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With the resignation of Dick Costolo as Twitter CEO, you are sure to see a rash of articles talking about Twitter’s problems, that Twitter is doomed, or how its potential business model changes will impact your business.

And ALL those stories may very well be true.

The thing is…smart companies realize social media strategy shouldn’t focus on building strategies around particular social media networks.

Smart companies are concentrating on solid business strategy moves to prepare them to start, grow, and nurture relationships with prospects and customers on their own terms – not the terms a social network stipulates.

Four-Twitter-Avatars

Yes, a smart company may be using Twitter to engage an audience. But it is always going to ready to transition among social networks – or other engagement strategies – should a social media network happen to go away.

A smart company concentrates on developing:

Yes, every organization should be focusing on these types of strategies.

These strategies will serve your business well no matter the Twitter CEO or what’s happening with any of the old, new, or yet to be imagined social networks.

No matter what articles full of social media network hyperbole have to say, focus on your own business strategy. – Mike Brown

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategy with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

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Looking for a place to come when you need a creative boost? Here are some of our most popular articles on creativity and the skills involved in creative thinking.

Use it yourself or share it with others to get your Brainzooming and help make creativity something that is part of daily life rather than a special event!

Dilbert-Creative-Thinking

Creative Thinking Skills

7 Important Creative Thinking Skills

21 Talents and Creative Thinking Skills to Cherish in Creative Friends

6 Tips for Sharing and Receiving Creative Ideas

Faking Creative Thinking Skills in a Live Setting

A 5-Part Creative Thinking Formula

6 Challenges Before Loving Your New Idea Too Much

A 7 Lesson Guide to Creating by Jessica James

5 People Vital to Critical Thinking, Literally

17 Articles on Pitching Creative Ideas

4 Ideas for Safely Sharing Dirty Ideas and Thinking

Creative-Idea

Staying Creative

Take 10 Minutes to Start Your Inspiration Inventory

7 Ideas to Get the Most from Your Creativity Daily

5 Assets to Avoid Mental Bankruptcy

34 Ideas for a Bored Adult to Beat Boredom

Create-At-All-Times

Using Analogies to Generate Creative Ideas

Strategic Thinking Exercises – Can Analogies Change the World?

Comparing Apples and Oranges 7 Ways

12 Triggers for Finding Strategic Connections

The Opposite of Creative Thinking

8 Clues You Are an Idea Slasher

29 Phrases Blocking Innovative Ideas

Creative Thinking: REALLY? We Do NOT Have Time for Creativity? REALLY?

How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows

Mike Brown

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Recently, the “Inside the Executive Suite” executive newsletter from Armada Executive Intelligence turned its attention to strategic thinking exercises and possibilities for breakthrough thinking. Their story was based on a review of two new books on the topic of insights. The books and the article were intriguing, and the folks at Armada Executive Intelligence gave us permission to re-run the piece here.

Strategic Thinking Exercises – 5 Breakthrough Thinking Possibilities

(via Armada Executive Intelligence)

How do you personally generate successful breakthrough thinking?

Do your methods compare favorably to approaches of the great thinkers of history? Additionally, are there proven lessons you can apply in specific types of situations?

Thinker

The last two questions are addressed in new books featured in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal Review section. William B. Irvine’s, “Aha! The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World,” and “The Eureka Factor” by cognitive neuroscientists, John Kounios and Mark Beeman, both address insights – the result of people achieving deep, accurate understanding of an issue facing them.

Irvine’s book presents case studies on the thinking approaches of history’s greatest thinkers. The Kounios and Beeman book examines, as much as is possible, the scientific basis for developing insights.

Irvine’s book highlights varied, successful insight patterns. In science and mathematics, doing something unrelated to the current task is common before generating breakthrough thinking. He credits religious insights as emerging from actual experience; with moral issues, insights vary in appearing after extended reflection or through sudden revelation. When new thinking depends on creative thinking, they tend to emerge after establishing a solid foundation of work leading to insights that emerge later.

What Works to Generate Breakthrough Thinking?

Figuring out how your situation ties to which type of insight pattern may seem confusing. That’s why we advocate for what Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling said: “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

You can extend this concept to developing insights. It’s helpful to employ a full repertoire of thinking techniques to produce many potential insights to fuel breakthrough thinking.

We’ve seen, tried, and returned to various approaches to trigger breakthrough insights. Here are several possibilities when you have to consistently introduce new insights in an organizational setting.

1. Sorting Out What You Know

From all the available potential facts and conclusions, sort them based on ones you KNOW to be true versus others you THINK to be true or HOPE to be true. This exercise helps identify how strong your foundation is for generating new insights.

Are most of your points of information and conclusions already proven to be true? Do you need to develop proof points (if you only THINK much of the information is true) or conduct additional, novel research or analysis (if you simply HOPE the ideas are true)?

Based on what you find, there are natural questions to firm up your fact base:

  • For information and conclusions known to be true: What new insights are suggested by what we already know?
  • For what you only think to be true, ask: What will it take to prove each of these as true or false?
  • For those you hope to be true ask: What stands in the way of vetting this information? If it were true, what new insights might it help uncover?

You can use your answers to take the appropriate steps to solidify your fact base so it is more robust.

2. Assembling the Insight Puzzle

Generating insights in a business setting is akin to assembling puzzle pieces. Extending that comparison creates an actual puzzle-solving exercise.

We worked with a consultant who would print every major known fact supporting a potential strategy and on a separate piece of paper. Each business strategist received a set of facts to combine, rearrange, and “play” with as a child would play with building blocks. Some arrangements of the facts might be simple and others more complex. The overall goal was for each individual to separately identify interesting combinations to look for new potential insights.

While there are advantages to printing out and physically arranging the facts, there are many options to work with the facts in a collaborative online environment.

Regardless of how you do it, after the initial work, strategists compare their insights, looking for similarities, differences, and new ways the individual work can generate additional insights.

3. Different Perspectives on the Insights Puzzle

We also find value in consciously looking at facts from different perspectives to trigger new insights. You can accomplish this with creative thinking exercises.

Breakthrough-Pinnacle

For generating insights, one approach to looking at your information from alternative perspectives is by consciously using various “modifiers” to probe your fact base in multiple ways. This list of modifiers below is one we typically use. Simply insert the modifier into this question: What if we looked at this information (or situation) in a more ______ way?

  • Focused
  • Simplified
  • Integrated
  • Broad
  • Diversified
  • Sophisticated
  • Extreme
  • Contrary
  • Long-term
  • Immediate

Using these types of modifiers will point you in multiple productive directions as you attempt to develop new insights.

4. Invite More People to Look at the Puzzle

Each step to this point involved you or your immediate team. You can expand potential insights by inviting a broader, more diverse group to consider the available information. Including new minds creates an opportunity to identify additional insights, especially ones a group more familiar with a status quo understanding of the situation might struggle to imagine.

5. Get Away Briefly…or Longer

If your insight-generating efforts are unproductive, step away for a short period of time. You may even find it beneficial to stay away longer.

Taking a break agrees with the idea that your previous efforts to generate insights may simply have been foundation-setting that needs time for less structured and casual thinking. A pause can be beneficial in fully exploiting your foundation as a platform for new insights.

Is there a road to breakthrough thinking that works best for you?

The key to generating breakthrough thinking in our experience is that they sometimes come through using tested methods and sometimes through completely new approaches. That requires flexibility on your part. – Armada Executive Intelligence

 

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Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

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





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There is so much content swimming around out there on seemingly every topic where you might ever want to learn more. With the pressure many people feel to stay current on new information, you would hope you are getting the most from the time you invest in reading all this content.

How do you maximize the value from your precious reading time?

Doc-and-light

10 Strategic Thinking Questions to Maximize Business Reading

I was fortunate to learn early from an expert in secondary research how to mine content for insights, clues, and big ideas. Here are ten strategic thinking questions that make sure you get the most from your reading:

  • What agrees with what I think/know?
  • What disagrees with what I think/know? Am I misguided or lacking information on this topic?
  • What experts are mentioned? Do these experts have other worthwhile content to review?
  • What are the big themes in the article?
  • How do the big themes relate to big themes emerging from other content?
  • What questions would we I to learn more or recreate the learnings presented here?
  • How does anything in this content shed new light on what I think/know?
  • How does anything in this content make me rethink what I thought I knew?

You may not ask all these strategic thinking questions about everything you read. When you are looking for new ideas, however, come back to this list. These strategic thinking questions will serve you well.  – Mike Brown

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Looking for Brand Innovation to Grow Your Business? Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

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


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking eBook

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During a pitch for a broadband community visioning engagement (similar to work we’ve done in Kansas City before and after the Google Fiber launch), the city project team asked how we handle what we call “challenger” voices. These are individuals within the community who have alternative perspectives about community issues. They challenge commonly-held perspectives. They can effectively slow and (ideally) improve the direction of popular opinion.

A positive outcome can come about when challenger voices are effectively embraced and incorporated into community visioning.

If not, it’s easy for them to challenge for the sake of challenging without realizing any benefits from the energy required for countering popular opinions.

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How to Maximize the Benefits of Challenger Voices in Community Visioning

There are multiple ways to produce positive results from overtly inviting challenger voices into community visioning:

  • Ask them to organize and articulate their thoughts in writing to share them more broadly.
  • Invite challengers to raise their issues in a private setting. Also give them an insider’s view or understanding of the community issue under consideration.
  • Request challengers turn their objections into recommended solutions (individually or as a group). This helps even if the recommendations only apply to certain elements of the overall opportunity.
  • Develop defined times and venues throughout the development process where the challenger voices are put front and center to share their perspectives.
  • Create “jobs” for them. As you develop the plan for a community initiative, identify varied roles where people with contrary perspectives can most effectively help move things forward.
  • Introduce challengers to others with equally passionate perspectives that don’t agree with them and let them duke it out mentally.

There may certainly be other options for involving challenger voices. These are all collaboration strategies we have used and have worked to produce successful results. Granted, they haven’t always been successful, but if challengers have open minds and are honest in their willingness to positively participate, they are tremendous in improving community visioning and the direction the community pursues. – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for strong ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

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Suppose you usually employ impeccable project management techniques to stay on top of all the details of your work. But maybe, just this once, in spite of your best intentions on making progress on a project, other factors have gotten in the way.

While the big five thousand pound weight of not staying on top of the project has not fallen on your head yet, it seems like it will soon.

You just do not know when.

If you are in that position now on a project, or think you may be in the future, it is good to know what project management techniques you can use to come from behind.

Strategic Thinking Exercises for Social Media Policy

14 Project Management Techniques to Come from Behind

Take Short Cuts

  1. Look for nice-to-have steps or deliverables you can eliminate.
  2. Prioritize the aspects that you can most easily complete with the biggest relative impact on the project.
  3. Simplify expectations.
  4. Take advantage of work you have previously done that can be used or adapted.
  5. Take advantage of forms and structures you have previously done that can be used or adapted.

Reach out for Help

  1. Invite others to help you jumpstart or accelerate progress.
  2. Create examples or templates that others can follow.

Manage the Clock

  1. Negotiate for more time.
  2. Schedule dedicated time blocks to work on it.
  3. Figure out what small pieces you can break off and make progress with in very small chunks of time while you are waiting for other things to progress.

Attack the Project Differently

  1. Figure out a different order of steps that could work better and faster than how you would typically approach things.
  2. Make a fast pass through the entire project that is more than an outline but involves less time than a typical first draft or prototype.

Make Your Progress Clear

  1. Create an artifact to give some tangible form to your progress.
  2. Create an outline or checklist of activities to monitor your progress.

There’s a starting list of project management techniques to try.

Pick what might work for you, and get started coming from behind! – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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When you’re on the road, lots of things are going on, and you’re up at 4:30 a.m. trying to write, you get very creative about what you can share in that day’s blog post.

At least that’s what happened with these strategic thinking quotes for today!

These strategic thinking quotes all came from some of the earliest, pre-Brainzooming strategy sessions we were doing in the Fortune 500 world. Some are serious; some were meant to take friendly jabs at our economist; some (specifically the last one from me) were made up to get a laugh when one was needed in the middle of the afternoon.

Blah-Blah-Blah

16 Strategic Thinking Quotes on Ideas

“Most people don’t take the time to think. I made an international reputation for myself by deciding to think twice a week.”  – George Bernard Shaw

“No brain is stronger than its weakest think.” – Thomas L. Masson

“The man who gets the most satisfactory results is not always the man with the most brilliant single mind, but rather the man who can best coordinate the brains and talents of his associates.” – W. Alton Jones

“I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Our best thoughts come from others.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  – Dr. Seuss

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck

“The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.” – Robert J. Shiller, Irrational Exuberance

“To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.” –Mary Pettibone Poole, A Glass Eye at a Keyhole, 1938

“Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg

“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” – Thomas Dewar

“I dwell in possibilities.” – Emily Dickinson

“If you have to forecast, forecast often. “ – Edgar R. Fiedler

“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” – Laurence J. Peter

“For a successful strategy session, keep the food light, the lights bright, and drink caffeine all night.”– Mike Brown

“Generating exciting new ideas burns 325 calories per hour and has no carbs. Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. Rambling aimlessly about a point that someone has already made burns only 3 calories per hour.” – Mike Brown (Definitely don’t quote me on this one!)

 

10 Keys to Engaging Employees and Creating Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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