement”.]
20 – SMEs disseminating and facilitating knowledge transfer, providing achieving the minimum level of assistance. [Oh, I get it, now you’re equivocating on me about the whole “minimum level of assistance” thing. C’mon, what’s it to be? Because I’m really not sure what “disseminating and facilitating knowledge transfer” involves either, and wouldn’t like to commit to anything beyond my skill-set (as you would surely call it)]
7 – SMEs referred directly to environmental business support partners to support environmental improvements.
5 – SMES actually undertaking environmental management opportunities.
9 – Jobs Created.
5 – Innovation related Jobs Created. [Hey, I want one of these Innovation related Jobs – they sound much cooler than what I’m doing now.]
1 – Number of Innovation Related projects [Ditto!]
17 – Jobs Safeguarded
1 – Number of businesses integrating new products/services
13 – Businesses with improved performance

We require quality standards / essential requirements as follows


• Must be SFEDI accredited Business Advisor
• Must be qualified to access / deliver Environmental advise. [But poor spelling we can live with.]
• Must can demonstrate track record of similar type delivery. [Must or can – which is it to be? Because, you know, we’re all a bit creative with our CVs, aren’t we? And do I get to choose what type of type I deliver? I like serif types best.]
• Must be able to meet tight deadlines
• Must be very proactive
• Must have access / contacts already within North London Environmental sector
• Must have access / deliver Environmental workshops in:
o Business Environmental Planning
o Financial Planning
o Innovative Environmental presentation [You’ve reverted to that bag with the bits of paper in it again, haven’t you? Good to know “innovative” is still in there though.]
o Knowledge base transfer and others [Can I get away with just accessing/delivering the “others” bit of this, please? Because, you know, as we’ve already established, I’m a bit lacking in the whole “knowledge base transfer” area.]

Start: ASAP
Completion Date: Summer 2011

10 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. Richard Owsley says:

    Just wonderful. Isn’t it nice to know where our taxes go? If these people were in the commercial sector they’d not last a week. Yet they purport (I think) to be supporting small businesses. Is there a business anywhere which could find the help of people who could write this, or respond to this, useful?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Clare Lynch, Steve Dempsey. Steve Dempsey said: Glorious corporate bullshit. RT @goodcopybadcopy: Can you deliver innovative innovation? This job's for you! […]

  3. […] goodcopybadcopy » Blog Archive » Can you deliver innovative … […]

  4. Brad Shorr says:

    Clare, You’ve done an admirable job of exposing the flaws in this job description. On a positive note, I believe the composition gets off to a spectacular start with “About the Opportunity.” The phrase is clear, concise, and even intriguing. My guess is the writer paused for a sandwich or something and lost his momentum. Too bad.

  5. Jonathan Hirons says:

    Yes it is nonsense, isn’t it? I happen to be in the middle of responding to this and I was googling ‘Innovative Environmental presentation’ in case this was some piece of gobbledegook that I’d missed.

    Sadly, this is the world some of us inhabit. In response to your other post, most of us who try to make a living at this, do a good job despite the system and do want to help small businesses. This is the only way we can do it because the small businesses haven’t got any money to pay for advice ( at least I can spell it). For the record, knowledge transfer is training to most people and a knowledge transfer organisation is probably a college or university but don’t quote me.

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by goodcopybadcopy: Can you deliver innovative innovation? This job’s for you!

  7. Richard Owsley says:

    Sorry Jonathan, my post was a typical ‘grumpy old man’ reaction that tarred everyone with the same brush. I know there are many good people in these advisory services as I do some work for some of them from time to time. Unfortunately, not writing recruitment ads, though.

  8. Jody Bruner says:

    Hi Clare,

    Hilarious, until the headache sets in. I appreciate the fun you have with it. Here are some others I came across:

  9. Stephen says:

    Great – you’ve just made my eyes bleed. Thank you for that.

    You know, I am not usually a violent person, but how about we round up whichever bottom-dwelling communicator wrote this codswallop and flay them to death with semi-colons?

    Who’s with me?

  10. Clare Lynch says:

    Richard – my taxes were the first thing I thought of when I read it, too. The obscure language and allusion to (without explanation of) “building on other services” also makes me suspect that they’ve already decided who’s getting the gig and are only putting the work out to tender because they have to. (Let’s hope for Jonathan’s sake that that’s not the case).

    Jonathan – welcome! Good to know that even those in the sector think this is gobbledygook.

    Brad – I suspect the writer was so pleased with the delicious piece of corpspeak that is “delivery of outputs” that he threw down that sandwich and forgot all about lunch.

    Jody – your link made me feel the same way I felt when I saw a minimalist version of Aida in which the hero’s face was randomly painted blue. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

    Stephen – I’d be honoured to march alongside you in the semi-colon infantry brigade. Let the battle commence!

Leave a Reply