Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 116 – page 116
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It’s been some time since we ran a post such as this. Here are 10 intriguing articles that have been occupying tabs on my web browser for longer than I’d care to mention. Too good to lose track of; not enough time to give each one a full blog post. Even with sharing these 10 articles on creativity, I still have way too many tabs open. At least this is a start . . . enjoy the creativity from around the web!

Lovers and Haters of Creativity

The Characteristics of Creative Thinkers – Some of the most popular posts on the Brainzooming blog are about creative thinking skills and kids and creativity. Here’s another take on both topics, all rolled into one from The Seeds Network.

Creativity and IQ, Part I: What Is Divergent Thinking? How Is It Helped by Sleep, Humor and Alcohol? – Why is this article from The Creativity Post here? Did you read the title? Nuff said.

The Bias against Creativity: Why People Desire but Reject Creative IdeasJason Harper forwarded this link and suggested a blog post response. Usually, I’m all over Jason’s suggestions on these because he has great sensibilities. I may still respond to this one with a full blog posts, so I haven’t rejected it; it’s simply in the future blog file.

Creativity in Branding

You Can’t Force Love: Why Developing a Great Brand Eludes Process – From the Kaleidoscope blog, this is an ode to iteration when it comes to developing brand identities, positions, and messaging. Yup, brand development is definitely not a one and done strategic activity; be prepared for cycling through several times to get where you need to be with your branding.

Branding Events, A New Source Of Revenue For Social Networks – As an event guy at heart, a social network guy by client demand, a revenue loving guy by necessity, and a NASCAR guy (which is mentioned here) through career experience, this article has it all for me. If you’re interested in even one of these four topics, this article from Lighthouse Insights is worth a read.

Bringing Creativity to Strategic Insights

Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win – An overview from Time magazine on how big data shaped strategies and decisions for the Obama campaign. Only big data would tell you that George Clooney and SJP have the same impact, just on different coasts.

Best Buy Needs To Implement Something Like This To Stop People From Showrooming – Intriguing look at how the retail environment can be dramatically changed. It’s going to take some brands with some big you-know-whats to do this. We suggested a very comparable long-term strategy to a consumer product goods client last year. Their you-know-whats weren’t very big, apparently. Just sayin.

CVS and Ford: Putting Designers in Customers’ Shoes – literally– From Andrea Meyer’s website, “Working Knowledge,” this is a fantastic example of putting yourself in the situation of your customer if you really want to generate creative strategic insights.

Creativity and Storytelling

Dolan and Colbert talk about faith, humor at Fordham – This story from National Catholic Reporter is here because of how it’s reported (although I am admittedly a Cardinal Dolan fan). With traditional media limited for this event, NCR turned to social media coverage to construct its story about an evening of discussion with Stephen Colbert and Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

12 Imperative Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger– This SlideShare presentation from Jay Baer is packed with solid advice, including the recommendation for bloggers to check out inboundwriter.com. If you want to be all serious about your blogging, you should click through Jay’s presentation. – Mike Brown

 

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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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Do you ever suffer from “client block”?

As I’d characterize it, client block is a subset of creative block when you are specifically challenged making progress on a project for a particular client. That client may be an external or internal one to your organization. The point is something is getting in the way of delivering what you are on the hook for as the project outcome for a specific client, rather than an overall creative block.

Why Client Block Happens

Considering times I’ve suffered client block, it has happened because a client:

  • Has a world view that doesn’t have a lot of regard for the project’s focus
  • Doesn’t have a willingness to absorb much information
  • Isn’t open to accepting their view of reality isn’t borne out by facts
  • Isn’t interested in what they really need to know or understand
  • Knows what they DON’T want but can’t articulate what they DO want
  • Refuses to productively engage in shaping what the project deliverable they want contains and/or looks like

The result of these client block situations may be something that feels like creative block where you are unable to get started on a project. It could also simply be a lack of interest or motivation in determining how to address the specific issue a client could have with the project outcome.

Solutions to Client Block

Considering the issue the other day with someone while talking about creative block, we brainstormed a variety of approaches to combat client block. Some potential ideas to combat client bock include:

  • Creating a strategic outline that’s a mix of what the client wants and what you think should be delivered and working to get buy off on it from the client.
  • Moving ahead with what you believe is the right direction, realizing you’ll have to sell in your approach much harder.
  • Being an “order taker” and resolving to deliver whatever the client wants, whether you think it’s the right thing or not.
  • Using a previous project deliverable similar to what you need as a template or roadmap.
  • Not starting at the beginning of the deliverable but starting where you can most easily get started to fuel yourself with an early sense of accomplishment.
  • Determining the easiest way for you to create the deliverable and start using that direction, even if you modify and adapt it later.
  • Pulling someone into the project who can challenge your thinking and help identify a place to get started.
  • If you’re able, delegating or outsourcing the deliverable to someone who has a better sense of how to start and complete it.

What do you do to combat client block?

These eight ideas are a start at addressing client block. Have you tried any of them to deal with client block successfully or unsuccessfully? Are there other ways you’ve been able to work around a client block?

We (and be “we,” I mean “I”) would love to learn your solutions and give them a try! – Mike Brown

 

Subscribe for Free to the Brainzooming blog email updates.

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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For some people, it is a natural move from in real life personal relationships to social networking. Their social networking success can come from an instinctive or learned knack for what and when to share the right amount of personal information to make positive connections without boring people or seeming too self-obsessed.

Others, who take a more cautious approach to their lives and personal relationships, cannot imagine WHAT they could share online about themselves while still maintaining a professional image.

Social Networking by Sharing Kitteh Pictures

I was having this discussion with a cautious business owner recently who has social media presences established for the business, but struggles with what to share to both establish professional expertise and make personal connections via social networking. My point was even in a business-to-business setting, people buy from other people. PERSONAL relationships matter in real life business development, and they also matter when you are engaged in online social networking for business development.

You should have seen the reaction though when I mentioned the strategy behind sharing pictures of our cat Clementine (who a Twitter friend dubbed the “Director of Enthusiasm”) on Facebook.

Within a few questions, we found some topics that definitely have the potential for sharing on social networks. The issue is whether this business owner will become comfortable weaving in a more personal feel to social media content.

7 Content Strategy Questions for Building Personal Relationships

If you are struggling with integrating personal information into your social media sharing, here are seven questions you can ask yourself to identify potential personally oriented topics for social media sharing:

  • What do you think, know, and believe?
  • What are your favorite sources of compelling news and information online?
  • What do business associates and clients know about you personally?
  • What do you share about yourself when you meet someone at a networking event?
  • What is intriguing about you and your professional and personal interactions?
  • What is visually intriguing about your life – both professionally and personally?
  • What brands, stores, and places do you talk up to people because you appreciate them?

Certainly, you have answers to these questions. If you are struggling with sharing personal information via social media, the answers to these questions can start to form the basis of your personal content sharing strategy.

Social Networking – When and How Much Personal Information

The next big questions to ask and answer are how soon and how much to share personally?

You have to do what works for you, but if you are reluctant to share personal information online, the answers to these last two questions are “sooner than you think” and “more than you want.”

So now that all the questions are answered, it is time to started sharing and building personal relationships to let people get to know you better in an online professional setting! – Mike Brown

 

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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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6

There’s clearly a sub-theme running through social media content I track (now that the brainstorming doesn’t work theme has died down a bit) saying if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re not innovating or doing anything remarkable. And there are certainly social media stars who have built public personalities around the concept that the strongest differentiation comes from the lone wolf visionary innovating in ways status quo lovers will hate.

While I get the social media attraction of the message that pissing off status quo-oriented people represents innovation, I am never going to be there strategically. It is just not in my DNA, or if it ever were, it has been consciously unwound and left by the wayside somewhere along my business career.

Instead, the foundation shaping my personal view of business brainstorming and innovation success is at the other end of the strategy spectrum. In fact, the saying that best sums it up is actually a Bible verse (which has probably never appeared in popular social media channels) that is on my mind particularly today.

Innovation Based on Participation, Brainstorming, and Sound Strategy

I have lectored at 6:30 a.m. mass nearly every Tuesday for perhaps twelve years. Every two years on this Tuesday (during the 32nd week of the liturgical year), my favorite business-oriented bible verse is part of the first reading at mass. It is from the letter to Titus (Chapter 2: 7-8):

“Show(ing) yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.”

As I said before, basing your approach to innovating on this Bible verse from the letter to Titus is definitely the opposite of demonstrating your innovative nature by telling social media followers to forget brainstorming and concentrate on pissing piss off people!

Innovation Success through Creating Attraction

For me, the height of innovation success comes through demonstrating a sound strategy, making a compelling logic-based case, or successfully appealing to another’s emotions. When you create such an attractive strategic alternative that even those who initially disagreed with your innovative perspective (perhaps out of fear of innovation) have no choice but to embrace it.

This isn’t about people pleasing.

It’s about creating something that people WANT to be a part of because they see the connection between where they are now and the opportunity of the new innovation – even if the connection pulls them far away from where they are right now.

The possibility of creating innovation that is clearly different than the status quo, developed through brainstorming and ideas from a variety of people, and makes all the sense in the world for people to embrace?

That is what the innovation The Brainzooming Group helps organizations achieve is all about.

Maybe that point of view doesn’t generate as much social media buzz, but if THAT innovative approach sounds attractive to you, let’s work together to make it happen. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling to create or sustain innovation success, The Brainzooming Group can be the strategic catalyst you need. We will apply our  strategic thinking, brainstorming, and implementation tools to help you create greater innovation 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 innovation and implementation challenges.


Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

Saturday, November 10, 2012 marked the fifth anniversary of the Brainzooming blog. These five years have produced, in round numbers, more than 1,300 blog posts and 400,000 words of content on strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media topics.

Sometimes I love the Brainzooming blog. Sometimes I dread the Brainzooming blog. But I learn from the Brainzooming blog weekly, whether those are blogging lessons I actually do or those that sound wonderful, but I never seem to implement fully.

Here is a mix of each of those types of “what to blog about and how” blogging lessons from the past five years, with a particular emphasis on ones that have not warranted full blog posts yet.

What to Blog About and How – Do as I Do Blogging Lessons

  • Use WordPress for your blogging platform. You cannot beat the availability of (typically free) WordPress plugins to add features to your blog.
  •  Unless you are dedicated to creating and maintaining (WordPress) blogs, work with someone who works with WordPress all the time to support and update your blog.
  • Just start blogging and do not wait for things to be perfect. Start writing, and you will get better at writing as you write more.
  • Even if only for yourself, have in mind an audience persona for your blog along with a simple guideline for what topic areas will be a focus for your blog.
  • Learn about the fundamental elements of SEO and keywords as early as possible. Scribe is a great tool to help you improve at SEO as you write and publish blog content.
  • Take pictures all the time of things and situations that fit with your blog topics. It is nice to have the flexibility of a variety of images to choose from for a blog post.
  • Learn some basic skills on photo editing software so you can use your images multiple times and still keep them fresh.
  • List posts are fantastic. List posts attract readers, and if you do them right, they are relatively easy to write in a pinch.
  • Keep a separate document file of all your blog posts.
  • Read a few strong blogs regularly, but occasionally (i.e. once every week or two), and swap different blogs into the rotation. If you read anything too frequently (at least for me), it is easy to fall into the possibility of mimicking them.
  • Do not forget about your old posts whose content is not time sensitive. These blog posts can still have value, and people will be interested in them.

What to Blog About and How – Do as I Say, Not as I Do Blogging Lessons

  • Start with a reasonable and regular blogging schedule. Increase it only for a solid business reason.
  • Perform sufficient keyword research upfront. The keyword research can help focus your topics and writing while generating greater visibility for your content sooner.
  • Have a hidden blog where you feel comfortable experimenting out of sight of your regular audience.
  • The most important blogging rule? ABW . . . Always be writing.
  • The second most important blogging rule? ABCI always be capturing ideas.
  • You can increase your blogging efficiency if you use a kitchen timer and limit how long you spend writing a blog post. This approach might not improve your quality though.
  • Do not share too much without asking for something back from your audience. If you do not recognize the value in the content you share, how can you expect anyone else to recognize it?
  • Build more landing pages with downloadable content. When you are offering strong content, having targeted landing pages is a vital tool for capturing business leads.
  • Create more videos. Videos add personality and identity in a blog.
  • Back up the separate document file of all your blog posts frequently.
  • Do not become too enamored with only one social networking platform to share your blog content. Spread yourself thinner across multiple social sharing sites.

Other Thoughts on What to Blog About and How

  • My best analogy for what it is like to write a blog? Writing a book with a very loose outline and no real motivation to write the book in sequential order.
  • What nobody seems to tell you is the actual writing of a blog post may be less than 50% of the time to publish the blog post. SEO, editing, graphics, tagging, and setting up the social sharing seem to be easily half of my time on a post.
  • Much of what you read about blogging (especially anything on how easy, lucrative, fast it is) is either bullshit, total hype, or not applicable to what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t hesitate to consider this article in that group as well; ultimately you have to do what works for you, irrespective of what anyone else says! – Mike Brown

 

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

 

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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3

Think about how frequently political concession speeches are the first time political candidates present themselves at their most personal and, perhaps, most like their true selves. It makes you wonder why the demeanor and tone losing candidates display in political concession speeches hardly ever surface during elections.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see the fate of a political candidate who displayed a conciliatory, bridge building, humble, and genuinely grateful tone during the heart of an election campaign?

Do you suppose that type of approach during an election campaign would connect with people? Or would such a candidate be ripped to shreds and left in the fields of Iowa?

We’ll likely never know.

And that’s truly a loss for the United States and its people. – Mike Brown

 

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

 

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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2

Here’s another fantastic guest article from Woody Bendle on innovation success and the importance of the planning, preparation, and organization behind your innovation process:

 

Innovation is defined as the process of creating new (and differentiated) customer value in the marketplace, which can create a sustainable competitive advantage.

The whole point of innovation is to create a more successful future (however you define success), and “winging it” seldom is a strategy for success.  Innovation success doesn’t just happen on its own; it takes purposeful execution of an innovation process – which requires Planning, Preparation, and Organization.

A colleague, Doug Von Feldt, and I have developed an end-to-end innovation process over the years which has guided the development and implementation of many successful innovations.  But our nine-step i3 Continuous Innovation Process (see figure below) is not sufficient in and of itself.  While following the i3 Continuous Innovation Process can greatly improve your odds of innovation success, if you want to systematically innovate in the most effective and efficient manner possible, you need to Plan, Prepare and be Organized.

Planning

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

This quote from President Eisenhower is incredibly insightful.  Seldom in battle (or when starting a new innovation initiative) do things go as planned. However, if you have planned well, unexpected obstacles can be addressed and successfully overcome.

Every innovation effort is a new adventure into the unknown.  You are in pursuit of something unique that will create new consumer value in the marketplace. It is impossible to know exactly how everything in the innovation process will unfold as you are coming up with, and creating this entirely new thing.  Put another way, you have next-to-no-idea what you are going to encounter.  But, to be successful at innovation, you need to plan to be successful.

Innovation planning means thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve your desired innovation objectives.

Innovation planning includes:

1. Setting goals

2. Identifying existing and needed resources and capabilities

3. Assigning and prioritizing tasks

4. Developing timelines

5. Establishing evaluation measures

6. Developing protocols for dealing with the unexpected

It is a given that your original ‘plan’ will need to be adjusted or possibly even abandoned entirely, but if you have planned properly, you won’t be completely “winging it” as you continue towards your innovation goal. And with proper planning, you will have agreed upon processes for dealing with most of the unexpected wrinkles you will encounter.

“One who has the ability to properly plan . . .  has tremendously increased his possibility of success.”  John Wooden – Legendary UCLA Head Basketball Coach (1948-1975) (Affiliate Link)

Preparation

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” John Wooden

There aren’t many people throughout history more committed to planning and preparation than Coach Wooden. His successes on and off the court are a resounding testament to this.   Do you happen to know any other coaches who have won ten NCAA national championships (including seven in a row)?

Preparation, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the action or process of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty.  Note that it says action, which means actually doing something.

That action in basketball is practicing drills, skills, plays and studying opponents. In innovation, preparation includes:

1. Developing required innovation skills and competencies through coursework and hands-on training – including Lean Six Sigma

2. Learning how to uncover unmet consumer needs

3. Brainstorming / coming up with new ideas

4. Evaluating opportunities

5. Creative rapid prototyping

6. 3P – Production Preparation Process

By having your teams regularly practice the above skills and activities, you will be developing highly effective and efficient strategic competencies to accelerate your organization’s growth through innovation success.

Organization

“One improbable key to productive experimentation [or innovation] is extreme organization. When a tool or ingredient is out of place, it’s distracting. This get’s amplified when time is limited . . .” – Chef Ben Roche

The above quote comes from a chapter chef Ben Roche contributed called “Experimental Kitchen” in Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft’s 2012 book Make Space (Affiliate link).

Make Space is a very cool resource that provides examples and tools for creating physical spaces highly conducive to creativity, collaboration, and innovation. And one of the underlying tenets throughout Make Space is that of organization.

Organized and Organization doesn’t necessarily mean “pristine” in this instance; but rather, it does mean orderly.  If you want to be effective and efficient throughout the innovation process, you need to know where things such as data, research, knowledge, tools and materials are.  These things need to be readily available and accessible to everyone on the innovation team. There are already plenty of challenges you are going to face throughout the innovation process and losing momentum by wasting time fumbling around trying to find things you need shouldn’t be one of them.

Now it’s your turn!

I readily acknowledge every organization and situation is different, which means there isn’t a universal exacting recipe for each and every innovation. However, adhering to the iContinuous Innovation Process can greatly improve your chances for success.  And through repeated execution (with a commitment to continual improvement) of this process, accompanied with the proper Planning, Preparation and Organization, you can become a highly successful innovator. – Woody Bendle

 

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

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