8

Do you have a false sense of your own creativity?

I see a lot of business people who do, and they can easily cripple themselves and their organizations because of it.

A false sense of creativity happens when you’re constantly trying new approaches (thus feeling all tingly and creative) when you’ve yet to answer the basic strategy question, “What matters?”

If you haven’t grounded yourself in your fundamental goal by answering this important strategy question, your willingness to constantly experiment isn’t a sign of a creative spirit. It’s a harbinger of significant strategy problems, if not now, then in the near future. Expect to waste a lot of resources (energy, time, money, goodwill…you name it) and never really achieve what you should.

Identifying what matters is typically a more analytical strategy exercise than a creative one.

After putting the time in toward really identifying what will have a material impact in your situation, you can begin creatively thinking about alternative ways to realize your objective. That’s where your willingness to experiment creatively becomes strategic and has the potential to yield real results.

Until you can credibly communicate “what matters,” don’t let your wild creativity out of the house. – Mike Brown

If you need to get grounded in what matters for your organization, your first call should be to the The Brainzooming Group. Email us  at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 so we can determine how to have your team working from the same strategic perspective.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

4

What we call something has a significant impact on our perceptions.

If you don’t start a project when you or someone else thinks you should, labeling it “procrastination” places a lot of negativity squarely on your shoulders. “Procrastination” can suggest laziness, hesitation, lack of responsibility, and indifference. Any of these individually (or collectively) represent a heavy burden; this burden makes it even more difficult to be creative and productive when you need to be.

While in school, and beating myself up more than I do now, I would have readily labeled myself a procrastinator. Many nights I wrote papers for next-day classes or began intense studying for tests right before they were to be given. Doing this never hurt the results though, since I earned strong grades throughout school.

With experience, however, it’s clear making progress on every project won’t begin right away.

Many really important projects will seem as if they should take a lot of effort over a prolonged period of time. Despite their importance, your approach to these projects may not unfold until very close to the deadlines they carry. Nearly every time though, what has to happen to make the project great comes into clearer view at the RIGHT TIME, the necessary creativity and productivity begin to flow, and the project gets done successfully.

What in my earlier life I’d have thought of as procrastinating, I now consider to be an integral part of managing the creative process. Through using creativity-instigating techniques which are shared here frequently, there’s now a high degree of confidence that when it makes sense to turn attention to a project (even if it seems really late in the game), the creative spark will be there to deliver what and when it’s ultimately needed.

I don’t pin the procrastination label on myself much at all anymore. Trust me – if you still think of yourself as a procrastinator, you should stop using the term too. You’ll be a lot happier, creative, and more fulfilled when you do. – 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.  To learn how we can facilitate the best innovative strategic thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

The Biggest Loser TV Program

One of my guilty pleasures on TV is “The Biggest Loser” on NBC. It’s one of the few shows I regularly seek out, and maybe that’s not a surprise since self-help reality TV programs have been an important strategic coaching influence in creating the Brainzooming innovation and planning strategy approach.

The crux of “The Biggest Loser” strategy is taking morbidly obese people and training them on the tools to lose weight and live a dramatically healthier lifestyle than they may have ever done before.

Each week prior to the weigh in, trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels put the “The Biggest Loser” contestants through a prolonged “last chance workout.” The training session is called that because it’s the final opportunity for contestants to drop weight in advance of having their weekly performance judged. It’s intense, painful, and harsh with lots of SCREAMING (especially from Jillian), but it gets the “The Biggest Loser” contestants as ready as they can be to achieve their maximum results.

Applying The Biggest Loser at Work

This got me thinking about the strategy of applying last chance workouts to business settings.

There are certainly plenty of times in business when you’re on the cusp of having your individual or team performance judged:

  • Delivering a product or service to a customer
  • Personal performance reviews
  • Presentations
  • Project completions and report outs
  • Quarterly or annual financial reporting
  • Internal performance audits

On these or other performance review points you encounter, do you have your own “last chance workout” strategy to ensure you’ve done everything possible to improve your performance levels? If you do, what’s included in your last chance workout strategy and how are they most effective? For me, on presentations and project completions there are clear steps I try to take each time to ensure important details are all covered.

If you don’t use the last chance workout strategy in business, it can hold great benefit, so START DOING THEM NOW! – 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.  To learn how we can bring out the best innovative thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

What’s your strategy for starting meetings?

Here’s an innovative variation on the standard strategy of starting a meeting by re-stating an objective to ensure everyone present understands why they NEED to be present. One of our clients shared that their company expects each meeting to begin with a statement of what the meeting will mean for customers.

Especially in larger companies where it’s easy for staff members to go for extended periods without ever seeing a customer, this is an important strategic way to bring the customer into every group discussion.

While our client didn’t mention the practice, a valuable closing strategy for meetings would include a check at the end about the customer implications (and especially benefits for customers) resulting from the meeting and the collective time invested in the meeting by the participants.

What do you think about this meeting strategy? Do you do this or a similar strategy at your company? If not, do you use other mandatory meeting starters to keep the conversations focused and on strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments. – 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.  To learn how we can facilitate the best innovative strategic thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

13

For whatever reason, it seems that recent Brainzooming blog posts have gotten longer.

Sorry about that.

I made a commitment some time ago to keep the typical Brainzooming blog article length at 300-400 words, with efforts to write more blog posts in the 100-200 word range.

Your time is precious, and I sincerely appreciate the time you share to read as many of these daily posts as you do.

Let me know what you think. Is shorter better for you?Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can develop an integrated social media and blogging strategy for your brand.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

6

I was talking with BlogTalkRadio maven Tachelle Daniels about strategies to help identify innovative business ideas to stay in front of customers. The topic is intriguing and sent me back into the Brainzooming blog for these 6 strategies which contribute toward achieving a compelling, innovative marketplace edge:

1. Listening to Customers in New Places and Buying Stages with Social Media – Social media provides unprecedented access into customer thinking. Two examples:

  • Use social media monitoring to see where and how customers talk about your brand. Listen for challenges to help solve, issues with your own and competitive offerings, and customer-developed innovative adaptations.
  • Make it easy for customers to share perspectives through social media-based contests, incenting them to share ideas, register complaints, and react to new ideas.

2. Talk with Lead UsersThis Monday’s post discussed a market research strategy we use to talk in-depth with customers and industry experts on the forefront of strategic thinking and implementation. These discussions with people 3 to 5 years ahead of everyone else in an industry help identify what will keep you ahead of the rest of the market.

3. Small but Strategic Unconventional Moves – In many industries, leaders aren’t doing dramatically different things. Strategic insights into subtle (often unarticulated) customer needs and flawless execution in addressing them can be enough to stay ahead of customers and competitors. To generate strategic insights, establish listening posts to monitor customers requests no one is addressing along with both customer and employee-precipitated innovative workarounds in your product or service.

4. Think about Your Business in General Terms – One fundamental in strategic thinking is detaching from day-to-day details of your business to view it in abstract, general terms. Focusing on business models, the broad assets your company possesses, and where/how you create value, put you in a position to unlock innovative opportunities more literal thinkers won’t notice until too late.

5. Move into Adjacent Markets – Nobody has done this better than Apple, with its disruption of multiple markets (video stores, cell phones, record companies, CD players, broadcasting, etc.) that on the surface looked nothing like its traditional computer market.  Anticipate new value you can bring to customers through strategically examining the benefits your company delivers. Then ask which players in other markets could deliver those same benefits. Not only will this signal new potential competitors, it can also point out markets you can disrupt to create innovative value for your customers.

6. Protect and Prioritize Challenging Ideas – Even after identifying moves to keep you in front of what your customers are looking for, you’ll likely have a lot of work to keep decidedly non-status quo, uncomfortable ideas from getting killed inside your business! If your company is reluctant to move forward with game-changing ideas, work to understand potential issues and create a sense of comfort for ideas you’re valiantly working to keep dramatic in the market.

If you have time, click on the links for these six ideas to get a little more strategic background on how to adapt and implement them to better anticipate (and not simply react to) your customers’ needs with innovative business ideas. – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

I’m always on the look out for people displaying creativity in work situations you wouldn’t expect.

This is a great example of this creative strategy from a Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis where we stayed several weeks ago while on client project. I was told later that this particular application of creativity is common on cruise ships, but I’ve never seen it in a business hotel. Because of that, Marcela from the housekeeping staff at the hotel gets a big Brainzooming shout out for making a routine business trip creative, fun, and interactive! What a great way to shape a customer experience for the better!

Here’s your question: Are the front line employees in your business also actively shaping customer experiences for interactivity and engagement? – Mike Brown

When it comes to strategy and innovation for customer experiences, The Brainzooming Group is expert at helping businesses shape the right strategy and implementation to create unique experiences that set them apart from competitors. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your brand stand out through experience marketing!

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading