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For last Saturday’s monthly #Ideachat, its creator Angela Dunn turned over the moderation role to Pam Moran and Ira Socol as they led an incredibly active #Ideachat on “Creativity and Learning.” As usual, #Ideachat attracted so many smart, intriguing people from around the world tweeting away wildly on how creativity and learning intersect in the classroom, the workplace, and elsewhere. I’m not even sure how many new people I followed on Twitter during #Ideachat, but I know it was at least five in the first two minutes!

Going back through my #Ideachat retweets and interactions, here are paratweets of some of my favorite inspirational comments from throughout the chat:

Creativity in the Classroom

  • Ira Socol / @irasocol: I often encourage my grad students to ‘mutiny’ & do their own thing. They struggle w/ creativity.
  • Jennifer Bond / @teambond :  I have had Innovation Day in my third grade classroom twice now…and both days have been powerful and full of creativity. @pernilleripp introduced me to Innovation Day, a day where kids created their own learning…for an entire day! We need to add time into our curriculum for free, creative time where children can learn self-regulation.
  • Pam Moran / @pammoran: Love MIT Kindergarten for a lifetime- the engineer nerds see this as key for creativity bit.ly/gvyaa6


The Learning Process

Problem Solving and Challenges to Creative Success

  • Ira Socol / @irasocol: Lowering the “cost” of failure is critical to learning and creation – see games v school (My Thought: The idea about “Lowering the cost of failure” is important. It’s the key to creativity in many situations.)
  • Woody Bendle / @wbendle:  Imagination in the pursuit of “art” is different from imagination in the pursuit of solving a problem.  Ira Socol / @irasocol: @wbendle do you think so? Isn’t art always “problem solving”?  (My Thought: That’s what I was thinking! Art can be in everything!)
  • My Contribution: Failure when pursuing creativity is when something doesn’t work out as expected. The failure can create something wonderfully unexpected or be something that needs more creativity to fix it.

Connections and Creativity

  • David Britten / @colonelb : Perhaps ideas are really a remix of information?
  • Vala Afshar /@ValaAfshar:   Rather than focusing on connecting the dots, focus on connecting people. Make imaginative thinking a team sport.
  • Jesse de Agustin / @JdeAgustin : To be our most creative we have to always be “on”, tuned in, and receptive to learning from others.
  • Simon Harvey / @Simon_GB:  When you connect within you open your mind to limitless possibility. Flow.
  • Tara Markus /@TaraMarkus: Delve into robust conversations. Drink in the wisdom of others.
  • Woody Bendle / @wbendle:   Is there anything more exhilarating than a new idea? That flow of creativity is awesome as everything begins to “connect”
  • My Contribution: Imagination for me is fueled by loose connections – “This” reminds me a little of “that,” and then “that” reminds me of something else.

The Act of Creating

What’s glorious is creating something tangible from your ideas. Through creation, you leave something behind to endure or to be deconstructed & redone with brand new creativity!  - Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! 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 info@brainzooming.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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I created a mind map last week while brainstorming alternative sponsorship strategies to create value for both parties in a sponsorship opportunity. It was a rough mind map exercise done quickly with a Sharpie marker in my current blogging notebook. I needed to forward it to others for review, but rather than typing and organizing the mind map, I sent it as is, without making an effort to “clean up” my “dirty ideas.”

No, the mind map didn’t contain dirty ideas, as in inappropriate ones. They simply hadn’t gone through any refinement when they were sent for others to take a look.

A time crunch was my initial reason for sending the mind map prior to trying to clean up my creative thinking.  Maybe to further rationalize the decision, I came up with 8 other advantages to sharing dirty ideas:

  • It’s time efficient because you’re investing less time initially and on potentially undoing work you already did.
  • Since you’ve spent less time on the ideas, you’ll probably be less invested in them and more open to suggested changes.
  • It reaffirms your openness as a leader and/or teammate.
  • It may be less intimidating to others who might be reluctant to offer suggestions.
  • There’s a better opportunity to reshape your early creative thinking through input from others.
  • More rough edges on the ideas means more edges to trigger offshoots for new thinking.
  • Others can become more invested in the work through contributing their creative thinking.
  • You have more time to revisit and reconsider your creative thinking since it isn’t finalized yet.

Go ahead. Next time you’re done brainstorming, consider sharing your dirty ideas with your team. They’ll like appreciate the opportunity to help clean them up for you. - 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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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#BZBowl Is Moving to #SBExp for Super Bowl XLVI

With the Super Bowl this Sunday, I’ve been getting questions about #BZBowl, the Twitter chat The Brainzooming Group hosted the last two years to critique Super Bowl ads, the game, the Super Bowl hoopla, and all the popular culture surrounding the Super Bowl.

Here’s the #BZBowl update for Super Bowl XLVI.

During last year’s #BZBowl, author and good friend Jim Joseph participated during the game from New Orleans, shared his perspectives in a post-Super Bowl blog post, and was a guest along with Nate Riggs, Chris Reaburn, Alex Greenwood, and Barrett Sydnor during a special #BZBowl edition of Kelly Scanlon’s radio show I hosted. Since last year’s Super Bowl, Jim has hosted live Twitter chats for a variety of events, including The Grammys, Oscars, Oprah’s last show, and most recently, The Golden Globes.

This year, The Brainzooming Group is shifting its strategy and focus for the Super Bowl. As a result, we’re putting our #BZBowl energy behind Jim Joseph and his #SBExp Twitter chat event this Sunday. With Jim’s new book “The Experience Effect For Small Business: Big Brand Results with Small Business Resources” coming out this week, he’s getting a lot of well-deserved attention, and it just makes sense for us to play a supporting role for Super Bowl XLVI.

Watch for more details later in the week, but expect #SBExp to deliver the same Super Bowlicious smart, insightful, snarky, and intimate (i.e., spammer-free) Twitter chat you’ve come to experience with #BZBowl.

American Marketing Association Virtual ExchangeAMA Virtual XChange: Changing the Game – Innovations for Future Success

It’s exciting to let you know I’ll be one of the speakers for the American Marketing Association Virtual XChange virtual event on February 9, 2012. Other speakers include authors Brain Solis, Jeffrey Hayzlett, and Graham Brown. The virtual event’s theme is “Changing the Game – Innovations for Future Success,” and I’ll be covering the content behind “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation” at 1:45 pm central standard time (US).

“Changing the Game – Innovations for Future Success” is free for all attendees, even if you’re not an American Marketing Association member. Past AMA virtual events have been tremendously valuable with fantastic content, and this one should be no exception.

Please take a moment to register, and I look forward to you joining us Thursday, February 9!

Why Creativity? from Aspindle“Why Creativity?” – New Aspindle eBook with David Meerman Scott, Julien Smith (and me)

Tanner Christensen, founder of Aspindle, a resource and incubator of creative ideas and former guest blogger on Brainzooming, has published a new eBook called, “Why Creativity?” with brief essays by “Trust Agents” co-author Julien Smith, “World Wide Rave” author David Meerman Scott, and Patrick Algrim, Matthew E May, Gregg Fraley, and Frank Chimero.

I’m honored to have an article included as well, talking about my lifelong fascination with creativity, even when I don’t have the chops to pull off the creativity I might like. You can download “Why Creativity?” for free, without even having to supply any info at Tanner’s Aspindle website.  - 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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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One of my blogging mantras is always be listening for blog content because you never know where content will appear. Maybe listening for blog content is easier said than done, but when you’re having to come up with 235+ blog posts a year, you can’t afford to miss great content just because it comes up in an unexpected situation.

Last night, I dropped in on the sold out “Achieve Your 2012 Goals: Social Accountability Happy Hour” presented by Michael Gelphman of Kansas City IT Professionals. While big happy hour networking events aren’t the first thing I flock to, I had a great time catching up with a number of Kansas City social media and IT folks.

Michael Gelphman asked everyone to bring three 2012 goals we were expected to socialize with other attendees. I put together my list before heading over to the event. Although I didn’t run into that many people talking up 2012 goals, I shared mine with Dee Sadler, who provided helpful comments on moving ahead with them this year.

In the course of talking with friends Aaron Deacon and Jason Harper, Jason made the comment below which screamed to be a blog post. I quickly wrote it down on the back of my 2012 goals sheet:

The Hipster Like Button

 

There’s the lesson: even if it’s handwritten with a Sharpie on the back of a piece of paper, when you hear a great idea, figure out how to turn it into a blog post! - Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! 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 info@brainzooming.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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Jonathan Finkelstein of Learning Times did a great job during his Virtual Event Summit 2012 presentation in San Diego, addressing “Ten Ways to Create Lasting Memories in Online Events.” His presentation, mine on “Social Media Strategy for Events,” and many others are available free on January 26 as part of the follow-up virtual event.  It’s definitely worth investigating the “Epic Event” for great content relevant to virtual events, in-person events, and other marketing topics.

Speaking of virtual, digital, or online events, here are Jonathan Finkelstein’s recommendations for ten ways to create lasting memories:

1. Create a lasting visual image of an experience.

A fantastic way to create a lasting visual image of an experience is by putting visualization in the hands of an audience. Bren Bartaclan’s Smile Project involves leaving free art work around cities for people to find and share around the world. Of particular interest to me, Dan Porter does graphic facilitation of discussions to add a visual dimension, as does John Caswell, who I’m hoping to get back to Brainzooming for another guest post on his work. Jonathan Finkelstein recommended Google Docs Drawings as a way to stimulate visual, virtual collaboration.

2. Gauge participant sentiment, assessing it and adapting in real time.

Finkelstein recommends using online polls and survey tools to gauge feedback during online events, although there is always the opportunity to do it in an uncomplicated way by simply asking for feedback. He suggests allowing different places for questions from newbies vs. experts, and another space that allows participants to help answer the questions of others.

3. Make a connection.

Since online events don’t have the same cost and infrastructure of in-person events, Finkelstein recommends organizations use them more frequently than annually to increase connections with audiences. Online events can also create connections with audiences not in a position to interact with the organization frequently. The Smithsonian uses free online conferences to reach current and new audiences more regularly.

4. Embrace participants’ surroundings.

Since online event participants – both presenters and audiences – are somewhere physical, Finkelstein recommends incorporating their in real life surroundings into the event. For instance, he’s participated in virtual events from the beach while on vacation and has given attendees a sense of what they’re missing.

5. Let participants win something.

Gamification brings out the competitive nature in all of us. Using games can drive participant engagement. Danette Veale from Cisco provided a very helpful overview on gamification in her presentation.

6. Let participants earn something.

Provide participants a way to earn rewards and display them for others to see. This boosts beneficial behaviors of both the earning participants and is a motivation to others as well. Digital badges are an example of this principle.

7. Let participants lead events.

Finkelstein acknowledges it can be scary to turn the control over to the audience, but what better way to make lasting memories and impact. In “Battle Decks” or “PowerPoint Karaoke,” participants are given 10 slides, but they don’t know what the slides are. From there, they have to improvise the presentation to the slides. Using “Crackerbarrels,” audiences change quickly within virtual events, moving to rooms with facilitators helping the address new topics.

8. Use video meaningfully.

Participants form perceptions on small amounts of nonverbal behavior, so it’s important to effectively show presenters and content being shared.

9. Move people.

Here, Finkelstein isn’t talking moving people physically; he’s talking about tapping emotional cues. It’s vital to understand emotional drivers among the audience and play to those appropriately. As he mentioned, many participants in online events are listening with earphones, allowing presenters to essentially whisper into their ears. Finkelstein encourages thinking about that level of closeness and vulnerability when presenting to an online audience.

10. Be transparent.

Especially in digital presentation situations, you need to provide a sense of the real person – with honesty, openness, and a true representation of who you are.  - 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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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In a presentation for the Enterprise Center of Johnson County, I covered advanced Twitter tips and tools for businesses. The social media strategy concepts we covered, however, really apply to any status message-based social network, including Facebook and Google+.

Creating this largely new aggregation of advanced Twitter for business content for a 2-hour session provided a challenge.  Reaching into my Twitter, social media strategy, and content strategy presentations as a starter, I wound up with way too much content for the timeframe.

Often when presenting to a group I will write a post with links to supporting information from the presentation. In the case of this advanced session on Twitter, there’s a twist. Today’s post incorporate links to material that DIDN’T make the presentation. While it is targeted at Enterprise Center of Johnson County presentation attendees, it also provides a good retrospective of previous social media content for anyone who’s in the middle of trying to use Twitter and related social networks more effectively. By my count these 19 links will get you to at least 480 Twitter tips, lessons, and apps!

Making Twitter Work Harder

Brand Awareness and Buzz Building

Lead Development and Sales

Customer Engagement

– Mike Brown

 

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

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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As usual, last Saturday’s #Ideachat on Twitter was a fantastic hour hosted by Angela Dunn, with this month’s topic on creative spaces. Angela led us through an #Ideachat discussion on how physical spaces affect our creativity.

This has been an occasional topic on the Brainzooming blog, although our focus is more frequently on what helps boost creativity in specific situations vs. what instigate creativity in certain locations.

Surroundings definitely matter to my creativity, not so much for their impact on the ability to come up with ideas as my creative disposition.

For me, great creative spaces are very open, allow creative tools to function easily (and well), and provide the opportunity to look at what I’m working on from multiple angles. Great creative spaces have a lot of square footage per person, giving the mind room to wander (and wonder).  Many business people use Starbucks and Panera as office getaways, but for me, these are spaces, but not creative ones.

It’s not because they’re noisy, because I do like noise most of the time, too.

My wife marvels at me having a TV going, maybe music, and the social networking channels open while I’m working on something else. These noise sources compensate for too infrequently having people around in person. I’m more creative when collaborating since I’m always smarter and more creative when smarter & more creative people are around. And it’s beneficial to be with someone in person because you get the full set of creative cues going back and forth when everyone is together.

Even distractions can work for me in the creative process if they’re somewhat relevant to what I’m working on at the time.

Restaurants are some of my favorite creative spaces, especially ones with white paper table cloths all ready for drawing with Sharpie markers. Although it doesn’t have the paper table cloths, Nordstrom Café is a great creative space for me; must be something about all that open space  (as shown here).

Ultimately, you can’t move a creative space around with you. That’s when creativity tools and exercises come into play. They’re portable and can help instigate creativity even when the surroundings are lacking.

Those are what my creative spaces are like. How about yours? – Mike Brown

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational innovation 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 info@brainzooming.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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