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If you’ve read the Brainzooming blog for any length of time, you’ve seen Chuck Dymer’s name multiple times. Chuck has been an incredible influence on my career, especially as it comes to creative thinking skills. As someone said to me at one point, “You’ve changed your job into Chuck’s job.”

That was definitely true.

Chuck was the first person I heard deliver an in-depth presentation on creative thinking skills. He captivated me with his message. We worked with Chuck multiple times, and started to adopt many of his ideas and approaches into our strategic planning methodology.

Suffice it to say, there wouldn’t be a Brainzooming if I hadn’t met Chuck Dymer.

Creative Thinking Skills and Place with Chuck Dymer

shapes-creative-thinking

Chuck is closing his ideation space, The IdeaLoft.

I visited him for lunch yesterday, and we recorded the Facebook live video here. I asked Chuck to talk about the IdeaLoft and how place and creativity relate to one another. The relationship between them was integral to the design and layout of the Idealoft.

Enjoy the video and Chuck’s insights and expertise on how place influences creative thinking skills!

Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make Strategy Planning More Fun?

Yes, developing strategy can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

 

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

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 discussing a request for proposal the other day with a potential client. He’s developing a short list of potential candidates for a new market research initiative at his company. It was clear that the organization’s team had already decided that a request for proposal was the best way to determine which outside vendor will be the best market research partner.

One other thing that was clear in the conversation:  their expectations go well beyond carrying out an already in-place quantitative market research initiative.

conference-room-office-space

The discussion surfaced the need for creating and implementing multiple types of research – both quantitative and qualitative – across a number of market segments. While he billed it as “customer” research, it likely needs to include both prospects and former customers to provide accurate insights.

As we talked, I told him they shouldn’t be issuing a request for proposal.

When a Request for Proposal Doesn’t Fit

A request for proposal is fine (I suppose) when the expectations, needs, and product or service are evident. I told him, however, that when none of these are clear (even to the client) and there are multiple avenues to address a nebulous deliverable, a request for proposal isn’t the best step.

In less specific situations, a request for proposal is a waste of time for potential vendors. They are taking time to design something they will likely never implement. The real market research design will only take shape after the client selects a vendor and meaningful exploration takes place. By that point, the specifications have changed so much, the proposal is likely irrelevant.

The client will wind up re-working much of the original RFP process in short order after they pick a research partner. That’s wasted time, too.

A Request for Presentation Could Be Better

I suggested they invite potential market research partners to come in and present their credentials, experience, and initial thinking on helping the client explore what types of market research they will really need. After developing a comfort level with a potential market research partner from the Request for Presentation, they can select one. THAT is the time to sit down, specify the methodology, and develop a scope of work with pricing.

We’ll see if they take the advice.

I hope they do.

A Request for Presentation will likely be a more fruitful RFP process than one focused on a Request for Proposal. – Mike Brown

 

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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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Are you still working on your strategic planning for 2017?

Or, are you still waiting to launch your strategic planning for 2017?

Or is strategic planning for the next year something your organization just neglects to do?

If you answered “Yes” to the first or second questions, or even to the third one, but you know you SHOULD do planning for next year, time is running out.

5 Ways to Still Complete Your Strategic Planning for 2017

orange-chairs

To help you get a handle on what you have left to complete for strategic planning, here are five things you can do to cope AND get completely on top of things for 2017:

  • Keep as much of last year’s strategy in place as is practical and focus only on updating tactics.
  • Expand the number of people collaborating on the plan, creating concurrent tracks of activity.
  • Simplify the various parts of the plan so that it is easier and faster to complete.
  • Invite people that cannot come together for in-person planning to participate via online collaboration.
  • Push out the expectation for finishing strategic planning until early next year to give you more time.

Each of these five ideas will remove a significant time drain during your planning activities. The key to all of these is that you have the wherewithal to make such a dramatic change and still deliver a strategic plan that moves your business ahead next year.

We can help make each of these adjustments, all in the interests of streamlining your strategic planning process. Let us know if you need help. We can make it happen in time for you to be ready to make next year your best year yet!

Let’s talk for thirty minutes, and see how we can still work together to complete your plan and start implementing! – Mike Brown

Streamline and Complete 2017 Strategic Planning!

Download our FREE eBook: 5 Keys to Streamline Your Strategic Planning Process

5-keys-streamline-cover2In this new eBook, we share some of what we’ve learned from shaping, streamlining, and implementing hundreds of strategic workshops. Through our experience, we’ve identified and now share in this eBook:

  • Suggestions for assembling a strategy team with the right types of diversity
  • Dependable ways to help non-strategists think strategically
  • Tips for streamlining strategic planning activities to best fit your organization and save time

These user-friendly techniques regularly cut weeks (sometimes months) from typical strategic planning activities so your organization can focus on successful implementation for 2017!

Download Your FREE eBook! 5 Keys to Streamline Strategic Planning Activities!


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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Should you NEVER have fun during your company’s strategy planning process?

I suspect you know my answer to that question!

I had dinner the other evening with a former colleague from the corporate world. He is the relatively new CEO of a nonprofit organization. As we were exchanging stories about what we had done since the last time we saw one another, we discussed strategic planning.

He mentioned that the organization’s current strategic planning process facilitator “reprimanded” him at a strategy meeting. She told him never to mention the idea of having “fun” during strategy planning. Supposedly, the previous CEO set the tone for strategy, and fun was not part of the strategic planning process equation.

Wow.

Double Wow.

Strategic-Planning-Fun

I immediately showed him how one of our most recent strategic planning eBooks was all about working to create a fun atmosphere for strategy planning. He recalled how we always spread out a bunch of toys at strategy planning meetings. While toys may or may not be part of the mix during strategic planning activities, the key principle is that being serious and mind numbing does not, in and of itself, lead to stronger strategy.

In the Brainzooming worldview, the best strategy comes from pushing on the edges of everyday thinking.

Or pushing beyond those edges into territory no upstanding businessperson would typically venture. And in those cases, fun and laughter are all part of the strategy deal. You cannot imagine boldly when your brain is chained to serious thinking.

Mind numbing thinking does not lead to breakthrough thinking.

Wild thinking (which IS FUN) does.

That is why we highly recommend that fun and your company’s strategic planning process go together!  – Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make Strategy Planning More Fun?

Yes, developing strategy can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

 

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

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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Is your strategy team tired of the same old strategic thinking exercises?

Is your leadership team expressing its frustration with the inability to generate new insights about your brand’s strongest market opportunities?

Are you searching for ways to quickly and effectively engage brand leaders to anticipate and address emerging threats you face?

If you face these situations, The Brainzooming Group has a new eBook you need. It offers fresh ideas for using one of the most common strategic thinking exercises . . . and it’s FREE!

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With simple, actionable adaptations, you can take your leadership team through a variety of fresh SWOT analysis approaches that:

  • Put your customers front and center with every look you take at your marketplace
  • Challenge your thinking about what parts of your strategy are obsolete, opinion-based, and open to serious objections
  • Push you to go deeper and bolder in your SWOT analysis

strategic-thinking-exercises-swot-analysis

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, we designed “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” as a go-to resource throughout strategic planning. Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis alternatives include:

  • Creating a SWOT from multiple pieces
  • Using a SWOOT analysis to create a twist
  • Employing a bolder SWOT analysis than ANYONE expects
  • Going deeper with a Four x 4 approach
  • Triggering richer insights by varying participants, focus areas, and perspectives

All that in one handy, FREE Brainzooming eBook!

Download your copy of “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” today!Mike Brown

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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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Reading responses about the strategic planning challenges faced by executives downloading our eBooks suggests a variety of strong blog topics.

One challenge mentioned recently is how one organization’s previous strategic planning processes did not work. This necessitates looking for new and better approaches.

This is not a unique situation. Many of you are likely finding your way to the Brainzooming website because you are searching for new ways to address strategic planning challenges.

failed-strategic-planning-process

As we developed the Brainzooming methodology inside the corporate world, our strategic planning did not always work as well as we planned (which is ironic). Sometimes the gap was about the planning itself. Other times it might be about the process steps or the leaders sponsoring the strategic planning process. Still other times, it involved challenges implementing the plan after we completed it.

13 Strategic Planning Process Questions When Strategy Planning Isn’t Working

Irrespective of the specific reason, if your strategy planning approach has not worked in previous years, what potential issues should you explore to fix it? And what questions should you ask to identify underlying issues to address?

Could you change ______?

The people involved

Leadership sponsoring strategy planning

  • Are there opportunities to create greater engagement?
  • Can you create a stronger understanding of how planning benefits the organization?
  • Is it possible to communicate to the leaders a better sense of critical success factors for the strategic planning process?
  • Can you more thoroughly incorporate leadership expectations into the strategy planning approach you use?

The strategic planning process

The transition from planning to implementation

Who knows where your answer to improved strategy planning lies among those questions?

The important point is to explore the questions and realize there’s an answer out there.

If you would like to talk about what that answer might be for you, contact us, and let’s discuss how an approach to strategy planning that’s built around your organization would look! – Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make a Developing Strategy More Fun?

Yes, developing strategy can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

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

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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Someone downloading the new 11 Ideas for Fun Strategic Planning eBook when we released it stated his biggest strategy challenge as coming up with fresh ways to do the same strategic planning exercises with the same executives every year

I hear that challenge in a big way.

When we were developing the Brainzooming strategic planning process inside a Fortune 500 company, we used it to plan strategy across a whole portfolio of services and clients in a B2B setting. While some participants in the early Brainzooming strategy workshops changed from day-to-day, we would often have the same people participating every single day for an entire week or more. I spent many late nights modifying each workshop format to change them enough to keep the participants (and me) engaged, mentally sharp, and creative.

9 Ways to Keep Strategic Planning Process Exercises Fresh Every Year

So when you are working with the same old audience every day (or annually) and trying the same old strategic planning exercises, what can you do to change things up?

strategic-planning-process-changes

Here are nine ideas based on those early experiences to add variety to a strategic planning process workshop when the audience remains essentially the same:

Those are nine ideas to add variety to a strategic planning process. Doing even a few of these can provide a fresh, fun experience this year, and for days and years to come! – Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make Your
Strategic Planning More Fun?

Yes, developing strategy can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

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

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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