Brainzooming – All Posts | The Brainzooming Group - Part 321 – page 321
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This conversation took place on a plane in the row ahead of me as a child showed a picture he’d drawn to his father.

The little boy asked, “Daddy…is this a masterpiece?”
His dad said without question, “Yes.”
The little boy squealed repeatedly over the next few minutes, “What a masterpiece!!!”
Next time somebody asks you how good something is, and it’s really good, let them know, “It’s a masterpiece!!! – Mike Brown

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact TheBrainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us atinfo@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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Sorry to break the news here, but William Shakespeare was wrong. In Hamlet, he wrote, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” That’s not good advice for creative instigation.

When it comes to generating new ideas, it’s valuable to both borrow inspiration from others (making sure that you modify and better it) and to make sure that you’re sharing your ideas with others to see if they can improve upon them in ways that you couldn’t.

So get out there and start borrowing and lending your way to more great ideas!

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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Be sure to check out Jay Liebenguth’s website for daily updates on his trek through the central United States discovering interesting business stories for his Thursday radio programs on KCTE 1510. Jay has been a great supporter of this blog and this end of Summer trip through 10 states and at least 25 cities to capture 50 interviews is the epitome of creative instigation! Here’s the remaining schedule:

Wednesday August 27th to Idaho Falls, Pocatello ID
Thursday August 28th to Jackson Hole, WY
Friday August 29th Flex Day
Saturday August 30th to Casper, Cheyenne, WY
Sunday August 31st to Ft Collins, CO
Monday September 1st to Estes Park, CO
Tuesday September 2nd to Boulder/ Denver/ Colorado Springs, CO
Wednesday September 3rd to Hays/ Manhattan, KS
Thursday September 4th to Topeka/ Overland Park, KS
Friday September 5th to Maryville, MO

If you have interview ideas for him in upcoming cities, visit Jay’s Q&A area on LinkedIn to offer your suggestions. Best wishes Jay!

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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A primary theme in our Creative Instigation presentation is how you can use structure to help people expand creativity. Essentially, it’s structured creativity.

We show how everyone can draw a “gator” by using letters and a couple of characters of punctuation (the gator at the right is drawn with a different color for each letter if you’d like to give it a try). Structured creativity can allow people to write and perform blues songs, draw comic strips, or write Haikus all within only 10 minutes.

Structure can be powerful in helping anyone get a faster start on thinking and performing creatively.

Here’s a challenge: think about your best talents, stepping back to see how you successfully apply rules, heuristics, formats, and other structural elements to perform well. Then identify how you can teach and share that structure with others so that they can experience new talents that they didn’t know they possessed.

They’ll appreciate it and maybe even show you how to use structure to start experiencing their talents!

A side note: The objective of the exercise above is to have people exorcise past negative people or interactions that said “You can’t do that” or “You can’t be creative.” During a recent creative instigation session, the examples ranged from someone being told she couldn’t be in a university music program without completing a piano recital (even though she was making money performing music already) to a young woman who was denied playing soccer with boys.

Interestingly, just a few days later, reading the current issue of “Men’s Health,” it turns out that even David Beckham had a similar experience, being told that he was too small to play English football. Just goes to show that any of us have to be on the watch for “creative disintegraters.” – 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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With all the hoarding-oriented reality TV shows, being a creative pack rat probably takes on some bad connotations. But being a creative pack rat serves you well when you’re trying to break through a creative block, and you need a dependable creative thinking boost to get you Brainzooming!

Here’s how to become a creative pack rat!

Start a new file with a prominent place in your filing system and call it “Creative Instigators.” Your creative thinking stash can be a physical file, an online folder, or simply bookmarks in your web browser, among other places. Heck, your creative instigators stash could be even be on Pinterest! (No, in case you check the original date on this post, I didn’t time travel. I’m just trying to freshen up creativity content on the Brainzooming blog!)

Use your creative instigators stash to save pictures, articles, thoughts, ideas, quotes, thank you notes, cartoons, ads, Brainzooming posts (I couldn’t resist), and anything else that stimulates ideas for you.
When you’re suffering a creative block, pull out this file and take a stroll through its contents to kick start your creative thinking! – 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 info@brainzooming.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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This week we’ll cover ideas emerging from the Creative Instigation session on August 12.

Today’s Creative Quickie is to be bold when you’re thinking creatively.

One way is to use a Sharpie marker when writing, doodling, or sketching ideas. With a Sharpie, it’s impossible to make a bashful line. Everything you create will simply look more bold & forceful!

Just watch out and don’t get marks on your clothes – advice from someone who does it all the time.

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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A recent post on my musical tastes elicited an interesting reply from “Anonymous” about the predominance of indie acts that struggled with maintaining early critical and/or commercial success. The question was what these bands could have applied from business strategy to improve their longevity. Here are a few thoughts:

  • In applying business strategy, most of these bands are “product brands” (Liz Phair, Cracker, The Lemonheads, Crowded House, etc.). Records labels are the businesses. They Might Be Giants is probably closest to a true business with its diversification into other mediums.
  • Based on the first point, most indie bands don’t subscribe to typical business objectives initially (i.e. Liz Phair disavowing interest in selling records early on, only to realize later that it’s okay). As such, the indie strategy is typically “build it and they will come” – far from a successful long-term marketing strategy.
  • How achievable long-term success is for indie bands seems tied to how their brands are defined:
    – “How” oriented bands – a brand built around style whether musical (M. Ward, Fatboy Slim) or visual (while not on my list, Flock of Seagulls is the ultimate footnote in this category).
    – “Who” oriented bands – built around individuals or groups of individuals (Lemonheads, R.E.M.).
    – “What” oriented bands – the brand is tied to the group’s structure and form. The Clash was about its members and a point of view; U2 is another example. “What” oriented bands seem to have the most viable options for growth and staying power. “How” and “Who” acts seem more hemmed in by fans unwilling to allow change.
  • Speaking of fans, another factor limiting broad commercial success for indie bands is music’s highly emotional nature. This phenomenon limits maneuver for brands seeking out new stylistic territory. If your bathroom cleaner changes formulation, big deal – there’s no emotional connection. If your favorite indie band tries to change, however, there’s a lot greater likelihood you’ll feel betrayed and look for a new one with which to connect.
  • Finally, from a strategy perspective, a business can only afford for its products to be as niche as distribution systems allow for efficiency and profit. When most of these acts became popular, distribution was through physical stores, with higher inherent costs. As a result, bands had to meet tougher sales hurdles to continue recording. With today’s electronic distribution, minimum commercial sales targets have likely declined. The greater distribution efficiency is the only reason most of these acts still even have music available for purchase.

The net of all this suggests a variety of factors that make it tough, albeit perhaps easier today, for an indie band to breakthrough to broad commercial success. But doing so still often pulls a band away from its critical base. The key to doing all this successfully ties to staking out a broad enough structure and form for the band’s brand early on, providing enough room for the expansion necessary to go after commercial success.

As usual, check out Seth Godin’s blog for a couple of intriguing posts that address related aspects of the questions of popularity and targeting your strategy.

Thanks for prompting this response Chris, I mean, “Anonymous.”

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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