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No matter what you think of the character, Forrest Gump’s approach to the simplicity of life found him at the center of most major events of the second half of the twentieth century. When striving to simplify some of your complex problems, it would be interesting to see what possibilities would emerge by applying his outlook. Try it, seeking three new ideas from each of these perspectives that Forrest Gump applies:

  • Listening to his mother’s advice
  • Not having a lot of expectations
  • Being open to new experiences
  • Seeing all people the same, without prejudice
  • Not making demands on others
  • Not being judgmental
  • Finding the good in negative situations
  • Maintaining a positive outlook
  • Being loyal to his friends
  • Following simple philosophical principles
  • Doing the basics that make a significant impact
  • Being good hearted and generous

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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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In a Kansas City Star film contest, one entry was “The Bible…In 29 Seconds.” Pick a project and see what a 90+% reduction in one resource means. How pinpoint could your storytelling get?

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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“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

This week’s posts are on simplicity, something which doesn’t come easily to me, unfortunately. It’s a challenge to readily bridge the gap between thinking with complexity and expressing ideas simply. While doing that is easy for some, I’ve personally met very few individuals where that’s the case. So like many, I work very hard to make things simple and have adopted some approaches to help, including:

These are a start, and the remaining posts this week explore other aspects of simplicity: the result of all but eliminating a key resource, checking your strategy for clarity, and delegating your complex issues to get help from the most famous simple man of our generation. The week finishes with a few more quotes on the topic. And by Friday, ideally, we’ll all be able to meet on the other side of complexity, with a greater command of simplicity.

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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How do the companies we do business with feel about us as customers?

And no, not the standard corporate b.s. about being customer-centric, customer focused, or dedicated to serving us. How do the executives and the people we interact with really talk about us when we aren’t around?

Hope it doesn’t sound like the “Charge More” ad from Direct TV. But the ad works because we probably all suspect this IS what it sounds like. The scary part is that those suspicions are likely formed by what discussions about customers sound like at our own companies. If that’s the case, figure out what you can do to change it and start doing something about it right away!

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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I prompted Jan Harness to write about a lesson she solidified for me – the rule of three. As expected, it resulted in two additional posts (“original” + “ignore original” + “apologize for original” = 3). In her third one, she expressed frustration with the first post because the rule of threes is such a part of how she approaches communication that it’s difficult to step away enough to explain it. Jan’s not giving herself enough credit, but in any event, since I’m not as close to it, here are my thoughts on the rule of three.

As Jan notes, the rule of threes works in many situations. Interesting applications among what I do are in both innovation and humor. For instance, many innovation exercises involve:

1. Introducing a current situation

2. Twisting or changing the view of the current situation by altering your perspective

3. Capturing new ideas through having looked at things from this new perspective

The formula in humor looks similar with a slight shift:

1. Introduce a familiar situation

2. Reinforce the situation to create a pattern

3. Change, twist, or break the pattern in an unexpected way to trigger laughter

A more general approach in applying the rule of three to list making, story telling, or information sharing could work like this:

1. State something evident or common

2. Follow item #1 with a related, but slightly modified second item. The modification could be that #2 is more powerful, stronger, or unusual but is still consistent with #1.

3. Follow item #2 with a third item that uses the modifier for #2 in an even more exaggerated fashion – even more powerful, strong, or unusual.

Need more? Click on these three links to see an overview, examples, and how you can better use the rule of three in your communication.

Get it? Got it? Good!

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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There’s been perhaps no greater disruptive force to come on the scene in the past 20 years than Bart Simpson. And in a business environment where disruptive strategy might be the only thing you can do to gain a near term advantage, couldn’t we all learn a thing or two if Bart were the Chief Strategy Officer at our company.

So as a result, let’s kick Bart upstairs and see how disrupting life in Springfield can be applied to disrupting competitors and markets. Try to generate at least 3 new competitive strategy possibilities from each approach Bart employs:

  • Having an “in your face” attitude
  • Not being restricted by respect for authority
  • Displaying a very sharp wit
  • Showing some signs of good behavior and character
  • Using a healthy dose of street smarts
  • Making friends with less popular people
  • Devising elaborate and complex pranks
  • Continually getting into something
  • Playing jokes on people over the phone
  • Mooning people
  • Displaying some unexpected talents
  • Becoming easily distracted from the task at hand
  • Using an alias to hide his part in creating mayhem
  • Reveling in his mischief and rebellion

One caution: using Bart Simpson in the Change Your Character creative thinking exercise will lead to ideas that could be illegal, immoral, or create such bad PR that you’d never pursue them. Yet, those possibilities may have the seeds of really great strategy. Use the Shrimp exercise discussed in a previous post to turn outlandish Simpsonesque ideas into more practical ones.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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

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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Here’s another post from Barrett Sydnor, this one addressing how the sequence of competitive alternatives can suggest both threats and potential opportunities:

One of the most interesting things I ever heard a client say came from a person who had spent most of his work life in cable television. Talking about the future of the industry, he wondered if cable television would ever have come to be if satellite television (DIRECTV, DISH Network) had been invented first.

This leads to an intriguing way of looking at the current and potential competitive landscape for your organization. Ask the question: If their (newer) X had been invented first, how much of a market would there be for our (older) Y? (X and Y can be physical products, services or even brands.)

If your answer is “not much” or even “considerably less,” it’s hair on fire time. It doesn’t mean that life as you know it will soon end, but it does mean that you need to do something and do something fast, no matter how small Product X’s market share might be currently.

Cable did do something, if offered bundles of video, telephone and high-speed internet service that satellite couldn’t match. It did not totally stop the bleeding, but it did cut satellite’s growth from 12% year over year to 7% for each of the last two years. Unfortunately for cable, it has not grown at all and its market share is still shrinking.

As with any type of planning it is often instructive to look at examples outside your industry. Here are some thought starters. A good exercise would be to determine how the entities on the right in each bullet have reacted to incursions by the entities on the left. Have they been successful, why or why not? What can you learn from their successes and failures?

If _________ Were Invented First Would We Have _________ ?
  • Satellite television – Cable television
  • Wireless phones – Landlines
  • Google – Yahoo
  • FedEx – Post Office
  • Email – Post Office
  • Wal-Mart – Sears
  • Kindle – Printed Books
  • MP3 – CD
  • Lexus – Cadillac
  • Riverboat casinos – Las Vegas
  • Macintosh – Microsoft

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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