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Reviewing Brainzooming Google Analytics for the past month, the most frequent search term people are using to find the Brainzooming blog is “brainstorming.” These Google Analytics results prompted me to share a variety of Brainzooming posts related to brainstorming techniques on Twitter last Saturday.

Because of this, here are the brainstorming techniques shared on Twitter plus a few other posts on various related aspects, many of them tied to the Google Fiber brainstorming sessions we conducted in October 2011:

Brainstorming Session Expectations

1. A Career-Changing Business Quote – 10 Years Later - A fantastic setup for the value of brainstorming techniques and their importance in anticipating what you can’t specifically anticipate.

2. The Value of Brainstorming Techniques for Business Ideas - Brainstorming is seen by some as an unproductive, low yielding activity. The people who think brainstorming techniques don’t provide value are simply wrong.

3. 7 Things a Brainstorming  Session ISN’T - Some people think a brainstorming session can cure all the issues plaguing a business. The people who think brainstorming techniques can do all this are simply wrong. 

Brainstorming Session Design

4. “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” - Our free eBook on Taking the NO Out of InNOvation is a tremendous resource to get yourself and your team ready in planning a productive brainstorming session.

5. Not Even One of These Things Is Not Like Another - When you choose who will be in your brainstorming session, make sure to build in plenty of diversity.

6. Looking for the Elusive Big Idea - You don’t want to start looking for a BIG idea. Look for big volumes of ideas and then find the clear winners within that list.

7. Put Yourself in a Sticky Situation for Strategic Thinking Exercises - We’re making an interesting investment in a really powerful tool to do more of our brainstorming sessions online, but we’re still big fans of sticky notes for many reasons.

8. Extreme Creativity – 10 Questions from Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives - Extreme creativity can come from anywhere. We try to pull from a variety of reality TV shows and other sources to maximize how extreme creativity can help drive brainstorming results.

9. Creative Thinking Exercises for When You’re Successful - Sometimes a team has been together for so long and had so much success, it’s tough for the team to imagine doing anything differently. You can build on past success as a platform for new ideas though.

10. A Creative Thinking Exercise to Boost Team Energy & Ideas - One way to brainstorm really bold ideas (and have a lot of fun along the way) is to deliberately try to tweak your authority figures.

Participant Roles

11. Brainstorming Success & Saying “Think Outside the Box” Don’t Mix - Brainstorming success isn’t just about telling people to “think outside the box.” It’s important to actually create an environment that triggers creativity and new ideas.

12. Strategic Connections – 3 Tips for Identifying More Opportunities - The more strategic connections you can create among ideas, the more ideas you’ll be able to generate in a brainstorming session.

13. Thinking Aloud: Can You Hear What I’m Thinking? - There’s real value during a brainstorming session to having participants voice their ideas so others can hear them and build on them.

14. Brainstorming Session Success – 8 Ways to Contribute Beyond New Ideas - Although generating ideas is the objective with any brainstorming session, there are other important roles participants can and need to play as well.

15. Subtle Forms of Censorship - It’s valuable to have an organization’s leaders actively participating in brainstorming sessions. You have to make sure their behaviors, however, don’t lead to ideas being censored.

16. How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows - Leaders aren’t the only ones who can censor ideas from other brainstorming participants. Participants can censor and beat up on each other, too. Those behaviors have to be managed.

17. Dilbert and Brainstorming for Innovative Business Ideas - Of course Dilbert has a funny and dark perspective on brainstorming. And unfortunately, the funny and dark perspective on brainstorming in this Dilbert comic strip happens all the time.

After a Brainstorming Session

18. 11 Next Steps for Brainstorming Output - Shared in relation to the Google Fiber brainstorming session, these 11 next steps for brainstorming output apply broadly to a whole variety of brainstorming sessions.

19. Dirty Ideas? Let Others Help Clean Up Your Creative Thinking - It’s not always to your advantage for the brainstorming facilitator to clean up and categorize the ideas. Someone who has a fresh perspective may be able to shed even more light on the results.

20. Brainstorming for Later Use - Not every idea you’ll generate in a brainstorming session has to be used right away. Always be on the lookout for ideas whose time may come later.

21. Extending Brainstorming Ground Rules to Everyday Business Life - Why not try and make these brainstorming ground rules a part of your daily work life. It’s possible, and can help you attract new ideas on a very regular basis.  - 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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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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4

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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7

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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