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One Friday night, I forced myself to leave the office. (This is more impressive than it might seem, at first: you entrepreneurs will know what I’m talking about.) I’d made my way to the couch and was parked there, watching Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Wembley or Bust on Showtime.

(And yes, most of the songs were, in fact, from the soundtrack of my youth.)

For the closing song, the group played their version of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over, Beethoven. Truth be told, the result was rather pedestrian-sounding. But here’s the beauty of Chuck Berry’s guitar licks: when you put them into a song, no matter how lame the performer, they create excitement.

As I watched, something occurred to me for the first time.

When I started playing guitar, back in high school, I ordered a guide featuring the blues scale. The incredible thing—at least to a very inexperienced guitarist who’d had years of piano lessons, where wrong notes were violently evident—was that with a blues scale, I could play any note after another note, and it would sound great.

Imagine the freedom: here’s your instrument; go. Know that anything you choose, anything at all, will work. It was a perfectionist and an innovator’s dream: I WILL BE MISTAKE-FREE NO MATTER WHAT I DO!

I’m guessing that this all came together for me right then because I had been pitching a new client in partnership with an advertising agency. I explained to them that no matter who we bring into an in-person Brainzooming workshop, we design the questions and exercises so that EVERYONE will be successful participating. There’s pretty much no way they can make a mistake, so long as they’re participating.

Brainzooming as the blues scale of strategy, innovation, and branding? It’s like the secret to creative success for everyone! I like the concept, a lot. It’s the perfect analogy for what we do—and what we teach our clients to do.

If you want to collaboratively engage your team (or multiple teams) in a strategic and creative thinking process in which any of them can discover the secret to creative success, then it’s time to contact us. We’d love to work with you so each of your team members can contribute and all work well together!

And if you want to get your team members going within days on enhancing  their creative success, get them copies of our book: Idea Magnets – 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders. It’s the guidebook for immediately generating inspiration and encouraging people and ideas! – Mike Brown

Download our FREE eBook:
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


Download Your FREE eBook! The 600 Most Powerful Strategic Planning Questions



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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Today, I’m delivering a new Idea Magnets workshop on Finding and Sharing Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories on Social Media. The venue is the Social Media Strategies Summit in New York. Within the workshop, we’re applying the Idea Magnets creative leadership formula to brands that want to improve the resonance and impact of the social-first content they create.

For the workshop, we solicited participants’ questions and expectations in advance. One desired take-away they shared was figuring out how to get the most from the stories their brands develop. To come up with a new Idea Magnets creative approach to the question, Emma Alvarez Gibson and I turned to one of the most famous stories of the last forty-plus years: Star Wars.

Think about all the variations and extensions of the Star Wars story! We translated all those twists and turns to create this list of seventeen ways to extend your brand’s extraordinary stories:

  1. Develop a story with multiple characters
  2. Continue the story and add new characters
  3. End the original story and resolve most things
  4. Use elements of the original story format and share specific parts
  5. Develop the prequel story before the original story with new characters that set up the backstories of some already-revealed characters
  6. Continue the prequel story in multiple parts
  7. Resolve the prequel, but leave room between the prequel and the original story
  8. Refresh the original story with new storytelling techniques & previously unused material
  9. Create events allowing the audience members to immerse in the story
  10. Hand the story to a new creative leader to develop a sequel that happens after the original story
  11. Continue the sequel in multiple parts
  12. Select specific characters and build new stories around each of them
  13. Select an as-yet-untold story and focus on answering big, lingering questions related to it
  14. Adapt all parts of the story for different audiences with different media preferences
  15. Let users create content stories from the original characters and story lines
  16. Invite other professional communicators to re-imagine the story with their preferred storytelling methods
  17. Extend the legacy of a few characters through to the next generation of the story

Want to go further to exploit extraordinary stories? Download our FREE eBook with forty-nine questions to inspire extraordinary brand stories.

Want to up the game on your Idea Magnet creative leadership skills? Then get your book or Kindle copy of idea Magnets – 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders today on Amazon! – Mike Brown

49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories

Developing and sharing extraordinary stories that resonate with your brand’s most important audiences is an important key to branding success.

49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories puts ALL the powerful questions at your disposal to identify, develop, and share authentic stories. It introduces multiple strategies that Idea Magnets use to:

  • Make unexpected connections and generate story ideas
  • Encourage people to share experiences that lead to memorable stories
  • Tell stories through effective techniques that intrigue and engage audiences

Download Your FREE eBook! 49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand's Extraordinary Stories!
 

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 make things more exciting, fulfilling, and successful in every area of life – from their work, to their personal lives, to chance encounters. How do they accomplish that? By employing seven strategies to generate inspiration and apply their creative energy to important opportunities.

Extreme creativity questions are some of the most valuable Idea Magnets tools. These over-sized questions let you effectively expand creative thinking for individuals and teams.

When it comes to branding and content marketing, extreme creativity questions provide an outstanding way to discover, develop, and share extraordinary stories. They deliver for Idea Magnets with branding responsibilities by:

  • Helping audiences see new possibilities
  • Offering a starting point for people to share new stories
  • Uncovering unique aspects and intriguing twists that make stories extraordinary

Here’s the great news: you can get your own set of powerful extreme creativity questions for content marketers, social media professionals, and brand strategists!

It’s as easy as downloading your FREE copy of the new Idea Magnets eBook, 49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories.

49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories

Developing and sharing extraordinary stories that resonate with your brand’s most important audiences is an important key to branding success.

In this actionable new eBook, you will get forty-nine questions to inspire new ideas and energize your team and audiences to continually tell stories that create dynamic, positive impacts. It will introduce you to multiple strategies that Idea Magnets use to:

  • Make unexpected connections and generate story ideas
  • Encourage people to share experiences that lead to memorable stories
  • Tell stories through effective techniques that intrigue and engage audiences

49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories puts ALL the powerful questions at your disposal to identify, develop, and share authentic stories.

That’s why you need to get your copy of 49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand’s Extraordinary Stories today. You will be able to immediately implement your branding and content marketing initiatives with greater impact and results!

Download Your FREE eBook! 49 Idea Magnet Questions to Attract Your Brand's Extraordinary Stories!

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 instinctively apply their core strategies to create outstanding customer experiences. With that backdrop, I delivered an Idea Magnets workshop at a technology company.

The specific focus?

How Ideas Magnets apply their strategies to create stronger internal customer experiences.

Idea Magnets and Outside-In Customer Experiences

Here’s how each Idea Magnets strategy matches up:

Generate Inspiration: Idea Magnets use extreme creativity questions to motivate their teams to imagine dramatically new possibilities. The answers impact how they design and deliver a customer experience.

Embody Servant Leadership: Servant leaders are thinking about how they are doing things to benefit their audiences. Embracing servant leadership helps focus on what works best for potential customers.

Attract Opposites: When there’s a call to enhance a customer experience, you want to explore ideas from multiple perspectives. Idea Magnets are adept at flipping situations on their heads to see new ideas hidden among familiar processes.

Make Unexpected Connections: There are incredible customer experience lessons from leading brands across all industries. Finding the right comparison brand for your brand will highlight strategies that are easily portable across industries.

Encourage People and Ideas: Customer experience is a multi-dimensional aspect of a brand. Idea Magnets naturally bring together a diverse mix of people and perspectives across the customer experience.

Implement for Impact: With a bias for acting on innovative ideas, Idea Magnets effectively narrow options and make decisions with the customer in mind. They integrate techniques to simplify making complex choices, speeding up the time from idea to implementation.

Recharge Creativity: Staying on top of expectations and performance on the customer experience demands long-term focus and innovative thinking. Ideas Magnets are adept at keeping the team’s thinking fresh and new even as they tackle ongoing functions and issues.

If your organization needs new thinking on customer experience, embracing the seven Idea Magnets strategies is a fantastic place to start. Contact us, and let’s talk about how the Idea Magnets book and/or workshops will inspire big changes!

Note: If you’re a Brainzooming blog subscriber and wondering where I’ve been the last month, it’s been a crunch time: travel to client workshops, the Inbound18 conference, and multiple local client engagements. That’s great for business. It’s also a challenge for publishing regularly. I can’t see the time crunch ending soon. My apologies as we try to keep up a regular publishing schedule in this important strategic planning time! – 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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We can all use a butt kicking occasionally that provides a wake up call to dramatically improve our own confidence levels and performance.

I got one of those butt kickings last Tuesday morning via an opening keynote presentation by Amber Selking, PhD, at the International Thermprocess Summit. Dr. Selking is a Performance Consultant who focuses on “Building Championship Mindsets.”

It feels like I’ve been running on fumes for weeks (months?), and I was in Atlanta on too little sleep to close out the conference that afternoon with a talk on transitioning businesses and their intellectual capital from one generation of Idea Magnets to the next. Before the Tuesday session opened, I took a seat at the very back table, hoping to strike a balance between conserving energy, walking through the slides in this new talk, and identifying ideas and themes from other speakers’ talks to weave into the closing.Order Idea Magnets
That’s when Amber brought the message, the energy, and the call-to action that made everyone stop and think about what they are personally doing to improve themselves and their teams. Everyone walked away with a new and improved mindset.

I told her later how her talk challenged and scared me.  As I sat there needing to deliver the same energy and passion as Dr. Selking brought to her talk, I feared there was noooooooo waaaaayyyyyyy I could muster half of the enthusiasm she did. At one point later in the morning, I returned to my room to get my stuff and wondered aloud WHAT I was going to do in the next two hours to energize myself.

My concerns were heightened when the conference organizer told me right before I started my talk that she was looking for me to deliver the same impact as Amber had earlier in the day.

I guess Dr. Selking’s message really did land with me, because I found much more energy than I’d had that morning. The closing talk was interactive, had some fun moments, and challenged the audience to return home and make room for millennials to actively engage in sharing and learning new and conventional knowledge to take their companies forward.

Enough about me. Amber Selking, PhD has a podcast you need to check out, and a TEDx Talk that will give you a sense of the impact of her message.

Go find out about Amber Selking, PhD. She’s an Idea Magnet!

Order Your Copy of Idea Magnets TODAY!

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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Today, Monday, July 23, we’re launching the new Brainzooming book,  Idea Magnets: 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders. As part of the launch activities, you’re invited to a Facebook Live presentation I’m deliver on the seven Idea Magnets creative leadership strategies during the Leadership Institute conference. You can watch the presentation at 11:00 am Central Daylight time in the US (4 pm UCT). Please join us for the Facebook live event from the Idea Magnets Facebook page.

My objective in writing this new book was to help individuals cultivate their personal strengths as Idea Magnets, attracting other Idea Magnets through their creative energy. The key point is that achieving tremendous creative success doesn’t have to be rare or depend on some magical combination of things you can’t ever recreate. Idea Magnets, and those around them, experience these types of moments all the time. And there is no magic involved.

So, what exactly is an Idea Magnet, you ask?

Idea Magnets inspire creative ideas and encourage extreme creativity in those around them. Idea Magnets make life more exciting, fulfilling, and successful in everything they touch—from their work, to their personal lives to chance encounters—by applying surprising connections to deliver intriguingly powerful results. Idea Magnets serve and lead with boldness and humility. They imagine bold visions and attract other Idea Magnets to help implement them. And they do it all with amazing ease.

Idea Magnets teaches seven creative leadership strategies for becoming a more dynamic leader who inspires extreme creativity and innovative success by naturally incorporating these strategies into work and personal life:

  1. Generating Inspiration
  2. Embodying Servant Leadership
  3. Attracting Opposites
  4. Making Unexpected Connections
  5. Encouraging People and Ideas
  6. Implementing for Impact
  7. Recharging Creative Energy

With the Idea Magnets strategies, you’ll learn to envision new creative paths that deliver powerful impact, attract new ideas and people, and strengthen your leadership, leading to greater fulfillment for you and everyone around you!

Don’t forget: if you buy a copy of the Idea Magnets, available in both print and e-book versions on Amazon, you can also get The Idea Magnets Creative Recharge for free. This companion e-book shares creative leadership strategies that build on the principles of Idea Magnets and offers fun approaches for recharging your own creative energy. To download it, go to IdeaMagnets.com/recharge and enter your information, including your Amazon order number from your Idea Magnets print or e-book purchase.

Order Your Copy of Idea Magnets TODAY!

For more details on Idea Magnets, visit the Idea Magnets website or join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. – 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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I was chatting with someone about what to do when someone asks you a question in a meeting. If you are fine with where everything is heading or you’re not sure what to ask, should you simply say you don’t have any questions?

That may seem like the natural answer.

I suggested another one: Go ahead and ask a great strategic thinking question.

It is always better to respond to a request for questions with a question versus saying you are completely set (whether you are or not) and have no need for more information.

In these situations, asking a positive, open-ended question:

  • Suggests that you’ve been listening very closely
  • Puts the attention back on the other person
  • Provides an opportunity for the other person to clarify

The next natural question in our conversation was about what types of strategic thinking questions to ask.

While I think there’s a Brainzooming blog post for this, it was almost faster to write a new, updated list of questions than to find the post. (That’s why having a book of Brainzooming creative leadership ideas all in one place will be so handy!)

21 Strategic Thinking Questions When You Have Nothing to Ask

via Shutterstick

Here are 21 updated strategic thinking questions with varied purposes you can use when someone asks you if you have any questions:

Create More Room to Elaborate

  • Can you talk about that more?
  • How will it work?
  • What is most intriguing to you about the idea?

Seek Additional Background

  • Is that a typical approach that you take?
  • What brought you to that conclusion?
  • What other ideas did you consider before arriving at that?

Explore Potential Impact

  • What are some upsides to this approach?
  • What types of impacts should / can we expect?
  • Did you look at this idea relative to others and their expected impacts?

Identify Opportunities

  • Are there other areas in which we can apply this?
  • What other initiatives could branch off from doing this?
  • What other initiatives could get new life when we introduce this initiative?

Identify Success Factors

  • What do we need to pave the way for success?
  • Who will need to be involved to make this successful?
  • Can we depend on existing capabilities or will we need new ones to make this work?

Understand Previous Experience

  • What does your experience tell you about how this will work in our situation?
  • How have you used this idea in other situations?
  • How does that differ from other things you’ve tried?

Push for More Innovation

  • Is that a new idea / approach?
  • What are other alternatives you considered (or are under consideration)?
  • How does this approach improve on what’s been done before?

Given all that, do you have any questions? – 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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