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Following up two presentations I did on creativity and innovation at CreativeBloc, I ran several posts answering follow-up questions from audience members. One of the questions was from Betsy Caszatt. As Betsy and I corresponded, she mentioned sharing the creativity content from CreativeBloc with her team at Adfinity Marketing Group in Cedar Rapids, IA, where she is co-creative director and senior writer.  Adfinity Marketing Group is an advertising agency specializing in the food industry. Betsy, who reports that her brain “tries to zoom daily…with jumpstarts from this site,” was kind enough to provide a very gracious recap of my CreativeBloc presentations and how she passed along the creativity learnings to maximize her company’s ROI in sending her to the CreativeBloc conference. That’s a great practice to follow in any organization, so here’s Betsy’s guest blog post on using “Creativity Drano” to open up creative blocks:

Operating on the premise that an alarming number of brains can be blocked at any given moment (why you’re perusing this blog post instead of designing the next killer campaign maybe?), let me put in a few words about the roto-rootering that Cedar Rapids’ ad community got a few months ago.

The scene: CreativeBloc11 … 8 AM, lots of coffee, 16 sessions and a couple-hundred of the Walking Clogged. As karma would have it, headlining the plumbers du jour was Mike Brown from Brainzooming – who later spent a week on this space answering residual creativity questions sparked by his two sessions. This begins to illustrate the beauty of a day-long immersion in ways to open the mind – it releases a flood. And, boy, do we know about floods in Cedar Rapids.

Given Small Shop Syndrome (whereby a large percentage actually has to be there working), I was the sole attendee from our agency. As it turned out, it was too good to bottle up in one person, so a week or two later we had a download session with our own gang of six. Over a Cinco de Mayo lunch, a quick PowerPoint of highlights, a smattering of handouts, and a YouTube clip of Bill Gates getting a pie in the face – Mike’s prescription for unblocking creativity with something that makes you laugh – everybody got the spirit of the six sessions I’d gone to. Talk around the table was spontaneous, engaged and specific to us.

With companies struggling to extend training time and dollars, having fun and building on ideas from a conference are great ways to spread the benefits. These kinds of insights into the wackified ways we creatives think and the walls we come up against are what any creative “training” should be. I got what resonated with me and was able to rain it down upon our internal team. Ideas bubbled to the top at lunch and we’ve kept ‘em coming.

So in the spirit of shared creativity, here’s something our art director saw and shared. Open it, marvel at it, pass it on, unleash your neurons. And have fun. – Betsy Caszatt.

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The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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Sometimes guest blog posts are pretty straight forward. Other times, getting a guest blog post done means going the non-traditional route and actually being creative (what a novel concept!).

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s 10 More Ways to Be Creative Like a Kid post, I’ve been bugging Stacy Harmon (@Just_Stacy on Twitter) to write her take on kid creativity based on her 3 sons and introducing kid-like creativity ideas at her workplace.

Stacy and I decided to get together for lunch at a local pizza place which has paper on the tables for drawing while you wait (which in our case seemed like forever just to get two mini-pizzas). Given the opportunity to doodle, it seemed like the best way to create Stacy’s version of more ways to be creative like a kid was to talk about her summer, find out what the kids are up to, and cartoon it as we went!

We did just that, resulting in today’s cartoon guest blog post from @Just_Stacy (her stories, my cartoons), along with the very cool Creative Insta-Gator she drew all from letters of the alphabet. It was a great lunch, a fun post, and a whole new frontier in creative guest blogging!

So if you’ve ALWAYS wanted to do a guest post for Brainzooming, you’re located in the Kansas City area, and you’re willing to buy me a mini-pizza for lunch, let me know. I’d love to feature more ideas for ways we adults can get back in touch with the creativity of kids.  Enjoy!

 

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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10

It’s always helpful when someone calls you on a good intention to make sure you actually follow through on it. When I spoke last month to the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association on social media strategy, the format allowed the audience to select from among 12 topics in the social media framework to customize the presentation to the social media strategy issues most relevant for them. To provide additional background on the social media strategic topics we didn’t talk about, I promised to create a compilation of links that formed the backbone of the presentation’s content. The full compilation has been on my to-do list ever since, and a very kind email from one of the TMSA attendees late last week prompted me to get it done!

My rationalization for the delay? The list now includes several posts written in the last two weeks (after the TMSA conference), including the post on who should create content that’s generated so many rich comments here and nearly 6,000 page views in its first week on the Social Media Today blog as well.

OVERVIEW

STRATEGY

1. Integration

 2. ROI

3. Guidelines

SOCIAL NETWORKING

4. Listening

5. Building Relationships

6. Getting Noticed

INFRASTRUCTURE

7. Platforms

8. Time and Talent

9. Minimizing Risk

SOCIAL BUSINESS

10. Content Marketing

11. Customer Engagement

12. Innovation

 

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 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.


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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9

Last time I wrote a blog post on “10 More Ways to Be Creative like a Kid.” I was having lunch that day with reader Stacy Harmon and was trying to convince her to write an answer post on being creative like a kid. It wasn’t enough to get Stacy to write anything yet, but the post was picked up by an email newsletter and resulted in the biggest day ever on the Brainzooming blog. I’m having lunch with Stacy again today (whose son Cooper suggested the creativity idea, “Glitter makes everything cool”), so the time seemed right for an updated Summer Vacation Edition of “10 More Ways to Be Creative like a Kid!”

  • Sleep in really, really late. Get up and eat. Go back to sleep. Get up and create.
  • Hit the swimming pool, forget all your cares, splash around like it’s the last day of summer vacation. Go back to work tomorrow – only if you must though.
  • Throw a pizza party lunch this summer and invite interesting people from different departments you’d like to meet.
  • When you want to surprise someone with your creativity, tiptoe up behind them and startle them with your amazing creativity.
  • Take somebody outside and dare the person to do something creative in the next 10 minutes.
  • Ride roller coasters at an amusement park or fair. Scream your head off. When you get off the ride, put all the mental cobwebs you shook loose into the nearest trash can.
  • If somebody at work says they’re not creative, put them into time-out until they admit how creative they are.
  • Have a meeting in a break room and make s’mores for everybody in the mircowave (9 seconds cooking time according to my wife, Cyndi).
  • Write old worn out ideas on a cardboard box. Blow up the box with firecrackers. Video the explosion and show the video at work to people who love old ideas.
  • Celebrate and cheer wildly when something goes well.

Before the summer vacation season gets away, what things are you doing to be creative like a kid? An in honor of Jim Joseph’s comment below about eating ice cream with sprinkles, here’s a little ice cream treat thrown in (start it at 1:03…trust me)! Mike Brown

 

 

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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4

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

Expectations – When you set exceptionally high standards for yourself, you have to stop listening to others who say you’re fine the way you are.

Simplicity – There’s nothing wrong with doing something really simply. It’s usually the absolute best thing, in fact.

Inspiration – It’s fascinating that people who hardly ever write a blog post suddenly have a 1,000 ideas when their blogging platform is down for 24 hours.

Procrastination – Sometimes less is more. Sometimes less just means you started preparing too late.

Self-Perception – When you’re singing your own praises, the threshold for what others consider hyperbole is pretty low. 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 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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1. Updating every three minutes.

I don’t care what it is or how important you think it is. If you suffer from run-on keyboard-itis, get your fingers over to Twitter and share away.

2. What you’re planning to eat, currently cooking, now eating, or recently ate.

Maybe Google Plus will turn into the personal vehicle Facebook is (probably not any time soon – like until later this week), but in the mean time, if you HAVE TO share a picture of your food, TWITPIC it.

3. Mock Focus Groups

This whole thing about throwing out apparently random questions to get scores of followers to chime in with answers is annoying as hell. Yea, I know it’s nice to do on Google Plus because it’s easy to track, but put a frickin’ hashtag on it and throw the question out to your 200,000 followers on Twitter.

4. Multiple Short Blog Post Fragments

Google Plus isn’t Tumblr (although it’s starting to feel a lot like it). If you want to workshop multiple blog posts, get a Tumblr site and see who you can lure over there to read them.

5. Every Link You Find Interesting

Post intriguing things. Take advantage of the ability to share and elaborate on multimedia content. Use the extra characters to provide some distinct background on what you’re sharing. That’s all wonderful. But PUHLEEZ just don’t share every Google Plus post you think is interesting and add nothing more than “nice,” “cool,” “agree.” Again, take it to Twitter and pound out reaction re-tweets to your heart’s content.

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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He spoke to them in parables about the Google+ user experience and only in parables did he speak to them.

“The first days of the Google Plus user experience can be likened to a Midwestern snowstorm.

“The snow appeared as a surprise one night, and the children awoke the next morning to a beautiful blanket of white. With the break of dawn and the snow falling, children burst into the crisp air making the first footprints in the snow. They threw snowballs, constructed snow forts, and built snowmen. As the snow continued falling, everything was clean and beautiful. Yet every child knew that within a day, the temperature would rise, the forts would melt, and the beautiful landscape would turn to muddy sludge.

“To what else can the Google+ user experience be compared? The first weekend of the Google Plus user experience can be likened to receiving an invitation to a party hosted by the most popular children in town.

“For those receiving an invitation, it represented the hope of getting chummy with the popular kids, playing with their unique toys, becoming  real friends, and then lording it over all the children who weren’t invited. Yet when the time for the party came, the guests arrived to find there were no wonderful toys and the popular kids didn’t really want to play with or talk with their guests much. Instead, the popular kids wanted an audience to experience THEM. Guests were allowed to see numerous pictures of the popular kids’ families and the steaks they’d be grilling after the party. The guests were encouraged though to laugh at the jokes the popular kids were making about those they had not invited. Thus the invited guests had sufficient anecdotes they could sensationalize and share with all the children who weren’t invited to convince them they were missing something truly exquisite.

“To what can the first week of the Google+ user experience be compared? It can be likened to a person being transferred to a newly constructed school with a few friends, all the popular kids, and many unknown people who’d been attending still other schools.

“While the new school was clean and spacious (since it would one day hold thousands of times more students), the initial excitement was dampened because so many really close friends were still attending the old neighborhood school. To see those close friends, a person would have to do it before school, after school, or heaven forbid, cut class and miss out on what the popular kids were doing and talking about. So despite all the honor of being present for the first week of Google Plus, students still longed for the faces and books which filled their old schools.”

And to what can the second weekend of the Google+ user experience be compared? We’re about to see. Let the chaos begin.Mike Brown

Note: I couldn’t let any more time go by without weighing in on Google Plus, even if it is a bit tongue-in-cheek. Although based on some of Google celebrating and Facebook bashing going on this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone didn’t try to write a “Gospel According to Google.”

For helpful, detailed analysis on Google Plus, check out the work Nate Riggs has done this week to identify tips and how-tos:

 

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 816-509-5320 to learn how we can develop an integrated social media strategy for your brand.

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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