Marketing | The Brainzooming Group - Part 26 – page 26
6

Dilbert.com

When I run a Dilbert comic strip, it is because there is some core idea or concept within the comic strip that really hits home with a theme we cover on the Brainzooming blog. This Dilbert comic strip’s subject is a little bit different in that it covers something that has not been covered directly here, but is on my mind frequently. The question is how to let people know about what The Brainzooming Group can do and the value we provide clients without violating my own sense that one should never engage in bragging?

If you spend any amount of time listening in social networks, it seems that online bragging  is rampant. If you spend TOO MUCH time listening in social networks, it can make you believe that you have to jump into the same level of online bragging to keep up.

I have had many days where the temptation is to follow Dilbert’s perspective, change our messaging direction here and in other social media channels, and engage in the same online bragging game that plays out on social networks every day:

  • Crowing about vaguely detailed client wins
  • Touting significant projects that might not really be all that significant
  • Bragging about everything else happening that can be fabricated into sounding like the most important things ever to happen in business.

However, every time it seems like trying to change our messaging direction is appropriate, there is a signal from somewhere that bragging is not the right thing to do. This one came, interestingly enough, via Twitter this weekend.

What can I say, other than Proverbs trumps Dilbert and online bragging every day of the week! We’ll stay focused on accomplishing stuff, one instance of which we’ll share, with great humility, tomorrow. – Mike Brown

 

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

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic 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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2

Amid all the fervor about content marketing and the importance of sharing frequent, compelling content about your brand, there could be a real problem.

Your may be dealing with challenging content. It could even be inaccessible to parts of your intended audience. Maybe your content is:

  • Overly technical
  • Meaningful to only a small audience
  • Difficult to understand or interpret
  • Boring
  • Obscure

Maybe you have challenging content for some other reason entirely. If you are saddled with the responsibility for building an audience and making challenging content accessible, what can you do? Here is an idea if you’re doing content marketing in this type of situation.

Making Challenging Content Accessible

My friend Emma Alvarez Gibson, who is perhaps the biggest Nick Cave fan in the world, has been talking about Nick Cave on Twitter and Facebook as long as I have known her. In an effort to discover shared connections with an online friend, I’d even sampled Nick Cave music on iTunes and eMusic several times. For me, Nick Cave’s music could be considered eclectic and challenging content. The songs were generally way too slow for my liking; I didn’t “get” his music and certainly didn’t download any of his songs.

Then recently, I was direct messaging with Emma and complaining about some things going on that day. Emma said she’d gone through some similar situations and songs from a couple of Nick Cave (Grinderman) albums had been helpful in getting her through it all.

With that, Emma stepped through a masterful plan to make Nick Cave’s music accessible to me. The steps are worth reviewing because they’d be appropriate for any organization trying to make its own content more accessible to its audience:

1. Build a personal connection

Beyond connecting my current situation to one where Nick Cave’s music had helped her, Emma had shared stories previously about getting to interview the drummer from the Bad Seeds. Her connection made me more intrigued to discover what she enjoyed about the music.

2. Introduce relevant context

When Emma shared links with Nick Cave song recommendations, she offered background information about the songs, the characters, and what the lyrics mean. Now, I had some elements to listen for when checking out the songs.

3. Select a relevant subset of content

Rather than trying to get me to go through the whole Nick Cave catalog, Emma recommended songs from only a couple of Nick Cave records. This provided a pool of content more likely to click with me.

4. Suggest an appropriate and easy starting point

Within the subset of Nick Cave songs Emma recommended, she identified several songs as a good place to start listening. With her input, I created a download list starting with her recommended songs. I liked the very first song I listened to on the list.

5. Check back to gauge reactions

Since I started listening to the recommended songs, Emma has checked back several times to see my reactions and offer suggestions for edgier content to listen to next. Here, she made sure I didn’t get frustrated or disaffected and stop listening.

The Result? A New Nick Cave Fan

Emma’s efforts turned me into a Nick Cave fan. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve listened to the song “More News from Nowhere,” one of starter songs Emma suggested. Between the hook in “More News from Nowhere” and Cave’s delivery, I’m definitely a fan!

If you are involved with content marketing and making challenging content accessible for a brand, what steps do you take to build an audience? In case you’re struggling with it, I’d recommend the five-step approach Emma Alvarez Gibson took to turn me into a new Nick Cave fan. You’ll see results! – Mike Brown

 

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

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic 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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17

This is the final installment of creative ideas from the June 2012 issue of Fast Company featuring its list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012. These final thirty-six creative storytelling and creative process tips, as with the other from earlier ones, were all inspired by individual profiles on on the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business list.

I hope this slightly different take on The Most Creative People in Business list profiles has been helpful now and in the future. For me personally, I pulled away perhaps five big idea possibilities for The Brainzooming Group. They tied specifically to business development and user experience ideas. Quite frankly, I’d hoped for a more, but the shortfall may be because of the abbreviated nature of the profiles Fast Company features on each person listed.

Now that our coverage on the creative people list wraps with these thirty-six creative storytelling and creative process tips, I guess it’s up to all of us now to get on with our creative work to try and make the list in 2013!

Creative Storytelling

What’s your story? Write your story. Then share it. Over and over.  Bradford Shellhammer – Cofounder, Chief Creative Officer, Fab.com (#50)

Make stories. Tie together important touch points and create stories from them.  – Steve Porter – Viral Video Producer (#60)

When you develop your own material you can create it in the way you want, with the people you admire, and end up with creative output that works for you.  Aziz Ansari – Comedian, Actor, “Parks and Rec” (#87)

Curation isn’t exclusively selection. It’s about playing out a perspective that connects to the audience.  Maria Popova – Editor, Brainpickings.org (#51)

In conveying information (whether infographics or not), start with analysis, followed by determining the size and breadth of the insights, and finish with making it accessible.  Eddie Opara – Partner, Pentagram (#52)

Introduce new content to your audience every day wrapped in great creative storytelling with strong characters, plot twists, surprising resolutions and a hint at what happens next.  Andrew Wilson – Executive Vice President, EA Sports (#40)

In what ways does every piece of new content you create build on your amazing story?  – Jeremy Heimans – Founder, Purpose (#11)

Dress the creative part. It’s your obligation to wear jeans if it allows others to see you in the proper light.  Cyrus Massoumi – Cofounder, ZocDoc (#57)

Creative Process Tips

It’s harder to sustain your creativity than it is to work to get your creative break. Focus on only doing what counts to make or keep your creative break. Don’t let yourself become distracted.  Ceelo Green – Entertainer (#5)

You can’t sit still and expect ideas will just pop out of your head. Go do something!  Elvis Chau – Executive Creative Director, JWT Shanghai (#84)

How much nonsense stuff are you doing? Is it good nonsense (that spurs creativity) or bad nonsense (it saps creativity)?  Andrew Yang – Founder, Venture for America (#27)

If you’re the creative force in your organization can you afford to personally “touch” everything your organization produces? Can you afford not to?  Pamela Love – Founder, Pamela Lover N.Y.C. (#93)

Make every square inch of your work space creative and fill it with people who have both the creative and technical talents to create through your entire process.  Tony Haile – CEO, Chartbeat (#64)

Hold a weekly “Inspiration Friday,” event to share anything that’s been a creative inspiration in the past 7 days.  Neil Blumenthal – Confounder, Warby Parker (#92)

Try a “walking meeting” to talk and walk and solve.  Andrew Hsu – Founder, Airy Labs (#68)

Spit out as many ideas as fast as you can to get them out and captured. Then think about the connections and context among them.  Greg Gunn – Entrepreneur in Residence, City Light Central (#85)

Take an experimental view and put together unconnected things to find the strategic connectionsMasashi Kawamura – Cofounder, Creative Director, Party (#47)

When you’re in a partnership, one person’s passion for an idea or approach trumps the other’s reticence.  Anand Rajaraman & Venky Harinarayan – Coheads, Walmart Labs (#53)

When you’re creating a fantasy world, there still should be a solid internal logic to it.  – Thomas Tull – Founder, Chairman, CEO, Legendary Entertainment (#55)

Share a starting idea or piece of creative work with the crowd, and let the crowd edit, change, or rank it to create the final version.  Roy Price – Director, Amazon Studios (#15)

Invest more time in the visualization of whatever you do or create.  – Miriah Meyer- Computer Scientist, University of Utah (#24)

Every creative effort has to incorporate time to consider its aesthetics.  Janet Iwasa – Molecular Animator, Harvard University (#25)

If you have different strategic efforts focused on the same creative goal that are difficult to compare, come up with a new success metric that works for both.  Stefan Olander – VP, Digital Sport, Nike (#7)

If you’re addressing multiple audiences and can’t play creative favorites among them, create a prototypical audience member who is both everyone and no one at the same time.  Kibwe Tavares – Cofounder, Factor Fifteen (#91)

Turn teaching into an experience of a class creating something together.  Michael Karnjanaprakorn – Founder, Skillshare (#18)

When education is the goal, contact and interaction is a fundamental aspect of the process.  – Anka Mulder – President, OpenCourseWare Consortium (#19)

If you don’t want to seem abrupt to your audience, signal what you’re planning to do before you do it.  Leila Takayama – Research Scientist, Willow Garage (#30)

When signaling change, physically destroy a representation of the attitudes that are getting in the way (i.e., put negative culture characteristics on beer bottles and smash them).  – Jeff Charney – CMO, Progressive Insurance (#35)

Audiences are more accepting of new content being delivered without as much polish, allowing you more room for trial, error, and learning.  T.J. Miller – Actor, Comedian (#58)

Personal relevancy and engagement drive not only why people open things online, but also why people want to interact with anything.  Ron J. Williams – CEO, Cofounder, Knodes (#62)

Invest more of your creative time and energy on creating incredible transitions in your work.  Danny Trinh – Designer, Path (#66)

Maybe literacy in the Arab world is bad because of bad typefaces. Great reminder to keep asking, “Why else could this be happening?” until you get to very surprising answers.  Nadine Chahine – Type Designer, Linotype and Monotype Imaging (#69)

When thinking about creative executions for mobile applications, strip things down to their simplest, tiniest forms.  Ethan Marcotte – Freelance Web Designed (#75)

When someone’s pushed to the breaking point in a process you discover what they REALLY believe vs. what they’re doing simply it seems like the right thing to do.  Carrie Brownstein – Writer, Actor, Portlandia (#95)

If there’s a problem with even one part of your creative output, there’s a problem with all of your creative output.  Robin Guenther – Principal, Perkins + Will (#61)

When there’s a problem, look at the things that are still working and rewind them until everything seems to function in an expected way. Then restart.  Nina Tandon – Research Scientist, Columbia University (#26)  – Mike Brown

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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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10

Following up the previous post on the June 2012 Fast Company list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012, today’s list of creative thinking ideas from the Fast Company issue focus on disruptive and divergent thinking along with suggestions for enhancing your creative perspective. As with the other lists in this series, these creative ideas were inspired by the profiles in Fast Company. My intent was to pull a single creative thinking idea or creative lesson from each of the 100 profiles.

One interesting note about the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business list is that the numbered rankings don’t seem to have any real meaning. At least I draw that conclusion from how certain groups of people who have similar characteristics (i.e., apps developers, two-person teams, fashion industry leaders, etc.) are given consecutive numbered rankings. That would be just TOO much of a creative coincidence.

Despite this indication the numbered rankings are so much hooey, each of the thirty-three creative thinking ideas below references the person whose profile inspired it, along with the person’s number on the 100 Most Creative People in Business list.

Here’s hoping these creative ideas get you thinking and provide ideas for enhancing your own creative efforts.

Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking

What’s your creative imperative – the one thing that HAS to be part of your creative effort?  Leslie Berland – SVP, Digital Partnerships and development, American Express (#6)

What in your past is like what you’re doing today? What did you learn that applies to what you’re doing now?  Steven Zeitels – Director, MA General Hospital’s Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (#14)

When evaluating data or an idea, challenge what’s being presented from the completely opposite point of view to determine how strong the strategic thinking is.  Rebecca Van Duck – Head of Consumer Marketing, Facebook (#2)

What are multiple ways you can create more strategic connections than anyone else does?  – Garet Hil – Founder, National Kidney Registry (#9)

Compile and share information to connect separate audiences who don’t have any basis to talk to each other right now.  Ma Jun, Director – Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (#1)

Take on creative initiatives that allow you to collect massive amounts of data you can mine to direct your own organization or sell to others. For Foursquare, it’s about connecting information on people, places, and time-specific actions.  Alex Rainert – Head of Product, Foursquare (#77)

How can you substitute easier processes for the hard parts your audience deals with every day?  Ben Horowitz – Cofounder, Andreesen Horowitz (#8)

For cool ideas and design to be successful, they can’t be embarrassing to wear or use.  Steve Lee – Product Management Director, Google [X] (#20)

If you’re facing creative detractors, how can you create creative baby steps they’ll find more acceptable for getting started?  Maelle Gavet – CEO, Ozon Holdings (#10)

Innovate with only things that already exist in your business. Put together new combinations from pre-existing elements.  Adam Brotman – Chief Digital Officer, Starbucks (#3)

Invite people to exercise their creative talents . . . maybe no one has ever asked them about creativity before?  Rosario Dawson & Maria Teresa Kumar – Founders, VotoLatino (#12)

Find a compelling motivation (and the associated process) to allow customers to commit to purchases earlier than they might now to make it practical to buy things that would never make it to market on spec.  Aslaug Magnusdottir – Cofounder, CEO, Moda Operandi (#78)

Apply design and pleasing aesthetic principles to the most necessary, thankless, and joyless tasks humans have to do to raise the creative energy from them.  Jessica Alba – Cofounder, The Honest Company (#17)

Consider every interaction as a performance and allow the audience to participate, shape the outcome, and leave with the results.  Björk – Musician (#36)

Creative Thinking Perspectives

Design isn’t a liner process, so incorporating strategic thinking is vital to successfully handling a problem that doesn’t have a nice, neat structure.  Matthew Schmidt – Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Advanced Military Studies (#22)

Be okay when the first examples of your creative work aren’t what you expected.  Wes Anderson – Director, Moonrise Kingdom (#28)

Go do the equivalent of whatever “biking around the neighborhood” would be in your market and soak up the inspiration from a different perspective than you have before.  – Marcus Samuelsson – Chef, Owner, Red Rooster (#90)

Throw out how you usually categorize things and come up with a completely different categorization approach.  Ron Johnson – CEO, JCPenney (#4)

Defy the creative rules of your world while still delivering a cohesive creative whole.  Kin Ying Lee – Creative Director, Madewell (#31)

Don’t be afraid to call someone’s bluff and create what they say you can’t or shouldn’t do.  Marvin Ammori – Lawyer, The Ammori Group (#32)

What incredibly worthwhile activities are hiding behind the “scary monsters” in your world?  – Tim Schafer – Founder, Double Fine Productions (#39)

Explicitly pick a time or point in your life and use it as a reference to solve creative or design problems faced now.  Ken Parks – Chief Content Office, Spotify (#33)

Create so that what you’re creating is “stunning” to at least one of the senses.  Diébédo Francis Kéré – Architect, Kéré Architecture (#34)

What would an experience look like that is destined to “disturb the universe”?  – Ross Martin – Executive VP, MTV Scratch (#46)

How can you use your creativity to add more serenity to your customers’ lives?  Leah Busque – Founder, TaskRabbit (#42)

What would you change about your product to make it more inviting to people?  – Deborah Borda – CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic (#44)

How would Sesame Street (or Romper Room, if you’re old enough to remember it) teach new things to people who think they’re too old to learn new things?  – Bruktawit Tigabu – Founder, Director, Whiz Kids Workshop (#45)

Change the natural order that things happen to spark innovative ideas, i.e. What if you focused a picture after it’s taken?  Ren Ng – Founder, CEO, Lytro (#70)

Get out of the office or conference room and go look around at people, places, and things both relevant and tangential to your creative objective.  – Rick Barrack – Chief Creative Officer, CBX (#79)

Not everyone that makes the “Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business” list has a strong enough profile to yield even one creative inspiration of substance.  – Chris Milk – Director (#83)

What are you doing today to make your product, business, or market wildly controversial? Are you doing enough?  Rufus Griscom – Cofounder, General Manager, Babble Media (#88)

Think Africa. “There’s something really exciting about the word . . . It evokes an emotion in everyone.”  Tal Dehtiar – Founder, Oliberte Footwear (#96)

Who would you fire if you fired co-workers or clients that aren’t good for your business?  Jimmy Smith – Chairman, CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Amusement Park Entertainment (#43)  – Mike Brown

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Strategy Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

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

In its June 2012 issue, Fast Company singled out its list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012. The list is an intriguing compilation of people and teams applying creativity globally in both expected (entertainment, gaming), and unexpected (kidney donations, insurance) fields.

My take on the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business List was to read the profiles for each of the creative people in business and capture 100 creative inspirations, ideas, lessons, and tips that stood out among the write-ups. The discipline of imposing the one creative inspiration limit presented an intriguing challenge. On some longer profiles, it wasn’t always easy to pick a single creative idea. On other profiles, however, I was scraping to find a creative idea worth sharing.

In any event, the objective with presenting my list of 100 creative inspirations, idea, lessons, and tips is to provide another layer of content over the Fast Company most creative people list. Although the content here was inspired by the Fast Company list, they represent my distillations and take-aways from the list. Additionally, rather than an apparently arbitrary numerical list (which is reflected in the link to each underlying profile), I’ve categorized the creative ideas into categories:

  • Creative Strategy
  • Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking
  • Creative Thinking Perspectives
  • Creative Storytelling
  • Creative Process

Creative Strategy

Surround yourself with people who have contrasting thinking styles . . . then hold on.  – Flavio Pripas & Renato Steinberg – Cofounders, Fashion.me (#54)

Success and determining which of your efforts will be successful are for your audience to decide. It’s a numbers game, so launch and see which things will hit.  – Julie Klausner – Comedy Writer (#59)

If people aren’t buying you based on your talents, maybe it’s because they don’t how your values and goals fit with their aspirations.  – Shara Senderoff – Cofounder, CEO, Intern Sushi (#63)

Start with your life problems and think through how to solve one of them if you want to make better apps (or maybe anything else).  – Lee Linden – Cofounder and CEO, Karma (#67)

Really hone what you do strategically by only addressing the most important part of your customer base and quit focusing on everyone else.  – Sarah Robb O’Hagan – President, Gatorade (#23)

What opportunities exist for your organization to be a creative magnet to your audiences?  – Marci Harris – Founder, Popvox (#13)

To build connections online, start with asking questions and offering your knowledge to aid others.  – Claire Diaz-Ortiz – Manager of Social Innovation, Twitter (#21)

Try presenting an all-or-nothing creative vision and strategy. No room for compromise. Take it or leave it, but don’t tweak it.  – Celestine Maddy – Founder, Wilder (#99)

To make your creative pitch, play out the negative things that would happen to the potential client if they don’t follow your recommendation and embrace your creativity.  – Laura Mather – Cofounder /  Chief Strategy Officer, Silver Tail Systems (#16)

Even though it’s easier to sponsor another organization’s event, create a sponsorship property specifically for your organization.  – Abanti Sankaranarayanan – Deputy Manager Director for India, Diageo (#37)

“I don’t ever want to represent anybody. It’s my duty to enlighten people.”  – Neil Degrasse Tyson – Host, PBS’s Cosmos and Radio Show StarTalk (#49)

When volunteers are able to use their natural talents and expertise (as opposed to donating time for something they’re not good at doing), you’re more likely to retain them.  – Rachel Chong – Founder, CEO, Catchafire (#56)

Have a review board comprised entirely of your target market – even if that’s a group of grade school kids – to see if what you’re planning resonates with them.  – Olajide Williams –  Founder, President, Hip Hop Public Health (#65)

When you’re getting started, be prepared to chase after possibilities and test cases you hadn’t imagined.  Glenn Rink – Founder, AbTech Industries (#71)

If you had one thousand “followers, friends, and fans that meant something,” that’s better than 10 million unengaged people. (Really? In pure numbers, to get the same amount of participation from 100% of one thousand people, you’d only need 1/100 of 1% participation from 10 million people.) – Jared Leto – Entrepreneur, Musician (#72)

Borrow (complete) strong design contexts from outside your industry and apply them to what you do to look different. (Example: Applying Heathrow airport signage to mobile phone interfaces.)  – Jeff Fong – Design Lead for Windows Phone, Microsoft (#81)

Unlikely customers will stretch your organization’s creativity in finding new ways to solve their problems.  Hannah Choi Granade – President, Advantix Systems U.S.A. (#73)

Give your team an assignment from a demanding fictional client to stretch its creativity beyond the marketplace’s expectations and extract your “creative aspirations from (y)our finances.”  – Mike Simonian, Maaike Evers – Designers, Mike and Maaike (#76)

“Seventy percent of an experience should be what consumers know and thirty percent should be surprise and delight.”  – Rachel Shechtman – Founder, Story (#80)

What are you doing to make “eye contact” with potential customers virtually? And what are you doing to engage them (with their interests in mind) when they get really close?  – Sam Mogannam – Owner, Bi-Rite Market (#86)

Find ways for your best customers to share their expertise and hacks with your new customers.  – Cindy Au – Community Director, Kickstarter (#82)

Head directly to where your audience is. Do not wait around at your online site. Share your content where they are and get something started.  – Vivi Zigler – President, Digital Entertainment, NBC Universal (#89)

Manufacture greater scarcity in the experience you create over time to push more robust intensity, deeper interaction, and the possibility of greater participant leadership in shaping the experience.  – Jerri Chou – Founder, The Feast Social Innovation Conference (#94)

What would your design process look like if the client specified every detail they wanted? Do you think that’s a level of involvement your clients are really seeking?  – Edwin Neo – Founding Partner, Ed Et Al Shoemakers (#98)

Celebrate customers using your product in incredible ways. Make them the creative heroes of your brand.  Sally Grimes – Global Vice President, Sharpie (#100)

Whether in traditional or new media, people spend time with and pass-on content they expect friends will enjoy.  – Ben Smith – Editor, Buzzfeed (#29)

Great advice from Magic Johnson: “It’s okay to be famous and be well liked, but you got to start owning things.”  – Shaq – C’mon. It’s Shaq. He doesn’t need a title. (#74)

When trying to signal your commitment to the market, there’s no short cut to the time advantage of starting now and sticking with it.  – Lourenço Bustani – Founder, Brazil CEO, Mandalah (#48)

Celebrity still counts for something so find a way to borrow the authority of celebrities to gain attention and action.  – Yael Cohen, Founder – F*ck Cancer (#38)

Look and create five years ahead. What creative inputs will be important then?  – Carla Schmitzberger – President, Havalanas (#97)

Look for games as the high impact form of artistic expression for decades to come.  – Chelsea Howe – Director of Design, SuperBetter Labs (#41)

Disruptive and Constraint-Based Thinking

What’s your creative imperative – the one thing that HAS to be part of your creative effort?  – Leslie Berland – SVP, Digital Partnerships and development, American Express (#6)

What in your past is like what you’re doing today? What did you learn that applies to what you’re doing now?  – Steven Zeitels – Director, MA General Hospital’s Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (#14)

When evaluating data or an idea, challenge what’s being presented from the completely opposite point of view to determine how strong the strategic thinking is.  – Rebecca Van Duck – Head of Consumer Marketing, Facebook (#2)

What are multiple ways you can create more strategic connections than anyone else does?  – Garet Hil – Founder, National Kidney Registry (#9)

Compile and share information to connect separate audiences who don’t have any basis to talk to each other right now.  – Ma Jun, Director – Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (#1)

Take on creative initiatives that allow you to collect massive amounts of data you can mine to direct your own organization or sell to others. For Foursquare, it’s about connecting information on people, places, and time-specific actions.  – Alex Rainert – Head of Product, Foursquare (#77)

How can you substitute easier processes for the hard parts your audience deals with every day?  – Ben Horowitz – Cofounder, Andreesen Horowitz (#8)

For cool ideas and design to be successful, they can’t be embarrassing to wear or use.  – Steve Lee – Product Management Director, Google [X] (#20)

If you’re facing creative detractors, how can you create creative baby steps they’ll find more acceptable for getting started?  – Maelle Gavet – CEO, Ozon Holdings (#10)

Innovate with only things that already exist in your business. Put together new combinations from pre-existing elements.  – Adam Brotman – Chief Digital Officer, Starbucks (#3)

Invite people to exercise their creative talents . . . maybe no one has ever asked them about creativity before?  – Rosario Dawson & Maria Teresa Kumar – Founders, VotoLatino (#12)

Find a compelling motivation (and the associated process) to allow customers to commit to purchases earlier than they might now to make it practical to buy things that would never make it to market on spec.  Aslaug Magnusdottir – Cofounder, CEO, Moda Operandi (#78)

Apply design and pleasing aesthetic principles to the most necessary, thankless, and joyless tasks humans have to do to raise the creative energy from them.  – Jessica Alba – Cofounder, The Honest Company (#17)

Consider every interaction as a performance and allow the audience to participate, shape the outcome, and leave with the results.  – Björk – Musician (#36)

Creative Thinking Perspectives

Design isn’t a liner process, so incorporatingstrategic thinking is vital to successfully handling a problem that doesn’t have a nice, neat structure.  Matthew Schmidt – Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Advanced Military Studies (#22)

Be okay when the first examples of your creative work aren’t what you expected.  – Wes Anderson – Director, Moonrise Kingdom (#28)

Go do the equivalent of whatever “biking around the neighborhood” would be in your market and soak up the inspiration from a different perspective than you have before.  – Marcus Samuelsson – Chef, Owner, Red Rooster (#90)

Throw out how you usually categorize things and come up with a completely different categorization approach.  – Ron Johnson – CEO, JCPenney (#4)

Defy the creative rules of your world while still delivering a cohesive creative whole.  – Kin Ying Lee – Creative Director, Madewell (#31)

Don’t be afraid to call someone’s bluff and create what they say you can’t or shouldn’t do.  – Marvin Ammori – Lawyer, The Ammori Group (#32)

What incredibly worthwhile activities are hiding behind the “scary monsters” in your world?  – Tim Schafer – Founder, Double Fine Productions (#39)

Explicitly pick a time or point in your life and use it as a reference to solve creative or design problems faced now.  – Ken Parks – Chief Content Office, Spotify (#33)

Create so that what you’re creating is “stunning” to at least one of the senses.  – Diébédo Francis Kéré – Architect, Kéré Architecture (#34)

What would an experience look like that is destined to “disturb the universe”?  – Ross Martin – Executive VP, MTV Scratch (#46)

How can you use your creativity to add more serenity to your customers’ lives?  – Leah Busque – Founder, TaskRabbit (#42)

What would you change about your product to make it more inviting to people?  – Deborah Borda – CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic (#44)

How would Sesame Street (or Romper Room, if you’re old enough to remember it) teach new things to people who think they’re too old to learn new things?  – Bruktawit Tigabu – Founder, Director, Whiz Kids Workshop (#45)

Change the natural order that things happen to spark innovative ideas, i.e. What if you focused a picture after it’s taken?  – Ren Ng – Founder, CEO, Lytro (#70)

Get out of the office or conference room and go look around at people, places, and things both relevant and tangential to your creative objective.  – Rick Barrack – Chief Creative Officer, CBX (#79)

Not everyone that makes the “Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business” list has a strong enough profile to yield even one creative inspiration of substance.  – Chris Milk – Director (#83)

What are you doing today to make your product, business, or market wildly controversial? Are you doing enough?  – Rufus Griscom – Cofounder, General Manager, Babble Media (#88)

Think Africa. “There’s something really exciting about the word . . . It evokes an emotion in everyone.”  – Tal Dehtiar – Founder, Oliberte Footwear (#96)

Who would you fire if you fired co-workers or clients that aren’t good for your business?  – Jimmy Smith – Chairman, CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Amusement Park Entertainment (#43) 

 

Creative Storytelling

What’s your story? Write your story. Then share it. Over and over.  – Bradford Shellhammer – Cofounder, Chief Creative Officer, Fab.com (#50)

Make stories. Tie together important touch points and create stories from them.  – Steve Porter – Viral Video Producer (#60)

When you develop your own material you can create it in the way you want, with the people you admire, and end up with creative output that works for you.  – Aziz Ansari – Comedian, Actor, “Parks and Rec” (#87)

Curation isn’t exclusively selection. It’s about playing out a perspective that connects to the audience.  Maria Popova – Editor, Brainpickings.org (#51)

In conveying information (whether infographics or not), start with analysis, followed by determining the size and breadth of the insights, and finish with making it accessible.  – Eddie Opara – Partner, Pentagram (#52)

Introduce new content to your audience every day wrapped in great creative storytelling with strong characters, plot twists, surprising resolutions and a hint at what happens next.  – Andrew Wilson – Executive Vice President, EA Sports (#40)

In what ways does every piece of new content you create build on your amazing story?  – Jeremy Heimans – Founder, Purpose (#11)

Dress the creative part. It’s your obligation to wear jeans if it allows others to see you in the proper light.  Cyrus Massoumi – Cofounder, ZocDoc (#57)

Creative Process Tips

It’s harder to sustain your creativity than it is to work to get your creative break. Focus on only doing what counts to make or keep your creative break. Don’t let yourself become distracted.  – Ceelo Green – Entertainer (#5)

You can’t sit still and expect ideas will just pop out of your head. Go do something!  – Elvis Chau – Executive Creative Director, JWT Shanghai (#84)

How much nonsense stuff are you doing? Is it good nonsense (that spurs creativity) or bad nonsense (it saps creativity)?  – Andrew Yang – Founder, Venture for America (#27)

If you’re the creative force in your organization can you afford to personally “touch” everything your organization produces? Can you afford not to?  Pamela Love – Founder, Pamela Lover N.Y.C. (#93)

Make every square inch of your work space creative and fill it with people who have both the creative and technical talents to create through your entire process.  – Tony Haile – CEO, Chartbeat (#64)

Hold a weekly “Inspiration Friday,” event to share anything that’s been a creative inspiration in the past 7 days.  – Neil Blumenthal – Confounder, Warby Parker (#92)

Try a “walking meeting” to talk and walk and solve.  – Andrew Hsu – Founder, Airy Labs (#68)

Spit out as many ideas as fast as you can to get them out and captured. Then think about the connections and context among them.  – Greg Gunn – Entrepreneur in Residence, City Light Central (#85)

Take an experimental view and put together unconnected things to find the strategic connections.  Masashi Kawamura – Cofounder, Creative Director, Party (#47)

When you’re in a partnership, one person’s passion for an idea or approach trumps the other’s reticence.  – Anand Rajaraman & Venky Harinarayan – Coheads, Walmart Labs (#53)

When you’re creating a fantasy world, there still should be a solid internal logic to it.  – Thomas Tull – Founder, Chairman, CEO, Legendary Entertainment (#55)

Share a starting idea or piece of creative work with the crowd, and let the crowd edit, change, or rank it to create the final version.  – Roy Price – Director, Amazon Studios (#15)

Invest more time in the visualization of whatever you do or create.  – Miriah Meyer- Computer Scientist, University of Utah (#24)

Every creative effort has to incorporate time to consider its aesthetics.  – Janet Iwasa – Molecular Animator, Harvard University (#25)

If you have different strategic efforts focused on the same creative goal that are difficult to compare, come up with a new success metric that works for both.  – Stefan Olander – VP, Digital Sport, Nike (#7)

If you’re addressing multiple audiences and can’t play creative favorites among them, create a prototypical audience member who is both everyone and no one at the same time.  – Kibwe Tavares – Cofounder, Factor Fifteen (#91)

Turn teaching into an experience of a class creating something together.  – Michael Karnjanaprakorn – Founder, Skillshare (#18)

When education is the goal, contact and interaction is a fundamental aspect of the process.  – Anka Mulder – President, OpenCourseWare Consortium (#19)

If you don’t want to seem abrupt to your audience, signal what you’re planning to do before you do it.  Leila Takayama – Research Scientist, Willow Garage (#30)

When signaling change, physically destroy a representation of the attitudes that are getting in the way (i.e., put negative culture characteristics on beer bottles and smash them).  – Jeff Charney – CMO, Progressive Insurance (#35)

Audiences are more accepting of new content being delivered without as much polish, allowing you more room for trial, error, and learning.  – T.J. Miller – Actor, Comedian (#58)

Personal relevancy and engagement drive not only why people open things online, but also why people want to interact with anything.  – Ron J. Williams – CEO, Cofounder, Knodes (#62)

Invest more of your creative time and energy on creating incredible transitions in your work.  – Danny Trinh – Designer, Path (#66)

Maybe literacy in the Arab world is bad because of bad typefaces. Great reminder to keep asking, “Why else could this be happening?” until you get to very surprising answers.  – Nadine Chahine – Type Designer, Linotype and Monotype Imaging (#69)

When thinking about creative executions for mobile applications, strip things down to their simplest, tiniest forms.  – Ethan Marcotte – Freelance Web Designed (#75)

When someone’s pushed to the breaking point in a process you discover what they REALLY believe vs. what they’re doing simply it seems like the right thing to do.  – Carrie Brownstein – Writer, Actor, Portlandia (#95)

If there’s a problem with even one part of your creative output, there’s a problem with all of your creative output.  – Robin Guenther – Principal, Perkins + Will (#61)

When there’s a problem, look at the things that are still working and rewind them until everything seems to function in an expected way. Then restart.  – Nina Tandon – Research Scientist, Columbia University (#26)   – 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 info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new 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 innovation 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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Responsible for creating cool product names for a new product idea?

A Brainzooming blog email subscriber asked me last week if The Brainzooming Group had a ready-made creative thinking exercise on the blog for creating cool product names for a new product idea.

I shared with her some variations on eight creative thinking questions in a previous post about developing creative job titles. If one reader has a question about a particular creative thinking exercise, it is probably a good sign other readers could use help on a similar question.

New Product Idea and Faux Names

The creative thinking questions you can use if you need to create ideas for new product names are below, but first, a couple of cautions:

Creating Cool Product Names with Creative Thinking Questions

Cool Product Names – 17 Creative Questions for Winning Product Name IdeasThis list is not designed to yield faux new product names comprised of nonsense syllables. The list of questions is intended to come up with intriguing, real-sounding names. Ask the eight creative thinking questions, come up with as many potential answers as you can, and then prioritize the most strategic and creative possibilities for consideration:

  • What words describe the cool outcomes from the new product or the experience of using it?
  • What other products are like this? What words are used to describe those products that we could modify and enhance?
  • If this new product delivered super powers, what would they be?
  • What words would you use to describe this new product if you were trying to impress your mom / dad or a spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend?
  • What words would add emotional impact to the product name?
  • What words describe HOW the product works when it is at its best?
  • What words would be more exciting, powerful, fun, surprising, or memorable?

You can click on the image below to get a free creative naming mini-poster that includes these questions in a fun, easy-to-use format!

Mini-Poster-Small

Which types of cool product names do you like?

What is your preference for new product names? Faux names or real names, and why? – Mike Brown

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

 

Find New Resources to Innovate!

NEW FREE Download: 16 Keys for Finding Resources to Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy

Accelerate-CoverYou know it’s important for your organization to innovate. One challenge, however, is finding and dedicating the resources necessary to develop an innovation strategy and begin innovating.

This Brainzooming eBook will help identify additional possibilities for people, funding, and resources to jump start your innovation strategy. You can employ the strategic thinking exercises in Accelerate to:

  • Facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying innovation resources
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Download your FREE copy of Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy today! 

Download Your FREE Brainzooming eBook! Accelerate - 16 Keys to Finding Innovation Resources

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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2

I was talking with a long-time friend and Brainzooming blog reader last week about a business conference she had participated in recently. In the pre-event materials, the event was portrayed as an innovative business conference featuring TED-like talks. She was helping one of her company’s senior leaders develop his presentation based on these materials. To get ready, she had reached out to me, and we talked through what aspects should go into the talk’s design and structure to reflect TED sensibilities.

After all the preparation to create a worthy TED-like talk, she was dumbfounded when her company’s segment was the only one that was anything like a TED talk at the business conference. Additionally, the staging (a podium with a fixed microphone) and audio-visual support (no lavalier microphone even available) in no way suggested an expectation that TED-like talks would be delivered.

This type of disconnect between how a supposedly innovative business conference is billed and what it actually delivers is by no means confined to this one event. I’ve been to a variety of innovative business conferences hyped with “Social Media,” “Unconference,” or “TED-like” positionings that fell completely flat.

Why?

Because they set up expectations for an audience experience that clearly wasn’t delivered.

What’s Vital for an Innovative Business Conference?

As a favor to anyone considering putting on an innovative business conference, here is a starting checklist of 7 vital elements to deliver. These will help support your pre-event hype and begin addressing audience experience expectations whenever you say you’re creating an innovation, social media, or unconference event.

1. See the featured presenters speak ahead of time.

Don’t leave planned presentations to chance – especially the keynote presentations. Someone may have great content. But great content that is poorly delivered or presented with a negative attitude can crater your event’s audience experience from the opening minutes.

2. Create places for attendees to easily congregate before and during the business conference.

If you really want to make it easy, create it on Facebook and invest the time to make sure the community management is very active. If you’re expecting people to go someplace else to congregate, REALLY make sure there’s a reason for them to go there. While you’re at it, create reasons why people would want to hang out there after the conference as well.

3. Create a business conference hashtag (maybe multiple hashtags) beforehand.

A Twitter hashtag allows attendees and presenters to readily connect with each other, makes creating and sharing additional valuable content much more likely, and benefits you by making audience-generated event promotion much easier.

4. Be true to the audience experience expectations for the type of conference you’re planning.

If you’re going to advertise TED-style presentations, make sure that’s what you deliver. That means there’s no podium and the presentations are time-constrained, story-based, and well-rehearsed. If you’re advertising an unconference, the audience needs to participate in selecting and presenting the content. Don’t tout a type of audience experience you don’t plan to create.

5. When you’re planning an innovation-oriented conference, there needs to be some degree of innovation delivered in the presentation style as well.

Innovation speakers who use the same old, crappy, text-laden, impossible to read PowerPoint slides DON’T back up audience experience expectations for what an innovation conference should be. Take advantage of innovative presenters and presentation formats.

6. Have a production team that knows what it’s doing and understands the style of the conference experience you’re trying to deliver.

It’s not enough to have the person who organized the event using a personal laptop or switching out computers among presenters. Put a real production team and system in place. Test everything, especially videos, Internet, audio transitions, etc.  Make sure there are redundancies when something doesn’t work. And you should never try to overtax the production setup you do have in place.

7. Light the speaking area very well.

It’s ridiculous when you have to turn off the lights around the speaker so you can see the slides but the audience can no longer see the speaker. Or the speaker spends the entire presentation time in a dark area on stage. Get the lighting right and let the speakers know how to take best advantage of it.

What other elements would you add that need to be part of an innovative business conference?

That’s my starting list. What would you add based on your frustrations with attending innovation, social media, and unconferences that failed to meet your expectations? – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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