Brainzooming – All Posts | The Brainzooming Group - Part 161 – page 161
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The creative inspiration, in part, for Monday’s post about whether “Successful Innovation Can Only Happen in a Certain Way” was Saturday’s “Creating” article in the Wall Street Journal about Italy-based gallerist and creative visionary, Carla Sozzani. The article highlights how over the past 20-plus years she has created 10 Corso Como, a fashion and design-oriented art, retail, and publishing complex in Milan.

Carla Sozzani’s perspective, as portrayed in the Wall Street Journal article, is of a creative visionary driving a strong personal creative vision throughout 10 Corso Como with apparently little need for collaboration or outside creative input. While that’s not me, the confidence to make a strong personal creative vision work absent robust collaboration is both fascinating to me and a source to learn from and better apply in my own creative life. Here are 5 ideas I took away from the article:

1. Exclusively integrate your own creative sensibilities into everything

As mentioned in the intro, 10 Corso Como defies simple categorization. As much as anything, it sounds as if the connecting factor is Carla Sozzani herself, since she selects every item for sale. She extends her creative sensibilities into the experience as well, making clients sit during a purchase to bask in the luxury of time. It’s clear your common creative thread doesn’t have to be an idea or a theme. Your common creative thread can be YOU and your sensibilities!

2. Don’t ask for creative advice if you don’t want, need, or plan to use it

Sozzani eschews asking her audiences for feedback or input on direction. She states boldly that she has no interest in trying to please everyone since it’s impossible to do. Instead, she scans for popular products that have yet to turn trendy and features these at 10 Corso Como.

3. Secondary research has a legitimate place in creative expression

Secondary research implies looking for answers to questions others have already asked and answered. Sozzani extends this concept to “secondary creativity,” looking all over for creative inspiration on what to include in 10 Corso Como. Her creative inspiration appears to come from diverse exploration across creative media, geographies, and popularity, among other things. Sometimes it even extends to buying something simply to get the contact info for the producer to source a related item.

4. Understand how you can best be your own self-editor on creative decisions

How fast do you make decisions? And when you’re making a creative decision on your own, how do you validate them? Carla Sozzani says she makes decisions very quickly – in a matter of seconds – and if she hesitates on a creative decision, she takes it as a sign it’s not the right decision.

5. Regularly wipe your creativity clean

Every August while Italians head to the beach, Sonzatti shutters 10 Corso Como for 10 days. During this period, everything is removed for cleaning and painting. This 10 day hiatus also imposes an important creative refresh and reimagining of the space.

I’m Taking Note

My creative style and aspirations are markedly different than Carla Sonzatti’s, but I’m so excited to think about how I can incorporate what I learned from this article into my creative pursuits! – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational innovation 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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I’m not sure if public sentiment has changed or if I’m simply more attuned to it right now. But ever since the publication of Jonah Lehrer’s book “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” there seems to be a rash of seemingly contrarian articles with titles suggesting creativity or innovation have to happen in a certain way to be successful.

Recent examples have included “If You’re Not Pissing Someone Off, You’re Probably Not Innovating” from the Harvard Business Review, “Sustainable Innovation Stems from Individuals, Not a Group” via Fast Company, and “Failure Is the Only Path to Innovation” on the Innovation Excellence blog.

Typically, when these articles appear, someone will ask me what I think about them.

My response?

I’m bored with all these authors claiming successful innovation HAS TO happen in the way they espouse.

C’mon. We’re talking about creativity and innovative thinking here people. These two wonderful things (or experiences or phenomena or processes or whatever you want to call them) are so glorious BECAUSE there are so many ways you can realize them:

Okay, I’m definitely not Dr. Seuss, but I hope you get my point. If you’re a creative genius, go ahead and be individually, singularly creative and never look back.

If you don’t consider yourself a creative genius, then surround yourself with other people, tools, and inspirations to help you be more creative. That’s the stuff I write about here, because I’ve used these techniques and have experience with them working successfully.

If someone wants to share another way innovative ideas originate, I’m all about hearing what they have to share.

But if they’re going to simply point out how successful innovation can only happen in a certain way (or how it won’t happen in some other way), well, then I’m just not that interested.

What do you think?

Does innovation only work one way for you and your organization? – Mike Brown

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 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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There’s been a great reaction to the Brainzooming article on 10 Brainstorming Questions from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the Food Network celebration of off-beat restaurants hosted by Guy Fieri.

Since becoming a fan of this Food Network show, I’ve made it to three featured restaurants. The most recent was RJ’s Bob-Be-Que in Mission, KS earlier this week for Buck-a-Bone Tuesday, which means $1 per rib. That’s good eating!

But in the interest of turning my fascination with Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Guy Fieri into something other than extra pounds, it’s time for more reality TV-driven extreme creativity! To the earlier 10 brainstorming questions, let’s add these 6 extreme creativity lessons gleaned from a recent Diners, Drive-ins and Dives marathon:

1. Go be a fish out of water

Maybe extreme creativity is tough for you. If it is, one way to turn yourself into an extreme creativity force is taking your talents and applying them in a completely unexpected and new environment. There are a variety of “Triple D” stories where a chef radically changed geographic location or work environment to trigger extreme creativity. Put a Louisiana-influenced Cajun cook in Minnesota, and you have a fish out of water recipe for extreme creativity. Where can you be a fish out of water?

2. Fuse unrelated creativity channels together

It seems like there have been several stops lately on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives involving a parked food truck supplying the kitchen facilities for a bar or restaurant. There’s an idea for you. How can you fuse two or more apparently unrelated creativity channels together to create something people don’t expect?

3. Do your extreme creativity old style

Despite modern innovations available to cooks, many manifest extreme creativity by foregoing new ways of doing things. For instance, despite the availability of incredible industrial food mixers, there are many instances where cooks are mixing things by hand because it provides closeness to the work and an awareness of quality variations. Do you have a similar opportunity to apply old style techniques to your creativity to turn it into extreme creativity?

4. Figure out the equivalent of deep frying in your area of extreme creativity

Watching any episode of “Triple D,” it’s clear you can deep fry any food, and it has a high probability of being very good. The more outlandish the food, the more outrageous the success. There’s got to be something to this. What’s the equivalent of deep frying in your focus area? What’s the one thing you can do to make your creativity extremely crispy, crunchy, and incredibly tasty? Whatever it is in your field, pursue your own version of deep fried extreme creativity!

5. Smash different parts into one

Most meals are served in separate courses: appetizer, entrée, side dishes, dessert. It’s not surprising to see all those courses smashed together into one menu item at restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. How can you employ the same idea? How can you take what would normally be separate creative pursuits and smash them together into one colossal creative feast?

6. Don’t clean up after you’ve gotten all creative

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of places on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives aren’t all that clean. Some of the chefs even take pride in how the flavor of the cooking builds up over time on utensils and cooking surfaces. While that’s a little disconcerting, there can definitely be something to it creatively. Having the afterglow of past creative highlights on your tools might be just what you need to inspire some extreme creativity. – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational innovation 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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Recently, venture capitalist and senior Kauffman fellow, Paul Kedrosky, gave the last of four scheduled presentations at the Kauffman Foundation relating to Google Fiber. He concentrated on what Kansas City should do to make sure it—and the U.S.—gets the most out of the Google Fiber innovation opportunity. Here are four specific lessons on Google Fiber innovation from Paul Kedrosky that likely apply to our organizations as we strive for greater innovation.

1. Co-location

Kedrosky said some applications are not appropriate for development in Kansas City. Development must take place close to where they will eventually be used because even with extremely fast internet connects, execution or feedback will not be fast enough. The reason for this may be physical (in the case of stock trading, the speed of light is the limitation) or they may be sociological or cultural.

The lesson: Make sure that functions in your organization requiring nearly immediate feedback are in proximity—in terms of both physical location and where they fit in the hierarchy. Think sales and marketing, or production and engineering as examples where co-location is critical.

2. Upload/download symmetry

No matter how fast you can download information, it really does not matter if your upload bandwidth is too narrow. Eventually the download will become “occluded,” that is stopped or slowed because the response (upload) moves too slowly

The lesson: If senior management is not giving fast enough feedback and providing enough information, it makes no difference how much capacity an organization has. The organization will eventually stop what it is doing because it is waiting for senior management direction.

3. Understand the advantage/inevitability of flat-rate pricing

Historically the trend in communications is to flat rate pricing. The same first-class stamp takes your letter across the street or across the country. Likewise, long distance calling is rarely metered anymore. Widespread adoption and use becomes the counterbalance for falling prices.

The lesson: Customers shy away from pricing that involves cognitive complexity and risk. They ask questions such as, “What happens if I go over my limit?” or ”What else might I want to do with this product that I won’t be able to?” Look for ways you can make your pricing model flatter. Think restaurants and buffets. Also, consider making standard the options and add-ons that customers want or need. Price in a way that forgoes some upfront revenue but creates more satisfied customers—who, in turn, are likely to return and buy more.

4. Encourage playful experimentation and waste

Paul Kedrosky believes Kansas City will only make the creative breakthroughs in using Gigabit speed if it actively encourages, even demands, playful experimentation and waste. Indeed the title of his presentation was “Waste Lots, Want Lots.” Waste should come in two forms: waste of bandwidth and waste of latency.

The lesson: Ask these questions: Would you have encouraged (and rewarded) an employee who spent time in the back shop soldering seemingly random circuit boards together? Would you have encouraged (and rewarded) an employee who spent time, lots of time, trying to figure out a more systematic way to meet girls? If the answer is no, then you would have not been in on the founding of either Apple or Facebook. You may say that there are no Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg working for you. You are most likely right, and we could know at least one reason why. –Barrett Sydnor

 

How can ultra high-speed internet speeds drive innovation? “Building the Gigabit City: Brainzooming a Google Fiber Roadmap,” a free 120-page report, shares 60 business opportunities for driving innovation and hundreds of ideas for education, healthcare, jobs, community activities, and more.  Download this exclusive Google Fiber report sponsored by Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group addressing how ultra high-speed internet can spur economic development, growth, and improved lifestyles globally. 

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If you’re in the middle of a long work week, how about trying some corporate fun ideas? Here are ten oddball ideas to liven up ANY long work week. And yes, I did some version of all of these ten corporate fun ideas. And still kept my job. Amazing.

10 Corporate Fun Ideas for a Long Work Week

10. Volunteer to dress up as the corporate mascot. Demand that your identity not be revealed. When people ask you who you are, do imitations and claim to be various corporate officers. Walk into the CEOs office & put your feet on his desk.

9. Introduce a unique made-up, but plausible, jargon word (i.e., a jargonym) in meetings. See how long it takes for others to start using it.

8. Next time you have to create a PowerPoint slide for someone else, make the first letters of the bullets on slide spell out a dirty word.

7. If you have a deadbeat employee working for you, get them promoted & transferred to your nemesis. The deadbeat employee will be even more wrongly self-satisfied, plus you get rid of them. That’s called a win-win.

6. Create an anonymous Twitter profile and start making fun of co-workers with impunity!

5. Make up some faux Successories posters and put them into presentations. And around your office. Here’s where to get started making them.

4. Paint your toe nails the official corporate color (only classifies as corporate fun if you’re a guy, btw).

3. Volunteer to do the wrap-up for a week-long sales training class. Put on a shirt that corresponds to every topic covered. Do the recap via a striptease covering the topics from Monday through Friday.

2. Do a funny (and by “funny,” I could mean “wickedly cruel”) top 10 list about something. Perhaps the top 10 list could be about the winners and losers in the latest round of “Senior Management Shuffling the Deck Chairs?”

1. Spread toys around your office that talk whenever anyone picks them up.

What corporate fun ideas are you going to do this week?  – Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make a Strategic Planning More Fun?

Yes, strategic planning can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

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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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This past weekend CityCampKC, the Kansas City version of the international unconference, focused on innovative strategies in Kansas City for municipal governments and community organizations. The event culminated in a CityCampKC hackathon with a sold-out crowd of programmers and non-programmers working on developing an app to help metro residents and visitors better bike, walk, and use public transit.

Before the hackathon, however, there was morning of presentations that included lots of innovative ideas and sources. I picked out nine innovative strategies showcasing cool people, places, and things at CityCampKC that struck me as particularly interesting:

1. BikeShareKC – Sarah Shipley gave a high energy, visually intense presentation about the new public transportation option that is coming to Kansas City in June.

2. They’ve Got It, You Want It, How to Get It – David Herzog, associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, detailed OpenMissouri.org, a tool the jschool has developed to help connect citizens to data that is stored offline by state and local government.

3. Ten Things about Troost – There are lots of innovative things happening along Troost Avenue, long something of a racial border within Kansas City. One of the ten was the the greatest community service operations you can imagine, Operation Breakthrough.

4. Aaron Deacon and the Ecosystem – Aaron Deacon of The Curiolab talked about “New Models of Civic Progress: Infrastructure + Ecosystem.” Very interesting points he made about using technology to make us both individually and collectively more productive rather than just consumptive.

5. Embrace the Flyover – Jabbar Wesley wants us to show that innovation, particularly multicultural innovation, does not just occur on the coasts. To demonstrate this, Jabbar Wesley and his organization, Social Feen, are putting on Novel Day 2012 this November.

6. SeeClickFix – See a problem in your neighborhood, report it with a few clicks and then track when/how it gets fixed.

7. A Streetcar Named Twitter – New applications of mass transit have been virtually dead in Kansas City for decades. Now it looks like there is at least a chance streetcars in Kansas City may be coming (back) to downtown. Streetcar Neighbors used Twitter and Facebook to build support for a plan that would allow a vote to fund streetcars in Kansas City through a special taxing district.

8. You can go to Harvard and/or MIT – Big deal universities are offering online courses, often for free. LABx, founded by Darrin Ragsdale, is helping flip the classroom with OpenCourseWare technology support for Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science, CS50, with support for more classes to come.

9. Shareabouts – The platform used to build the app that resulted from the CityCampKC hackathon. –Barrett Sydnor

 

How can ultra high-speed internet speeds drive innovation? “Building the Gigabit City: Brainzooming a Google Fiber Roadmap,” a free 120-page report, shares 60 business opportunities for driving innovation and hundreds of ideas for education, healthcare, jobs, community activities, and more.  Download this exclusive Google Fiber report sponsored by Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group addressing how ultra high-speed internet can spur economic development, growth, and improved lifestyles globally. 

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2

I was talking with an organization’s leader the other day about how the boss can participate in the process of strategy planning and managing for change without compromising the team’s results. In his case, he was concerned that if he sat back and let his team take the lead in the process of strategy planning, they wouldn’t push for enough change. If, however, he talked first to demonstrate how far the organization needs to go in managing for change, he feared the team would agree with his comments without challenging ideas “the boss” shares.

He asked me what I’d recommend to help mitigate this particular challenge of the boss dominating in the process of strategy planning.

In this case my recommendation was based on a quick assessment that he legitimately wants his organization to undergo dramatic changes. My answer would differ if the question were coming from a leader who talks about change yet every obvious action suggests change isn’t a good thing.

With that backdrop, my first recommendation was to bring in an outside strategic facilitator (i.e., The Brainzooming Group!) so he isn’t in the dual role of trying to both participate and facilitate at the same time. Unless it’s a very rare situation, a leader has to pick one role or the other. Trying to facilitate and also participate is a recipe for problems.

Five Ways to Keep the Boss from Dominating Strategy Planning

Beyond that important recommendation, here are five other ways to deal with this challenge:

  • Incorporate anonymous responses from the team so they can say their peace and suggest ideas without being identified.
  • Reduce the leader’s presence in the strategy planning process so they are not “visibly” participating in front of all team members at all times.
  • Vary the leader’s participation so the leader isn’t always talking first, but is talking first when it makes sense to do so.
  • Use different strategy questions than the organization typically asks so employees won’t know as readily what answers to expect from the boss.
  • Use a new or clearly neutral location for the planning session so the boss can’t sit in the usual power position in a room where the team typically meets.

Those are a few of the general techniques we use to get the broadest and most balanced participation during the process of strategy planning.

Are You Facing this Same Challenge?

What things have you done successfully to ensure the boss doesn’t overly-sway a team when it’s trying to be effective at managing for change? Are there things you do that haven’t worked as well? Let’s hear them!

And if you’re facing this same challenge, give us a call so YOU can do the most and get the most from your team’s planning effort.  – 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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