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The forming and use of creative thinking heuristics fascinates me.

That shouldn’t be surprising.

As the Brainzooming name suggests, we concentrate on opportunities for short cutting creative thinking in smart ways to keep (or start) things zooming along. If there’s a smart creative thinking shortcut to be tried, we’re up for it.

Creative Thinking at #BJSSC15

During the presentations from mentor teachers and intern teachers at the Boulder Journey School Conference, it was fascinating to hear the lengths to which they go to honor and fulfill the intricate thinking paths the children devise.

150629-BJSSC-Ideas

For instance, the children in one class were working on designing homes for animals, thinking about and accounting for all the things a home would need to include to be homey. The work inspired one of the teachers, Lauren Frazier, to pursue the idea of actually getting a pet for the classroom. Through multiple rounds of voting on what type of pet they wanted (and even absentee voting for parents and grandparents) and what the pet would be named, the class arrived at Nibbles, the guinea pig.

Then, beyond translating their ideas about an animal’s home into Nibbles’ new home, the children wanted to decorate Nibbles’ cage in her favorite color. They devised a series of tests where “doors” of various colors were placed with Nibbles. Students tallied Nibbles’ activity across several days, and using multiple criteria, and they determined red was Nibbles’ favorite color. This paved the way for creating a series of red decorations in her cage.

Before Shortcuts, There Were Many Steps

You may wonder why I’m sharing the Nibbles story.

Beyond the striking separated-at-birth resemblance between Nibbles and our very own Brainzooming Director of Enthusiasm, there’s a very important reminder.

It’s so easy in business and organizational settings to cut out steps and reduce thinking time to save costs and improve the bottom line. We hear the mantra to “ship” new products sooner and fix it later. It’s all part of what we think is making business more revolutionary these days. It’s all about taking fewer steps.

At the Boulder Journey School, however, they walk through each decision step. And the children are the ones charting the steps…not the adults who know better and thus might be the first ones to cut out steps. I know I fought the quick conclusion during the Nibbles presentation to think, “Just pick a color for goodness’ sake and get on with it!”

The learning is when your audience or stakeholder group is newer to ideas and concepts than an organization’s leadership is, there is value to letting them chart the steps and taking all the steps necessary to bring them along in shaping and supporting new ideas. Even if it takes longer, and even if it so deliberate that it can seem maddening, maybe the best answer is going to be the one that emerges from all those steps.  – Mike Brown

 

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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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I was in Boulder, CO last week for the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference. As more than one person asked me, “Why were you at an early childhood education conference?”

Fair question.

Mike-BJSSC15

The short answer was the school’s founder, Dr. Ellen Hall, and I serve together on the board of another non-profit, Nature Explore. Ellen Hall paved the way for the invitation to speak and attend both days of the conference.

The longer answer is, beyond speaking on creative thinking, it was a welcome change to be surrounded by people and an environment fostering in children the same types of creative thinking we try to instigate among adults in the business world.

And as expected, it was an incredible learning experience.

I’ll share various creative thinking insights and images from the Boulder Journey School Summer conference this week; they are all related to the adult world of strategy, creativity, and innovation we cover.

Today, here are creative thinking quotes and comments that resonated and pushed my own thinking:

Creative Thinking Quotes Mentioned During Presentations

“You can’t do a good job unless you’re keen on it yourself.” – quoting David Hawkins

 

“To be in dialogue means to accept transformation.” – quoting Carlina Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children

 

“If you have no bloody owies, you’re being too careful. If you have more than three bloody owies, you’re probably not being careful enough.” – quoting Teacher Tom

  • This does a lot better job of conveying the whole “you have to fail to succeed” perspective than anything else I’ve seen on the topic.

 

“To listen is not to fit what we hear into what we already know, but rather to be poised for the possibilities of what we are about to come to know.” – quoting Davies

 

Live Creative Thinking Quotes from Speakers

“I have a lot of learning to do, that’s why I’m up here presenting today.” – Jen Selbitschka, Studio Teacher

 

“You can’t bring seventy-five people together and make a decision.” – Andrea Sisbarro, School Director at Boulder Journey School

 

“You could look at turning over 41 interns every year as a disaster, or you can see it as a great opportunity to bring new learning into the school.” – Alison Maher, Education Director at Boulder Journey School

 

“The best thing about dandelions is nobody cares if you pull them up.” Another Teacher at the Boulder Journey School

 

“What are we working on together?” – Mary Jane Moran

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Today, I am co-delivering the welcoming session for the two-day Boulder Journey School Summer Conference. The Boulder Journey School, founded by my friend, Dr. Ellen Hall, educates young children with fundamental values “based on an image of children as competent and capable, and as valuable citizens with inherent and irrefutable rights.”

The school’s curriculum focuses on “21st Century Skills” including:

  • Critical Thinking and Reasoning
  • Information Literacy
  • Collaboration
  • Self-Direction
  • Invention

The list should sound very familiar to long-term Brainzooming readers since these are many of the same topics we try to address here related to creative thinking for professionals in the workplace.

In my opening talk on “Creativity, Talents, and Perspectives” at the conference, I will share a few Brainzooming creative thinking concepts plus a couple of idea capture frameworks specifically designed for the educators attending the conference to help think about their experiences and ideas to take back home to their own schools.

Creative Thinking Skills

Here are links to the Brainzooming creative thinking skills content shaping the talk.

Perspective and Talent – Common Challenges for Creative Leaders

Defining Creativity

Using All the Talents a Creative Leader and Team Has

Cultivating a Creative Perspective

Embracing a Creative Experience

I will be at the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference throughout the event, so I plan to immerse myself and be able to share some new insights on creative thinking skills here soon! – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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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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Whenever readers or workshop audience members initiate conversations and ask questions, it is so much easier to write blog content.

I doubt that is a unique situation.

If you are looking to find more ideas for your content marketing strategy, have you tried mining your organization’s daily customer conversations?

Tap into open-ended customer conversations already taking place with sales, customer service, executives, technical staff, drivers, retail associates, e-commerce and social media staff, market researchers, and any other employees interacting with customers whether in-person or virtually.

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Additionally, create new opportunities to capture customer conversations through listening posts you create. These are specific interactions you create to capture additional inputs from customers about your brand and its products and services. It could be as simple as actually capturing the feedback from questions you are already having your employees ask customers during routine interactions. It might extend, however, to doing something completely new to find out what customers are asking or saying about your brand.

4 Customer Conversations and Content Marketing Strategy Ideas

How do you turn these conversations into content marketing possibilities?

One way is to think about the conversations based on their nature (statements vs. questions) and tone (positive to negative). Categorizing customer conversations along these two dimensions is a first step toward turning them into content using the matrix below.

  • Positive statements can suggest ways to highlight brand value.
  • Positive questions turn into education opportunities
  • Negative comments are opportunities to anticipate objectives and challenges other customers are facing but not voicing.
  • Negative questions open the door to both process changes to address pain points and update opportunities for what your brand is doing in these areas.

Customer-Convo-Med

Effectively mining customer conversations sets you up to expand content you can be better assured is relevant to customers and prospects because THEY are generating the topics!  – Mike Brown

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When was the last time you invested 45 minutes to check your social media strategy?

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

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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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These five articles stood out this week in our core content areas of strategic thinking, creativity, and social media and content marketing. Each of them is worth a click and a look!

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1. Ten Ways to Weave Creativity into your Classroom!

Dr. Cyndi Burnett of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State and her co-author, Julia Figliotti, have released a new book on creativity: Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum. (Affiliate Link) To develop the book, they reached out to more than one hundred educators and creativity-focused experts for creativity ideas. The resulting book features more than seven hundred ideas. In this blog post, they highlight their ten favorite ideas. Even if you’re not an educator, this post is worth checking out because nearly all the creativity ideas and tips also apply directly to the workplace.

2. The $50 Billion Question: Can Uber Deliver?

I’ll come right out and admit I don’t “get” Uber. Realizing that puts my WAY in the minority, this Wall Street Journal article about Uber trying to get into the delivery business (just one of several Uber-realted articles in the Journal this week), includes several refreshing contrarian voices. Products don’t find the vehicle at pickup or make their way into the final destination at delivery on their own. They are also perishable in a variety of ways. That means even if Uber is working for people, it’s not necessarily a quick translation to moving products.

3. CVS to Buy 1,600 Drugstores from Target for $1.9 Billion

CVS buying the Target pharmacy operation is an intriguing strategic thinking example. Two brands competing in several retail categories are planning to co-exist and create mutual benefits for both. It’s a great example of two brands engaging in an unusual strategic relationship that fits both of their near- and longer-term plans. Combing through multiple takes on the story yielded multiple strategic thinking questions a brand can use to expand its list of potential competitors and partners.

4. Stop Sending Traffic to Your Homepage: 3 Reasons Why Landing Pages Convert More Visitors into Leads

I saw this post on LinkedIn, but this is the original link from Mike Whaling at 30Lines. Mike helped us set up our initial landing pages. This is a great reminder about one of the keys to online and content marketing that many businesses miss.

5. From the Brainzooming Archives: Social Media Moments of Silence – 5 Areas to Monitor during Tragedies

This article arose from the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. There was a lot of talk at the time about brands needing to recognize a moment of silence when major tragedies take place. As of the publication date, I haven’t heard the same talk following the tragic shootings in Charleston, SC, but it seems like a comparable tragedy that should have warranted a bigger national pause than seems to have taken place. – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

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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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We have said it before, but it warrants repeating: Not all the great content you share has to be completely new content.

Content Marketing Creativity

Any organization likely has a treasure trove of older, historical, and archival content that retains interest and engagement value for new audiences. Doing something to repurpose old content simply requires content marketing creativity!

This was highlighted this past weekend at a family reunion, intriguingly enough. My maternal grandfather’s family of eleven brothers and one sister was a very musical family. Various groups of brothers (including my mom’s dad) formed and played in dance bands from the 1930s through the 1980s.

Freddy-Joe-CD

One of the reunion organizers had the idea to locate, digitize, and clean up recordings from The Freddy Joe Band, one of the bands from the 1940s. My parents supplied several cassette tapes for the CD project. Others did the musical enhancements, along with designing the packaging and writing liner notes. The result was a wonderful remembrance of both the most recent reunion and a significant aspect of the family’s history for a new audience that had never experienced the band.

4 Questions to Repurpose Old Content for New Audiences

This experience suggests four content marketing creativity questions brands can ask and answer to mine and repurpose old content:

  • Does audio and video content exist that tells little-known, but intriguing factoids about the brand’s early days?
  • What rarely-seen photographs (or video) show early employees, customers, and products that have historical value?
  • Who knows stories about the circumstances of how people used early products that provide interesting comparisons to today?
  • Are there lessons learned from the brand’s early days that would still benefit a new audience of customers today?

With just a little content marketing creativity, you can save time and also open up new audiences to engaging aspects of your brand that are so old they are new! – Mike Brown

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategy with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

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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Looking for a place to come when you need a creative boost? Here are some of our most popular articles on creativity and the skills involved in creative thinking.

Use it yourself or share it with others to get your Brainzooming and help make creativity something that is part of daily life rather than a special event!

Dilbert-Creative-Thinking

Creative Thinking Skills

7 Important Creative Thinking Skills

21 Talents and Creative Thinking Skills to Cherish in Creative Friends

6 Tips for Sharing and Receiving Creative Ideas

Faking Creative Thinking Skills in a Live Setting

A 5-Part Creative Thinking Formula

6 Challenges Before Loving Your New Idea Too Much

A 7 Lesson Guide to Creating by Jessica James

5 People Vital to Critical Thinking, Literally

17 Articles on Pitching Creative Ideas

4 Ideas for Safely Sharing Dirty Ideas and Thinking

Creative-Idea

Staying Creative

Take 10 Minutes to Start Your Inspiration Inventory

7 Ideas to Get the Most from Your Creativity Daily

5 Assets to Avoid Mental Bankruptcy

34 Ideas for a Bored Adult to Beat Boredom

Create-At-All-Times

Using Analogies to Generate Creative Ideas

Strategic Thinking Exercises – Can Analogies Change the World?

Comparing Apples and Oranges 7 Ways

12 Triggers for Finding Strategic Connections

The Opposite of Creative Thinking

8 Clues You Are an Idea Slasher

29 Phrases Blocking Innovative Ideas

Creative Thinking: REALLY? We Do NOT Have Time for Creativity? REALLY?

How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows

Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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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