Idea Magnets | The Brainzooming Group - Part 3 – page 3

While creating a scope of work for a Brainzooming creative thinking skills workshop targeted at a B2B salesforce, our client contact (who is a Brainzooming reader) asked for material on what it means to be a creatively supportive leader.

Great question!

4 Keys for Being a Creatively Supportive Leader

When it comes to a leader actively supporting a team’s creative thinking skills development, there are multiple ways to go from talk to tangible support. We typically see the following behaviors from a creatively supportive leader:

  • Actively and fully participating in the original creative thinking skills workshop learning
  • Modeling behaviors and conversations that support exploring new ideas
  • Reaching across organizational lines to include thinkers with diverse and valuable perspectives
  • Using strategic and creative thinking skills in daily interactions to develop and move ideas toward implementation


Beyond these four keys to being a creatively support leader, here are previous Brainzooming articles to provide additional ideas on the perspectives and behaviors of a leader that cultivates team creativity:

I figured we’d share this compilation on a Monday because there is AT LEAST a week’s worth of reading there to brush up on your skills in being a creatively supportive leader!   – 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-TitleI think this is a first today. It’s an excerpt from another publication about Brainzooming creative thinking content.

Specifically, this recap of Monday’s “Idea Magnets – Creative Business Leadership” webcast I presented for the American Marketing Association is from “Inside the Executive Suite.” This newsletter is a weekly feature within the Armada Executive Intelligence Briefing System. We worked with Keith Prather, the publisher of the Armada Executive Intelligence Brief, for many years in the corporate world. Additionally, when we have a client engagement requiring a larger group of facilitators, Keith is my first call. He was at ground zero when we developed the techniques that later became the Brainzooming strategy methodology.

Beyond this Idea Magnets recap, you should sign up for a free 30-day trial of the Executive Intelligence Briefing System. It’s designed to keep executives current with both what’s going on in the world and what it’s going to mean for their businesses. Additionally, since Keith won’t listen to my pricing strategy advice, you can subscribe to the entire array of multi times per week publications for less than $100 a year. It SHOULD be a four or five-figure subscription, so like I said, subscribe now before I convince Keith to raise the prices!

Without delay, here’s the Armada take on the seven creative thinking characteristics of Idea Magnets. – Mike Brown


 7 Keys to How “Idea Magnets” Boost Creativity from “Inside the Executive Suite”

Know someone incredibly strong at generating new ideas and attracting team members who also excel at imagining creative ideas?

If so, you know an “idea magnet.”

Here is our recap and the take-aways from each (idea magnet) characteristic discussed.

Idea Magnets are . . .

1. Inspiring

Idea magnets generate interest and passion for the big objectives and dramatic visions they are trying to accomplish within their organizations. Unlike creative geniuses who may work in a more solitary basis, they want strong creative leaders surrounding them. The bigger team’s creativity helps identify the details behind making the vision a reality.

In sharing a big vision for an organization, whether it’s stated as a core purpose, vision, or mission statement isn’t critical. What’s important is the statement boldly challenges and stretches the organization.

Our take-away: Idea magnets ground creative ideas in strategies and objectives. They are NOT pursuing creativity for creativity’s sake.

2. Serving

Idea magnets are servant leaders. They participate in the challenging tasks they ask their teams to address. They also grow their team members into idea magnets themselves through strategic mentorship, sharing personal lessons with their teams, challenging the status quo, and cultivating team diversity.

Idea magnets surround themselves with smarter, more talented people and display patience while team members do their own explorations to imagine ways to turn the idea magnet’s vision into reality.

Our take-away: Idea magnets aren’t standoffish. They are in the middle of imagining ideas AND accomplishing results.

3. Attracting

Just as magnets attract metal, idea magnets attract great creative leaders and their big ideas. What makes idea magnets so attractive? They bring excitement to the workplace. They also display “abundance thinking. ” What others would consider as constraints, they see as opportunities to pursue more abundant resources and possibilities. They also provide what other leaders need to be abundantly creative, including physical space, time, resources, tools, and interactions with new (and new types of ) people.

Our take-away: The intangibles in business often support abundance thinking. Ideas, energy, passion, and learning aren’t limited, so identify ways to take greater advantage of them.

4. Connecting

Idea magnets connect people and situations to fuel creativity. They are great “and” thinkers. This means they embrace and easily work with both ends of what others might see as opposite perspectives. Idea magnets are strong at:

  • Generating and prioritizing ideas
  • Thinking creatively and implementing ideas
  • Exploiting tested ideas and unknown possibilities

Using creative formulas, idea magnets combine possibilities others would typically miss to create many more new ideas.

Our take-away: Idea magnets we’ve known in business are all strong at spotting relationships between apparently disconnected things. These connections help fuel ideas and anticipate future opportunities.

5. Encouraging

Idea magnets use multiple tools in multiple ways to motivate team members. For example, they might use time in contrasting ways. Sometimes idea magnets negotiate for MORE time so team members can finish necessary creative thinking and implementation. Other times, they may be maxing out the team’s capacity with more projects than they can handle. This LESSENS times for unnecessary creative thinking and encourages rapid progress.

Idea magnets routinely facilitate unique creative experiences, maximize fresh perspectives from new team members, and celebrate successes and the learnings from new ideas that fall short of intended impacts.

Our take-away: By adding one new or unusual variable, idea magnets facilitate once-in-a-lifetime creative experiences. This concept extends to personal relationships, so all you long-time married folks take note!

6. Deciding

Idea magnets imagine and attract many ideas. Processing those ideas so their teams aren’t overwhelmed is imperative. That’s why being strong at “deciding” is vital.

When a project or initiative launches, idea magnets identify upfront how decisions will be made as completion draws near. Sometimes the idea magnet makes the decision; other times, team members will be deciding how the team proceeds. Knowing upfront the freedom team members have in exploring ideas and the approach to setting priorities signals how much autonomy others have to shape strategies to move forward.

Our take-away: While they say in brainstorming sessions there are no bad ideas, there are. It’s vital to pick the right time to decide on good and bad ideas to sustain creative thinking.

7. Replenishing

Applying creative thinking to business issues is mentally stimulating. There’s still the need, however, for idea magnets to replenish creative energy along for the team. Idea magnets understand what encourages their creative passions and what will prepare team members to hit their creative peaks. Idea magnets have to know the people, places, situations, times, and techniques that most readily maximize creativity.

Our take-away: Managing a business team’s creativity is like a basketball coach managing the varied talents and personalities on the team. The idea magnet may have to try a variety of “player” combinations before the team scores creatively.

Is creative thinking and creative business leadership for everyone?

A question at the webcast’s conclusion asked whether creative business leadership is important if you don’t work in a creative field or company. The answer was it’s even more important then to bring fresh ideas to how an organization delivers customer value. – “Inside the Executive Suite”

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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If you have been a Brainzooming blog reader for any amount of time, you know how much we love creative thinking exercises and creative formulas you can revisit whenever you need them.

Sure, creative inspiration is great, but a creative formula is ready for action whenever you are ready and need to deliver many new ideas.

Creative Thinking Exercises at the Ready

As you gain command of various creative thinking exercises, you can combine and rearrange them to generate additional creative thinking formulas to inspire more and more varied ideas!

Here is a new example of this phenomenon we shared during the Idea Magnets webcast for the American Marketing Association.

TacosAt one point we used “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” the reality TV show where Guy Fieri visits unusual restaurants around the country displaying all sorts of food-oriented extreme creativity, to generate lists of extreme creativity questions and ideas.

We revisited that content for Idea Magnets and pulled out four creative formulas the chefs on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives seem to use quite frequently:

  1. Combine everything possible into one creation
  2. Repeat one thing in every way possible
  3. Do something huge, and then do it some more
  4. Create something small, focused, and completely stupendous

Stated in this general way, any of these four creative formulas is something you can revisit when you need new ideas or a new way of thinking about a challenge you are facing.

4 Creative Formulas, 15 Possibilities for Creativity

What’s even better, through the amazing power of mathematics, these four formulas result in 15 wonderful possibilities for creativity.

How is that?

You can use any one of the four individually. Or they yield six different combinations of two formulas and four possibilities to use three of them together. Finally, you could put all of them together.

In all, there are fifteen possibilities for creativity – ready any time you need them!

What can you do with those new creative thinking possibilities? – Mike Brown


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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!

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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If you’re reading this first thing Monday morning (US time), there’s still time to register and participate in today’s Idea Magnets creative leadership webcast. I’m presenting the webcast for the American Marketing Association beginning at 10 a.m. central daylight time.

The Idea Magnets presentation today is a brand new one in the Brainzooming repertoire. It is an outgrowth of a creative thinking blog post from several years ago first talking about idea magnets I’ve worked with throughout my career.

A New Direction in Idea Magnets

Creating the content for Idea Magnets unveiled multiple realizations about how this direction creative leadership is new for me.

First and foremost of these realizations is how much of our content comes from a “don’t do that” perspective. Think about “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation.” It doesn’t get much more “don’t do that” than “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation.”

Much of the content in the first draft of Idea Magnets started life in a “don’t do that” perspective. I was reminded while editing the webcast, however, that idea magnets don’t think like that.

Idea magnets set out a big vision, objective, or purpose, and aggressively march toward it. They are too busy making BIG things happen to spend much time bothering with fighting anti-creative behaviors.


A Creative Leadership Presentation from the Road

As this new creative leadership presentation came together, it became clear Idea Magnets is where I’ve been heading personally for several years.

“Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” addresses the transition early in my career to think about new ideas and change more positively. Our “Creating Strategic Impact” content bridges the point in my corporate career when we were developing the methodology that became Brainzooming and what we do now for multiple clients across all types of industries.

Finally, it struck me the other day that Idea Magnets is a presentation “from the road.” This means it’s a place I’m heading to and a destination I want to be, but I’m not there yet. Addressing the characteristics idea magnets display, it is evident I do better at some of the characteristics than others.

During most of my career, my creative leadership role was to bring to life the big visions of idea magnets. Since stepping out to a big corporation in 2009 to start The Brainzooming Group, however, I have to articulate our big vision. Sometimes that happens; often it doesn’t.

The Idea Magnets presentation NEEDED to come together, because it’s my own roadmap for where we’re going with The Brainzooming Group.

Idea Magnets is a presentation from the road. The road is great, and it’s exciting. And I can’t wait until I get to where the road is taking us! – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.


Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!



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’m in the midst of developing new themes for the Idea Magnets webcast I’m hosting for the American Marketing Association next week (And btw, have you signed up for the webcast yet? If not, here’s where you can register for Idea Magnets).

One theme from an earlier blog post is unique, once-in-a-lifetime creative thinking experiences. What got me thinking about these creative thinking experiences was our involvement assembling more than one hundred diverse people at the Kansas City Library for a large-scale brainstorming session. It struck me that this particular group would likely never convene again for creative thinking. As a result, we had great responsibility for making this unique creative experience a success.

Creative Thinking and Unique Experiences

Looking back through my career, I recognized many more unique creative thinking experiences than I’d ever imagined. It doesn’t require one hundred new people brainstorming to create something that’s once-in-a-lifetime.


Consider any of these eleven possibilities:

  1. Invite a well-known speaker or sports figure kick-off a creative thinking session
  2. Have a less well known speaker or expert new to the group to participate
  3. Hold the creative thinking session in place that you’ll likely never be able to go to again
  4. Never have a creative thinking meeting in the same place twice
  5. Create a completely new creative thinking project for the group to tackle
  6. Take on a project that seems too big for the group to pull-off (but it does anyway)
  7. Devise a never-to-be-duplicated series of creative thinking events
  8. Take your creative thinking interactions on the road visiting and including customers
  9. Use sponsorships your organization has to see if they might provide access to unique venues or people
  10. Secure new tools and resources to develop the group’s creative ideas
  11. Turn a wild idea into a reality for your creative team

Amazingly, one of my strategic mentors (and a true example of an idea magnet), whose birthday is today, brought all these unique creative thinking experiences to life during the time I worked with him. While I appreciated them all as they happened, it never struck me until just the past few days that it’s possible that none of them will be repeated again.

Idea Magnets Create Unique Experiences

So in order to better emulate how an idea magnet approaches creativity, I’ll start asking in our client interactions, “What can we do to make this is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime creative thinking experience?” – 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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Reviewing search results for the Brainzooming website shows creative thinking skills and creative inspiration are among the most popular blog topics here. Those readership metrics have prompted additional “how to be creative” articles in the last year.

  • It is good since it demonstrates a responsive editorial calendar to address your interest in creativity topics.
  • It is bad in that it can make it more challenging for readers to find “how to be creative” tips and ideas when you most need them (at least that is what some Brainzooming blog readers have said).

To make it easier to track down creativity help when you want it, there are 188 creative thinking and creativity tips, tricks, and ideas for then you need creative inspiration.

Personal Creative Inspiration

Want to Sharpen Your Creative Thinking Skills?

Needing a Creative Confidence Boost?

Looking for a Personal Creativity Recharge?

How to Be Creative with a Team

Need to Build a Great Creative Team?

Trying to Protect New Creative Thinking as It Develops?

Inspiration for How to Be Creative in New Ways

Want to Use Social Media for Creative Inspiration?

Thinking about Tapping Twitter for Ideas on How to Be Creative?

Needing to Successfully Implement Your Creative Vision?

Stumped on How to Borrow Creative Ideas with a Clear Conscience?

Needing Idea Generation for Creative Names for a Product or Service?

Looking for Ways to Achieve Extreme Creativity?

Creative Performance

Having a Creative Block?

Looking to Jump Start Your Creative Performance?

Ideas for Turning off Your Creativity to Finish a Creative Project?

What other topics are you interested in about creative thinking skills and how to be creative?

There are plenty more articles on how to be creative throughout the Brainzooming blog, but if we have not covered a creativity topic you are looking for, let us know. We will get it addressed! – Mike Brown


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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creative 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 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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From our experience with The Brainzooming Group and ongoing business innovation research, there are fairly common situations blocking business innovations across companies, irrespective of corporate culture. Not all ten of these challenges to business innovation in organizations exist everywhere, but the presence of just a couple of innovation barriers within a corporate culture will scuttle even modest dreams of implementing business innovations expected to create value for customers.

Download Taking the NO Out of InNOvation for Free!

The good news is none of these ten business innovation barriers are insurmountable. As a result it’s important to understand what business innovation challenge issues you face in your organization. With that understanding, you can take appropriate change management steps to navigate each innovation challenge, enhance your corporate culture, and get business innovation going. That’s what “Taking the No Out of InNOvation” is all about doing:

1. NO Knack for Disruptive Innovation

There simply isn’t an orientation toward business innovation in your corporate culture. It may be a mature industry, a company that’s had success with an intense focus, one that’s grown through M&A, or has been burned on previous formal innovation efforts. Whatever the reason, innovative ideas don’t appear to be in the company’s DNA.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

2. NO Direction

Without a top-level mandate for innovative change management, it’s tough for a business innovation-oriented corporate culture to flourish. It could be that innovation is outside the company’s vision, there’s no upper management champion for disruptive innovation, or a lack of alignment stands in the way of these efforts.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

3. NO Rocking the Boat

There’s an unmistakable signal within the corporate culture (whether it’s uttered directly by upper management or not): “If it isn’t broken, don’t mess with it. We’re not interested in risk taking; let’s just maintain the status quo.” These messages make it clear that good things don’t await those interested in innovative ideas or disruptive innovation.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

4. NO Talent Pool

The company may have convinced itself the right people aren’t in place to make innovative ideas happen. It could be a perceived lack of “creatives” or “outside the box” thinkers. More likely though, this innovation challenge stems from a failure to get people with diverse perspectives together and let them thrive in innovation teams. It’s more about diverse talent not working together than not having the right talent for effective innovation teams.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

5. There’s NO Tomorrow

This innovation challenge springs from the conviction things will be won or lost in the short term, so there’s little need for long term business innovation development. Or it may be there’s no patience for protracted realization of opportunities. If a business innovation is going to be pursued, it needs to be developed and start paying out by the next quarter. In a challenging business economic environment, this sentiment becomes more prevalent.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

Download Disrupting Thinking

6. NO Resources

As with the “no tomorrow” innovation challenge, lowered interest in applying resources to business innovation may be more acutely felt during periods of uncertainty and intense change. The absence of specific resources can be broad, including management attention, available time, and investment dollars. Without these vital inputs, innovative ideas often stall or never take off in the first place.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

7. NO Motivation to Innovate

Something’s lacking that dampens an internal drive to innovate. It could be an environment that doesn’t promote cooperation, no opportunity to receive credit for your effort, or a lack of other meaningful incentives to bring ideas forward and develop them. The net result is that innovation isn’t happening as naturally as it might.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

8. NO Process

There are instances where innovation appears to emanate naturally from the corporate culture. Chances are though that it’s been cultivated and developed through an innovation process, even if it’s a relatively small scale and informal one. Without some type of planning and organized innovation process, bureaucracy and innovation challenges in organizations can easily block innovative ideas from coming to fruition.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

9. NO Implementation Success

Innovative ideas and concepts are cool, but only have value ultimately if they lead to successful implementation and deliver benefits for the intended audience. There are various roadblocks to successful implementation, including flaws in how ideas are recommended, prioritized, developed, and marketed to target audiences. With all those potential change management and innovation challenge issues that exist, it’s a wonder anything new actually takes place!

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

10. No Measures

It’s difficult to sustain a formal business innovation strategy without metrics in place to report return on investment (ROI), showcase positive improvements, and troubleshoot issues with innovations. Even earlier in the innovation process, the absence of metrics makes identifying and prioritizing opportunities a shot in the dark. Simply put: no metrics = no hope of long term success from innovations.

What Are Some Things You Can Try?

All the best to you in addressing the specific NO’s you face standing in the way of innovations your organization is seeking to identify and implement.

If you’d like more information on exploring the personal perspectives you need to approach your whole life more innovatively, you can download an eBook version of “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation.” It’s a great companion on your mission to bring business innovations to life! – Mike Brown


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


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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