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Wow, that unplanned blog vacation went on longer than expected.

It has felt all throughout 2018 as if everything else going on in the Brainzooming world has been pulling attention away from the blog (and many other things in my work and personal lives). One of the significant pulls has been a two-year project to launch two new companion brands to Brainzooming.

The first companion brand involves developing and releasing a book on creative leadership. The book is completed, and after a few revisions, we’ll be ready to launch by early July. We did a soft-launch of the book last week at a customer event. Our preparation for that event, plus getting the book to an interim finishing point, drew more creative energy than I’d expected or suspected as we toiled away on it. The upside of the time away from everything else is that we created multiple book-related assets we have ready to go.

The second companion brand encompasses, in its initial version, an online offering targeted at emerging brands. It will provide an amazing range of brand strategy, customer experience, and content marketing assets to prepare owners and entrepreneurs within these brands to aggressively increase awareness, grow into new markets, and/or raise new money to take the brands to the next level. It’s nearly complete and will formally launch on the heels of the new book.

In addition, there is also a new innovation strategy diagnostic that needs tweaking before its broad launch, work on multiple new websites, client follow-ups, invoicing, changed travel plans, multiple road trips, and a few work crises sprinkled throughout the last few weeks away.

Put it all together, and, at least for the last few weeks, blogging has slipped down the list of what is getting attention.

Growing, morphing, and scrambling pains are WAY beyond what you might typically expect.

Our unplanned blog vacation will look less like a vacation and more like a sporadic blogging schedule for a bit, unfortunately.

That’s not what we want to do. But right now, it’s reality. – Mike Brown

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  • Understand more comprehensively what interests your audience
  • Find engaging topics your brand can credibly address via social-first content
  • Zero in on the right spots along the social sales continuum to weave your brand messages and offers into your content

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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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Looking for a quick way to generate tons of innovative ideas?

If you need a lot of innovative ideas in a hurry, here’s a mega-simple way of generating them: Select the objective, opportunity, or challenge you are trying to address. Get a magazine with lots of big headlines, great photos, and cool ads. It helps to have a Sharpie and little sticky notes, #OBVI. Flip through each page of the magazine asking, “What innovative ideas for my opportunity does this page suggest?” Write the ideas on the sticky notes and place them on the pages.

For me right now, Domino magazine is a particularly productive magazine for new ideas, as is apparent!

So, if you are on your own and need help to generate a lot of innovative ideas in a hurry, it’s a simple creative thinking formula:

A magazine with lots of pictures and headlines +

Sticky notes +

A pen +

A few minutes =

Scores of innovative ideas!

– Mike Brown

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Find New Resources to Innovate!

FREE Download: 16 Keys for Finding Resources to Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy

Accelerate-CoverYou know it’s important for your organization to innovate. One challenge, however, is finding and dedicating the resources necessary to develop an innovation strategy and begin innovating.

This Brainzooming eBook will help identify additional possibilities for people, funding, and resources to jump start your innovation strategy. You can employ the strategic thinking exercises in Accelerate to:

  • Facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying innovation resources
  • Identify alternative internal strategies to secure support
  • Reach out to external partners with shared interests in innovation

Download your FREE copy of Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy today! 

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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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I have (finally) written a book on creative leadership. We’re wrapping it up in the coming weeks. The book, Idea Magnets – 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders, emerged from my experiences working with and knowing Idea Magnets throughout my career. They are creative leaders that share bold visions from which they generate incredible creative ideas and motivate others drawn to the amazing creative energy they generate. The book shares tools, techniques, and frameworks to perform as an Idea Magnet, even if that isn’t your natural creative leadership style.

You may ask: Is being an Idea Magnet naturally occurring, or can you develop the qualities?

The answer? Idea Magnets develop both ways.

For me, the path has been from exposure to Idea Magnets. They have shaped my perspectives, talents, and energy to be more like them, whether they were born as one or developed from exposure to other Idea Magnets.

In true Mike fashion, until recently, my perspective was that if I benefited from exposure to Idea Magnets, then EVERYONE must have had that exposure and been shaped by what they experienced.

Then I came crashing into a massive wall of, “THAT’S NOT GOING TO WORK.”

That ongoing refrain during a conversation prompted me to realize that this person had NEVER been exposed to an Idea Magnet. Idea Magnets shape their team members’ views to become comfortable working from a vision (and not a detailed plan), incomplete steps (vs. figuring out everything before launching), and a rich sense of hopefulness (in contrast to a prove it to me before I start attitude).

In the absence of that exposure (or a life experience causing an individual to learn that you must move ahead and succeed instead of complaining about what isn’t there), one winds up continually saying NO and walking away from innovative possibilities.

With Idea Magnets, I’m trying to make a very conscious shift in my own thinking and communication to focus more on what can be incredible. Let’s all seek out the attractive power in embracing possibilities, starting right now, and accomplishing amazing things in the pursuit of even more amazing ones.

I invite you to come along with us as an Idea Magnet. To find out immediately when the book is available, click here or on the image below. You will be the first to know when we unleash Idea Magnets on the world!  – Mike Brown

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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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Idea Magnets display a creative leadership mindset that incorporates acting in ways that help others become high performers in their own tasks.

As you consider the people you interact with, ask what you can do and how you can do things to enable their strong performance in their own activities.

Want to learn more about Idea Magnets?

Find out more about how you can better embody a creative leadership style that sets you and your team apart for collaboration, imagination, implementation, and success! – Mike Brown

 

Keep current on Idea Magnet creative leadership secrets!

 

 

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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The 2018 Fast Company Most Innovative Companies issue arrived Saturday. It’s always a wonderful inspiration for strategic and creative thinking questions (plus it’s exciting that we have a current client among the companies recognized). In the spirit of the first Agility question below, rather than trying to imagine questions from across all the companies listed, we limited the focus to creative thinking questions inspired by the top ten most innovative companies’ innovation journeys and priorities.

16 Creative Thinking Questions from the Most Innovative Companies

You can apply these creative thinking questions to trigger your own brand’s strategic thinking on innovation strategy:

Strategy

  • What’s the heart of our brand that we can double down on right away?
  • If our time horizon were 25 years, what current things would we eliminate? Which ones would we accelerate?
  • How is our leadership removing distractions to innovation (instead of creating them)?
  • How can we focus on innovation results and let the financial results follow?
  • Where can we mass resources for innovations with the biggest impacts?

Customer-Focused Innovation Strategy

  • What remarkably new things can we deliver to the marketplace in the next year? 3 years? 25 years?
  • Where can we innovate to allow customers to do things they have never been able to accomplish before?
  • Where can we innovate to provide customers and partners greater visibility and growth opportunities?
  • What innovations would help customers do the right things?
  • What would we halt if we stopped doing anything that might be remotely bad for customers?
  • What will it take to immediately stop using our customers as guinea pigs for innovation?
  • How is our B2B brand dramatically changing individuals’ lives?
  • What opportunities will let us grow by 100x the amount and variety of valuable content our brand produces for customers?

Agility

  • What can we do to deliver innovations when they need to get to market vs. when we’re done tinkering?
  • What changes would let us keep tinkering and improving right up to the time we deliver our next innovation?
  • Which of our internal systems have value for other brands like ours that we can sell?

Which creative thinking questions from the most innovative companies will you take to your next leadership team meeting to focus the conversation on your own brand’s innovation strategy?  – Mike Brown

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The 600 Most Powerful Strategic Planning Questions

Engage employees and customers with powerful questions to uncover great breakthrough ideas and innovative strategies that deliver results! This Brainzooming strategy eBook features links to 600 proven questions for:

  • Developing Strategy

  • Branding and Marketing

  • Innovation

  • Extreme Creativity

  • Successful Implementation


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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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You’re leading a major new initiative for your organization. It’s kind of a big deal. Since you’re leading it, that means a lot of other people ARE NOT leading it. Nearly all of them are fine with that. It’s one fewer thing to be responsible for beyond their regular day jobs.

One person, however, resents the hell out of your leading the initiative.

This person (let’s make him a guy, because we all know, it’s almost always a guy) knows that HE should be leading the initiative. It’s HIS area of expertise. HE has the best experience. He’s been around longer than you have, is known by all the key executives, and basks in his reputation as always wanting to be the one credited with making things happen.

He sees the new initiative you are leading quite plainly: YOU are going to get the credit if things go well. In his twisted way, if YOU are getting credit for a success, that makes HIM look worse. That leaves only one option: do everything possible (without calling attention to it) to sabotage you, the initiative, and its ultimate success.

What leadership strategy should you employ to succeed while dealing with this type of pernicious corporate antagonist?

The expected answer is probably to keep the corporate antagonist as far away from the initiative as possible.

An Unconventional Leadership Strategy with a Corporate Antagonist

When a new executive at a company faced this situation, I counseled him to instead adopt a leadership strategy where he invites the antagonist into all the planning activities for the new initiative.

The advice surprised him.

Here’s the reason for suggesting it. Inviting the corporate antagonist into the heart of the process forces him to openly share his resistance. Participating in everything, he will be part of a lot of strategy setting, review points, and decisions. Across those opportunities, he’s going to have to either constructively participate or use crazy levels of subterfuge to hide the sabotage he really hopes to carry out successfully. If he elects to go the route of trying to jam things ups for the new initiative later, the initiative leader will have documented a whole array of comments and involvement to challenge and confront the duplicity.

According to the new executive, the strategy is working. The antagonist feels involved. He’s having to go public with several biases and perennial weak spots in his leadership style as he tries to protect his previous work.

In this case, keeping a business ally close and a corporate antagonist even closer is working even when it seems an unconventional leadership strategy. – Mike Brown

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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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January 28th is, according to a Facebook post from my cousin’s husband, National Fun at Work Day. A quick check corroborated his claim, although there are questions about where the holiday originated. Since my cousin’s husband has worked at the same company for forty-two years or something, I’m willing to believe his post: if you’ve worked in one place for four decades, you have to know a little about fun at work, even when the holiday falls on a Sunday this year.

One great way to celebrate National Fun at Work Day? Download our FREE eBook on eleven ideas for fun strategic planning that are not stuffy for work.

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Not Stuffy for Work Ways to Spice Up Strategic Planning

We released this eBook for the traditional strategic planning season. We’re, however, finding that demand for fun strategic planning ideas now runs throughout the year. This fun strategic planning eBook tells how to incorporate surprise, new situations, and toys to bring life to ANY strategy meeting you conduct throughout the year.

Speaking of toys, we always say they don’t make strategy great, but they do make strategy fun. Fun strategy leads to greater interest in strategic planning and more opportunities for innovative strategy!

11 Tips for Fun Strategic Planning with Toys

If you are trying to figure out what toys are best at meetings, here are our 11 tips for including all the types of toys to include at strategy meetings.

You want toys that:

  1. Allow participants to build things
  2. Twist into different forms
  3. Have bright colors
  4. People can squeeze
  5. Make sounds
  6. Bounce
  7. Stick to things
  8. Are so inexpensive that you can have lots of them
  9. Will make the people at the table that doesn’t have them jealous
  10. People can safely throw at each other during tense moments
  11. Participants will want to take along at the end of the meeting

Toys rekindle kid-like creativity among haggard executives. They give fidgeters something to fidget. Toys (particularly balls) give more aggressive types something to harmlessly throw. Most importantly, though, toys are one aspect of demonstrating that strategic planning needn’t be a completely serious, mind-numbing experience for executive participants.

Download 11 Not Stuffy for Work Ways to Spice Up Strategic Planning today. You’ll be ready to make EVERY DAY National Fun at Work Day! – Mike Brown

11 Hot Stuffy for Work Ways to Spice Up Strategic Planning

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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