Blog | The Brainzooming Group - Part 191 – page 191
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“This project is a priority, and it has to be completed in the next two weeks – no questions asked!”

How many times do you hear your boss or a client make a strong statement about it being imperative to speed up a new project?

Or how many times do you hear yourself talk about the need to speed up?

Saying You Want Something FAST Won’t Make It So

For all the desire to have projects or work processes move REALLY FAST, it seems, especially in larger organizations, cultural forces work against projects moving FAST despite what project stakeholders expect.

The reason is a desire for FAST doesn’t mean anybody wants the related project management implications:

  • Rearranging what’s important
  • Saying what you’re going to do
  • Doing what you say
  • Working from a strong to-do list
  • Giving more effort
  • Focusing attention
  • Not depending on people who’ve never been dependable
  • Motivating /encouraging /cajoling / bribing people who have been dependable before to do even more
  • Anticipating project management roadblocks
  • Addressing potential project management roadblocks before they’re reached
  • Spending money wisely to eliminate other roadblocks
  • Sharing vital information that allows people to act
  • Being responsive
  • Making decisions to not pursue every possible idea
  • Handling trade-offs
  • Acting instead of delaying
  • Hitting deadlines
  • Speaking now or forever holding your peace
  • Ignoring “nice to have” opinions but getting all the “must have” opinions
  • Getting out of the way when you’re not critical
  • Caring more or caring less – whichever moves things along

FAST is easy to say. Its project management implications are hard (sometimes apparently impossible) to stomach inside an organization.

Doing Something About It

When you demand FAST, pave the way for your team to actually deliver it. If you’re on the team, manage your personal performance so you’re not a barrier to FAST.

Because when FAST isn’t happening, there’s always somebody (or some bodies) who refused to sign up for the project management implications.  – 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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help enhance your marketing strategy and implementation efforts.

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After writing about extreme creativity for a couple of days, here’s a real-life example: Gulp, the world’s largest stop-motion animation film. It’s extreme creativity in that it takes the skill set (manipulating and filming inanimate objects in a very controlled indoor setting) and scale (small) of typical stop-motion animation films in a completely different direction:

All that plus the film was captured using  the sponsor’s product (a Nokia phone…three of them actually), dangled from a crane. This is extreme creativity! Here are both the “Making of Gulp” and “Gulp” videos. It may just be me, but I actually enjoyed the “making of” video more than the actual Gulp video. Then again, I tend to be more fascinated by the “how” of extreme creativity, than the final result. But that’s just me; you can pick whichever one you’d like to watch first!

Join for #Ideachat on Saturday

Remember to join us on Saturday, August 13 at 9 am EDT for #Ideachat and share a part of Saturday with some great creative thinkers from across the globe. See you there!  – Mike Brown

 

The Making Of Gulp

Gulp

 

For an additional innovative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

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Waiting for my wife in a New Orleans shopping mall years ago, I was killing time looking at a poster store display. A poster of “Peter’s Laws” caught my eye.  Subtitled unflatteringly as “The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive,” the 19 “laws” were pretty accurate descriptions of decision making, negotiating, and implementation strategies used by the extreme creative talents I have worked for during my career.

While I’d always had great success pairing up with and interpreting these creative geniuses for co-workers, it occurred to me the laws could help others who struggled working with them.

I bought the Peter’s Laws poster and subsequently passed the list along (sans subtitle) to new people who just couldn’t seem to get the hang of working with an extreme creative talent. If you struggle in working with a creative genius, check out Peter’s Laws for yourself.

Nine Extreme Creativity Questions

My interest in Peter’s Laws today, however, is this:

If Peter’s Laws shed light on how creative geniuses approach game-changing creativity, then I should be able to turn them into questions ANYONE can use to push their own extreme creativity.

Here is the result – a sampling of extreme creativity questions you can use to take a big swing at game-changing results:

  • What would be bigger & bolder than anything you have ever done and potentially impossible for you to pull off successfully?
  • What BIG, new & radical things are the smartest people & organizations (regardless of industry) doing that you need to do too?
  • What even more outlandish things would you do if there were no rules?
  • If someone tells you “no,” what are you going to do to go around or above them and keep going?
  • What would you be doing if you could never hear any objections people might raise?
  • What can you do to dramatically speed up every element of the big projects you are working on right now?
  • What can you do that is completely opposite of anything typical or expected?
  • What would you do if your goal were to be 100x bigger or more impressive than you are today?
  • What will create impossible-to-ignore buzz daily about what you’re doing and accomplishing?

Pointing these questions at your strategic objective will yield multiple game-changing possibilities to pursue.

Putting Extreme Creativity Questions into Action

What do you think of these extreme creativity questions? Are there questions you’d modify or other questions you would add to make sure your results are as creatively extreme as possible? Let me know what you think! – Mike Brown

 

Sound good, but you’d like some help in pushing your creative thinking and  doing something with your great ideas? The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their 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 help enhance your marketing strategy, project management, and implementation efforts.

 

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  • Facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying innovation resources
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As mentioned in Monday’s post about Saturday’s #Ideachat, I am writing a creativity book on Brainzooming tools which can help you be more creative when faced with a creative block. The subject has expanded to considering when the problem isn’t really a lack of overall ideas, but a lack of ideas you can actually implement successfully. In reviewing the book draft with Jan Harness last week, we discussed structuring the book with ideas that are most helpful in situations you (potential readers) typically encounter so you can best apply your creative thinking talents.

Two Types of Creative Thinking Talents

Each of us has a personal set of creative thinking talents. Some people are visionaries who dream up incredible possibilities few can imagine. Having worked for several individuals with this gift, I suspect their brains and personalities are wired differently to enable game-changing creativity. They don’t experience boundaries and roadblocks to creativity in the same way others do. It’s as if the “Nos” that bind others’ imaginations don’t exist for them. They are truly thinking with no creative boundaries.

Extreme creativity, as described above, isn’t my strongest suit; turning creative visions into reality is. My talents are understanding what needs to be accomplished and developing multiple ways to accomplish an objective. My strength is pushing and bending the roadblocks to creativity which stand in the way of great results. I describe this as having “creative playmaking” ability.

Both Kinds of Creativity Need to Work Together

Both creative thinking talents are important, although much of the Brainzooming blog content focuses on improving playmaking. That’s where I’ve done the most work to compile tools and exercises to help anyone effectively display creativity and implementation skills, even if they don’t come naturally.

For my own development, additional background for the book, and the benefit of both clients and the growth of The Brainzooming Group, however, I’m turning my attention to enhancing the game-changing creativity tools in our toolkit.

What’s our strategy to identify these new tools?

The same strategy used to develop all other Brainzooming tools: looking at situations where I’ve seen game-changing, extreme creativity and reverse engineering them to identify critical questions and perspectives which would lead to the same results multiple times. Some of these ideas have already been shared through extreme creativity posts and the “Change Your Character” exercises which ran during the Brainzooming blog’s first six months. These are just a start, though.

What’s Next on Game-Changing, Extreme Creativity?

Tomorrow, I’ll share “Peter’s Law,” and how this list of 19 principles suggests extreme creativity-inducing questions any of us can use to be more creative in a game-changing way. – Mike Brown

 

For an additional innovative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Tanner Christensen has been making regular comments on Brainzooming this year, and when he reached out recently to go a guest post, I was excited to have him share longer-form content. Tanner Christensen is a leading creative thinker, entrepreneur, and founder of the creative digital publishing company A Spindle. He frequently writes on creativity and innovation and believes that your ideas can help change the world.

Here’s Tanner on what has set Apple apart from other organizations that also  have great ideas, but stall out in their growth.

Paddling

In June of 2007 Apple Inc. made a bold move into a market they had never touched.

To nearly everyone’s surprise, one of the top — but, notably, not the top — computer manufacturers had created a mobile phone. Of course, it was more than just a phone, but the move was unexpected and entirely different than what most people had come to imagine was possible from a computer company.  The creation of the iPhone proved to be valuable for Apple as, near the middle of the year 2011, the company owned roughly 19% of the entire U.S. mobile market.

Rare is a tech company the size of Apple who can report annual growth of 125% year over year. So how did they do it?

What It Takes for Real Growth

The truth is that growth comes from change. But even that’s an understatement. Real growth comes from paddling.

Businesses that have succeeded in the past — Myspace, Yahoo!, Nokia — grew to a comfortable place and then stopped innovating. The process of growing was, as they saw it, a natural one that follows any business which reaches a certain size. These were businesses that had worked hard to reach a point where they felt confident in moving forward without having to try anything new. Why would you continue to worry about producing new products or services when your existing products had sold so well to-date? When you’re floating down a river in a canoe and suddenly find yourself in the most beautiful spot along the entire river, what reason do you have to paddle forward and explore further territory?

Unfortunately in business, as in a real life canoe trip down the river, storms are to be expected.

One day you’re safe and comfortable, floating gently down the stream of success, and then suddenly there’s a competitor, a better or cheaper product, a new innovation you never saw coming. For Nokia and Microsoft the storm was the iPhone. For Myspace it was Facebook and now Google+. If you’re in business then a storm is coming, you can count on it, you just don’t know what shape that storm will be.

So what should you do? Paddle. Keep moving forward.

A Dedicated Creative Team’s Role

Investing in a dedicated creative team is the best way to keep moving forward. Whether you’re a large corporation or a freelancer, you have to focus on exploring uncharted territory, otherwise you’re sitting in a river under a darkening sky.

For Apple there isn’t any hesitation, they have an entire team of leaders who are focused on moving the business forward every single day. Steve Jobs isn’t a product designer or marketing executive, he’s a thinker. For the rest of us the choice remains: hire someone to help move ideas forward (not just keep existing structures going), find the flexibility to make your current team dedicate part of their work hours to doing so, or face the impending storm and find yourself dead in the water. Sure, focusing on innovation can be risky, but without it you’re already dead.

Even if you’re a new business just starting out, focus on exploring new territories, as success is surely around one of the river bends.

A dedicated creative team can help paddle your corporate boat upstream, pursuing ideas and making them a reality. As a creative thinker the job description isn’t to just show up and do the necessary work; it’s to come up with ideas and see them through. To physically take action and move the whole boat of business forward. Sometimes that means failure. Sometimes an idea will sink into the abyss, and sometimes things will break, but as long as you’re continuously moving, there is no way your boat will be swallowed by the storm.

Keep Moving

As a business or even in your career, look at ways you’re sitting in the water now. Understand that the longer you simply sit there the longer you risk drowning. You should be paddling your way up the river and discovering what’s new. That’s where the real adventure lies. Just ahead. Keep moving. – Tanner Christensen 

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Since its introduction in October 2010, I’ve participated in nearly all the monthly #Ideachat sessions. These monthly Twitter interactions originated and curated by Angela Dunn (@BlogBrevity on Twitter) bring together a global group of creative thinkers for an hour-long, intimate conversation about an intriguing topic Angela identifies for us. #Ideachat is always an opportunity to think and realize, once again, that when it comes to creative thinking, there’s never just one answer.

Angela proposed that for the August #Ideachat the moderation duties she usually handles be shared among several individuals who have been active in the #Ideachat community. I’m pleased to be one of the tweeters chosen to serve as a co-host, along with Jon Mertz  (@thindifference) from Dallas and Jose Baldaia (@jabaldaia) from Portugal.

What’s the Brainzooming creative thinking topic?

The creative thinking topic during my segment will focus on what inspires creativity for participants.

This question has been a particular focus area recently since I’ve been working to compile all the Brainzooming content on getting around creative blocks into a book format. When Angela requested specific creative thinking topics, an #Ideachat discussion about what inspires a group as creative and intriguing as the #Ideachat participants was an incredibly exciting opportunity.

These are the specific #Ideachat questions we’ll cover during the Brainzooming segment:

  • What provides the most dependable creative inspiration for you – whether a person, place, or thing – and why?
  • How do you share this creative inspiration with others?
Since it will be a fast-paced 10-15 minutes  on my segment, we’ll see if we get both questions included.

Join us for #Ideachat this Saturday

#Ideachat will take place on Twitter, Saturday, August 13 at 8 am CDT. If you aren’t on Twitter but would like to monitor the conversation, you can do so right here. If you’d like to actively participate in #Ideachat, which I encourage you to do, the best place to participate is to login to your Twitter account on Tweetchat.com. By entering the #Ideachat hashtag on Tweetchat, you can track the conversation and participate throughout the hour to share your ideas on creative inspiration and the other #Ideachat creative thinking topics. – Mike Brown


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

 

 

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If you’re having trouble seeing the video of the world’s largest Van Gogh sunflowers, click here to go directly to YouTube for it. On the way back from the wedding in Goodland, KS I wrote about last week, we drove by this roadside attraction that is a poster child for extreme creativity – one of the world’s largest Van Gogh sunflower paintings. Western Kansas seem to be a bastion of larger-than-life roadside attractions, although we’ve never stopped to see the world’s largest squirrel in Oakley, KS!

Enjoy the video and this western Kansas extreme creativity, along with the background information on a plaque at the world’s largest Van Gogh painting! – Mike Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” for help on how to be more creative! For an organizational 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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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