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The NOVO Awards, boiled eggs and Christopher Columbus

The NOVO Awards (www.novoawards.co.uk) are powered by the BEST Growth Hub and are Essex’s most prestigious business awards programme that are centred on innovation.   The NOVO Awards are all about being brave, bold and ambitious.  They are about breaking the mould and showing why you are better than your peers and your competitors. 

At NOVO we love a story, and we came across a witty tale that explains how Christopher Columbus outsmarted the Spaniards with innovation. 

Here’s what happened……

On March 15th in 1493, Christopher Columbus and his crew arrived back in Barcelona from their first, 7-month long voyage to the America’s. They had been the first Europeans in history to set foot on what is today known as the Bahamas, Cuba, as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

They were celebrated like modern-day hip-hop stars. After Columbus had showed off the treasures that he’d brought home, among them unheard of things like the tobacco plant (aren’t we lucky he found that?!), the pineapple and the hammock, the Spanish royalty invited Columbus to dine with them.

As he was munching on a delicious turkey leg, one of the nobles across the table said: “You know, actually it was inevitable for us to find this place. We have sooooo many great explorers. In fact, if I’d had a fleet, I would’ve done it myself!”  Columbus almost choked on his piece of poultry. He couldn’t believe his ears. Even worse, the rest of the fat aristocrats started chiming in: “Yeah, you’re right, I could’ve done that!”.  “Me too, actually!”  “So could I!”

But Columbus wasn’t having it. It was his day. Columbus Day, for Pete’s sake! (Although technically that’s in October).  He called over one of the servants and said: “Bring me a dozen boiled eggs!”  Columbus enjoyed the befuddled looks on the blue-blooded faces as he handed each of them one of the eggs and said: “If y’all are so smart, I bet you can all make an egg stand upright — without any tools or help!”  They all tried, keeping the egg upright with their index finger – then letting it go, holding it perfectly still in place, or finding the perfect spot on the table.  But even when mustering all their balancing skills, no one was able to pull it off.  After watching them fail for a couple minutes, Columbus took his egg, tapped its bottom on the table, so that it slightly broke, and set it upright on the dented end.  As the royals buried their faces in their hands, Columbus said, tongue-in-cheek: “If it was THAT simple, why didn’t any of you think of it?”.  Now, give me my money!”

It’s all very well being smart, but you need to act on it.  It’s the same in business.  So maybe, business leaders of Essex, be more Christopher Columbus!

Any size business from any industry can enter The NOVO Awards (free of charge) before the closing date of 1 July 2021.  Winners will receive a bespoke trophy and be invited to a gala presentation on 21.10.21.  Read more about the awards, sponsors and judges at www.novoawards.co.uk