8

We’re smack dab in the midst of the work week, and some of you (and by “some of you” I mean “me) may have even lost track of what day it is. That’s not good! So how about a creativity boost to get you back on your creative feet today! Here are 14 ideas for a creativity boost from a variety of different perspectives. These ideas will help whether you have a creative block or just need “permission” to boost your creativity in new directions today – or any day!

Photo by: nailiaschwarz | Source: photocase.com

  • Other people will simply see things differently than you. It is hard to beat the creative boost of letting others react to things in ways you would never think of by yourself.
  • Seek out those on the fringes of the areas in which you are interested. Also, seek out individuals on the fringe of areas that hold little interest for you.
  • Get somebody to dare you to complete something creative in only 10 minutes.
  • Agree to present a topic slightly outside your area of expertise as a great way to force new creativity and learning.
  • If you feel like your new creative idea is a fire hydrant and your supposed teammate is a dog, seriously think about finding a new creative team.
  • Sometimes, it is a lot easier creatively to start from scratch than trying to re-edit or re-format something old to fit in a new situation.
  • Do you really KNOW your way around “where you live”? Take the tour visitors take & see what new things you learn.
  • People often have different personal definitions for abstract concepts. Turn your definition into an image so it is easier to compare your definition with another person’s understanding of it.
  • If you need a creativity boost, maybe you are exhausted. Make time to get TOO MUCH sleep tonight.
  • Someone with Expertise + A Fresh Perspective from Someone Else + An Open Conversation = Definite Revelations
  • Conscious Immersion + Purposeful Repetition + Keen Observation = Startling New Insights
  • When planning a project, aim for as few “moving parts” as possible. Doing so really helps drive simplicity and boost creativity in your implementation.
  • If a new, blatantly good creative idea you had not thought of before surfaces, even one instance of it could be enough to make a creative change to what you are doing right now.
  • In new situations requiring creativity, do not start with why “I can’t,” “It won’t,” or “They’ll never.” It simply drains the energy and creativity boost you will need to actually accomplish something!
If you need a creativity boost today or any time during the work week, try one of these ideas and see how it can creatively freshen up your creative challenges. – 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.

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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5

Photo by: tobeys | Source: photocase.com

Last Friday’s Brainzooming blog post received very kind comments and attention. The irony is for as much as I try to write ahead of time, on Thursday night, I didn’t have a blog written for Friday morning. In fact, leaving a Social Media Club of Kansas City event Thursday evening, I told reader Pam Hausner  (who was very gracious in her comments about the Brainzooming blog) it was imperative I leave because I had no clue what the Friday post would be.

On the way home, I was thinking of what type of list post I could write, since list posts can be quick blog posts to create. The result was grabbing a variety of tweets on giving yourself a break and publishing it for Friday along with a fun link to Stickman.

The other list post topic idea was this one: what are easy blogging topic ideas, i.e. quick blog posts for when you need to create one in a hurry? To answer that question, here are my top-10 quick blogging topic ideas:

How about it you bloggers? What strategies do you fall back on when you need a quick blog post to meet a publishing deadline? – Mike Brown

 

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on social media, content marketing, and blogging to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com  or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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7

One of the most popular Brainzooming blog posts ever was on extreme creativity lessons from the TLC reality TV series “Cake Boss” starring Buddy Valastro and his cake baking family at Carlo’s Bakery. New “Cake Boss” episodes start tonight on TLC, so it is time to share five more extreme creativity lessons below culled from one afternoon’s Cake Boss marathon I watched:

1. Know when to push for more innovation even when it seems you do not need more innovation.

In the previous “Cake Boss” season, Buddy Valastro was in the midst of remodeling and building a major new baking facility for Carlo’s Bakery. Buddy knew with the bigger expectations the enormous facility would create for the business, he had to step up his creative game. Even though Buddy’s cakes display rampant extreme creativity, he was on a mission to come up with major new cake designs to stay in front in cake innovation.

2. Drop a big creative assignment on your team then get out of the way.

To create the innovative cake designs Buddy envisioned would dramatically update the cakes in the Carlo’s Bakery catalog, he envisioned some type of creative competition. Buddy assigned everybody in the bakery to create new cake ideas, but rather than stick around and potentially be a creative crutch for people, Buddy made the assignment and left. As a result, everyone in the bakery had to grow creatively to deliver innovative new cake designs.

3. Do not lose sight of applying creativity to a business objective.

When creating the new innovative cakes for the Carlo’s Bakery cake catalog, one baker designed a blue cake topped with cupcakes. He knew the cake was simple, eye-catching, and would sell well because of the cupcakes on top. The belief it would sell like crazy was exactly why Buddy selected the cupcake cake to be included in the catalog.

PHOTO BY AP PHOTO/FLORIDA TODAY, CRAIG RUBADOUX

4. Make sure you have go-to extreme creative people available.

NASA ordered an extreme cake from Buddy, requesting he create a space shuttle-shaped cake as part of the wind-down of the space shuttle program. Buddy decided that the innovation to set the space shuttle cake apart was for the rocket engine and solid rocket boosters to actually fire and make the space shuttle cake lift-off. Buddy admitted he had no idea how to do it, but he did know an FX and pyrotechnics guy who WAS able to figure it out and made the whole creative cake design work.

5. As much as you have to push for big NEW creativity, sometimes the most extreme creativity comes from OLD creativity.

When designing a cake for his mom’s birthday, Buddy decided the most extreme creativity he could deliver would be to re-create a double heart cake his father used to bake back in the day. In this case, going old school on the cake design was the most extreme creativity Buddy could do.

Buddy’s All About Extreme Creativity

Last time it was a NASCAR cake; this time, it’s a space shuttle cake! I can’t wait to see what extreme creativity Buddy the “Cake Boss” has in his ovens this season! – 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.

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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8

Maybe it has been a tough week. Maybe it has been a tough you don’t even remember how long. Today, give yourself a break, and remember these things:

  • Life is precious. Things are just things.
  • You get to decide about how much stuff you allow to bother you. It’s a lot easier on you if you choose less stuff.
  • When praying for what you want, include a prayer you’ll be able to recognize it when it’s given to you.
  • When you decide to leave something behind, leave it behind. Don’t torture yourself thinking about it.
  • Your supporters will tell you once and move on. Your critics will keep talking until you agree.
  • Beating the competition wins the game. Beating yourself up makes beating the competition all that much harder.
  • If need be, redefine the denominator by which you judge your performance & success.
  • Take the talents you have & apply them in every way you can think of.

If you’ve gotten this far, that’s fantastic, and I hope you feel better about things. If the feeling wanes during the coming days, come back and re-read these and re-commit to giving yourself a break again. Or you can also click on the drawing in this post to go to “Draw a Stickman” for a few minutes of fun and a great message! – 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 brainzooming@gmail.com  or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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7

For all the talk the last few years about the large number of people leaving corporate life for the world of entrepreneurship, I know people who have made the opposite move – switching from working by themselves to entering corporate life and working for someone else. When going from working at home or in a small business to a larger, more formal work setting, a number of rules are different.

In response to a question over the phone about someone making the move from the entrepreneurial world to corporate life, I put together these 5 observations for anyone beginning a corporate job after being in small agencies and entrepreneurial ventures.

photo by: suze | source: photocase.com

The 5 observations about entering corporate life are based on my experience moving from a financially-strapped 2-person shop in my first job out of grad school into the Fortune 500 world and staying for a long time. During those years, I saw people do both great and miserable at entering corporate life. Here’s what the successful ones knew and did:

1) It’s not your show – at least not for now.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. once said he had trouble finding women to date because they never realized, as he put it, “It’s my damn show.” When you start your corporate job, it likely won’t be your show anymore. Know which rules you need to play by and which you don’t before you start making your own rules.

2) Listen and observe first.

Don’t neglect the importance of simply paying attention when you start. It’s perhaps the one time where you’ll have a free pass to listen and observe without having to jump in with a perspective right away. Use this very precious window to be lazy on talking and aggressive on listening.

3) Eat lunch in the corporate lunch room

Spend time with a broad group of people learning what they know. Spend time especially with people at the heart of where the organization makes money. Making sure you eat lunch in the corporate lunch room can go a big way toward making these important connections early.

4) Own all the ideas from your past.

Nobody cares where the ideas you share originated. Don’t name drop clients and former employers when you share ideas; it makes it seem like they’re smarter than your new company and co-workers. Go with it and own all the ideas from your past work experiences. Just share your ideas. No credit is necessary, unless one of your former co-workers has joined you in your new corporate life.

5) Watch your finances.

This is especially true if you have had to closely watch your finances up to now. You may be headed to a more lucrative situation. Try living on only part of your new incremental dollars; bank most of the rest. (I know from where I speak on this. I tripled my salary going from the 2-person shop to a corporate job and was playing big-time financial catch up.)

If you’ve made the move to corporate life, what advice would you 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 brainzooming@gmail.com  or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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7

I’ve been thinking about this post for about a week, but getting the new Facebook features which are trying to replicate Google+ caused me to write this list last night of 7 things I hate about Google+ for sharing today.

The 7 Things I Hate about Google+

1. The incredibly low on-screen information DENSITY (grey area)

Google+ Screenshot (Sept 20, 2011)

I usually love white space, but Tweetdeck has trained me to want (and Edward Tufte has made me come to expect) much higher on-screen information density than Google+ delivers. There’s just WAY TOO MUCH white space begging for something on-screen to read.

2. The incredibly low on-screen information DIVERSITY (red area)

On Twitter, I hate when someone dumps so many tweets at one time that they occupy a disproportionate amount of on-screen space. That happens on Google+ all the time. And it doesn’t count to say that lots of the room is taken up by comments or shares. They get no diversity credit from me. That screen space all gets charged to the original person sharing the content (see number 7).

3. Google+ has clearly gotten inside Facebook’s corporate head

Facebook Screenshot (Sept 20, 2011)

As I updated on Facebook Tuesday night, the introduction of Google+ actually caused me to spend MORE time on Facebook to understand the differences and roles of each. Now that Facebook seems hell-bent to close the gaps, my intrigue for Facebook is “going down, down, down” at an alarming rate. I mean look at the two screen shots: other than I went to high school with one of the guys on the Facebook screen, they’re nearly identical.

4. Sparks, from a search perspective, suck

I don’t quite get why a company that lives and dies by search, puts Sparks forward under its brand. Sparks searches are like the results from the ultimate in an unsorted, very dated, off-topic search engine. Sparks are so far off-brand, it’s pathetic.

5. Google+ is still pimping invites

As I’m writing this, Google+ is now open to everyone, but real estate on my screen is still being taken up with an invitation to send invites. I don’t need to send invites; get the text off my screen.

6. It appears to be blocking terms

I tried to write an update last week which mentioned Facebook twice in a couple of paragraphs, and Google+ wouldn’t let me share it. When I removed the Facebook mentions, the update was published with no problems.

7. Google+ has turned the user experience into a rock concert

You know how at a rock concert a singer will yell something like, “How you doin’ tonight Kansas City?” The singer doesn’t care about how any one person is doing. The singer just wants a lot of cumulative volume with unintelligible individual responses. Doesn’t that sound exactly like a high profile social media rock star asking inane questions on Google+ to trigger bunches of comments they never respond to. Yup, it’s all the same.

What do you think?

Where do you come out on this battle? Do you care? Are you a Facebook user who’s having to deal with the collateral damage of the war with Facebook? If so, what do you think about that? – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

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

A caller was forwarded to me back in the corporate days who had been passed among various people over a period of time. Based on the information in his phone messages, he appeared to be interested in selling in a program that wasn’t a corporate priority then.

Having been asked to follow up with him, I called his cell phone and we talked for quite some time about what he was trying to accomplish. I let him know that for a variety of reasons, his program wasn’t going to be able to prioritized high enough to invest time in it currently.

Near the end of the call, he informed me that he was both a customer and a shareholder in the company. It probably shouldn’t have, but it was a surprise to me. I’d incorrectly classified him in my own mind as a “vendor” based on the information provided before calling him. My rush to judgment (which I suspect was shared by those who had been shuffling his calls around) caused me to not even consider that he might be in multiple important audiences for the company.

The lesson is to never presuppose who’s on the other end of the phone; they may be tremendously important to your business in ways that you have never imagined. For my part, I’ll make a concerted effort to get better about reconnecting with people that I might not have worked as diligently to reach before. Maybe we can all do better at it.  – 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.  To learn how we can bring out the best innovative thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

 

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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