Blog | The Brainzooming Group - Part 191 – page 191

I know you know I think Twitter is an incredibly valuable random input tool to be more creative. Here are 7 ideas for how you can exploit Twitter for instigating creative ideas when you most need them:

1. You’re searching for more creative blog topics.

Watch the Twitter stream for interesting headlines (i.e., “4 Communication Traits of Successful Leaders”). Without reading the original blog post, write a comparable blog based around the same idea featuring your thinking on the topic.

2. You want artistic ideas.

Take a statement-oriented tweet (i.e., “The night has come . . . pour yourself into your Friday night”) and build on it as a creative idea starter for a story, poem, or song. You could also use it as your inspiration for a drawing, painting, or dance, too.

3. You’re looking for answers.

Pose a question about a topic where you need creative ideas. Direct the question to specific persons (@ them) or use popular hashtags to increase the question’s exposure. Unless you’ve cultivated a tight community of people you interact with, just throwing a question out into the Twitter stream won’t be very productive.

4. You need a steady stream of creative ideas.

Cultivate your own group of creative, frequent tweeters you can interact with on a regular basis to share creative ideas with one another. Your group can provide a wonderful source of creative instigation on an ongoing basis to help you be more creative.

5. You have a specific topic where a creative boost is needed.

Search for tweets which include your keyword/topic of interest along with a question mark (i.e. creativity ?). You’ll get a sense of other people potentially struggling with similar creative challenges on Twitter. You can try to start tweeting creative with them about your common interests.

6. You want informal reactions to a creative idea.

Suppose you already have creative ideas, but you aren’t sure which to pursue further. Share creative ideas via Twitter as a way to “workshop” them with reactions from real people (okay, and maybe from a few bots). Use retweets and the conversations specific ideas start as a crowdsourced indicator of where to invest your creative pursuits.

7. Your creative block is about what to tweet.

Sometimes even generating 140 creative characters feels impossible. Look for interesting tweets in your tweet stream and share reactions to them. Say somebody tweets about having crashed and slept for 10 hours. You could tweet: “If you find #creativity lagging, maybe you’re exhausted? Make time to get TOO MUCH sleep tonight.” You’ve borrowed some creative inspiration and been able to offer a creative idea you didn’t have before.


These ideas have all worked for me. Are you using Twitter to be more creative? What creative idea starters work for you on Twitter or other social media channels when you’re searching for how to be more creative? – Mike Brown


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

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During June’s #Ideachat, a side conversation developed over the challenges faced by individuals who can uncannily anticipate future business situations. One comment was watching people make mistakes which could clearly be anticipated is a source of great frustration. My comment was the ability to anticipate the future allows you to help influence business situations for the positive instead of waiting for a train wreck to happen. Besides, I’ve seen people use the ability to accurately anticipate future business situations to add to their personal mystique and enhance perceptions about their contributions.

The #Ideachat conversation got me thinking about individuals I’ve worked with who are especially adept at knowing what the future holds.

11 Possible Do’s

Here are 11 behaviors, qualities, skills, and talents you can work on to more effectively anticipate the future and use it to your advantage:

1. Do rigorous homework on your situation without disclosing your effort or everything you’ve learned.

2. Hone your ability to analyze a situation and truly understand the real motivations of the individuals involved.

3. To better understand personal motivations, substitute other words for “money” in the old maxim, “Follow the money.” Some good ones to use? Power, recognition, pride, or havoc, as appropriate.  Doing this will explain both historical and many future behaviors.

4. Make a quick mental calculation of any risk you’re considering taking before you take it. Take ALL the smart risks and SOME of those not so smart which could lead to spectacular results.

5. Be a confidant. Always listen to people who like to share secrets, especially true secrets.

6. Cultivate a personal flair for the dramatic.

7. Improve your observation and insight skills. Share your observations and insights only when they’ll have dramatic impact.

8. Don’t speak immediately when asked a question. Long pauses and deliberation add mystique.

9. Use stories and examples which, on the surface, have little relevance to the matter at hand, but ultimately unveil themselves to be right on point.

10. Don’t always follow the same physical interpersonal, mental, or virtual paths.  Be unexpected. Show up in surprising places.

11. It’s more important to ACT on your insights than SHARE them.

1 Important Don’t

There’s one important “don’t” as well: Don’t say, “I told you so.” Part of effectively using your strong understanding of the future is being subtle and not rubbing it in peoples’ faces!

What things do you do to better anticipate the future in your 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 or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your brand strategy and implementation efforts.

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The other day a Brainzooming reader told me I was the oldest person she knew creating social media content all the time.

Then she said it was a compliment.

Then we both laughed.

That was followed by an awkward pause.

While her statement clearly CAN’T BE TRUE, being relatively seasoned in business means I HAVE learned many valuable career lessons that would have been great to know when my business career started at Kansas City Infobank.

Going back through recent tweets, here are 9 career lessons for YOUNGER Brainzooming readers from further into a business career:

1. View your entire business career as a portfolio. Manage every element of the portfolio to create your “art.”

2. As a species, humans chase after lots of things we think will be glorious that will really make us miserable.

3. It’s okay to have a list of things you’ll never do and then to let them go without a second thought.

4. Don’t correct someone who has a better perception of you than you have of yourself.

5. Some things we demand answers for are completely insignificant. Keep moving forward.

6. If you read a business case study in a magazine, it’s likely a highly fictionalized work by that point.

7. The thing that pisses you off may just be what saves you. Next time you’re mad, look for what you should be learning.

8. Never underestimate the positive value of a fresh start. They’re incredible. Seek fresh starts out.

9. No amount of helpful advice can really outshine someone making a personal sacrifice to help another person.

Anybody else with a few years of experience have some lessons to add? Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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Some Monday quick thinking on learning, initiative, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Learning – To continue learning, make sure your sense of wonder is always greater than your sense of certainty.

Understated – You may have to be quite overt to be perceived as being subtle in how you conduct yourself.

Initiative – The fastest way to establish longevity at something new is to start working toward it today.

Praise – When someone with little experience says what you offer is the “best,” be both thankful & cautious.

Humility – If you think you’re the smartest person you know, you REALLY need to meet some new people . . . right away. 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 or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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What do you spend time on when you’re stuck in an airport? While killing time in the San Diego airport for nearly 5 hours last week, I started thinking about things in life I don’t understand. Here are 21 things that I still don’t understand about social media. Most of them, I probably never will, but if you’ve got some ideas about any of them, please share your social media insights!

1. How Chris Brogan is such a rock star on Twitter (and in social media circles), but when you ask a large non-social media conference crowd if they’ve heard of Chris Brogan, two people raise their hands?

2. The reverence granted some people who have lots of followers, update all the time, and yet are clearly banal.

3. Spammers who use egg avatars along with every other clue signaling they are spammers. If you’re going to spam, maybe you could at least try and be a BIT mysterious about it.

4. Why people flock to narcissism and all other kinds of blatantly self-serving content?

5. The perennial popularity of stale quotes on Twitter.

6. Blog posts I care about intensely getting overlooked.

7. Blog posts that feel thrown together receiving lots of attention.

8. Companies who treat Twitter as if every tweet is a 140-character press release.

9. Why people think we care about the personal crap they share ALL the time?

10. Why most people tweeting “FTW” seem like “losers”?

11. The fascination with bacon and the term “douchebag.”

12. The need for people to describe themselves as “gurus,” “experts,” and “mavens.”

13. Who to friend and not on Facebook. (My list is a mishmash . . . I have to admit)?

14. Professional people over 40 who refuse to do anything with social media.

15. Unmitigated enthusiasm for all things social media.

16. Unmitigated antagonism for all things social media.

17. How the aggregation of people with scant, but disparate, knowledge results in exquisite insight?

18. People who dump 10 automated feed tweets in a minute and then go silent until their next dump.

19. The apparent willingness to let marketers have access to essentially all parts of your Facebook account.

20. The hatred, in general, for most of the “Mike Browns” mentioned on Twitter.

21. How behavior that could only be judged as “bitchy” in real life, is enough to attract and sustain a huge following online? – 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 or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can develop an integrated social media strategy for your brand.

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Can you successfully integrate creativity into analytical business functions? The answer, according to Keith Pigues, CMO of Plygem Industries and co-author of “Winning with Customers,” is a resounding, “Yes.” To prove the point, Keith recruited a stellar panel of business-to-business practitioners at the Business Marketing Association Unleash conference to provide a real world perspective on how creativity can flourish in business.

Keith Pigues, former president of the national BMA and a friend going back several years to a Marcus Evans CMO conference, pointed out how easy it is to leave creativity behind when you’re involved in analytical business work. He set the stage for the panel, however, with the oft-quoted 2010 IBM CEO study which supported the importance of creativity in business. The panel was the best I saw during the BMA conference, and here are 10 of the lessons shared by the panel for integrating creativity in business.

How Innovators Use Creativity

You can use creativity, within complex markets as a source of competitive advantage. Creative leaders can make their organizations stand out by implementing business model changes, inviting disruptive innovation, and being very comfortable with ambiguity. – Keith Pigues

What are 5 important skills for innovators? According to “The Innovator’s DNA” from the Harvard Business Review, the skills include being able to associate disparate elements, questioning what everyone knows, observing both inside and outside the business, experimenting, and networking across functions. Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Instigating Creativity

Building your creative intelligence skills requires practice and deliberately scheduling time to look at the bigger picture for your organization. – Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Forced constraints and unwavering expectations balanced with a strong code of conduct create enormous room for creative problem solving.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

To build a stronger foundation for creativity, seek out more direct contact with customers and seeing how they use your products. Observing real customers interacting with products can open many avenues for creative possibilities. – Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Thinking Differently

“Don’t underestimate the value of starting from scratch and re-imagining your business. Burning platforms spark creativity.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

Restating business issues provides an opportunity to improve your advantage. Customers don’t buy your product. They buy what your product does for them. An example? They don’t purchase a 1/4 inch drill bit. They’re purchasing a 1/4 inch hole. Adrian Joseph, Parker Hannifin

Project your business situation five years out and then look back to see what obstacles might have presented themselves within the time horizon. This technique can help make apparently insurmountable problems from today’s perspective appear much more manageable. – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

The Value of Deadlines

Dow Corning runs 100-day projects to ensure the deadline enforces creativity and doesn’t allow the project to go on forever. – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

“Creativity for creativity’s sake is artistry. Creativity with a defined purpose and a timeline is business.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

Mike Brown

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! 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 or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Bob Thacker, Chief Cubist at Cubit Consulting, closed out the Business Marketing Association conference with a presentation on “Unleash Your Creativity.” Thacker’s creativity comments were a fitting and fun (and by fun, I mean both “strategic” and “enjoyable”) close for the BMA Unleash conference. Here are three themes on creative possibilities I took away to apply to my own creative pursuits:

Challenges Unleash Creative Possibilities

For those who expect perfect conditions to be in place to trigger creativity, history is full of contra-examples where hard times have sent people looking for creative escape and hope:

  • Half of the world’s population died from the plague in the 15th century, yet it also yielded incredible thinkers and artists in the Renaissance.
  • Shakespeare’s artistry emerged from a religious bloodbath in England during the 16th century.
  • The economic failure of The Great Depression was the genesis for many prominent brands which shaped business and culture.

Creative Impact: Don’t look for smooth conditions as a prerequisite for creativity; look for sandpaper to rough things up.

Push for Big Creative Possibilities

As much as anything, Bob Thacker’s presentation was a greatest hits of creative projects he’s spearheaded while in senior marketing roles at Target and OfficeMax, including:

Creative Impact: These are all really smart strategic and creative efforts. How to be comparably successful strategically and creatively? Reading between the lines, asking questions such as, “What is this like?”, “What could this be like?”, and “How can we make this more extreme?” provide an underpinning to all of these Thacker-led efforts.

Creative Thackerisms You Can Use

Bob Thacker’s presentation included a variety of creative witticisms:

  • “If you don’t have a big budget, you have to have big ideas.”
  • “Serendipity can be a strategy, if your antennae are up.”
  • “Look before you leap, but then leap!”
  • “‘It can’t be done really means, ‘It hasn’t been done YET.'”
  • “Creativity is a group practice. Ideas need to be generated in a playful, fear-free environment.”
  • “Why just run a commercial when you can own the whole show?”
  • “Don’t make ads; make news!”
  • “If you can find a holiday tradition to create, do it.”

Creative Impact: A vital part of any creative team is having the instigator and cheerleader for others to fully exploit their creativity. The key creative action can be green lighting those on the team who have the most creative ideas.


Hope this provides some sense of the creative possibilities shared during Bob Thacker’s presentation. He packed so many ideas into the hour, providing a real creative treat to those BMA attendees sticking around for such a strong conference finish.

Want one last Thackerism to consider every time you start contemplating a marketing effort?

“If you’re going to crash the party (via your marketing) you’d better bring a bottle of wine (a tremendously rich audience experience).”

Mike Brown

To unleash your own extreme creative possibilities, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to ignite your creative perspective! 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 or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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