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Following up yesterday’s post on the creativity boost working from memory can provide, winning results can also unveil themselves when you break away from what appears to be strategic common sense to pursue and implement an unconventional strategy.

The working from memory post got me thinking about a similar high school experience at a regional math competition. Fellow students Jeff Bernasky, close friend Dale Romme, and I were entered in a timed, competitive segment called, “Calculations with Calculators.”

I don’t frankly remember why, but none of us actually had a working calculator when it came time for the competition. As a result, we devised an alternative strategy. We’d each scan through the test and work only the easiest math problems – the ones which clearly didn’t require a calculator to solve.

When we implemented our strategy, it allowed us to answer more questions than any of the other student teams, since one can surmise, they were solving the equations sequentially using calculators every step of the way.

We won the competition in our sophomore year. And when we entered the competition the next two years, guess what? Yep, we didn’t use calculators and earned the threepeat!

Are you facing similar instances where employing the completely natural strategy makes sense but doesn’t yield the same winning results as an unconventional strategy could? You’ll never know what the possibilities are until you give the unconventional strategy a try! – 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.  To learn how we can structure a strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

Looking for a dramatic creativity boost when you’re in the midst of editing a document for the umpteenth time? Try working from memory.

Instead of tweaking yet another iteration of what has become a too-familiar blur of words, force yourself to update parts of the document without consulting the most recent version you’ve been staring at for too long anyway.

Surprised a guy who loves the efficiency of working from pre-existing content would recommend working from memory? Don’t be!

I had to work from memory recently while traveling, and the document I needed to update wasn’t easily accessible. Much to my creative delight, because of all the time I’d spent with the original content, working from memory to recreate several strategic concepts spurred a fresh creative approach. The better results were much better (in hardly more time) than if I had tweaked the latest version in a fairly incremental fashion.

It’s the holidays. It’s the time for great holiday memories. So try putting your memory to work this holiday season and see what type of new creativity boost you’ll receive as a gift!  – Mike Brown

For an additional creativity boost this holiday season, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” as a gift for 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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7

While writing this Brainzooming strategic blog post, I’m in my favorite strategic, creative environment. Regular readers, say it in unison, “Mike’s on a plane!” Tonight I’m flying Southwest Airlines and enjoying “Plane Crackers,” the snack you apparently get now on intermediate Southwest flights. Plane Crackers are a great way of attaching a strategic shape to a service experience.

Maybe it’s natural for Southwest since the airplane is a huge part of the physical evidence of its service experience.

This whole strategic topic of shape intrigues me because quite frankly, I’ve struggled putting one to The Brainzooming Group experience. Originally, I tried to pick a shape which seemed both fun and vaguely industrial, thus the Jokerman font in the blog logo.

In the past year, however, with my wife Cyndi’s creative input, I’ve gravitated toward an orange square as an emblematic symbol for The Brainzooming Group. With the name appearing close to, but not in the square, it suggests “out of the box” while recognizing creative strategies still have to be implementable. The square also suggests the hundreds of sticky notes and numerous posters full of ideas The Brainzooming Group creative approach generates during an energetic strategy session with a client.

While I’m drawn to the square, it’s not clear to me it’s ultimately the right shape for Brainzooming.

Let’s wrap with 3 questions:

1. As a Brainzooming blog reader, what shapes are suggested by your blog reading experience?

2. In your organization, especially if it’s a service, how are you using shape in a strategic, creative way?

3. And if the answer to #2 is “we’re not,” how could you begin to strategically and creatively incorporate shape into your brand experience?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts! – 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 help you enhance your brand 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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9

I wrote a post last week on “16 Tactics for Building an Audience via Social Media” which was picked up by a couple of other websites. The article received a ton of tweets (thanks!), including one which posed the question of, “Where do you ‘find’ intriguing social media content online?” While it may be easier to “find” intriguing content, it won’t, all by itself, set you apart from anyone else who is also merely grabbing social media content someone else has already created. Instead of spending as much time trying to find creative social media content, here are three things you can do to create intriguing social media content:

1. Have a persona in mind to help guide content development for your social media channels.

A persona is a detailed description of a representative reader of your social media content. Having a personalized view of your audience is vital to creating content which is really engaging.

2. Develop a good command of multiple, varied styles of creating social media content.

Don’t just develop one style of post writing and run it into the ground, post after post. Vary the length (short vs. long), style (straight prose, question and answer, lists), tone (informative, rants, teaching, snarky), and media (writing, video, embedded documents, audio).

3. Focus on what you care about.

You can’t expect an audience to get passionate about something you’re not passionate about yourself. So for all of the importance of targeting content your audience is seeking, first and foremost, it needs to be content where you have a distinctive point of view or really feel the need to say something. If you don’t, you’d be better off, quite frankly, not to talk about it, no matter how much your audience may be seeking the content.

This isn’t the whole story on intriguing content, but it’s a chunk of the foundation.

What points would you add to the mix to help someone better create intriguing content?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’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

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

A creative block can happen when you’re handed a project or report and asked to work within a structure someone else has designed. Often when you haven’t helped create the project structure, it can lead to spending more time trying to figure out the format than making progress toward the effort’s objective, making it seem like a creative block.

When you find yourself facing a creative block in this type of situation, remember:

  • Don’t let arbitrary structures stop you from doing what makes sense.
  • Don’t let thinking you can’t get everything done stop you from doing something.
  • Don’t let a poorly conceived format stand in the way of you (or others) being able to see the progress you’re making.
  • Don’t let a situation spiral into over-complication when stopping and beginning anew would be much simpler.
  • Don’t let overly aggressive expectations preclude you from negotiating for a humbler objective which delivers a disproportionately large impact.

If you can employ these admonitions, you’ll minimize the possibility of a creative block, save yourself huge frustrations and create much better results. – 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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1

I always appreciate when an organization is comfortable enough with itself to add fun or some other emotion to its service delivery. My appreciation is especially great when a business displays the willingness to carry the emotion into the most mundane, and potentially little-noticed, parts of its operation.

When scrambling to catch my plane in Minneapolis (yes, another Minneapolis post…what an incredibly rich experience for only being there 18 hours), I briefly stopped at a Caribou Coffee stand to buy a sandwich.  When leaving, I grabbed a handful of cocktail-sized napkins, shoved them in my coat pocket, and hurried to the gate.

Only when I got home and emptied my coat pockets did I notice the questions and musings printed on Caribou Coffee napkins.

How cool! It would be easier to leave the napkins blank or simply include the standard corporate message and images. But Caribou Coffee was looking to pass-along value from its napkins. What a great way to employ a routine item for guerrilla marketing value in a way most businesses would NEVER imagine! – 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 develop an integrated, guerrilla marketing-oriented strategy for your brand.

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’ve come to believe the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) is the home of bad signage.

From the incredibly vague, confusing signs on the long trek to the rental car area to the terminals seeming to be referred to as “Lindbergh” and “Humphrey” inside the airport, but “Terminal 1″ and “Terminal 2″ outside, it’s clearly not the most passenger-friendly airport I’ve visited in my travels.

This sign, although not a significant nuisance like the crappy rental car or terminal signage, still caught my eye while waiting for a flight last week. The headline is all about the conveniences just minutes away inside the airport for shoppers and diners, yet the graphic goes beyond the food court and shopping down the hall to include Des Moines and Tokyo for whatever reason. The length of time to travel to both of these locations, however, is shown in hours.

Huh? I thought the whole thing was about being MINUTES away.

This is a great example of why you should want people who don’t have apparently strategic jobs to still be able to step back and make strategic connections in their work.

If the designer creating the sign is the last stop in the decision chain on this sign, then I’d want the designer to have enough wherewithal to raise a hand and say, “Hey, these times for Des Moines and Tokyo should be in minutes too!”

It’s not hard people:

Got it?  – 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 get your staff Brainzooming through tailored training and exercises to be better strategic thinkers and implementers!

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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