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All wonderful questions from attendees at two recent CreativeBloc training presentations I did.

Each CreativeBloc question was shared on a post-presentation evaluation I use at all my training presentations. Asking attendees what questions they still have on the content has become a great source for future blog topics (hint for speaker-bloggers!).

Over the next five days, we’ll tackle each of creativity-based question with an individual blog post to add to the CreativeBloc content. – 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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7

If you’re blogging, there’s a reason why you write a blog post when you do. The reason you pick a certain topic when you write a blog post may be strategic and linked directly to your audience persona. Many times, though, the reasons aren’t so well-aligned. They may be based on convenience, silliness, frustration, or simply running out of other ideas. Thinking about this got me wondering about why I write a blog post on any given day. Going back through the Brainzooming blog during the last few months, here are 28 reasons that have prompted me to write a blog post:

1.  I have something to say.

2.  Something occurs to me.

3.  I made a commitment to publish every day, and I need to publish a post.

4.  I’m hoping you’ll be interested in the subject matter.

5.  Enough tweets on one topic have built up to fill a blog post.

6.  There aren’t any guest blog posts to run.

7.  I want to share an idea with you.

8.  It’s an attempt to attract new readers.

9.  The topic interests me.

10. I’m trying to improve the blog’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy performance.

11. To create a new reference piece for you.

12. To create a new reference post for me so I can return to the information later.

13. Sharing what I learned at a conference or event.

14. It’s a way to complain about something.

15. I’m inspired by a topic.

16. I’m uninspired creatively.

17. The topic doesn’t require a long post.

18. The post is easily adapted from something I’ve already written.

19. It allows me to pass along advice to someone without having to say it directly.

20. It’s an experiment.

21. To thank or show appreciation to someone publicly.

22. Because somebody asked me to write about it.

23. It’s all I can come up with at the time.

24. I want to make sure a specific person sees the post because they need its lesson.

25. Somebody did some really cool work that needs to be shared.

26. There hasn’t been a social media-related post for several days.

27. It’s an opportunity to provide additional information related to a presentation I’m doing.

28. To see if I can twist an off-the-wall topic to be about strategy, creativity, or innovation.

So along with the idea that any subject can be a blog post, it’s clear that there are scads of reasons for writing a blog post.

If you’re on the fence about blogging or you write infrequently because you’re not feeling the creative motivation, realize you don’t have to have a single motivation to blog.

For those of you blogging already, what reasons spur you to take on the blog topics you write about? Let me know in the comments! 

And for all the reasons TO WRITE, there are also reasons to NOT WRITE a blog post. One of them is that I don’t run a post on Good Friday, so the next post will be Monday.  –  Mike Brown

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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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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In a recent post about how to creatively write a business book,  I discussed how captivated I was by Eli Goldratt’s book The Goal. Not only did the book introduce me to some profound insights on productivity, it reminded me how much I like the novel as a format for understanding new and interesting concepts, particularly in a business setting.

But not everyone is a novelist and maybe not everyone enjoys fiction as much as I do. That doesn’t mean that you are limited to presenting your new ideas or learning new things in ways that cling to the old formula of long blocks of text interrupted only by footnotes and chapter headings.

Two printed book series that do a really excellent job of breaking those constraints (nod to Goldratt there) are the Head First books and the Stikky books.

The Head First series focuses mostly on computer programming languages and applications, but also includes such topics as Algebra, Statistics, and Data Analysis. (Here the author of Data Analysis book provides an interesting take on what he learned about writing from doing it.)

The Head First books all rely on a boatload of illustrations and examples. They usually start with a multi-dimensional problem that you, the reader, want to solve. The book then applies the concepts and tools of the language, application, or field of study in leading you through the different steps to solving the problem.

They are all written in second person and encourage (even demand) your interaction in moving through the steps of the problem—and not in the rhetorical or end of the chapter “things to ponder” way, but rather in concrete ways such as identifying errors, doing calculations, choosing among alternatives, specifying language, etc.

The Stikky books are fewer in number (only four titles, on subjects as diverse as weight management, stock charts, and astronomy), but in some ways even more purposeful in their presentation. The psychological foundation behind the format of the books includes learning theory, reader motivation and stimulus-response image design. They use small units, an illustration on every page, frequent testing of what has been covered, and a task orientation among other principles.

You may not want to know about how to program in Java or what to look for in the night sky, but the creative format and execution of both these series of books is something that can help any of us whose jobs require that we communicate complex or abstract information in a way that is clear and meaningful.  – Barrett Sydnor

 

For an additional creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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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1

Following-up the innovation and creativity training presentations I did yesterday at CreativeBloc 2011, here are 11 Brainzooming posts on enhancing your personal innovation perspective. These can personal innovation tune-ups come in handy when you need to work on making sure you’re not putting any of the NO’s into the inNOvation challenges you may be facing:

7 Lessons to Get Ready for Change Now – Set yourself up to be your most innovative with pre-planning.

Get on a Roll, Get Results – The value of pushing beyond typical constraints to build a string of improvements.

The Strategy for Exploiting Your Mindless Job – When you have untapped mental capacity in your job, take advantage of it to innovate in new areas.

Black and White Decision Making? Today, Change to Grey (and Vice Versa) – There are benefits to consciously changing your typical decision making style, even if temporarily.

Patience – Strategic Advantage or Disadvantage? – How patience will help you (and some ways it won’t) strategically.

2 Easy Strategies for Tackling Social Media – One App at a Time – With so many new applications flying at us weekly, here’s how to stay current without taking too much time.

Trendspotters’ Fab Five – Five vital perspectives to effectively identify trends suggesting potential innovation opportunities. This is a Blogging Innovation guest post.

Forgetting as an Innovation Strategy – Why letting go of your knowledge and experience can be vital to innovation efforts.

How Does Magic Happen? – Glitz is important to creativity and innovation, but hard work and determination are equally important.

When People Don’t Understand There Are Lots of Ways to Be Right – Finding ways to deal with a negative environment that’s hostile toward innovation.

3 Ways to Generate Innovative Business Ideas When You’re Very Experienced – Three ways to counteract the limitations experienced people can place on innovation efforts.  – Mike Brown

 

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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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11

I’m in Cedar Rapids, IA today to be a keynote speaker at CreativeBloc 2011. It’s a wonderful opportunity to speak about both dealing with organizational innovation barriers and personal creative blocks. One way for adults to attack creative blocks or improve creativity in general is to revert to doing what kids – who are often at the creative pinnacles of their lives – do naturally. These 10 creativity-inducing ideas (which all started life as tweets one night last week under the #KidCreativity4Adults hashtag) are great ways for adults to take a more creative and fun approach to our oh-so-serious work lives:

  • Always have a sweet box of Crayola crayons around so you can color a picture and put it on the fridge.
  • Do something every day that will make you giggle. Better yet, do it multiple times daily.
  • Take something with you when you’re in public to occupy yourself creatively in case you get bored and cranky.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a problem, take a guess. Or copy off the person sitting next to you.
  • Draw your ideas, even if the lines are crooked or it’s tough to tell exactly what it is. And don’t call it an infographic!
  • If something isn’t making sense, be sure to scrunch your face so it’s apparent to everybody!
  • Get everybody together for a meeting in the cafeteria and serve ice cream cones.
  • Don’t wait to raise your hand; just start talking when an idea occurs to you.
  • Always have toys in plain view in your office. Don’t be reluctant to play with them during boring meetings.
  • Forget to bring your homework home with you at day’s end. Work on it tomorrow between meetings. It will probably be better anyway.

The fun part of tweeting the forerunners of these ideas was when other tweeters jumped in to contribute to this friendsourced post. @SBarton1220 recommended including a Magic 8 ball and a “Jump to Conclusions” mat (from “Office Space”) in the toy mix. She said she uses Magic 8 balls to help clarify the outcome she really wants by shaking it until the “right” answer appears. @EastRidgePrint suggested her favorite: “Silly putty. Best. Invention. Ever.”

What other ideas do you have to add to #KidCreativity4Adults?– Mike Brown

For an additional creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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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6

I frequently invite intriguing people I meet (online or offline) to write guest blog posts for Brainzooming. The first follow-up question is usually on what to blog about for the Brainzooming community. My somewhat general answer is, “Anything you want relating to strategy, creativity, and innovation.” While this broad description works for me in writing the blog, it’s clear from the number of people who never actually write a post that more direction could help prospective guest bloggers figure out what to blog about:

What You Could Blog about for Brainzooming

Here are 15 potential topics in answer to the, “What to blog about for Brainzooming?” question:

1.    How you express creativity in your career or areas of personal interest

2.    What you do for creative inspiration

3.    Your perspective on strategic moves within an industry or team

4.    How you’re employing innovation and innovative techniques in your business

5.    An innovation or strategy lesson you’ve learned in your career

6.    Reactions to a conference or presentation on strategy, creativity, or innovation-related topics

7.    Reactions to marketing-related events or developments

8.    Creative places or creative work environments you’ve experienced

9.    Ways you keep your innovation or creative perspective sharp

10.  A strategy example or innovation lesson from daily life

11.  Your reaction to an article already appearing in the Brainzooming blog

12.  Your reaction to a relevant article appearing elsewhere

13.  Reviewing a book on strategy, creativity, or innovation (let me know on this one, I may have a standing request from someone to get their book reviewed)

14.  Guidelines for how you approach being more strategic or innovative in your career

15.  An appropriately-targeted rant (keep the language clean!)

Remember – your post doesn’t have to be written. It could also be a video!

Some More Topics You Could Blog About

These subjects are also all really relevant for Brainzooming, but for a variety of reasons, they just haven’t been covered adequately:

  • Search engine optimization strategy
  • Creative, visual depictions of analytical data
  • How business models are having to become more innovative based on social networking
  • Profiles of cool, innovative people making an impact outside the spotlight
  • Remarkable displays of creative expression
  • Calling BS on the hype of social media (and social media rock stars)
  • What will develop to replace the important roles publishers and editors have played in making sure information is reliable
  • First-hand accounts of innovation and strategy lessons learned in businesses and organizations
  • Counterpoints to things I’ve written

Meet Tom – The Brainzooming Blog Persona

We’ve talked before about the importance of a persona to focus creating blog content. To help guest bloggers, here’s a brief recap of the persona I’ve been using for Brainzooming. You can always think about “Tom” and what might be of benefit to him:

  • Tom is 35, married, and has two children. He has an MBA in marketing from a well-known university. From his schooling, he has built a strong network domestically, and to some extent, internationally. Currently, Tom works as a corporate brand manager, although with the downsizing that’s taken place the past few years, he has had to assume broader and non-traditional responsibilities in his corporate role.
  • While Tom has traveled extensively previously, he’s more geographically stable right now as his attention turns to raising his family. Tom is an interesting mix of traditional professional objectives and eclectic personal interests, including extreme sports, alternative music, sustainability, etc.
  • Tom’s become active in producing social media content through his own business-oriented blog and Twitter. Tom’s audience is growing through demonstrating his expertise online. He’s making connections he hopes will pave the way for the next phase in his career. Since he’s ahead of where his company is on social media, it’s an area where his personal experience is being called upon to help shape the company’s thinking on the topic.

Please Share Your Perspective in a Brainzooming Guest Post!

This post is way too much to tell somebody in a tweet or when talking with them at Panera. I hope it’s helpful, however, in encouraging more of you to share what you know (or what you’d like to know) about strategy, creativity, and innovation with everybody else on Brainzooming! Mike Brown


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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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

I’ll be up in Iowa next week, April 14th for CreativeBloc 2011, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation: Cedar Rapids-Iowa City. This year’s conference is billed as “CreativeReFresh,” and I’ll be doing a couple of presentations in keeping with the theme.

And those are just two of the many sessions scheduled throughout CreativeBloc 2011 on creativity, innovation, social media, SEO, and blogging.

If you’re located in Iowa (or are interested in traveling further to come!), it would be great to see you, hang out, and enjoy a great day of creativity at CreativeBloc 2011!Mike Brown

For an additional creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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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