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1. The problem with beating yourself up is since you know all the best places to punch, it really hurts.

2. Minimizing a situation’s risk can be simply a personal mental challenge. Change your point of view and the risk evaporates so you can take action.

3. Why is it we so often become what we have scorned before we were in the other person’s shoes?

4. Respect your adversaries. Not everyone who disagrees with your ideas is an idiot.

5. Take the high road even when it feels as if you are the only one on that road…because you are not alone, even if no one is in sight.

6. You’re you. They’re them. You can’t control THEM, so if you want to change the situation, you had better start changing YOU.

7. We aren’t perfect. When we THINK we are perfect, we DO become perfectly wrong. So when a mistake or something wrong happens, ask, “How is this result better than what I had planned? What new ideas does this present?”

8. What if you applied the energy required for thinking up ideas for how to blame someone for your mistakes and just worked on solving what went wrong?

9. When you get better, you’ll find, amazingly, that others get better.

10. Don’t think you’ll recognize the decisive when it happens. Tomorrow’s decisive probably looks like today’s happenstance. – 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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3

I met Hillary Hopper on Twitter one night when she tweeted about a creative block. With a continual search in Tweetdeck for “creative block,” I try to reach out to people and share some ideas. Interestingly, very few respond. Hillary did though, and that started a fun Twitter correspondence through a move, career changes, and seeing her design work, particularly in online gaming. Recently we talked about Hillary doing a guest article for Brainzooming during World Creativity and Innovation Week. We decided on Hillary discussing how creativity shapes her work for mobile game design at Tinyco. Here’s Hillary Hopper!

Creativity in Mobile Game Design by Hillary Hopper

When I tell people that I am a mobile user interface/user experience (UI/UX) game designer, I think a lot of people either:

1. Don’t understand what responsibilities the role entails
2. Think that I am someone who makes stock assets (i.e. boxes and triangles) for games

Thankfully my job does not entail that; at least not all the time. Instead, my role is steeped in a world of color and imagination. My expertise is in social simulation games such as Tiny Village and Farm Ville. I love this sector of the industry because it has a lot of creativity available to it. While working on Tiny Village, I have been able to be creative with creating icons, and theme of the UI, along with being more analytical and thinking about the user experience and flow.

In the mobile gaming industry, there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to creativity and UI design.  Mobile gaming has turned into a $12 billion dollar market and is growing over 50% per year. This has led people from all over the world to try their hand at creating mobile games of one kind or another.

Creating Harmony between UI and UX

The aesthetics of a game are critically important because that is the first thing a user will see. UI/UX designers have to not only identify the kind of feel that a game needs to have, but they also have to be critically aware of the artwork that is being created for the game. Examples of artwork for mobile games include the look and feel of buildings, landscapes, and characters. More often than not, gaming companies will have a separate group that creates these assets, so it’s possible for the teams to go on different paths.

Creating harmony between the user interface and the artwork is a fundamental design task and can be a very fun process. This process is actually much more complex than it sounds — the user interface should not overwhelm a game’s artwork or vice versa. Although there are several schools of thought about the synergy, I am a firm believer that UI should be secondary to the artwork and less noticeable. The best games today offer a user experience that helps the user navigate without being intrusive. For example, while working at TinyCo I have tried to create beautiful UI but have it not be distracting to the player. UI should not cover up, but should complement its surroundings and display information properly.

I’ve spoken about the user interface aspect but it’s important to mention what the user experience aspect entails. Designing a game’s user experience is an area that is extremely creative and stimulating. I spend a lot of time planning the flow of the game after a user interacts with game (i.e. tapping a UI button). This usually includes designing animations and modals. A strong user experience allows the user to navigate seamlessly through the game in a way that just feels natural.

Simple UX Design

A lot of people like to over think UX, but I view it as making the simplest solution possible. The simpler the process, the better it will be for the user and more intuitive. While working at TinyCo, some of the biggest UX questions have been solved by a simple solution. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be some complicated UX. Most times it’s designing a feature that is simple and makes sense.

Being creative about button placement and learning about the psychology of the human being helps a lot. During any UX project,  designers must remember that humans are creatures of habit. Thus the UX should be almost a habit to make the user tap without even thinking.

Mobile Game Design as a Career

If you are a designer and wondering what type of industries to consider, I would strongly suggest mobile game design. Opportunities are abundant in Silicon Valley, Los Angles, and New York.  But how do know if you’re a good fit? If the following bullet points describe you, then you should consider UX/UI game design:

  • You love games
  • You play mobile games on your own
  • You notice the interface on all types of games
  • You enjoy making icons and love pixel perfect designs
  • Color theory is a strong suit for you and you love putting themes together

Being responsible for the design of a game’s user interface and user experience is a challenging but rewarding opportunity. Because of the tight deadlines, the learning curve can be overwhelming at first. But once you learn its strengths and weaknesses it becomes a lot easier. You can see every pixel and color and making just one small mistake can be seen by everyone. I wouldn’t want to work in any other field and have found it to be such a wonderful career. – Hillary Hopper

 


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.

Guest Author

The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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2

Working in a large corporation with both organizational strengths and weaknesses relative to implementation, I was generally clear on working the system and knowing the critical steps to things getting done. I was also typically clear on which projects were simply never going to be implemented successfully.

One thing I’ve learned as The Brainzooming Group works with clients having different types of people, business situations, and political environments is other organizations have a whole range of implementation success challenges.

13 Reasons Implementation Success Is a Problem

Thinking back across our client experience, here are 13 possible reasons your organization is struggling with things getting done. They are grouped in three areas: strategy, process, and people-related issues.

Strategy-Related

1. A mismatch exists between what the organization wants to do and the resources available for implementation success.

2. A disproportionate value is placed on being safe versus taking appropriate risks.

3. While internal demand (usually from senior management) exists for getting something done, there isn’t any strategic foundation for the effort.

Process-Related

4. Development and implementation steps are happening in the wrong order.

5. Talking about things getting done is easier than actually doing it.

6. Too much complexity gets in the way of effectively getting things done.

7. There is no clear understanding or where or how to launch implementation.

People-Related

8. Too many critical people or other factors for implementation success are changing and can’t be depended upon with any certainty.

9. The people needed to work together to get things done are unaccustomed or unprepared to coordinate efforts.

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10. The person who should be leading the effort is ill-prepared or ill-equipped for getting stuff done.

11. No individual has been charged with leading implementation.

12. Sufficiently strong senior leadership isn’t attached to a project.

13. The implementation team isn’t working well together to get things done.

What Do You Think?

To the extent that one or more of these reasons sound familiar in your organization, you’re going to be struggling with things getting done.

After seeing this list, what other reasons would you add that thwart getting stuff done?

Need Some Help?

And if you’re struggling with how to get things done, we should talk. We can help you get things done by working through your challenges. – 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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3

For many companies – even those with elaborate data mining initiatives, years of tracker research, and extensive market research budgets – the market research data generated doesn’t always yield the comprehensive business  insights needed to proactively identify opportunities, drive business decisions, or address emerging customer needs and market situations.

At the AMA Applied Market Research Conference in Las Vegas this week, I am leading a session to help Market Researchers evolve into Business Insight Strategists.  Balancing Data & Dialogue: Cultivating Insights that Matter was designed for market research professionals who find themselves in the never-ending stream of projects to manage in mind.  It’s easy for market research professionals to overlook the opportunity to add the value that will turn market research results into comprehensive decision support tools.

But taking the key steps is what creates a business insights strategist.

Four “How Do” Questions

Stepping back and seeking the answer to these four “How Do” questions can begin the culture transformation:

1. How do I maximize the data/information I already have to more effectively support new insight needs or research initiatives?

2. How do I identify the most important information and let go of what isn’t really relevant to the decisions that need to be made?

3. How do I get internal alignment on the scope as well as implications of the research?

4. How do I show the value of a holistic – rather than ad hoc – approach and develop a plan to continually cultivate insights that matter over time?

Four “How To” Steps

In Balancing Data & Dialogue, we work through a 4-step “How To” process for identifying and assessing the information needed to get actionable results to facilitate:

1. How to move beyond the research or information objective to clearly define the business opportunity or challenge the organization is facing.

2. How to define and align critical information needs to comprehensively address the challenge

3. How to identify, evaluate and integrate the benefits of various data sources to fulfill the critical information needs.

4. How to apply the Brainzooming action planning process to successfully activate the insights.

The Insight Integration Matrix

A core tool in the process for a business insights strategist is our Insight Integration Matrix that serves as a guide for aligning data sources against critical information needs. If you would like a copy, you can request it at info@brainzooming.comand start cultivating insights that matter! – Barb Murphy

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 deliver these benefits for you.

 

Guest Author

The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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3

Saturday’s “Creating” column in The Wall Street Journal featured a profile on British performer Tracie Bennett who is playing Judy Garland on Broadway in “End of the Rainbow.” The article details the creative preparation she went through in advance (and still conducts nightly before each performance) to transform into her version of Judy Garland.

The Wall Street Journal story details various steps Tracie Bennett employed to get ready for her Judy Garland performance. These steps provide seven lessons any of us can use in reinterpreting creative inspiration as we borrow creative ideas from sources that already exist while still creating something new.

1. Immerse yourself and learn so you can quit looking as you create.

Tracie Bennett consumed twenty-five Judy Garland biographies along with watching and listening to everything she could find about her. After immersing yourself in creative inspiration and having a command of your subject though, it is critical to step away and creatively reinterpret your work based on your own perspective.

2. Mix different time periods from your creative inspiration.

In determining the mannerisms she would use onstage, Bennett combined elements from Judy Garland as both an adult and a child performer. When you are borrowing creative inspiration, do the same and pull inspiration from varied periods, whether that involves multiple eras, geographies, media, etc.

3. Don’t get in trouble by directly copying your creative inspiration.

During the time period “End of the Rainbow” captures, Judy Garland was performing certain songs in a slower, understated manner. Since this style did not fit with the play, the songs are performed with a more manic energy than historical facts suggest. What a great reminder that creative inspiration should be reinterpreted, and you can even do the opposite when it suits your creative demands.

4. Identify the underlying creative structure, then stretch and dial it back a little.

Bennett learned how Judy Garland actually performed songs by studying her mouth positions and breathing patterns. While she used this learning as a basis, she attempted to exaggerate the mannerisms before dialing back her performance so it is not “clownish.” It’s always valuable to inordinately stretch your creative ideas so you know where the creative boundaries are and can settle on the appropriate place.

5. Move creative inspiration into a different context.

Since “End of the Rainbow” recreates a Judy Garland performance, Garland’s songs were considered as speeches within the play’s structure, with each one intended to move the story and emotions along through the production.  Considering a creative inspiration from a different perspective or moving it into a different context is ideal for forcing creative reinterpretation.

6. Develop your own creative backstory to inspire your creative effort.

Through her research, Tracie Bennett identified her own interpretation for Judy Garland’s emotional state at the start of the play. She and director Terry Johnson decided, however, that introducing this new point of view into the play would be confusing. Instead, Bennett uses her new creative backstory to prep without bringing it onstage. Not all your creative exploration and preparation has to make it into the final creative output. You can allow it to inspire and then put it aside.

7. If you want a new creative angle, think “similar but different.”

Judy Garland died of a drug overdose, but rather than taking her extensive research into trying drugs herself, Tracie Bennett interviewed friends and others who had been challenged by addiction. You don’t always have to walk exactly the same path as the original creator to reinterpret creative inspirations. Mining people and ideas that are “similar but different” is a wonderful source for further creative inspiration.

What do you do when reinterpreting creative inspirations? What tips do you use when you borrow creative ideas? – 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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7

Whoever is going to disrupt your market isn’t like you, which makes them really hard to identify right now. Number 1?

They may not even be in business yet.

That’s a big difference, but it’s not the only one. Here are fourteen other ways whoever is going to disrupt your market isn’t like you, since they:

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2. Don’t care about preserving anything about what’s made your brand successful.

3. Are happy to get a small share of the market at a premium price with a dramatically different offering.

4. Are happy to get a bigger share of your market (since it’s related to their market) at a really low price.

5. Don’t have any qualms about introducing a product/service and price point combination that’s really tough to compare to anything else your market has been doing.

6. Make decisions and move really quickly because the stakes are so much lower for them.

7. Can get away with using some, but not all, of the marketing mix to beat you at your own game.

8. Compete really effectively by looking at a couple of things (or maybe even only one thing) in a radically different way.

9. Don’t have to fund their new venture out of the dollars coming from your market.

10. Have figured out a different entry point into the customer model in your industry.

11. Don’t (or aren’t) going to look like you in very fundamental ways – size, structure, scope, etc.

12. Don’t have to have a complete offering since they’re appealing to a different market segment.

13. May have glaring weaknesses compared to traditional competitors (i.e., “you”) in areas traditional competitors think are really important but customers are willing to overlook.

14. Will not be focused on delivering the same benefit package you are.

15. Are fine with putting together parts and pieces tried and thrown out by others to compete in new ways.

And for everyone who points to Apple as the great disruptor, this story from Forbes points out that just as yesterday’s category owners can be disrupted, so can today’s seemingly invincible players.

Start looking for your disruptors. And start looking for who you are going to disrupt, because you’ll be just as hard to identify for them.  – 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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3

It’s always a good time to assess your personal success strategies and perform a tune-up if it’s needed. Here are seven personal success strategies to evaluate over the next few weeks and make moves to tune-up your performance if you find it lacking.

1. Understand your Distinctive Talents

Evaluate your talents, paying particular attention to make sure you understand your distinctive talents. Your distinctive talents are those at which you excel and continually improve. They bring you the most energy and clearly benefit others. After identifying your distinctive talents, use them in as many work and personal situations as possible to maximize your positive impact and personal success.

2. Tune Out Negative News

I used to wake up to talk radio with all its negative news and listen to it until arriving at work. That was until seeing Ed Foreman who asked why anyone would fill themselves full of negative news to start the day. After hearing this advice from Ed Foreman, I awake to upbeat music, avoid the newspaper in favor of uplifting reading, do quick creative tasks, go to Church, and listen to energizing music or positive spiritual messages in the car. The result is a more positive attitude overall.

3. Create a Mental Break

Maybe you are feeling greater pressure to achieve goals. You can compensate for greater pressure by figuring out what mind-filling tasks you can eliminate to create a mental break. Get up earlier and start the day so you aren’t running behind. Stop reading a redundant industry magazine. Set a slightly earlier time to leave work. Consciously live below your means. These and other ideas can help reduce self-induced pressure and create a mental break for yourself.

4. Stop Thinking so Much about Yourself

Go out of your way to serve others – at work and in personal life. Instead of turning inward, stop thinking so much about yourself and increasingly reach out to others. Apply your distinctive talents to help others be more successful in their challenges. This may seem counter-intuitive, but I’d rather be known for contributing to a lot of other peoples’ successes than simply focusing on my own.

5. Be a Joy to Be Around

Smile, laugh, cheer people up. As tempting as it may be to go into a cocoon when things seem challenging, don’t do it. Be a joy to be around. Offer a reliable source of calm and enjoyment, bringing comfort and light-hearted moments to others. Find whatever works with your personality. For me that’s wearing orange socks (that have become my trademark), even when I don’t feel like bright colors and seeking out humor and fun to share with others.

6. Be Visible

Use your talents to be visible outside your company. If your talent is speaking, develop content and present to local organizations and universities. If it’s writing, submit articles to publications looking for content or start a blog on your expertise. If you’re good at building, cooking, or other essential skills, volunteer in your community. Make sure you’re using talents to help others and expand your network.

7. Work Out

Exercise and I were never good friends until my wife signed us up at a nearby health club and arranged for me to work with a trainer. I’d done cardio before, lost a little weight, but it never had a major impact. Working with a trainer brought new focus, helped relieve stress through exercise, and resulted in losing 30 pounds.

Also check out this great Harvard Business Review article on bringing more value to your job. And best wishes for successfully incorporating these personal success strategies in the days and weeks ahead! – Mike Brown

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For More Information |  Phone: 816-509-5320  |  Email: info@brainzooming.com

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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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