Process Fun: 7 Products that take process improvement a little too far!

In today’s consumer-driven age, the process fanatics among us are simply spoiled for choice. The smartphone has made telephone calls and email more convenient than ever, cloud systems and SAS have simplified business networking – even GPS has streamlined the process of driving from A to B.

However there are some products out there that put into question the sanity of not just the inventor, but the user as well.

Here is a list of 7 products that clearly demonstrate that some people are perhaps taking ‘simplifying the process’ a few hundred steps too far…

1 - The Portable Chin Rest

We’ve all been there, it’s an early morning, we fell out of the wrong side of bed, and we find ourselves nodding off on the train on our morning commute. But what if your carriage is packed and you’re condemned to stand? Luckily there’s a product that allows you to grab a power nap while taking up minimal space!

The portable chin rest, pictured in all its’ wondrous practicality below, is a foldable metal tripod with a cushiony-soft pad for your chin as you lean forwards for those 40 winks. Two things strike me about this produce – 1) where do you keep it when you’re done with it as it looks rather large and 2) just how tired is the inventor of this product? Why isn’t s/he getting enough sleep?!

This product encourages bad posture, not to mentioned the fact it’s a huge welcome sign for any thieves and pickpockets on your train. Best just get a few early nights instead…

2- Control Alt Delete Wand

The exasperated IT technician’s newest weapon!

Clearly at this stage, even tech support are bored of delivering the same "have you tried turning it off and on again/hitting Ctrl, Alt Delete" advice they’ve doled out for decades every time your email client jams up, and have now resorted to desperate measures to ensure that even the most PC-illiterate users can help themselves – the Control Alt Delete Wand!

No more will you need to stretch your fingers across the keyboard like an amateur pianist, risking… I’m not sure, strain I guess?... Now the Control Alt Delete wand will ensure you’re able to enter the Task Manager in record time and with minimal effort…

… Just as soon as you’ve gotten it out of your drawer and carefully aligned it with all three keys first.

3 - Self Stirring Mug

I was tempted not to include this one because the novelty factor does at least raise a smile. However how long will that novelty last until it finally wears off? The charm of the self-stirring mug is that it’s a cheesy part trick, but once you’ve seen it once, it’s then just relegated to being that annoying whirring thing that Barry from accounts uses because he thinks he’s funny.

On the plus side, I guess it does minimise washing up.

4 - The Banana Slicer

I must admit, my life before the banana slicer was an unendurable existence. With my crippling potassium deficiency, I struggled to slice even the smallest of bananas, and so often found myself at work without a snack or a handy energy pick me up in the afternoons.

I’ve tried it all, forcing them through my desk fan… attacking them with a slinky… I just couldn’t get my banana to slice! Well for those banana-challenged people out there, someone has come to your rescue! Simplifying the process with – the banana slicer! My only trouble with this ingenious device is that it's made for bananas which curve to the right, mine all curve to the left…

5 - The Privacy Scarf

The Privacy Scarf is not to be confused with the recent winter scarf obsession, the snood; however they do both share one common trait – secrecy! One end of the scarf is placed over the users’ head whilst the other end is placed upon a computer screen or electronic device, creating a tunnel between the two and shielding the world from your hilariously embarrassing facebook and twitter posts.

This product is guaranteed to enable subtlety and discretion (provided your co-workers are visually impaired!) Nonetheless, it could also provide a focused working environment, literally blacking out any outside distractions in the workplace.

6 - Bacon flavoured envelopes

The ‘Mmmvelope’ promises to eradicate the grimy taste of the envelope seal in exchange for a bacon taste sensation. This popular meat-flavoured product is bound to encourage a resurgence in letter writing – after all, who doesn’t enjoy receiving a carefully and lovingly penned note that smells faintly of bacon? Be warned though, it may even encourage more meat-obsessed among us to begin licking the screen of their work PC in a futile attempt get the same fix from their email client. For those who care about the efficiency of their business and the sanity of their bacon-obsessive employees, avoidance to this product is strongly advised!

7 - Shoe Umbrellas

Do you love your shoes? No, seriously, DO YOU LOVE YOUR SHOES? Someone out there loves their shoes a little too much, enough in fact to have created this, our seventh entry in this list. Having used a large amount of last months salary on brand new designer suede shoes, there’s nothing worse than a sudden downpour to blemish you new possessions and consequently ruin your day is there? No, there isn’t, I’m glad you agree.

Cue the shoe umbrellas! No longer is the humble and yet functional umbrella just a device that we hold above our heads, now we can also mount them to our feet – just another tiny demonstration of our mastery of the natural elements.

… No word yet on how this product performs when the water is coming up at your feet though – say, when stepping in a puddle…

As well as pushing way beyond the boundaries of taste, these products all clearly demonstrate that overthinking the process can have both hilarious and disastrous consequences. Get bogged down, in the minutiae, procrastinate on the wrong details, and you could end up with unexpected results that may well do more harm than good. While we applaud attempts at process excellence, the key is to know when too much is, well, too much. In layman’s terms, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!