10

Following up the previous post on the June 2012 Fast Company list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012, today’s list of creative thinking ideas from the Fast Company issue focus on disruptive and divergent thinking along with suggestions for enhancing your creative perspective. As with the other lists in this series, these creative ideas were inspired by the profiles in Fast Company. My intent was to pull a single creative thinking idea or creative lesson from each of the 100 profiles.

One interesting note about the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business list is that the numbered rankings don’t seem to have any real meaning. At least I draw that conclusion from how certain groups of people who have similar characteristics (i.e., apps developers, two-person teams, fashion industry leaders, etc.) are given consecutive numbered rankings. That would be just TOO much of a creative coincidence.

Despite this indication the numbered rankings are so much hooey, each of the thirty-three creative thinking ideas below references the person whose profile inspired it, along with the person’s number on the 100 Most Creative People in Business list.

Here’s hoping these creative ideas get you thinking and provide ideas for enhancing your own creative efforts.

Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking

What’s your creative imperative – the one thing that HAS to be part of your creative effort?  Leslie Berland – SVP, Digital Partnerships and development, American Express (#6)

What in your past is like what you’re doing today? What did you learn that applies to what you’re doing now?  Steven Zeitels – Director, MA General Hospital’s Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (#14)

When evaluating data or an idea, challenge what’s being presented from the completely opposite point of view to determine how strong the strategic thinking is.  Rebecca Van Duck – Head of Consumer Marketing, Facebook (#2)

What are multiple ways you can create more strategic connections than anyone else does?  – Garet Hil – Founder, National Kidney Registry (#9)

Compile and share information to connect separate audiences who don’t have any basis to talk to each other right now.  Ma Jun, Director – Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (#1)

Take on creative initiatives that allow you to collect massive amounts of data you can mine to direct your own organization or sell to others. For Foursquare, it’s about connecting information on people, places, and time-specific actions.  Alex Rainert – Head of Product, Foursquare (#77)

How can you substitute easier processes for the hard parts your audience deals with every day?  Ben Horowitz – Cofounder, Andreesen Horowitz (#8)

For cool ideas and design to be successful, they can’t be embarrassing to wear or use.  Steve Lee – Product Management Director, Google [X] (#20)

If you’re facing creative detractors, how can you create creative baby steps they’ll find more acceptable for getting started?  Maelle Gavet – CEO, Ozon Holdings (#10)

Innovate with only things that already exist in your business. Put together new combinations from pre-existing elements.  Adam Brotman – Chief Digital Officer, Starbucks (#3)

Invite people to exercise their creative talents . . . maybe no one has ever asked them about creativity before?  Rosario Dawson & Maria Teresa Kumar – Founders, VotoLatino (#12)

Find a compelling motivation (and the associated process) to allow customers to commit to purchases earlier than they might now to make it practical to buy things that would never make it to market on spec.  Aslaug Magnusdottir – Cofounder, CEO, Moda Operandi (#78)

Apply design and pleasing aesthetic principles to the most necessary, thankless, and joyless tasks humans have to do to raise the creative energy from them.  Jessica Alba – Cofounder, The Honest Company (#17)

Consider every interaction as a performance and allow the audience to participate, shape the outcome, and leave with the results.  Björk – Musician (#36)

Creative Thinking Perspectives

Design isn’t a liner process, so incorporating strategic thinking is vital to successfully handling a problem that doesn’t have a nice, neat structure.  Matthew Schmidt – Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Advanced Military Studies (#22)

Be okay when the first examples of your creative work aren’t what you expected.  Wes Anderson – Director, Moonrise Kingdom (#28)

Go do the equivalent of whatever “biking around the neighborhood” would be in your market and soak up the inspiration from a different perspective than you have before.  – Marcus Samuelsson – Chef, Owner, Red Rooster (#90)

Throw out how you usually categorize things and come up with a completely different categorization approach.  Ron Johnson – CEO, JCPenney (#4)

Defy the creative rules of your world while still delivering a cohesive creative whole.  Kin Ying Lee – Creative Director, Madewell (#31)

Don’t be afraid to call someone’s bluff and create what they say you can’t or shouldn’t do.  Marvin Ammori – Lawyer, The Ammori Group (#32)

What incredibly worthwhile activities are hiding behind the “scary monsters” in your world?  – Tim Schafer – Founder, Double Fine Productions (#39)

Explicitly pick a time or point in your life and use it as a reference to solve creative or design problems faced now.  Ken Parks – Chief Content Office, Spotify (#33)

Create so that what you’re creating is “stunning” to at least one of the senses.  Diébédo Francis Kéré – Architect, Kéré Architecture (#34)

What would an experience look like that is destined to “disturb the universe”?  – Ross Martin – Executive VP, MTV Scratch (#46)

How can you use your creativity to add more serenity to your customers’ lives?  Leah Busque – Founder, TaskRabbit (#42)

What would you change about your product to make it more inviting to people?  – Deborah Borda – CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic (#44)

How would Sesame Street (or Romper Room, if you’re old enough to remember it) teach new things to people who think they’re too old to learn new things?  – Bruktawit Tigabu – Founder, Director, Whiz Kids Workshop (#45)

Change the natural order that things happen to spark innovative ideas, i.e. What if you focused a picture after it’s taken?  Ren Ng – Founder, CEO, Lytro (#70)

Get out of the office or conference room and go look around at people, places, and things both relevant and tangential to your creative objective.  – Rick Barrack – Chief Creative Officer, CBX (#79)

Not everyone that makes the “Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business” list has a strong enough profile to yield even one creative inspiration of substance.  – Chris Milk – Director (#83)

What are you doing today to make your product, business, or market wildly controversial? Are you doing enough?  Rufus Griscom – Cofounder, General Manager, Babble Media (#88)

Think Africa. “There’s something really exciting about the word . . . It evokes an emotion in everyone.”  Tal Dehtiar – Founder, Oliberte Footwear (#96)

Who would you fire if you fired co-workers or clients that aren’t good for your business?  Jimmy Smith – Chairman, CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Amusement Park Entertainment (#43)  – Mike Brown

Subscribe for Free to the Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

Download the FREE Outside-In Innovation
Strategy Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Continue Reading

0

The June 2012 issue of Fast Company highlights the magazine’s list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012. I will admit to not reading all of previous Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business lists. This year, however, having Ceelo Green on the cover (along with Purrfect) compelled me to take a shot at reviewing the entire list in-depth for the first time.

And of course, taking the time to read the whole list necessitated coming up with a way to turn the effort into a Brainzooming blog post. My starting idea was to pick one creative inspiration from each of the 100 people and turn the creative lessons into a massive 100-item list post.

After going through and identifying the 100 creative lessons that stood out for me, however, I realized the post was about 3000 words! That is typically a week’s worth of blog posts!

To not overtax you, the list of creative lessons I captured from the Fast Company Most Creative list is going to be spread out over several days in this shortened week. Each lesson references the person whose profile inspired it, along with the number they had on the list.

Today’s list includes thirty-one creative strategy lessons from this year’s list. Other days will include lessons from the list on creative perspectives, storytelling, and disruptive thinking. The hope is the lessons get you thinking even more creatively and provide ideas for enhancing your own creative efforts.

Creative Strategy Lessons from Fast Company – The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 List

Surround yourself with people who have contrasting thinking styles . . . then hold on.  Flavio Pripas & Renato Steinberg – Cofounders, Fashion.me (#54)

Success and determining which of your efforts will be successful are for your audience to decide. It’s a numbers game, so launch and see which things will hit.  Julie Klausner – Comedy Writer (#59)

If people aren’t buying you based on your talents, maybe it’s because they don’t how your values and goals fit with their aspirations.  Shara Senderoff – Cofounder, CEO, Intern Sushi (#63)

Start with your life problems and think through how to solve one of them if you want to make better apps (or maybe anything else).  Lee Linden – Cofounder and CEO, Karma (#67)

Really hone what you do strategically by only addressing the most important part of your customer base and quit focusing on everyone else.  Sarah Robb O’Hagan – President, Gatorade (#23)

What opportunities exist for your organization to be a creative magnet to your audiences?  – Marci Harris – Founder, Popvox (#13)

To build connections online, start with asking questions and offering your knowledge to aid others.  Claire Diaz-Ortiz – Manager of Social Innovation, Twitter (#21)

Try presenting an all-or-nothing creative vision and strategy. No room for compromise. Take it or leave it, but don’t tweak it.  Celestine Maddy – Founder, Wilder (#99)

To make your creative pitch, play out the negative things that would happen to the potential client if they don’t follow your recommendation and embrace your creativity.  Laura Mather – Cofounder /  Chief Strategy Officer, Silver Tail Systems (#16)

Even though it’s easier to sponsor another organization’s event, create a sponsorship property specifically for your organizationAbanti Sankaranarayanan – Deputy Manager Director for India, Diageo (#37)

“I don’t ever want to represent anybody. It’s my duty to enlighten people.”  Neil Degrasse Tyson – Host, PBS’s Cosmos and Radio Show StarTalk (#49)

When volunteers are able to use their natural talents and expertise (as opposed to donating time for something they’re not good at doing), you’re more likely to retain them.  Rachel Chong – Founder, CEO, Catchafire (#56)

Have a review board comprised entirely of your target market – even if that’s a group of grade school kids – to see if what you’re planning resonates with them.  Olajide Williams –  Founder, President, Hip Hop Public Health (#65)

When you’re getting started, be prepared to chase after possibilities and test cases you hadn’t imagined.  Glenn Rink – Founder, AbTech Industries (#71)

If you had one thousand “followers, friends, and fans that meant something,” that’s better than 10 million unengaged people. (Really? In pure numbers, to get the same amount of participation from 100% of one thousand people, you’d only need 1/100 of 1% participation from 10 million people.) Jared Leto – Entrepreneur, Musician (#72)

Borrow (complete) strong design contexts from outside your industry and apply them to what you do to look different. (Example: Applying Heathrow airport signage to mobile phone interfaces.)  Jeff Fong – Design Lead for Windows Phone, Microsoft (#81)

Unlikely customers will stretch your organization’s creativity in finding new ways to solve their problems.  Hannah Choi Granade – President, Advantix Systems U.S.A. (#73)

Give your team an assignment from a demanding fictional client to stretch its creativity beyond the marketplace’s expectations and extract your “creative aspirations from (y)our finances.”  – Mike Simonian, Maaike Evers – Designers, Mike and Maaike (#76)

“Seventy percent of an experience should be what consumers know and thirty percent should be surprise and delight.”  Rachel Shechtman – Founder, Story (#80)

What are you doing to make “eye contact” with potential customers virtually? And what are you doing to engage them (with their interests in mind) when they get really close?  Sam Mogannam – Owner, Bi-Rite Market (#86)

Find ways for your best customers to share their expertise and hacks with your new customers.  – Cindy Au – Community Director, Kickstarter (#82)

Head directly to where your audience is. Do not wait around at your online site. Share your content where they are and get something started.  Vivi Zigler – President, Digital Entertainment, NBC Universal (#89)

Manufacture greater scarcity in the experience you create over time to push more robust intensity, deeper interaction, and the possibility of greater participant leadership in shaping the experience.  Jerri Chou – Founder, The Feast Social Innovation Conference (#94)

What would your design process look like if the client specified every detail they wanted? Do you think that’s a level of involvement your clients are really seeking?  Edwin Neo – Founding Partner, Ed Et Al Shoemakers (#98)

Celebrate customers using your product in incredible ways. Make them the creative heroes of your brand.  Sally Grimes – Global Vice President, Sharpie (#100)

Whether in traditional or new media, people spend time with and pass-on content they expect friends will enjoy.  Ben Smith – Editor, Buzzfeed (#29)

Great advice from Magic Johnson: “It’s okay to be famous and be well liked, but you got to start owning things.”  Shaq – C’mon. It’s Shaq. He doesn’t need a title. (#74)

When trying to signal your commitment to the market, there’s no short cut to the time advantage of starting now and sticking with it.  Lourenço Bustani – Founder, Brazil CEO, Mandalah (#48)

Celebrity still counts for something so find a way to borrow the authority of celebrities to gain attention and action.  Yael Cohen, Founder – F*ck Cancer (#38)

Look and create five years ahead. What creative inputs will be important then?  Carla Schmitzberger – President, Havalanas (#97)

Look for games as the high impact form of artistic expression for decades to come.  Chelsea Howe – Director of Design, SuperBetter Labs (#41)  – Mike Brown

 

Subscribe for Free to the Brainzooming blog email updates.

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these innovation benefits for you.

Continue Reading

4

In its June 2012 issue, Fast Company singled out its list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012. The list is an intriguing compilation of people and teams applying creativity globally in both expected (entertainment, gaming), and unexpected (kidney donations, insurance) fields.

My take on the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business List was to read the profiles for each of the creative people in business and capture 100 creative inspirations, ideas, lessons, and tips that stood out among the write-ups. The discipline of imposing the one creative inspiration limit presented an intriguing challenge. On some longer profiles, it wasn’t always easy to pick a single creative idea. On other profiles, however, I was scraping to find a creative idea worth sharing.

In any event, the objective with presenting my list of 100 creative inspirations, idea, lessons, and tips is to provide another layer of content over the Fast Company most creative people list. Although the content here was inspired by the Fast Company list, they represent my distillations and take-aways from the list. Additionally, rather than an apparently arbitrary numerical list (which is reflected in the link to each underlying profile), I’ve categorized the creative ideas into categories:

  • Creative Strategy
  • Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking
  • Creative Thinking Perspectives
  • Creative Storytelling
  • Creative Process

Creative Strategy

Surround yourself with people who have contrasting thinking styles . . . then hold on.  – Flavio Pripas & Renato Steinberg – Cofounders, Fashion.me (#54)

Success and determining which of your efforts will be successful are for your audience to decide. It’s a numbers game, so launch and see which things will hit.  – Julie Klausner – Comedy Writer (#59)

If people aren’t buying you based on your talents, maybe it’s because they don’t how your values and goals fit with their aspirations.  – Shara Senderoff – Cofounder, CEO, Intern Sushi (#63)

Start with your life problems and think through how to solve one of them if you want to make better apps (or maybe anything else).  – Lee Linden – Cofounder and CEO, Karma (#67)

Really hone what you do strategically by only addressing the most important part of your customer base and quit focusing on everyone else.  – Sarah Robb O’Hagan – President, Gatorade (#23)

What opportunities exist for your organization to be a creative magnet to your audiences?  – Marci Harris – Founder, Popvox (#13)

To build connections online, start with asking questions and offering your knowledge to aid others.  – Claire Diaz-Ortiz – Manager of Social Innovation, Twitter (#21)

Try presenting an all-or-nothing creative vision and strategy. No room for compromise. Take it or leave it, but don’t tweak it.  – Celestine Maddy – Founder, Wilder (#99)

To make your creative pitch, play out the negative things that would happen to the potential client if they don’t follow your recommendation and embrace your creativity.  – Laura Mather – Cofounder /  Chief Strategy Officer, Silver Tail Systems (#16)

Even though it’s easier to sponsor another organization’s event, create a sponsorship property specifically for your organization.  – Abanti Sankaranarayanan – Deputy Manager Director for India, Diageo (#37)

“I don’t ever want to represent anybody. It’s my duty to enlighten people.”  – Neil Degrasse Tyson – Host, PBS’s Cosmos and Radio Show StarTalk (#49)

When volunteers are able to use their natural talents and expertise (as opposed to donating time for something they’re not good at doing), you’re more likely to retain them.  – Rachel Chong – Founder, CEO, Catchafire (#56)

Have a review board comprised entirely of your target market – even if that’s a group of grade school kids – to see if what you’re planning resonates with them.  – Olajide Williams –  Founder, President, Hip Hop Public Health (#65)

When you’re getting started, be prepared to chase after possibilities and test cases you hadn’t imagined.  Glenn Rink – Founder, AbTech Industries (#71)

If you had one thousand “followers, friends, and fans that meant something,” that’s better than 10 million unengaged people. (Really? In pure numbers, to get the same amount of participation from 100% of one thousand people, you’d only need 1/100 of 1% participation from 10 million people.) – Jared Leto – Entrepreneur, Musician (#72)

Borrow (complete) strong design contexts from outside your industry and apply them to what you do to look different. (Example: Applying Heathrow airport signage to mobile phone interfaces.)  – Jeff Fong – Design Lead for Windows Phone, Microsoft (#81)

Unlikely customers will stretch your organization’s creativity in finding new ways to solve their problems.  Hannah Choi Granade – President, Advantix Systems U.S.A. (#73)

Give your team an assignment from a demanding fictional client to stretch its creativity beyond the marketplace’s expectations and extract your “creative aspirations from (y)our finances.”  – Mike Simonian, Maaike Evers – Designers, Mike and Maaike (#76)

“Seventy percent of an experience should be what consumers know and thirty percent should be surprise and delight.”  – Rachel Shechtman – Founder, Story (#80)

What are you doing to make “eye contact” with potential customers virtually? And what are you doing to engage them (with their interests in mind) when they get really close?  – Sam Mogannam – Owner, Bi-Rite Market (#86)

Find ways for your best customers to share their expertise and hacks with your new customers.  – Cindy Au – Community Director, Kickstarter (#82)

Head directly to where your audience is. Do not wait around at your online site. Share your content where they are and get something started.  – Vivi Zigler – President, Digital Entertainment, NBC Universal (#89)

Manufacture greater scarcity in the experience you create over time to push more robust intensity, deeper interaction, and the possibility of greater participant leadership in shaping the experience.  – Jerri Chou – Founder, The Feast Social Innovation Conference (#94)

What would your design process look like if the client specified every detail they wanted? Do you think that’s a level of involvement your clients are really seeking?  – Edwin Neo – Founding Partner, Ed Et Al Shoemakers (#98)

Celebrate customers using your product in incredible ways. Make them the creative heroes of your brand.  Sally Grimes – Global Vice President, Sharpie (#100)

Whether in traditional or new media, people spend time with and pass-on content they expect friends will enjoy.  – Ben Smith – Editor, Buzzfeed (#29)

Great advice from Magic Johnson: “It’s okay to be famous and be well liked, but you got to start owning things.”  – Shaq – C’mon. It’s Shaq. He doesn’t need a title. (#74)

When trying to signal your commitment to the market, there’s no short cut to the time advantage of starting now and sticking with it.  – Lourenço Bustani – Founder, Brazil CEO, Mandalah (#48)

Celebrity still counts for something so find a way to borrow the authority of celebrities to gain attention and action.  – Yael Cohen, Founder – F*ck Cancer (#38)

Look and create five years ahead. What creative inputs will be important then?  – Carla Schmitzberger – President, Havalanas (#97)

Look for games as the high impact form of artistic expression for decades to come.  – Chelsea Howe – Director of Design, SuperBetter Labs (#41)

Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking

What’s your creative imperative – the one thing that HAS to be part of your creative effort?  – Leslie Berland – SVP, Digital Partnerships and development, American Express (#6)

What in your past is like what you’re doing today? What did you learn that applies to what you’re doing now?  – Steven Zeitels – Director, MA General Hospital’s Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (#14)

When evaluating data or an idea, challenge what’s being presented from the completely opposite point of view to determine how strong the strategic thinking is.  – Rebecca Van Duck – Head of Consumer Marketing, Facebook (#2)

What are multiple ways you can create more strategic connections than anyone else does?  – Garet Hil – Founder, National Kidney Registry (#9)

Compile and share information to connect separate audiences who don’t have any basis to talk to each other right now.  – Ma Jun, Director – Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (#1)

Take on creative initiatives that allow you to collect massive amounts of data you can mine to direct your own organization or sell to others. For Foursquare, it’s about connecting information on people, places, and time-specific actions.  – Alex Rainert – Head of Product, Foursquare (#77)

How can you substitute easier processes for the hard parts your audience deals with every day?  – Ben Horowitz – Cofounder, Andreesen Horowitz (#8)

For cool ideas and design to be successful, they can’t be embarrassing to wear or use.  – Steve Lee – Product Management Director, Google [X] (#20)

If you’re facing creative detractors, how can you create creative baby steps they’ll find more acceptable for getting started?  – Maelle Gavet – CEO, Ozon Holdings (#10)

Innovate with only things that already exist in your business. Put together new combinations from pre-existing elements.  – Adam Brotman – Chief Digital Officer, Starbucks (#3)

Invite people to exercise their creative talents . . . maybe no one has ever asked them about creativity before?  – Rosario Dawson & Maria Teresa Kumar – Founders, VotoLatino (#12)

Find a compelling motivation (and the associated process) to allow customers to commit to purchases earlier than they might now to make it practical to buy things that would never make it to market on spec.  Aslaug Magnusdottir – Cofounder, CEO, Moda Operandi (#78)

Apply design and pleasing aesthetic principles to the most necessary, thankless, and joyless tasks humans have to do to raise the creative energy from them.  – Jessica Alba – Cofounder, The Honest Company (#17)

Consider every interaction as a performance and allow the audience to participate, shape the outcome, and leave with the results.  – Björk – Musician (#36)

Creative Thinking Perspectives

Design isn’t a liner process, so incorporatingstrategic thinking is vital to successfully handling a problem that doesn’t have a nice, neat structure.  Matthew Schmidt – Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Advanced Military Studies (#22)

Be okay when the first examples of your creative work aren’t what you expected.  – Wes Anderson – Director, Moonrise Kingdom (#28)

Go do the equivalent of whatever “biking around the neighborhood” would be in your market and soak up the inspiration from a different perspective than you have before.  – Marcus Samuelsson – Chef, Owner, Red Rooster (#90)

Throw out how you usually categorize things and come up with a completely different categorization approach.  – Ron Johnson – CEO, JCPenney (#4)

Defy the creative rules of your world while still delivering a cohesive creative whole.  – Kin Ying Lee – Creative Director, Madewell (#31)

Don’t be afraid to call someone’s bluff and create what they say you can’t or shouldn’t do.  – Marvin Ammori – Lawyer, The Ammori Group (#32)

What incredibly worthwhile activities are hiding behind the “scary monsters” in your world?  – Tim Schafer – Founder, Double Fine Productions (#39)

Explicitly pick a time or point in your life and use it as a reference to solve creative or design problems faced now.  – Ken Parks – Chief Content Office, Spotify (#33)

Create so that what you’re creating is “stunning” to at least one of the senses.  – Diébédo Francis Kéré – Architect, Kéré Architecture (#34)

What would an experience look like that is destined to “disturb the universe”?  – Ross Martin – Executive VP, MTV Scratch (#46)

How can you use your creativity to add more serenity to your customers’ lives?  – Leah Busque – Founder, TaskRabbit (#42)

What would you change about your product to make it more inviting to people?  – Deborah Borda – CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic (#44)

How would Sesame Street (or Romper Room, if you’re old enough to remember it) teach new things to people who think they’re too old to learn new things?  – Bruktawit Tigabu – Founder, Director, Whiz Kids Workshop (#45)

Change the natural order that things happen to spark innovative ideas, i.e. What if you focused a picture after it’s taken?  – Ren Ng – Founder, CEO, Lytro (#70)

Get out of the office or conference room and go look around at people, places, and things both relevant and tangential to your creative objective.  – Rick Barrack – Chief Creative Officer, CBX (#79)

Not everyone that makes the “Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business” list has a strong enough profile to yield even one creative inspiration of substance.  – Chris Milk – Director (#83)

What are you doing today to make your product, business, or market wildly controversial? Are you doing enough?  – Rufus Griscom – Cofounder, General Manager, Babble Media (#88)

Think Africa. “There’s something really exciting about the word . . . It evokes an emotion in everyone.”  – Tal Dehtiar – Founder, Oliberte Footwear (#96)

Who would you fire if you fired co-workers or clients that aren’t good for your business?  – Jimmy Smith – Chairman, CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Amusement Park Entertainment (#43) 

 

Creative Storytelling

What’s your story? Write your story. Then share it. Over and over.  – Bradford Shellhammer – Cofounder, Chief Creative Officer, Fab.com (#50)

Make stories. Tie together important touch points and create stories from them.  – Steve Porter – Viral Video Producer (#60)

When you develop your own material you can create it in the way you want, with the people you admire, and end up with creative output that works for you.  – Aziz Ansari – Comedian, Actor, “Parks and Rec” (#87)

Curation isn’t exclusively selection. It’s about playing out a perspective that connects to the audience.  Maria Popova – Editor, Brainpickings.org (#51)

In conveying information (whether infographics or not), start with analysis, followed by determining the size and breadth of the insights, and finish with making it accessible.  – Eddie Opara – Partner, Pentagram (#52)

Introduce new content to your audience every day wrapped in great creative storytelling with strong characters, plot twists, surprising resolutions and a hint at what happens next.  – Andrew Wilson – Executive Vice President, EA Sports (#40)

In what ways does every piece of new content you create build on your amazing story?  – Jeremy Heimans – Founder, Purpose (#11)

Dress the creative part. It’s your obligation to wear jeans if it allows others to see you in the proper light.  Cyrus Massoumi – Cofounder, ZocDoc (#57)

Creative Process Tips

It’s harder to sustain your creativity than it is to work to get your creative break. Focus on only doing what counts to make or keep your creative break. Don’t let yourself become distracted.  – Ceelo Green – Entertainer (#5)

You can’t sit still and expect ideas will just pop out of your head. Go do something!  – Elvis Chau – Executive Creative Director, JWT Shanghai (#84)

How much nonsense stuff are you doing? Is it good nonsense (that spurs creativity) or bad nonsense (it saps creativity)?  – Andrew Yang – Founder, Venture for America (#27)

If you’re the creative force in your organization can you afford to personally “touch” everything your organization produces? Can you afford not to?  Pamela Love – Founder, Pamela Lover N.Y.C. (#93)

Make every square inch of your work space creative and fill it with people who have both the creative and technical talents to create through your entire process.  – Tony Haile – CEO, Chartbeat (#64)

Hold a weekly “Inspiration Friday,” event to share anything that’s been a creative inspiration in the past 7 days.  – Neil Blumenthal – Confounder, Warby Parker (#92)

Try a “walking meeting” to talk and walk and solve.  – Andrew Hsu – Founder, Airy Labs (#68)

Spit out as many ideas as fast as you can to get them out and captured. Then think about the connections and context among them.  – Greg Gunn – Entrepreneur in Residence, City Light Central (#85)

Take an experimental view and put together unconnected things to find the strategic connections.  Masashi Kawamura – Cofounder, Creative Director, Party (#47)

When you’re in a partnership, one person’s passion for an idea or approach trumps the other’s reticence.  – Anand Rajaraman & Venky Harinarayan – Coheads, Walmart Labs (#53)

When you’re creating a fantasy world, there still should be a solid internal logic to it.  – Thomas Tull – Founder, Chairman, CEO, Legendary Entertainment (#55)

Share a starting idea or piece of creative work with the crowd, and let the crowd edit, change, or rank it to create the final version.  – Roy Price – Director, Amazon Studios (#15)

Invest more time in the visualization of whatever you do or create.  – Miriah Meyer- Computer Scientist, University of Utah (#24)

Every creative effort has to incorporate time to consider its aesthetics.  – Janet Iwasa – Molecular Animator, Harvard University (#25)

If you have different strategic efforts focused on the same creative goal that are difficult to compare, come up with a new success metric that works for both.  – Stefan Olander – VP, Digital Sport, Nike (#7)

If you’re addressing multiple audiences and can’t play creative favorites among them, create a prototypical audience member who is both everyone and no one at the same time.  – Kibwe Tavares – Cofounder, Factor Fifteen (#91)

Turn teaching into an experience of a class creating something together.  – Michael Karnjanaprakorn – Founder, Skillshare (#18)

When education is the goal, contact and interaction is a fundamental aspect of the process.  – Anka Mulder – President, OpenCourseWare Consortium (#19)

If you don’t want to seem abrupt to your audience, signal what you’re planning to do before you do it.  Leila Takayama – Research Scientist, Willow Garage (#30)

When signaling change, physically destroy a representation of the attitudes that are getting in the way (i.e., put negative culture characteristics on beer bottles and smash them).  – Jeff Charney – CMO, Progressive Insurance (#35)

Audiences are more accepting of new content being delivered without as much polish, allowing you more room for trial, error, and learning.  – T.J. Miller – Actor, Comedian (#58)

Personal relevancy and engagement drive not only why people open things online, but also why people want to interact with anything.  – Ron J. Williams – CEO, Cofounder, Knodes (#62)

Invest more of your creative time and energy on creating incredible transitions in your work.  – Danny Trinh – Designer, Path (#66)

Maybe literacy in the Arab world is bad because of bad typefaces. Great reminder to keep asking, “Why else could this be happening?” until you get to very surprising answers.  – Nadine Chahine – Type Designer, Linotype and Monotype Imaging (#69)

When thinking about creative executions for mobile applications, strip things down to their simplest, tiniest forms.  – Ethan Marcotte – Freelance Web Designed (#75)

When someone’s pushed to the breaking point in a process you discover what they REALLY believe vs. what they’re doing simply it seems like the right thing to do.  – Carrie Brownstein – Writer, Actor, Portlandia (#95)

If there’s a problem with even one part of your creative output, there’s a problem with all of your creative output.  – Robin Guenther – Principal, Perkins + Will (#61)

When there’s a problem, look at the things that are still working and rewind them until everything seems to function in an expected way. Then restart.  – Nina Tandon – Research Scientist, Columbia University (#26)   – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at [email protected] or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these innovation benefits for you.

Continue Reading

1

Suppose you’re known for a certain piece of creative work that doesn’t suit your needs anymore. Maybe it’s a band that grows weary of its first hit that is now years in the past and no longer reflects the band’s sensibilities – yet people still want to hear the big hit.

Gator-Its-Mine-KindaOr perhaps you developed a creative work with another person and the creative relationship dissolves, but you don’t want to lose access to your creative collaboration. Many bands dissolve with the performers going on to solo careers, but does that mean the band’s hits die too?

What Do You Do with Your Old Creative Work?

One answer is to simply refuse to revisit your creative hits. That’s what R.E.M. did with “Radio Free Europe,” the group’s breakout song. R.E.M. ultimately refused to play the song live, with only infrequent violations of its self-imposed restriction. In one live video of “Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe filled the song with the F-word so MTV wouldn’t be able to run the video.

Another approach is to formally retire your creative work with a splash of ceremony. Years ago, comedian Jerry Seinfeld “buried” an entire standup routine he had been doing in the interests of making him and/or his audience embrace new material.

Paul McCartney, on the other hand, is still out performing Beatles songs long after the group’s creative collaboration ended, surrounded now by a band of “who knows who they are” musicians. And he’s not just performing his own parts, but in some cases (i.e., “A Day in the Life”), actually recreating John Lennon’s parts relatively faithfully.

Eric Clapton reworked his classic song “Layla” from his Derek and the Dominoes days into a moribund acoustic version that sounded as if an overly-tired lounge act were playing it in a hotel bar.

What can you do?

I’m certain there are other options I haven’t imagined yet.

Reclaiming YOUR Creative Collaboration

This question is top of mind because I’ve been struggling recently to figure out how to retain some older collaborative creative work integral to a presentation I’m currently reworking for several client workshops. Since the collaboration is over, I’ve been stymied about what to do – either bury it (akin to Seinfeld) or just keep on going merrily along (as Paul McCartney has done).

It was only following a 1/2 hour of prayer after church last week the answer started to become apparent.

There are clear parts of the work that are mine, while other parts I created are less obviously my work. After this half-hour of mental surrender, it dawned on me to simply change the parts of the creative work that aren’t mine into ones that are. All it will take is a slight re-working of some characters, generalizing a story setting, and swapping out one concept for another. With those changes, the work will be mine exclusively.

I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been stuck on how to make that change for four years. Yes, everyone can get set thinking that something is ONE thing can NEVER be another. But as Benjamin Zander says, “It’s all invented.” That means it can be re-invented, too!

While the re-vamped creative work will feel different to me, it’s not as if I’m screwing around with “A Day in the Life,” “Layla,” or even “Radio Free Europe.” In all likelihood, audience members won’t be familiar enough to recognize the difference.

It just comes down to me mentally “owning” the whole creative work that started as a creative collaboration. And, in the course of these changes, I’ll have a NEW creative work that reflects my sensibilities and is ready to share with many audiences to help trigger their own creative investigation. – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact TheBrainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at[email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Continue Reading

2

Today, we have a second installment in our Brainzooming series on strategic thinking questions inspired by the Fast Company list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013.

Today’s strategic thinking questions focus on creativity, social media, and content marketing.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, these strategic thinking questions don’t appear in the Fast Company most creative people in business profiles. They were created by reviewing the profiles and asking ourselves what questions those profile may have asked themselves while working on their creative achievements.

The reason we’re emphatic this is because of what happened with Fast Company after publishing our post covering the 2012 list. We noticed late one morning the main Fast Company account shared our tweet about the blog post. Noting the hundreds of thousands of followers they have, I quickly inserted a Brainzooming ad in the post, and waited for the blog traffic explosion. Then, as a double check, I went to the Fast Company RT to see what it would be like to wind up at our blog from a Fast Company link.

Guess what?

Fast Company swapped out our link to Brainzooming in my original tweet, substituting one to the list on its website. If we’d ripped off their copy, I would completely understand. But our content is unique AND featured more than 100 links to the magazine’s website. That’s a social media foul, in my book, but what are you going to do?

Here are today’s UNIQUE strategic thinking questions. You can click to get to the underlying profiles, but don’t expect to find these creativity, social media, and content marketing questions there!

Creativity, Content Marketing, and Social Media Questions Inspired by the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013

Creativity Questions

How many scary and risky things do you say “Yes” to in the course of a year? How many do you say “No” to? What’s the impact of your answers on your creative output? (13. Connie Britton – ACTRESS, NASHVILLE)

What are new ways to expand your global influences without having to leave your office? (2. Dong-Hoon Chang – EVP, HEAD OF DESIGN STRATEGY, SAMSUNG)

What’s the longest your organization has ever brainstormed, and are you ready to brainstorm 10x longer at one stretch? (27. Maria Mujica – LATIN AMERICAN MARKETING DIRECTOR, GUMS AND CANDY, MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL)

How can you deliberately create more white space to experiment, try stuff, learn, change, and do it better? (32.Hosain Rahman – FOUNDER, CEO, JAWBONE)

Why would it be interesting to hear you vent about what’s gone wrong or has failed in your life? (34. Marc Maron – COMEDIAN, WTF WITH MARC MARON)

If you were required to triple the number of new creative ideas you generate on any given day, what would you do differently to boost your creative output? (37. Darrin Crescenzi – SENIOR DESIGNER, PROPHET)

What creative residue do you leave yourself at the end of the day to fuel a quick creative start tomorrow? (47. Simon Rich – WRITER)

How can you grow the number of self-described “creatives” you talk to weekly to boost your new ideas? (6. Max Levchin – CEO, AFFIRM; BOARD MEMBER, YAHOO)

How would it change your creative perspective if, as a TV show’s creator is called a “showrunner,” your title were whatever you produce + “runner”? (77-83. TV’S Head of the Class – A GROUP OF SIX TV SHOW CREATORS)

If you typically have a plan in place for your creativity, how would just starting and seeing what happens feel more refreshing and creative? (77-83. TV’S Head of the Class – A GROUP OF SIX TV SHOW CREATORS)

How can you bring together young, experienced people and older, inexperienced people to reverse the typical learning environment of the older teaching the young? (84. Michelle Rowley – FOUNDER, CODE SCOUTS)

What happens when you flip your typical creative process around completely? (90. Pendleton Ward – ANIMATOR)

What’s stopping you from asking for favors and help from people you have no business trying to talk to? (96. Ruzwana Bashir – COFOUNDER, CEO, PEEK)

Lots of risk can thwart addressing lots of societal need, unless someone is bold enough to do something – how bold are you? (98. Wendell Pierce – COFOUNDER, STERLING FARMS FRESH FOODS)

Content Marketing and Social Media Questions

How can you collect and share more real-life stories of people your company has helped in meaningful, personal ways? (10. Scott Harrison – FOUNDER, CHARITY: WATER)

What would happen if you tried to come up with and select a year’s worth of content marketing ideas before you published your first piece of content? (18. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele – COCREATORS AND STARS, KEY & PEELE)

If you covered only one topic, how would the narrow topic free you for incredible diversity in how you deliver content on the topic? (20. Lara Setrakian– FOUNDER, SYRIA DEEPLY)

What are all the ways you are and aren’t making it easy for your fans to create and share content about their experiences with your brand? (40. Kate Phelan and Justin Cooke – CREATIVE DIRECTOR, TOPSHOP; CMO, TOPSHOP)

How are you getting ready to have your brand catch and do something with the content your audience throws back at you? (21. Jaime Robinson – VP, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PEREIRA & O’DELL)

If you’re giving new content away, what and when will you get paid for it? (28. Diplo – DJ, FOUNDER, MAD DECENT)

What are new ways to serve up your best content and not just your most recent content to readers? (45. Kate Lee – DIRECTOR OF CONTENT, MEDIUM)

What will it take for your brand to process external inputs and do / say something about them in real-time via social media? (7. Jill Applebaum and Megan Sheehan – CREATIVE DIRECTOR, JWT; ART DIRECTOR AND DESIGNER)

Would a prank via social media potentially help draw attention to a cause you care about deeply? (76. Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato – FEMINIST ACTIVISTS)

When it comes to content, what more could you do with your content to create attention for your brand or another brand that needs attention? (88. Sscott Borchetta – CEO, BIG MACHINE RECORDS)

How can you create a place for smart, opinionated, and even snarky customers to hang out and share their knowledge about what they love (which might not be your brand)? (91. Mahbod Moghadam – COFOUNDER, RAP GENIUS)

What will it take to create as clear a group of dissenters for your content as you have created fans? (92. Leandra Medine – FOUNDER, MANREPELLER.COM)

If you provided 3 weeks of training to the content creators in your organization, how would you best use the time? (97. Stephanie Horbaczewski – PRESIDENT, CEO, STYLEHAUL) 

Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

 

Continue Reading

4

The June Fast Company features its list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013. Last year, we used the issue as a point of departure to share ideas, tips, and thought starters inspired by each of the creative people on the list. Last year’s series of Brainzooming posts based on the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 has received great attention all year long, and for this year, we’re taking a bit of a twist.

InteractiveGiven interest in the recent Brainzooming post highlighting more than 200 strategic planning questions, we used the stories from the most creative people in business list to generate strategic thinking questions inspired by the varied creative successes represented in the issue.

As with last year’s Brainzooming recap, these questions AREN’T in the Fast Company issue. Instead, we applied our technique of taking a case study and imagining the questions that would inspire someone else to get to the same place as the person or business in the case study.

So to repeat: this is ALL NEW CONTENT you’ll be reading throughout our series of posts. Later in the week, I’ll explain WHY I’m being so emphatic about this being content you won’t see in Fast Company. Stay tuned for that!

Branding and Customer Experience Questions Inspired by the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013

Today’s list includes twenty-five strategic thinking questions on branding and customer experience. Later in the week, we’ll feature questions on creativity, content marketing, insights, and strategy.

Branding Questions

How can you change your brand experience to cause people to want to spend more time with the brand? (12. Liz Muller – DIRECTOR OF CONCEPT DESIGN, STARBUCKS)

How would an artist create a live art event starring your brand? (16. Ai Weiwei – ARTIST)

What could you do to grow a large enough audience and facilitate a way for them to want to talk about your brand more and longer? (19. Fred Graver – HEAD OF TV TEAM, TWITTER)

If “cute” is part of your brand personality, how can you make your brand experience more childlike to enhance its “cuteness”? (22. Phill Ryu and David Lanham – FOUNDERS, IMPENDING)

What do your customers love about your brand, and how do you respect what they love when you freshen your brand experience? (25. Jason Wilson – LEAD PRODUCT DESIGNER, PINTEREST)

What are the hidden aspects of your brand experience that hold new, untold, and intriguing stories? (63. Roman Mars – HOST, 99% INVISIBLE)

How can you start serving the cool part of a market that isn’t being served sufficiently? (68. Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick – COFOUNDERS, SUGARFINA)

Customer Experience Questions

If your product were completely interactive with a user’s touch, why would it be exciting for them to touch the product? (15. Ivan Poupyrev – SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST, DISNEY RESEARCH)

What are you doing to add more personalization (that provides value) into your customer experience? (17. Michelle Peluso – CEO, GILT GROUPE)

How would fewer choices make things easier and better for your customers? (67. Aerin Lauder – FOUNDER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, AERIN)

How can you offer customers a smaller set of options, but give them more flexibility and higher performance as a trade-off? (30. Bob Mathews and Gary Chow – SENIOR RADIO FREQUENCY ENGINEERS, AT&T)

If you redesigned your business – even if it’s a stodgy business – around delivering “more fun for customers,” what would have to change about your customer experience? (35. Alli Webb – FOUNDER, DRYBAR)

How would your brand’s customer experience change if you designed it for the lowest common denominator technology instead of the newest technology? (4. Kirthiga Reddy – DIRECTOR OF ONLINE OPERATIONS, FACEBOOK INDIA)

What can you do to translate what you know about your customers into pleasant surprises for them? (46. Jackie Wilgar – EVP OF MARKETING, LIVE NATION)

What are new ways you can turn customer research efforts into customer design opportunities? (48. Tina Wells – FOUNDER, CEO, BUZZ MARKETING GROUP)

In what ways could you create opportunities for your customers to meet, talk, and bond? (56. Sarah Simmons – CHEF, CITY GRIT)

How can you make the online and offline experiences of your brand have the same feel? (64. Tare Lemmey – CEO, NET POWER & LIGHT)

If your customers don’t have a 100% success rate with your product or service, how can you make it more like something they can do/use with complete success? (66. Michael Buckwald and David Holz – COFOUNDERS, LEAP MOTION)

What can you do to feed information to customers about what other customers are thinking / choosing / doing right now? (70. Kevin Bruner – PRESIDENT, CTO, TELLTALE GAMES)

In what ways can you bring together people who wouldn’t otherwise meet but would find value in doing so? (71. Caroline Ghosn – FOUNDER, CEO, LEVO LEAGUE)

How could you turn a complicated process in your customer experience into a one-step process? (73. Katelyn Gleason – COFOUNDER, CEO, ELIGIBLE)

If your product requires training to use, what do you need to change about it so you can eliminate all training? (74. Aneel Bhusri – COFOUNDER, CO–CEO, WORKDAY)

What is pre-planned in your customer experience that would benefit from being spontaneous, and how can you make that happen? (75. Andy Cohen – TV HOST, EVP OF TALENT AND DEVELOPMENT, BRAVO)

How can you make it easier for potential customers to go from receiving a reminder about your brand to taking action (with telepathic communication as the end goal)? (85. Grace Woo – FOUNDER, PIXELS.IO)

If combining live events, social, and crowdsourcing is where it’s at, how do you use social to let the crowd, whether in-person or remotely, influence your event? (87. Bozoma Saint John – DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL BRANDING, MUSIC, AND ENTERTAINMENT, PEPSICO)

Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

 

Continue Reading

1

To wrap up World Creativity and Innovation Week, here are ten of the most popular Brainzooming posts since last year’s celebration related to creativity. The ten article represent a good overview of our creativity content, including posts on strategic thinking questions, creative ideas, creativity tips, and creative thinking exercises:

1. Creating Cool Product Names for a New Product Idea – 8 Creative Thinking Questions

2. Extreme Creative Ideas – 50 Lessons to Improve Creativity Dramatically

3. Storytelling & Creative Process Tips from the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012

4. Creative Thinking Ideas from the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012

5. Cool Product Names – 17 Creative Questions for Winning Product Name Ideas

6. Strategic Thinking – Exercises and Tools for Creative Thinking and Strategy

7. How to Be More Creative? 3 Ways to Boost Creative Confidence

8. Creativity In Mobile Game Design by Hillary Hopper

9. Creative Strategy Lessons from the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012

10. Creative Thinking Exercise – SCAMPER around KC by Woody Bendle

Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you improve your creative thinking skills and generate fantastic ideas! To boost your organization’s innovation success, contact TheBrainzooming Group to help you rapidly expand strategic options and create strong implementation plans. Email us at[email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ll deliver these benefits for you.

Continue Reading