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Some Monday quick thinking on adaptability, trust, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Adaptability – If your life situation won’t let you swing for the fences, make sure your lineup is filled with high-percentage hitters who can run like crazy.

Trust – You’re not always going to be able to do business with only people you trust. When you can’t avoid it, make sure not to lose the handle on your own honesty and ethics.

Motivation – Ask, “What’s this person’s motivation for the sensationalized world view they’re sharing with me?” It’s often to create fear to get you to do what they want.

Priorities – When you have someone who keeps asking and asking for help with nothing ever in return, remember it can feel really good to say, “Sorry, you’ve got me confused with somebody who still cares.”

Longevity – There’s a lot to be said for newness. There’s more to be said for performing incredibly well day-in-day-out for more than a few months. – 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 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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1

Following-up the innovation and creativity training presentations I did yesterday at CreativeBloc 2011, here are 11 Brainzooming posts on enhancing your personal innovation perspective. These can personal innovation tune-ups come in handy when you need to work on making sure you’re not putting any of the NO’s into the inNOvation challenges you may be facing:

7 Lessons to Get Ready for Change Now – Set yourself up to be your most innovative with pre-planning.

Get on a Roll, Get Results – The value of pushing beyond typical constraints to build a string of improvements.

The Strategy for Exploiting Your Mindless Job – When you have untapped mental capacity in your job, take advantage of it to innovate in new areas.

Black and White Decision Making? Today, Change to Grey (and Vice Versa) – There are benefits to consciously changing your typical decision making style, even if temporarily.

Patience – Strategic Advantage or Disadvantage? – How patience will help you (and some ways it won’t) strategically.

2 Easy Strategies for Tackling Social Media – One App at a Time – With so many new applications flying at us weekly, here’s how to stay current without taking too much time.

Trendspotters’ Fab Five – Five vital perspectives to effectively identify trends suggesting potential innovation opportunities. This is a Blogging Innovation guest post.

Forgetting as an Innovation Strategy – Why letting go of your knowledge and experience can be vital to innovation efforts.

How Does Magic Happen? – Glitz is important to creativity and innovation, but hard work and determination are equally important.

When People Don’t Understand There Are Lots of Ways to Be Right – Finding ways to deal with a negative environment that’s hostile toward innovation.

3 Ways to Generate Innovative Business Ideas When You’re Very Experienced – Three ways to counteract the limitations experienced people can place on innovation efforts.  – Mike Brown

 

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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

It’s easy to get really lazy in communications, for a variety of reasons. When someone is trying to give you money, however, it’s really hard to explain why your customer service communication should be so crappy when it’s not that tough to communicate with customers really well. We were ordering new business cards. I emailed the file to the printer and asked whether the business cards could be ready within a few days since one of us was headed to Chicago to present at a market research conference.

One day later, I received an email which said they’d be done in time.

I emailed back and asked about providing credit card information via phone since I wouldn’t be picking them up and couldn’t easily get a check ahead of time to the person picking them up from the printer.

The printer answered back with one line: “We don’t accept credit cards.”

Okay, that answered the exact question, but didn’t really move us along in the buying process.

I replied and asked how much the printing job would be so I could get the check cut and get it to Barrett for payment at pick-up.

One day later, he replied with one line again, providing the cost of the printing job followed with, “plus tax.”

Okay, by this point it’s clear I want to GIVE HIM MONEY, yet he refused to work with me to provide the simple information to pay them efficiently. All this after making the buying process more difficult through the inability to accept credit cards.

Hey, we all have off days, but something tells me, this wasn’t off day related. This is about crappy communication skills on the part of someone with a clear customer service role in his organization.

When you just do “okay” in what you do, this is the kind of customer service experience that makes finding somebody else to work with a really easy decision to make.

Maybe I should send him a one line email: “See you around.” - 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 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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10

Collaborative blogging isn’t how I started out writing the Brainzooming blog. It began as a creative outlet before leaving corporate life behind. Doing it was creative, but pretty solitary. Since then, I’ve written for several multi-author blogs, which are still pretty solitary experiences too. While there are multiple authors and fewer deadlines (since you don’t have to write as frequently yourself to maintain a steady flow of content) there hasn’t been any meaningful content coordination or planned interaction among authors. Contrast these multi-author blogs with writing collaborative blogs. They take the benefits of having multiple writers and add to it with planning, strategy, and editorial calendars to actively create and manage content.

The stark differences don’t end there. The two blogging approaches differ materially in at least seven ways.

The typical multi-author blog has:

  • A vague sense of who the blog’s target audience is and what’s of interest to them.
  • Only rough blogging guidelines governing the authors’ efforts.
  • A mix-and-match approach to writing styles among the authors actively contributing.
  • No editorial plan - so subject matter coordination happens by accident, if at all.
  • Challenges in coordinating content submissions for timely publishing.
  • Potentially uneven editing, with it being done individually, by an ad hoc editor, or not at all.
  • A blogging platform intended for individual efforts being forced to fit with a multiple contributor environment, often with publishing responsibility heaped on one person.

Contrast this with a strategic, collaborative blog which features:

  • A well-developed persona (or potentially multiple ones) to guide audience-based content creation.
  • A team inside the organization is trained in blogging and contributes to the collaborative blogging effort’s strategic direction.
  • Individual writing styles are arranged and balanced for a better reader experience.
  • Subject matter coordinated to deliver a more strategic mix of content.
  • A planned calendar with posts in reserve to ensure a consistent publishing schedule.
  • A designated blog admin and review process ensure the content is strong, compelling, and well-written.
  • A collaborative blogging application which facilitates reminders, content management, and multiple contributors actively participating.

Rather than simply writing and publishing stories, collaborative blogging can be a powerful, cultural unifier internally, and provide a way to share compelling stories with an external audience. It can be the primary engine in telling the rest of an organization’s stories – the stories which don’t fit in a brochure or a press release.

Look for more on collaborative blogging as we continue to develop and refine them for clients and move the Brainzooming blog in that direction too. –  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’ve developed integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

 

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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This was Sunday’s Dilbert cartoon. Dilbert’s world is a great example of the complete opposite of Brainzooming! Watching too many brain shutdowns in the corporate world was a significant trigger for developing the Brainzooming approach as an antidote to help people think more quickly, with both creative and analytical perspectives. The right mix of creative and analytical thinking provides the best ideas with a clear path to get them implemented.

If this Dilbert hits to close too home (or office), let us know. We can expand your theoretical work limit (T.W.L.) and provide the antidote for brain shutdowns!

Dilbert.com

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 us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.

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

I frequently invite intriguing people I meet (online or offline) to write guest blog posts for Brainzooming. The first follow-up question is usually on what to blog about for the Brainzooming community. My somewhat general answer is, “Anything you want relating to strategy, creativity, and innovation.” While this broad description works for me in writing the blog, it’s clear from the number of people who never actually write a post that more direction could help prospective guest bloggers figure out what to blog about:

What You Could Blog about for Brainzooming

Here are 15 potential topics in answer to the, “What to blog about for Brainzooming?” question:

1.    How you express creativity in your career or areas of personal interest

2.    What you do for creative inspiration

3.    Your perspective on strategic moves within an industry or team

4.    How you’re employing innovation and innovative techniques in your business

5.    An innovation or strategy lesson you’ve learned in your career

6.    Reactions to a conference or presentation on strategy, creativity, or innovation-related topics

7.    Reactions to marketing-related events or developments

8.    Creative places or creative work environments you’ve experienced

9.    Ways you keep your innovation or creative perspective sharp

10.  A strategy example or innovation lesson from daily life

11.  Your reaction to an article already appearing in the Brainzooming blog

12.  Your reaction to a relevant article appearing elsewhere

13.  Reviewing a book on strategy, creativity, or innovation (let me know on this one, I may have a standing request from someone to get their book reviewed)

14.  Guidelines for how you approach being more strategic or innovative in your career

15.  An appropriately-targeted rant (keep the language clean!)

Remember - your post doesn’t have to be written. It could also be a video!

Some More Topics You Could Blog About

These subjects are also all really relevant for Brainzooming, but for a variety of reasons, they just haven’t been covered adequately:

  • Search engine optimization strategy
  • Creative, visual depictions of analytical data
  • How business models are having to become more innovative based on social networking
  • Profiles of cool, innovative people making an impact outside the spotlight
  • Remarkable displays of creative expression
  • Calling BS on the hype of social media (and social media rock stars)
  • What will develop to replace the important roles publishers and editors have played in making sure information is reliable
  • First-hand accounts of innovation and strategy lessons learned in businesses and organizations
  • Counterpoints to things I’ve written

Meet Tom – The Brainzooming Blog Persona

We’ve talked before about the importance of a persona to focus creating blog content. To help guest bloggers, here’s a brief recap of the persona I’ve been using for Brainzooming. You can always think about “Tom” and what might be of benefit to him:

  • Tom is 35, married, and has two children. He has an MBA in marketing from a well-known university. From his schooling, he has built a strong network domestically, and to some extent, internationally. Currently, Tom works as a corporate brand manager, although with the downsizing that’s taken place the past few years, he has had to assume broader and non-traditional responsibilities in his corporate role.
  • While Tom has traveled extensively previously, he’s more geographically stable right now as his attention turns to raising his family. Tom is an interesting mix of traditional professional objectives and eclectic personal interests, including extreme sports, alternative music, sustainability, etc.
  • Tom’s become active in producing social media content through his own business-oriented blog and Twitter. Tom’s audience is growing through demonstrating his expertise online. He’s making connections he hopes will pave the way for the next phase in his career. Since he’s ahead of where his company is on social media, it’s an area where his personal experience is being called upon to help shape the company’s thinking on the topic.

Please Share Your Perspective in a Brainzooming Guest Post!

This post is way too much to tell somebody in a tweet or when talking with them at Panera. I hope it’s helpful, however, in encouraging more of you to share what you know (or what you’d like to know) about strategy, creativity, and innovation with everybody else on Brainzooming! 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 help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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

If you are like me you find yourself reading a lot every day. But most of my reading, and I imagine yours, is in short bursts. An email here, a blog post there, comments on a message forum, ten pages of a PowerPoint deck, etc., ad infinitum. So when I find something that I read for hours at a time, that is noteworthy.

That happened to me recently with the book, The Goal, A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt. First off, it feels pretty geeky to say that I found a book on process improvement a page turner. But Goldratt’s book has two very strong things going for it.

One is that it presented what was to me a new way of thinking about process improvements that he calls Theory of Constraints. What he has to say about process improvement goes beyond industrial engineering and offers learnings for marketing, sales and organizational communication.

(Very short version: If you trying to get more output from your office/factory/restaurant, don’t try to make everything more efficient and productive at once. Find the bottleneck and either fix or improve it first before wasting your effort and resources elsewhere. Also, understand the bottleneck could be the market(ing), and you may be calculating productivity really badly.)

The second was that it was written not in a regular nonfiction format but as a novel. Its primary setting is a mythical (but totally plausible) electrical components factory in the Northeastern US. The protagonist, Alex, is the factory manager who is battling backed up orders at the same time he is seeing stagnant or falling product sales. His problems are compounded by corporate demands for greater productivity and a personal life that is steadily falling apart. There is also a cigar smoking, globetrotting physics professor named Jonah who . . . maybe you should read it for yourself.

The book was a concrete illustration of the impact of telling a story. It also shows how looking at problems without being bound by others preconceptions and their standard ways of evaluation and then presenting the answers you find in an unexpected format can produce dramatic impacts. – Barrett Sydnor


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 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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