- Part 166 – page 166
2

“Don’t overthink it” is one of my least favorite business buzzword phrases. I like implementation, but I also like thinking about things, too. Taking ample time to think before launching into implementation isn’t necessarily overthinking. But that doesn’t stop people from overusing the phrase. In fact, hearing about overthinking from a boss one too many times caused me to launch a business comedy blog as an online venue to vent my frustration several years ago.

For whatever reasons, I’ve had several people say, “Don’t overthink it,” in recent weeks. On Parks and Rec last night, Ron Swanson even told Andy Dwyer, “I never thought I’d say this, but I think you’re overthinking it, son.”

While I understand the sentiment behind not overthinking something, I question whether that is what’s really happening most of the time. Rather than overthinking, my experience suggests the problem is usually “understarting.”

What’s ”understarting”?

From seeing examples of understarting throughout my career, it’s characterized by:

  • Waiting for more inspiration before starting.
  • Thinking everything has to be planned out before starting.
  • Requiring themselves to start at the natural start when that’s the worst place to get started.
  • Opting to gather more information when they already have enough information to begin.
  • Sitting tight to wait for someone else to initiate a first step.
  • Distracting themselves with something less important and less challenging to do.
  • Avoiding people who will hold them accountable for their lack of progress.

If you ask me, just as the 16th Peter’s Rule (When in doubt: THINK!) would suggest, you can’t really think TOO much. You should be thinking all the time. But that doesn’t exempt you from launching into implementation and the doing of something business.  – Mike Brown

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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

For last Saturday’s monthly #Ideachat, its creator Angela Dunn turned over the moderation role to Pam Moran and Ira Socol as they led an incredibly active #Ideachat on “Creativity and Learning.” As usual, #Ideachat attracted so many smart, intriguing people from around the world tweeting away wildly on how creativity and learning intersect in the classroom, the workplace, and elsewhere. I’m not even sure how many new people I followed on Twitter during #Ideachat, but I know it was at least five in the first two minutes!

Going back through my #Ideachat retweets and interactions, here are paratweets of some of my favorite inspirational comments from throughout the chat:

Creativity in the Classroom

  • Ira Socol / @irasocol: I often encourage my grad students to ‘mutiny’ & do their own thing. They struggle w/ creativity.
  • Jennifer Bond / @teambond :  I have had Innovation Day in my third grade classroom twice now…and both days have been powerful and full of creativity. @pernilleripp introduced me to Innovation Day, a day where kids created their own learning…for an entire day! We need to add time into our curriculum for free, creative time where children can learn self-regulation.
  • Pam Moran / @pammoran: Love MIT Kindergarten for a lifetime– the engineer nerds see this as key for creativity bit.ly/gvyaa6


The Learning Process

Problem Solving and Challenges to Creative Success

  • Ira Socol / @irasocol: Lowering the “cost” of failure is critical to learning and creation – see games v school (My Thought: The idea about “Lowering the cost of failure” is important. It’s the key to creativity in many situations.)
  • Woody Bendle / @wbendle:  Imagination in the pursuit of “art” is different from imagination in the pursuit of solving a problem.  Ira Socol / @irasocol: @wbendle do you think so? Isn’t art always “problem solving”?  (My Thought: That’s what I was thinking! Art can be in everything!)
  • My Contribution: Failure when pursuing creativity is when something doesn’t work out as expected. The failure can create something wonderfully unexpected or be something that needs more creativity to fix it.

Connections and Creativity

  • David Britten / @colonelb : Perhaps ideas are really a remix of information?
  • Vala Afshar /@ValaAfshar:   Rather than focusing on connecting the dots, focus on connecting people. Make imaginative thinking a team sport.
  • Jesse de Agustin / @JdeAgustin : To be our most creative we have to always be “on”, tuned in, and receptive to learning from others.
  • Simon Harvey / @Simon_GB:  When you connect within you open your mind to limitless possibility. Flow.
  • Tara Markus /@TaraMarkus: Delve into robust conversations. Drink in the wisdom of others.
  • Woody Bendle / @wbendle:   Is there anything more exhilarating than a new idea? That flow of creativity is awesome as everything begins to “connect”
  • My Contribution: Imagination for me is fueled by loose connections – “This” reminds me a little of “that,” and then “that” reminds me of something else.

The Act of Creating

What’s glorious is creating something tangible from your ideas. Through creation, you leave something behind to endure or to be deconstructed & redone with brand new creativity!  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at             816-509-5320      to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

A few weeks ago, I covered author and TED founder Richard Saul Wurman and his speech at the PCMA conference, ending with a promise of a future post full of Richard Saul Wurman one-liners. I’m a man of my word, so here is a sampling of paraquotes* from Richard Saul Wurman’s curmudgeonly, idiosyncratic talk:

  • The more famous you are, the shorter the introduction.
  • I do things driven by my curiosity.
  • TED was never my life. I’ve done 80 books on 60 subjects. I write books on things that are interesting to me that I can’t find material about. I did TED because it was fascinating to do.  I sold TED because I got bored with doing a better version of what I’d done the year before.
  • I’m in the “doing of something” business.
  • I sort of feel like a pig in shit. I have access to people I really like to talk to. I love conversations & see new patterns in things.
  • An improvised conversation feels like, and probably is, more of the truth.
  • I don’t have a lawyer, a business manager, a distributor, or a publisher. I fail a lot, but these people wouldn’t change that. I’ve failed sideways my whole life.
  • In 240 BC, a Greek calculated the circumference of the earth within 100 miles. Fifteen hundred years went by before it was really measured.
  • Learning is remembering what you’re interested in.
  • Whatever you think you’re doing now is going to be gone. We live in the age of “also.”
  • What is the edge to a city? There’s no agreement to what the edge of a city is. There’s no basis to compare cities.
  • A meeting is made up of hundreds of little details that people don’t even realize that make them feel more comfortable.
  • I’m just sort of peeing around my territory with my ideas.
  • I’m abrasive now, but I was cocky then (in the 1970s). With that abrasiveness, there’s a certain amount of charm.

* Note:  I’ve never really spelled it out, but I call these paraquotes because the statements are coming from live tweets. Given the limits of 140 characters (minus the conference and speaker hashtags), I can’t be certain these were the speaker’s EXACT words. And to create better thematic sense of them, some tweets are combined which may have come from different sections of the presentation. The paraquotes do, however, represent the gist of what the speaker said.  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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9

In the comments to last Friday’s post about deciding whether to ditch a blogging schedule, Jeffrey Henning asked what factors I’d considered in leading to the conclusion that a daily blog strategy still makes sense for the Brainzooming blog. It’s a very valid question, although one of a strategic nature about our business that I typically wouldn’t address here. However, since Jeffrey asked, here’s a sampling of the factors we considered with our daily blog strategy and our conclusions on each of them.

5 Reasons to Not Ditch Our Daily Blog Strategy

1. Strategic Brand Messaging

We’ve incorporated versions of a phrase referencing we “blog daily on strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media” in a variety of business descriptions personally and about The Brainzooming Group. The phrase says where we focus (both in content and as a business) and how actively we are engaged in these areas. Since we have made a daily blog strategy part of The Brainzooming Group promise and our strategic brand messaging, it is important to live out the promise.

2. Proof Point to the Brainzooming Process

We don’t sell the idea of “creativity when you feel like it.” We sell the Brainzooming process and our creativity exercises and techniques as the way to be creative when feeling creative is the last thing on your mind, but the first thing on your to do list. If we were to only blog when we feel like it, there would be a major disconnect and no credibility to a fundamental proof point for our brand.

3. A Point of Differentiation

There are many organizations claiming to do aspects of what we do in helping companies develop more innovative strategies. Consistently publishing Brainzooming with a daily blog strategy demonstrates our tenure, experience, plus our focus on continually creating and expanding our strategic innovation techniques. When another firm throws up an online site with a few pages and a “check back here” message on a blog, I like our advantage in winning a potential client as they compare who really specializes in strategic innovation.

4. We’re Doing What We Recommend

While The Brainzooming Group isn’t focused exclusively on social media strategy for clients, social media strategy development and implementation has become a significant part of what we do.  If we recommend being a consistent social media presence as a key to success, it’s important we carry out what we recommend, gaining new strategic learnings to benefit our social media strategy clients.

5. Our Readership Is Growing at Triple Digit Rates

We’ve just reached two years for the Brainzooming blog on a single WordPress platform, so we now have stable year-over-year comparisons in Google Analytics (another reason in itself to maintain our schedule). The original article on why you should ditch a blogging schedule suggested a regular schedule “sucks the life force out of your blog.” To the contrary, the Google Analytics metrics show unique visitors nearly doubled in the second year on WordPress while visits from search were up more than 650% in the same period. We reached readers in 179 countries last year. Those metrics don’t even consider audience growth from email subscriptions and the RSS feed. If the audience is continuing to grow at those rates, it’s important to continue fueling it with regular content.

The Only Significant Challenge to Our Daily Blog Strategy: Time

The time demands along with it becoming more challenging to remember what I have and haven’t already addressed in the Brainzooming blog makes it seem like I’m ready for a new creative adventure apart from the blog. Since the Brainzooming blog started, I’ve hardly ever picked up the guitar, painted a picture, or even drawn much. Four years concentrating on a single creative outlet is a long time for me to stick with one form. That frustration does have me considering a variety of other alternatives. So far though, none of the alternatives considered delivers the same advantages as regular, daily publishing.

You Have to Make Your Own Decisions

As I wrote Friday, you have to answer your own question about regular or even daily blogging. The answer that’s right for you or your organization has to make sense with what you’re trying to achieve. What are you thinking about publishing to a regular schedule? Does it make sense for you?  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7

Michael Gelphman at @KCITP forwarded a post to me early in the week titled “Why You Should Ditch Your Blogging Schedule,” asking, “So what do you think?” Yesterday, Alex Greenwood wrote about the post’s recommendation that the standing advice about the need to post on a regular blogging schedule should now be ignored, replacing it with a blog whenever you have something really important and impactful to say approach.

The central reason offered for the change in the regular blogging schedule recommendation was summarized pointedly: “Constant, reliable, regular posting sucks the life force out of your blog.”

This was perhaps the only summarized statement in the blog post. At over 1,100 words, it was a lot of space to spell out little more than the social media guru’s equivalent of the perpetual corporate strategy switcheroo, “Centralize. Now decentralize. Oops, now centralize.” Consultants have gotten paid huge sums for a long time by flipping that advice every three years!

Since, I have been a proponent of regular blogging schedules, it’s fair to expect me to weigh in with what I think about the post.

My initial response to Michael was to return to the fundamental question, “What do you want to achieve?”

When you start answering that question really well, the answer about how frequently to blog (or even if you need to blog at all) becomes a whole lot easier to answer. Going through that process is a lot more important than blindly following an idea someone has tried to turn into an absolute “rule” of social media conduct.

The biggest personal take away for me from “Why You Should Ditch Your Blogging Schedule” was it prompted me to review our objectives at The Brainzooming Group regarding the blog, pushing them around a bit to see if daily blogging still makes sense for us. After that strategic reflection, I still came up with blogging daily as the right answer for us.

But like everything, it is an answer subject to change if our goals change in the future. What do you think? Do you read anything into a brand based on its blogging schedule?  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

 


Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6

Photo by: -steve- | Source: photocase.com

My new reality TV guilty pleasure is Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, a Food Network show hosted by Guy Fieri. In every half-hour Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives episode, Guy Fieri visits restaurants around the US serving up food with a generous helping of extreme creativity.

In the ongoing Brainzooming quest to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths of strong questions and exercises to instigate extreme creativity, here’s a delicious treat. These brainstorming questions are based on examples of extreme creativity in the culinary arts pulled from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives marathons we’ve been watching on recent weekends.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Extreme Creativity

Take your humdrum, status quo business or personal situation and drive it into extreme creativity territory by brainstorming what it would be like if you were to:

  • Incorporate and smash together multiple, diverse influences no one in their right mind would ever consider putting together?
  • Add many more ingredients than you could ever imagine incorporating?
  • Combine ingredients nobody would ever expect to be thrown together?
  • Act like Bubba Gump and use a single ingredient in EVERY way possible?
  • Use authenticity for all its worth and return to doing some things like they ALWAYS used to be done before things got all modern?
  • Spend way more time than anyone would ever expect to prep something before you work on or sell it?
  • Exaggerate the portions so they’re 2 or 3 times (or more) larger than normal?
  • Cultivate, curate, and celebrate total mash-up eclecticism in your surroundings?
  • Completely ignore what your surroundings look like?
  • Do WAY too much of a good thing . . . and then do it some more?

If you’ve been watching Guy Fieri’s show, what extreme creativity brainstorming questions have you pulled from his travels to restaurants around the US? Let’s keep building on the list, along with sharing your favorite dive restaurant for great eating!

American Marketing Association Virtual ExchangeREMINDER – Free presentation on “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” Is Today!

Join me today for a free session on “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation” at 1:45 pm CST (US) during the American Marketing Association Virtual XChange program, “Changing the Game: Innovations for Future Success.” There’s still time to register this morning to take part in the Virtual XChange half-day event from the American Marketing Association. Jump online, ask a question during “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation,” and let me know you’re a Brainzooming reader when you do! – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

I created a mind map last week while brainstorming alternative sponsorship strategies to create value for both parties in a sponsorship opportunity. It was a rough mind map exercise done quickly with a Sharpie marker in my current blogging notebook. I needed to forward it to others for review, but rather than typing and organizing the mind map, I sent it as is, without making an effort to “clean up” my “dirty ideas.”

No, the mind map didn’t contain dirty ideas, as in inappropriate ones. They simply hadn’t gone through any refinement when they were sent for others to take a look.

A time crunch was my initial reason for sending the mind map prior to trying to clean up my creative thinking.  Maybe to further rationalize the decision, I came up with 8 other advantages to sharing dirty ideas:

  • It’s time efficient because you’re investing less time initially and on potentially undoing work you already did.
  • Since you’ve spent less time on the ideas, you’ll probably be less invested in them and more open to suggested changes.
  • It reaffirms your openness as a leader and/or teammate.
  • It may be less intimidating to others who might be reluctant to offer suggestions.
  • There’s a better opportunity to reshape your early creative thinking through input from others.
  • More rough edges on the ideas means more edges to trigger offshoots for new thinking.
  • Others can become more invested in the work through contributing their creative thinking.
  • You have more time to revisit and reconsider your creative thinking since it isn’t finalized yet.

Go ahead. Next time you’re done brainstorming, consider sharing your dirty ideas with your team. They’ll like appreciate the opportunity to help clean them up for you. – Mike Brown

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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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