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If you’re seeing this video as the blog post on Friday, June 4, 2010, it means things have been hectic at the Business Marketing Association Engage conference and there wasn’t any time to do an update blog. if that’s the case, we’ll get you caught up next week on the last week happenings.

In the mean time, enjoy this cool stop-motion post-it note video. Got to love those post-it notes! - 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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5

First day back from a long weekend, no one needs anything too heavy dumped in their lap. So here’s an easy strategic assignment.

Look at the list below. On the left side are typical left-brained, analytical skills. The right side includes the more classic right-brained, creative talents.

Review the list and pick out the skills you possess. For each one you don’t have, identify which close friend or team member you can easily reach out to for help who possesses the characteristic. For each item still without a name by it, set out to find someone over the next weeks and months to bring into your formal or informal strategic thinking (and doing) team to fill the gap.

Why should you do this? Because if you have a gap within your personal strategic team on any of these vital roles, you have real challenges ahead of you, if not already.  – 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 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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15

You’ll occasionally see an article or blog post questioning the value of brainstorming as a tool to generate and improve the quality of innovative business ideas. One criticism about the value of brainstorming usually stems from the “poor” efficiency of brainstorming techniques, since many ideas are generated which never get developed.

This misperception is fostered by “rules” shared at the start of most group brainstorming exercises stating “every idea is a good idea.” This guideline creates a false expectation that every idea shared in the brainstorming session is ultimately good or even implementable.

More accurately, this brainstorming rule sets up a period of divergent thinking. That’s when strong facilitators ensure a focus on generating the maximum number of ideas with minimal explanation and judging.

Ultimately though, judgment isn’t thrown out in brainstorming or innovation processes. It’s only suspended during a good divergent thinking session. The switch has to then be made to convergent thinking where ideas most certainly need to be judged. In practice, maybe 10% of the ideas survive for further consideration, and still fewer for implementation.

Sure the process can seem unruly and unproductive, but for anyone who’s tried to sit at a desk by themselves and think up innovative ideas, the value of brainstorming is clear, and it’s a tremendously beneficial processto use. – Mike Brown

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Is your organization challenged with new thinking and ideas that lead to successful business results? The Brainzooming Group and our tested approach to generating concepts you can act on successfully will quickly move you toward success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 for a free consultation on how to get started.

 

 


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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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3

Some blog posts are written with the intention of helping you become more innovative and successful. Some, quite frankly are written as reminders to myself to do things to be more innovative and successful.

Today’s post is one of those.

Be prepared to capture ideas as they come to you. Great ideas arrive out of sequence, at odd times, and evaporate easily.

To contend with that, some people recommend a strategy of having a single “capture” tool to get all your ideas down in one place. For me, the way to go is using a multi-tool (ideally multi-media) approach to capturing ideas: a small notepad, a Flip camera, a smartphone. That’s the mobile toolset.  When not on the move, I use multiple writing and drawing pads since different sizes and formats tend to stimulate different types of ideas for me.

The problem currently?

I don’t seem to be using any of them very effectively. So this article is intended as a personal strategy prod to get back on the idea capture program.

If you’re currently doing it effectively, go ahead and mock me. If not, let’s both get restarted and not lose any of those little fledgling ideas full of possibilities! – 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

Is your current job using your full mental, creative, innovative, or other type of skill that’s really important to you for being fulfilled in your career?

No?

Want some advice?

Quit complaining and really exploit the situation. At least for right now.

Seem like a bizarre strategy?

In the past I would have thought so, but not anymore.

At one point, I considered a less than mentally taxing job something to be avoided at all costs or quickly fixed if it happened to develop. Having experienced a little more of life, however, my perspective has changed.  Now, I’d recommend using your current situation as an opportunity to apply your untapped talents and energy into innovating your next phase of life.

Discussing this topic with several people uncovered quite a few instances where being able to deliver results while mentally coasting in a day job allowed someone to devote extra mental capacity to develop a new product, business model,  or talent. Those efforts led to much more exciting and stimulating opportunities. Plus, being able to do the building with the cash flow a regular gig provides made risk taking that much more manageable strategy.

So if you’re feeling stuck in your job, redefine your situation. Get on top of whatever “box” you think you’re stuck in, and use it as an innovative strategy development platform from which you’ll leap into whatever will be your incredibly innovative future!  – 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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1

On Thursday, I participated on an innovation panel at The Entrepreneurship Institute President’s Forum at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. The panel featured leaders from three outstanding Kansas City business innovation successes, each using a different strategy to break through typical business innovation barriers:

Gina Danner, CEO of Mail Print - Rather than defining the business as a “printer” and riding the secular decline of printed matter right into the ground, Gina has defined her business based on the assets, talents, and tools it has (or can put to use). As a result, Gina pursued technology and variable printing capabilities well in advance of competitors. Mail Print is thus positioned to not simply print things, but to drive revenue for its clients. The company has also looked to electronic delivery of messages because it’s part of the right answer to an important client question: “What are you trying to accomplish?”

Brian Weaver, Founder and CEO of Anthem Media Group - A key aspect of the Anthem Media Group back story is Brian’s former employer essentially telling him to stuff his new business ideas. After enough NO’s, Brian (who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur) took his ideas and started his own business. The ultimate comeuppance was several years later when he bought his former employer. Brian talked about going against conventional wisdom to strategically start and acquire businesses in the midst of the 2008-2009 economic collapse. By refusing to listen to the NO’s thrown in his way, Brian’s built a successful multi-media publishing business.

Aaron Zack, CEO of SunlightenSeveral years ago, Aaron thought his company had a clear product advantage with its saunas. A trip to China and visits to several factories manufacturing inferior quality knock-offs of his product changed that perception. His response was to harness the internal expertise of his team, but not just the typical innovators. Aaron brought together a truly cross-functional group (even the accountants) to work on the product innovation challenge. With a diverse team and an intuitive understanding of what customers might want, Sunlighten is introducing a truly unique sauna product using the full infrared spectrum to provide different types of health benefits. After several years of development, the sauna’s launch is imminent.

Great stories and three entrepreneurs with strong strategic handles on their respective businesses. – 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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13

In the midst of a dreary day, we watched the Cake Boss marathon on TLC last Sunday. The reality TV program was fun and illustrated all kinds of extreme creativity lessons:

Shatter conventional definitions – The show is about cakes. But until Sunday, it never occurred to me a cake could be made from rice crispie treats, wood, screws, and PVC pipe. But look inside “star” Buddy Valestro’s “cakes,” and you may find any of those and more. If he stuck with traditional cake recipes instead of creative ones, he’d never be the “Cake Boss.”

Construct a creative team that’s better than you – Buddy appears to have command of many skills critical to making incredible cakes. Yet it’s clear he surrounds himself with specialized, creative people who have stronger talents than he does in focused areas equally essential to creating the kinds of extreme cakes he’s known for.

Your distinctive talents work all over the place – Why be just a baker? Carpentry, painting, and pottery skills were all used to create innovative cakes shaped like teapots, motorcycles, boats, and mannequins.

The impossible = amazing creativity – In one special episode, the challenge was to create a full-size NASCAR race car shaped cake. Two separate locations were used to make all the cakes for the more than 12,000 pound final creation. 12,000 pounds? That’s nearly 4 times how much a real race car weighs! That’s extreme creativity!

Creativity doesn’t mean glossing over details – For an apple farm, the bakery had to make its first ever apple cake. While the apple grower appreciated the cake’s taste, what really excited him was the cake’s appearance – edible mini-pumpkins, apples, and a “working” tree swing.

Yell, laugh, and cry – Buddy’s family bakery is an emotional place. They wear their emotions on their sleeves; it’s all part of the intensively creative, deadline-driven process.

Shut up and fix disasters - Since it’s a reality show, disasters are a must. The front end of the NASCAR cake fell-off. A cake for a drag queen’s holiday show was too big to fit through any door to the theater. So what do you do? Throw more rice crispie treats at the NASCAR and get the holiday show audience to come outside to get their cake. No harm, no foul.

Put these extreme creative lessons to work, and cook up some creativity for yourself! – Mike Brown

Want to be as creative as Buddy, the Cake Boss? To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free Brainzooming 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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