Creativity | The Brainzooming Group - Part 132 – page 132
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I visited The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last week after many trips through Cleveland the past four and a half years. Amid some cool rock history artifacts, the music and videos at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame stood out as the museum’s most engaging aspects compared to the static exhibits – not surprising since rock music has never been about peace, quiet, and tranquility.

Of all the video clips, the one that gave me unbelievable chills was a snippet from an induction ceremony concert. It was a performance of “My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Here was a non-Lennon-McCartney Beatles song written by George Harrison performed by Tom Petty with Prince doing the incredible guitar solo originally created by Eric Clapton.

Prince owns the second half of the song, taking the solo away from Clapton just as Clapton has done so many times to other performers. And at the end, he throws his guitar in the air, smugly walking off stage because he knows exactly what he just did.

There is incredible power in creative diversity.

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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When brainstorming, we talk about not censoring new ideas and reserving judgment until specific periods where evaluations are being made. Not all censorship is blatant; often, it is much more subtle.

When you’re trying to get a group to actively participate and share new ideas, be on the lookout for these subtle forms of censorship:

  • Laughter when there hasn’t been any.
  • Silence where there hasn’t been any.
  • Visible disinterest from senior group members.
  • Participants physically or virtually removing themselves from the process.
  • Over-sharing knowledge that monopolizes the discussion or overwhelms others’ abilities to contribute.
  • A senior person arriving late and expecting to be caught up as the group waits.

If you see any of these behaviors going on, it’s likely that participants are getting the message that there’s less than genuine interest in the fruits of their efforts.

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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When you are suffering from a creative block, almost any forward creative progress is positive, no matter how small. It is even better when your progress can be turned into something tangible, i.e. an artifact.

An artifact can take any of a variety of forms including a word, a sentence, an image, an outline, a chart or graph, a good article you’ve found, etc. Anything that provides you with a jumping off point for further creative block busting ideas is valuable.

One of my strategic mentors, Bill McDonald, taught me this concept when we’d get bogged down on a strategy project. Often the artifact was simply creating an outline for a business plan or completing a small section of a report. This piece of the ultimate creative output would be enough to provide a sense of progress and rally our enthusiasm to keep plugging away.

It was always surprising how simply have something to see was enough to trigger a second creative wind on project after project.

The next time you hit a creative block, try to lower your expectations, look for a small something that is more achievable than the whole creative project (maybe even something already sitting in the creative trash heap as trash), create it, and use it as your first step to bust your creative block and get to the next step! – Mike Brown

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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Baseball scouts review many talented players, narrowing prospects through successfully anticipating which have the talent to perform at the highest levels of the game.

You can benefit from generalizing their selection criteria in the “Change Your Character” exercise to strengthen the prospect assessment criteria that you’re called on to perform in your job. Your prospects may be employees, customers, vendors, or other parties in business. Baseball scouts look for the following types of characteristics in their best prospects:

  • Have strong interest in success
  • Are always aware of what’s going on and what the right thing to do next is
  • Are dedicated and loyal
  • Are easy to be around and are strong influencers
  • Can make things happen & produce consistently
  • Have the skills to turn apparent failure into success
  • Field whatever comes their way
  • Never give up
  • Will follow through and give everything they have

Next time you have to develop criteria to assess prospects, identify three new ideas from those used by baseball scouts.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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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Doing a creative development session several years ago, the ground rules were clear: every idea was valid and nothing people said could be wrong. A freeing experience, right? Not so for Becky. She didn’t participate that day, much to my surprise, since the session focused on developing themes for a customer conference, and she had extensive analogous trade show experience.

Becky approached me later saying she’d never been in a comparable meeting before and that it had been one of the most uncomfortable experiences in her business life. Startled, I asked her why. She told me at her previous company it wasn’t okay to suggest impractical ideas or ones outside the budget. Without more knowledge of our program, it was nearly impossible to contribute.

One idea at our session was having Lance Armstrong speak. Becky wondered whether we had enough budget. I told her it didn’t matter. By someone suggesting Lance Armstrong, the ideas could branch off to what he’d talk about, who else might cover the same topics, or how we could do team building as he had, among a variety of possibilities.

She also let me know at her old place, only people steeped in a program were allowed in planning discussions. And since she hadn’t seen our program, it was impossible to suggest ideas on the spot. In the future, she asked to get the topics in advance so she could think about ideas, write them out, and bring notes to the session. While I appreciated her diligence, in the time she’d need to write up 10 ideas, the group could generate 150 possibilities or more.

What a sad place Becky’s World (as I called it) must have been.

Think about it – do you live in Becky’s World? Do you and your business embrace new and apparently inexperienced perspectives because they effectively challenge the status quo? Or does your company actively force people to conform to a particular thought pattern or point of view.

Only you can decide. But if you find yourself in Becky’s World, take my advice. GET OUT NOW!!!

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 fun Friday (or any other day) exercise turns ho-hum ideas into bigger, more dramatic ones. We call the exercise “Shrimp” because it’s typically applied to small, leftover ideas (much like Japanese Steak House chefs save a few shrimp to throw at the meal’s end). Here are the steps:

1. Take 5 or 10 of your smallest, weakest, or run-of-the-mill ideas to reach your business objective.

2. Select an authority figure (it can be a boss, the board of directors, or a regulatory body) that could shoot down any new possibilities emerging from these ideas. The more distinct and well-known the authority’s personality the better.

3. Use your starter ideas to create incredibly outrageous possibilities by asking, “How could we turn this idea into something that supports our objective but that our authority figure would COMPLETELY HATE or would make them THROW UP?” Remember, you’re going for GENUINE ANGER, not just discomfort; it’s okay to think inappropriate, embarrassing, even illegal possibilities. Go for at least 3 – 5 new possibilities for each starter idea.

4. Then, for each new outrageous possibility, ask the following question to bring it back to reality: “How could we carry out this concept in ways that are acceptable, realistic, feasible, or actually able to be implemented?” Don’t settle for less than 10 new concepts from each outrageous idea.

These new, more mainstream ideas will benefit from being stretched beyond the boundaries of normal thinking. They typically take on a surprising richness and depth by having been run through “Shrimp.”

Also by encouraging your group to engage in thinking outside conventions under which it normally operates, the exercise creates both great ideas and great fun! What more could you want for a Friday!

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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For strategic thinking sessions at Baker University last month, we got an insane amount of work done – three ideation exercises and prioritization within a 50 minute class. Planning the session the weekend before, the prospect of making that much creativity happen in such a short amount of time caused me to think to myself, “That isn’t even brainstorming at that point. That’s brainzooming.”

And a new term, blog, and company were born.

Going in to the session, I was skeptical about completing it all in time. In retrospect the key was having a person assigned to each group to not only help, but to get students’ brains zooming.

Each person on the team filled that role for the students. Going beyond simply facilitating, Brainzooming means:

  • Being an energy source – using enthusiasm to spark excitement within a group
  • Providing approbation – reinforcing people for sharing ideas, creating a verbal reward that engenders more ideas
  • Making connections – listening to what people suggest and tying things together the group might miss in the throes of ideating
  • Drawing out non-participants suffering from self- or group censorship – going out of the way to solicit input from reluctant group participants

Brainzooming . . . it’s what we do!

 

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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