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We’ve been discussing creative job titles around here.  And by creative job titles, I’m talking about job titles that:

  • Are descriptive
  • Stand out
  • Aren‘t so trendy or cutesy they are embarrassing

When starting The Brainzooming Group, creating job titles wasn’t a priority. That being said, I’ve always thought the word “catalyst” (something which prompts or hastens an important event without being caught up in the event) perfectly describes what The Brainzooming Group does. I acknowledge though, you may have to know too much about chemistry for “catalyst” to work. As a result, my business card still has no title on it.

As we’re growing and making additions you’ll learn about soon, titles have been a topic. When we work on coming up with creative job titles, here are some of the creativity- instigating questions we’ll be asking ourselves to generate new ideas:

  • What words describe the cool outcomes of our work or the experience of working with us?
  • What other jobs are like this? What words are used to describe those professions which could result in a cool job title?
  • If this job required super powers, what would they be?
  • What words would you use to describe this job if you were trying to impress your mom, a spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend, or someone who would hire you for your next job?
  • What words would add emotional impact to the title?
  • What worlds describe HOW the person will do the job?
  • What words would be more exciting, powerful, fun, surprising, or memorable?

In case you’re looking to come up with creative job titles, give these questions a go. We’ll let you know what creative job titles they yield for us when we get something dreamed up! – 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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Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. This season is a time intended for more prayer and quiet times. In what’s become an annual tradition, I’ve shared a creativity prayer on this day that I wrote several years ago as part of a creativity presentation I developed.

If you’re struggling creatively, invest some of your time today and in the next weeks asking for a potentially new inspiration source to enhance your creativity and the creativity of those around you!

Lord,

Thank you for creation itself and the incredible gifts and talents you so generously entrust to me. May I appreciate and develop these talents, always recognizing that they come from you and remain yours.

Guide me in using them for the benefit of everyone that I touch, so that they may be more aware of your creative presence and develop the creativity entrusted to them for the good of others.

Help me also to use your talents to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to your world, living out my call to be an integral part of your creative force. Amen.

Copyright 2008, Mike Brown

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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2

Here’s an idea that works well when you’re trying to uncover how to be more creative: force yourself (or your business brand) into completely new strategic situations.

The Brainzooming Group will be doing that this Thursday. Barrett Sydnor and I will be participating in the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City’s 2010 Portfolio Showcase, along with a talented group of creative talent – designers, writers, web developers, and artists. We’ll be there showcasing how Brainzooming helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement.

Barrett identified this opportunity, and while it may seem a stretch for Brainzooming to hang with the creative Freelance Exchange organization, the preparation alone has had a strategic and creative  impact. The opportunity to meet prospective Brainzooming clients in a very different situation (i.e., event marketing) forced positive refinements in our marketing message and creative delivery.

This event has made us think strategically beyond the one-page capabilities piece we’ve been using. In this venue, we need to provide visually eye-catching creative material to capture attention during a quick walk by our table. This new situation led to more case study-oriented pieces, such as those shown here.

Thinking about our strategic messaging from the perspective of the solutions and benefits Brainzooming provides, selecting images can be a challenge. Typically, our tangible output is a concise, actionable plan that’s tremendously valuable, but not all that visually intriguing. Changing our messaging focus to a potential client’s business challenges offered many more creative opportunities to place images with our message. It’s been much easier to depict business people challenged by too much data (without relevant insights), too few strategic options, or being left out of conversations about their brands in social media.

The point is this: presenting at the Freelance Exchange 2010 Portfolio Showcase was so different, it forced both a new look at our marketing and moved an important to-do higher up on our list. Whether you’re on your own or inside a company, look for brand experiments to force re-examining and innovatively approaching what you do from a new strategic perspective.

If you’re in Kansas City Thursday afternoon, April 22 from 3 to 6 p.m., stop by the Terrace on Grand (1520 Grand St., KCMO). We’d be eager to talk with you about how the proven Brainzooming process can help address your strategic challenges and catalyze innovative success for your organization! – Mike Brown

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’re in the middle of World Innovation and Creativity Week which started April 15 (the anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth) and runs through April 21 (my half-birthday).

As usual, we extend the week to April 22 around Brainzooming since it’s the birthday of the original creative instigator, Jan Harness.  And today, I’m really looking forward to getting together with Jan for her early birthday lunch! It’s amazing to think that this will be the first time we’ve seen each other since January 2nd. Having gone from working together in-person multiple times weekly, it’s been a creative shock to talk or email only every few weeks.

In fact, with Brainzooming as a full-time strategy and innovation catalyst for organizations needing help in these areas there have been different and typically less-frequent interactions with all my previous creative team members. It has created opportunities to meet other new creative people (which have been wonderful), and interact with some former ones in new venues, absent some of the restrictions working in a big corporation can pose. Interestingly, through much of this same time, I was cutting out many of my usual non-human creative instigators (including caffeine) for Lent. Since then, I’ve tried to continue staying away from them.

Taking the NO out of InNOvation

Talk about changing a lot of strategic elements all at once (remember an early 2010 post that referenced embracing dramatic change)! While I’d hoped radically changing my creative surroundings would awaken a whole different set of creative instigators I’d previously overlooked, it hasn’t been the case so far, at least as far as I can see. It’s simply been hard work to continually refresh my creative perspective. No innovation epiphany yet, but I’m still seeking it. When it comes, I’ll let you know what strategic combination of new creative instigators is working the best!

P.S. This week is a great time to download “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” as a way to refresh your personal creative perspective. I’ve certainly been using these eight perspectives to help refresh my creativity! I think you’ll enjoy and benefit from them as well!  – Mike Brown

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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Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday. The entire season is an opportunity for more quiet time and prayer. Every year, I’ve been using this day to share a creativity prayer I wrote a couple of years ago.

Spend some time today and in the coming weeks to ask for a potentially new source of inspiration as you try to expand the creativity of yourself and those around you!

Lord,

Thank you for creation itself and the incredible gifts and talents you so generously entrust to me. May I appreciate and develop these talents, always recognizing that they come from you and remain yours.

Guide me in using them for the benefit of everyone that I touch, so that they may be more aware of your creative presence and develop the creativity entrusted to them for the good of others.

Help me also to use your talents to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to your world, living out my call to be an integral part of your creative force. Amen.

 Copyright 2008, Mike Brown

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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3

The move away from the mikebrownspeaks and Brainzooming™ blogspot sites to Brainzooming.com, triggered questions about the Brainzooming name’s origin. The story has both personal branding and creative inspiration dimensions, so I figured it was worth sharing.

With a common name such as ‘Mike Brown,” it’s nearly impossible to “own” it online as personal branding expert Dan Schawbel recommends. So when speaking more and launching a blog in November 2007, I used “mikebrownspeaks” to own some version of my name. I never really liked the name, however, for a variety of reasons:

  • MikeBrownSpeaks implies only one-way communication.
  • It shares the limitations inherent in anything named after one person.
  • The name didn’t reflect the strategy expertise, innovation capabilities, and real business benefit (helping executives get smart strategic thinking in a hurry) I anticipated would be at the heart of a business some day.

Despite my frustration, I simply couldn’t come up with a name to describe what I was developing and since it worked for the immediate need, this blog was born under that name.

Fast forward to March 2008, and I was creating a collaborative innovation and planning session for students in John Pepper’s marketing class at nearby Baker University. John had asked for the students to work with three brainstorming exercises and a prioritization strategy in 50 minutes.

Putting the session together the Saturday afternoon before, it seemed daunting to do so much in so little time. Suddenly the thought popped in my head, “At that point, it’s not even brainstorming. It’s brainzooming.” I stopped typing, played it back to myself and looking up, said silently, “Thank you God!” My next stop was Google, which revealed 8 hits for “brainzoom” and none for “brainzooming.” Checking the URL, it was unclaimed. I said, “Thank you God,” again, grabbed the URL, and first used the name the following Monday in class. I filed for a trademark, which was finalized in December 2009.

It took longer than I wanted  to come up with the name, but Brainzooming reflects the heart of what we help executives wrestling with strategy do – rapidly think through a smarter set of possibilities, turn the best ideas into solid strategies, and implement them for better results and success. – Mike Brown

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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3

Being in the transportation industry (as I was) meant a lot of time spent thinking about balance, and not being too heavy inbound or outbound. In moving things (or people), the ideal state is the same number arriving and departing. If you’re too heavy outbound, it means you have lots of things going out, but very few coming in. Heavy inbound is the opposite – many things arriving, but few leaving. Within the economy, there are distinct geographic and industrial patterns in the movement of goods and people. As a result, transportation providers are constantly trying to achieve balance within their networks.

All of this has a direct tie to creativity. It’s not difficult to find yourself in creative imbalance, with a disconnect between the amount of creativity you’re producing and the creative elements you’re taking in to fuel your own pursuits.

Typically, I run heavy on the outbound side of creativity. Part of it is my personality; part of it is a strategy to provide real-life testing of the various creativity-instigating exercises and tools I share. If I’m creatively spent and a particular approach helps spur my creativity, chances are it will work for you as well.

Right now though, I’m so heavy outbound, it’s a little ridiculous. Beyond blogging and tweeting, I’ve been doing a lot of proposal writing (which is a wonderful situation to have), building messaging for the business side of Brainzooming, and trying to do more commenting and guest blogging, too.

One problem of being too heavy outbound in transportation is you wind up with all the equipment you need to function located somewhere else. You have problems making commitments because you lack necessary resources.

What that means for me in the creativity world is trying to force myself to schedule an all inbound day – no blog writing, no tweeting, no thinking about what I should be communicating. Simply a day to read, absorb, replenish, and learn, unencumbered by the need to say something.

Quite a goal, and I’ll let you know when it’s achieved! In the meantime, how’s your creative balance? – Mike Brown

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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