One remote working challenge for Powell Gilbert is maintaining our usual supportive environment and collaborative ways of working while we are all in different places. Although we have regular virtual get togethers (at which, disappointingly, nobody has yet managed to turn themselves into a potato), we have also been trying to keep more informal channels of communication open. One recent initiative involved firm members nominating weird and wonderful patent applications for the inaugural Powell Gilbert Daft Patent Award. The nominations were then whittled down by means of a rigorous (or arbitrary, depending on who you believe) voting process before the hotly-contested award was handed out.
The top seven, in reverse order, were:
7. The swinging method, nominated by Ben Rowlatt. Nothing to do with car keys in a bowl. Just swinging, on a swing, which – judging by a quick YouTube search – can be harder than it looks.
6. The self-spanking machine, nominated by Lin Liu. A largely self-explanatory idea that may have come into its own during lockdown.
5. The mouth sound muffler, nominated by Claire Robinson. Although the idea behind this is to muffle one’s own screams, the feeling in several Powell Gilbert remote offices is that this could be a bestseller if manufactured in child sizes.
4. The high five simulator, nominated by Max Seccombe. Allows a solitary sports fan to perform a high five to express excitement during a televised sporting event. Given that there are currently no such events we are, in Dragon’s Den parlance, out.
3. The birthing apparatus, nominated by Carissa Kendall-Windless. Oddly, this does not appear on the NCT-approved list of birth choices. But what would they know?
2. The urinal forehead support, nominated by Tom Oliver. Now that he is a partner at the firm we are expecting to see these appearing in the Powell Gilbert facilities.
1. The cat flap / death star, also nominated by Ben Rowlatt. At Powell Gilbert we have nothing but respect for an intellect that devises a radiation detection device and then uses it to: (i) open a cat flap when a cat of the correct colour approaches (plainly nobody told him that all cats look grey in the dark – BOOM); and also (ii) trigger an orbiting nuclear deterrent system (or death star). Arthur Paul Pedrick, we salute you, not least because your invention allows us to shoehorn in a reminder that the original Death Star had a Canteen.