Brainzooming – All Posts | The Brainzooming Group - Part 319 – page 319
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A frequently asked question when preparing a planning or innovation session is, “Should we go offsite?” The quick answer is, “Get a room.” There are a number of advantages:

  • It looks different – The surroundings will be different than the typical work setting, and a key to great idea generation is to see things from a different perspective.
  • It’s flexible – You can spec out a size (much more space per person than a typical conference room) and configuration (not a u-shape) typically unavailable in a fixed office conference room. The extra square footage and alternative setup allow you to have even the room contribute to successful ideation.
  • It removes some logistics pressure – Knowing there’s facility staff available to address room, materials, food, and beverage issues so you can focus on the session participants provides HUGE peace of mind.

So go ahead, make the investment, and get a room…even if you do have to rent it by the hour!

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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Creative Instigation

As someone described it to me last night, the much hyped “Creative Instigation” session for the Kansas City PRSA took place Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to Tracy Richardson from Barkley and PRSA for hosting “Creative Instigation” yesterday. Several people were instrumental in helping the presentation and workbook come together, including regular readers Leslie Adams and Cory Christensen. Thanks to both of them as well!

We haven’t had a chance to go back through the comments forms to identify questions and points to clarify, but as we do, they’ll get covered here and on Jan’s “Creative Instigation” blog.

“Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye”

I talked previously about the feedback approach we tend to use in meetings where the junior most person starts with the first comment, and we sequence through by seniority and title. In that way each person conveys their point of view free of undue influence from a boss or senior team members.

It’s been a great benefit for most of the past 8 ½ years that I’ve been able to respond after Angie Davids. Doing so has always prompted new insights that I wouldn’t have gotten to on my own without her perspective and expertise. Angie is one of the smartest strategic thinkers I’ve worked with in my career.

She’s moving to a new position at the end of this week and will be missed tremendously. And beyond being a great strategic thinker, she also has a wonderful sense of humor. So if I start sounding dumber or not as funny, you’ll know what has happened! Best wishes Angie!

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 a big “shoot for HUGE and settle for what you get” person. I’d rather “shoot for reasonable” and reach it through strong planning. With the “Creative Instigation” presentation Jan Harness and I are doing today, however, I’ve tried to consciously force myself to stretch, in keeping with our message.

Early on, we imagined a “live” blog – with whatever possibilities that suggested. We translated that into writing and introducing a book on “Creative Instigation” based on common themes in our blogs. After selecting articles in April, we began editing and augmenting them with new material and illustrations.

By July, the book was in solid draft form, yet we realized that we needed to start creating the live presentation. We reluctantly put full time work on the book on hold and turned attention to building the content for today. Interestingly, because of all the effort on the book, identifying a shorter set of exercises for the presentation became relatively straight forward.

I shifted attention in late July to the session workbook. Inspired by a creative activity book from Veer.com, the design resulted in a colorful, picture-filled, 38-page workbook that looked different than anything we’d ever done. I printed a completed copy last week and took it to an EVIL copy center for a quote on producing 60 copies. The bid: $1500. Needless to say that wasn’t happening! (It’s funny though that when looking at a copy of it, Jay Liebenguth said it alone was worth the price of admission to the session. He didn’t know how right he was!)

After a few frustrated phone calls with Jan and some heavy duty anxiety, the task was clear – for now, reduce the pages by at least 50% and make it work in primarily black and white. And do it all that Sunday evening.

I didn’t think such a transformation would be possible that quickly, but because of the more ambitious work that had been done, it came together very easily. The prospect of spending $1500 made editorial decisions much clearer.

The lesson? In both cases, shooting big and landing short moved “Creative Instigation” ahead much more dramatically and effectively than if we’d started to simply do a presentation and a handout. I guess applying the lesson to the book now suggests that as we revisit completing it, we should be shooting for “Creative Instigation” as a major motion picture!

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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The jumbo size formula in fast food usually involves a combination of three or four menu items all in larger than average proportions.

Transfer the jumbo size formula to your creative efforts. The next time you have a large creative appetite, pick several of your best creative talents, combine them, and use them in a bigger way than you have before.

That’s the way you Jumbo Size Your Creativity.

Want an example?

If you can draw, write, and are funny, getting the message across in your upcoming presentation could involve creating a cartoon to make your point in a bolder way!

That will be $4.79 at the next window. Please pull forward.  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative 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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I was a DJ for several years in college at a bar where there wasn’t dancing. Music simply provided a lively, entertaining environment. That was tremendously freeing because I didn’t have to play familiar music intended to get people dancing. The music choices could be lively, even if they were unusual; they just had to fit that night’s crowd. This became an early impetus for me seeking out great music far off the beaten path of popularity.

In recent years, I haven’t kept up on current music nearly as much. I tend to mine online sources for older, eclectic music that I may have missed With the internet and online music stores (particularly iTunes) this is much faster and cost-efficient than scouring cut-out bins used to be. In fact, I’ve characterized iTunes as bringing together two of my strongest passions – music and research – in a very seductive way.

Between iTunes, eMusic, Pandora, and Google (for searching lyrics snippets to find song titles), my iPod is filled with a wide variety of songs, many of them little-followed. I usually play these songs over and over for weeks listening for interesting lyrics, melodies, and chord progressions with a tolerance for repetition that drives my wife crazy.

Liz Phair certainly fits this category for me. When “Exile in Guyville” came out, I was already well into a career focus and didn’t get into her music much although I was aware of her. Rediscovering her now has put her early work into my heavy rotation.

In wrapping up Phair Weather Week, here’s a top 25 of these heavy rotation songs from the past year. Some artists and songs will be more familiar than others, but for me, they all have the musical elements I would have included in the mix back at the Brass Rail. Enjoy the discovery process!

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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In the interviews discussed Tuesday, Liz Phair talked about losing the creative freedom of writing songs that she didn’t think would be heard after she gained fame. She characterized her career since then as an effort to get back to writing in that more pure, unconscious state.

That’s an interesting expression of the challenge of having too much knowledge. That’s why brainstorming techniques are so valuable. They serve to twist your expertise in ways that put you back into unfamiliar territory where your knowledge has to be applied in a new way once again.

This is also why bare walls and different tools of expression are so valuable; they can readily place you into unfamiliar creative territory. So don’t hesitate in using approaches that push you into new areas of “unconsciousness.” You’ll find you are re-stimulated in cool new ways.

SPECIAL NOTE:  I will be on Jay Liebenguth’s radio show, “Live with Jay” on Thursday, August 7 at 3:00 p.m. on KCTE 1510 AM in Kansas City. You can listen on the internet at http://www.1510.com/ or check out the interview later on Jay’s website.

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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Look through Liz Phair’s song catalog and you’ll find many songs labeled “Explicit Lyrics.” You don’t have to listen very long to know it’s an appropriate label in more ways than one. She sings about many explicit sexual topics. But her material is also explicit in another sense of the word’s definition.

Within her lyrics, Phair uses a variety of very rich similes and metaphors that create explicit images and unusual connections. And as we’ve discussed here, connecting things that aren’t typically connected is a key to trigger new ideas and possibilities in your thinking. Among the connections Phair makes in her lyrics are:

  • Your eyelashes sparkle like gilded grass
  • Baby you’re the best magazine advice
  • Your kisses are as wicked as an F-16
  • You f**k like a volcano
  • They play me like a pit bull in the basement
  • You’re an angel with wings afire

There are certainly others that I couldn’t asterisk out and still have them make any sense!

But without being explicit in the first sense, you can certainly look for opportunities to be explicit more frequently in the latter sense to envision new possibilities and communicate your ideas in ways that will get you labeled a “creative instigator.”

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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