Creative Instigation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 4 – page 4
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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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2

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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5

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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1

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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4

Speaking to a graduate level class on innovation several years ago, we covered the concept of borrowing ideas from other sources, looking for opportunities to change & incorporate them into your business.

One student, a communications professional at a major local company, said his department held “Plagiarism Fridays.” They were trying to upgrade their marketing effort, and Plagiarism Friday was a bit of a show-and-tell to get employees looking at strong creative from other industries, thinking about how their company could learn from it.

Here’s a way to take this approach and adapt it for your own business:

  • Schedule time and ask employees to look for examples of great ideas to share. The only rule – they have to be from outside your industry or competitive set.
  • Have participants present the selected ideas – perhaps 2 or 3 pieces per session.
  • Get each person to do a quick personal assessment. For each idea, identify what’s strong, what’s weak, what’s intriguing or unusual, and a recommendation for how your business could incorporate some learnings from it. Share the assessments as a group.
  • Select one of the sample ideas and using the input from the assessments, have the group apply it to one of your business challenges to see what possibilities arise.
  • Select at least one new possibility and do something to advance it.

Plagiarism Friday sounds like a great idea to me, so…go ahead, steal it and take it to work tomorrow (just be sure to change it and make it better)!

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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