Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 118 – page 118
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Creative-Fake-BookMonday’s post on getting the most from your creativity daily mentioned the idea of creative fakes and compiling your own creative fake book.

When I wrote this, I was thinking about how musicians use “fake” songbooks that include only the melody, lyrics, and chords for a song. From these basics, a musician can create an impromptu live performance of a song. And since the information is skeletal, it becomes much easier and portable to have access to many, many songs for performance.

Faking Creative Thinking Skills in a Live Setting

This mention of a creative fake book got me thinking afterward about what skeletal items I’d put into one for Brainzooming. Thinking about how The Brainzooming Group performs “live” creative thinking sessions that often have an impromptu feel, there are four areas I’d include in our creative fake book.

These four types of creative thinking exercises would provide the basics for faking the structures to enhance an individual or group’s creative thinking skills.

1. Creative Thinking Questions

These are the initial creative thinking questions you can ask to get people to start exploring new ideas. By starting with questions, you both prompt people to start working together to answer them, you also begin to develop a sense of where the initial creative thinking is being directed. These questions oriented toward disruptive innovation would make it into the creative fake book.

2. Creativity Enhancers

These probes and prompts provide a way to redirect an individual or group’s creative thinking into new or more exaggerated paths than it pursues originally. A creative thinking exercise we call “Shrimp” is a fantastic one in a group setting to foster both creativity and fun.

3. Comparisons

Comparisons and analogies provide powerful ways to shift an individual or group’s creative thinking perspective to address an opportunity or challenge from a different, more creatively rich direction. One of our staple creative thinking exercises for comparisons is “What’s It Like?”

4. Narrowing Exercises

These convergent thinking approaches are vital in narrowing the full range of intriguing ideas you generate. Through narrowing exercises, hundreds of ideas are winnowed into the strongest ideas and concepts an organization can implement. In a group setting, you often have to push to prioritize uncomfortable ideas to make sure the group is truly stretching into new territory when it comes to implementation.

What would go into your creative fake book?

Those four types of items would make it into the Brainzooming Creative Fake Book. Would they work in yours or are there other items you’d want to have handy to make sure you can get through a live creative performance when the situation demands it? – Mike Brown

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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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I’ve been thinking about the people I most cherish for their creative help, advice, and prodding over the years. They are a diverse and eclectic group!

21 Talents and Creative Thinking Skills Among My Creative Friends

Here are twenty-one talents and creative thinking skills I cherish among creative friends and team members:

  1. A sense of humor
  2. A strong listener
  3. Active on social media so it’s easier to reach them
  4. Open to having impromptu time to talk
  5. Will challenge my thinking or perspectives in a constructive way
  6. Have different interests in life than I do
  7. Think in intriguing ways
  8. They are confident in their opinions
  9. Know lots of things I don’t have a clue about
  10. Express themselves well in varied ways
  11. Honesty
  12. React to ideas in predictable ways
  13. Have a positive attitude
  14. Are encouraging to others
  15. Can work together well with each other to create and strengthen ideas
  16. Have an appreciation for spirituality
  17. Both encourage and are willing to try new things
  18. We have complementary strengths and weaknesses
  19. They share and teach what they know
  20. They push me to be better than I am now
  21. They know intriguing people

What talents and creative thinking skills do you cherish in your creative friends?

Do they know how much you cherish them? If not, maybe it’s time to thank them!  – Mike Brown

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you improve your creative thinking skills and generate fantastic ideas! To boost your organization’s innovation success, contact TheBrainzooming Group to help you rapidly expand strategic options and create strong implementation plans. Email us atinfo@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ll 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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CNN-Boston-MarathonAny time we have an all eyes on the news tragedy, there is a question about what brands should do with their social media content:

  • Do you act like major networks and news programs and start exclusively sharing updates and (second hand) news about the tragedy?
  • Do you act like a cable network and keep up with whatever social media content was already planned, irrespective of the news?
  • Do you go completely dark out of respect for the tragedy and its victims?

So, what do you do with social media during a tragedy?

David Armano offers five pieces of advice for brands and how they should conduct themselves. It is great advice oriented toward a brand with a larger collaborative social media effort, although some of it (review your scheduled content and remove anything sensitive) applies across the board.

Another piece of advice from David Armano, summed up as “Do the Right Thing,” is a great sentiment, but there’s no one answer to what the right thing to do is.

One safe answer seems to be sending out your brand’s thoughts to a tragedy’s victims. Thoughts are nice, although not particularly efficacious. Some brands take advantage of their large audiences to help broadcast emergency and relief updates. Some brands are willing to go out on a limb and offer prayers. Since many times all you can do in these situations is pray or pay (i.e., donate), prayers are at the top of the heap to help victims.

Other brands, keep on with what social media content was already planned (or inappropriately chosen amid the tragedy), as others (typically individuals) spend their time calling these brands out for their social media miscues.

Perhaps the safest answer is to go dark in the face of tragedy. The challenge is there are tragedies and victims daily.

So does that mean a brand should NEVER share any social media?

No, it doesn’t.

But when there’s discussion about the importance of being “human” on social media, it’s not some b.s. social media strategy mumbo jumbo. You DO have to be human with your social media content, no matter how big or small your brand is.

And if you’re human with your social media sharing every day, you have a lot better chance of getting it right when a human tragedy is close enough to intersect with your social media content.  – Mike Brown

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 more on World Creativity and Innovation Week, visit http://toronto.wciw.org/

World Creativity and Innovation Week starts today (as it does every April 15th) in honor of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday.  We’ll join in with the World Creativity and Innovation Week theme this week since innovation, creativity, and enhancing your creative thinking skills are all topics core to our coverage at Brainzooming.

7 Ideas to Get the Most from Your Creativity

Maybe your job requires daily creativity while offering few opportunities to recharge your creative thinking skills in dramatic ways.  Perhaps your work environment’s attitude is less about waiting for creative inspiration and more about, “Be creative dammit!”

If this describes your work situation, how do you get the most from your creativity on a daily basis? Here are seven ideas I’ve been depending upon to boost creative thinking skills and keep them strong daily:

1. Take advantage of the time right after your sleep.

The creative refresh that comes from sleep can help boost your creativity so much. Early mornings and late evenings (after a refresh nap) are all important for a fresh view and maximum creative output.

2. Cultivate your spirituality regularly.

Might as well take advantage of the greatest creative force there is! To stay focused on spirituality, I need structure surrounding me. Attending a church service every weekday morning refreshes my creativity at the start of each day and opens my mind to possibilities I wouldn’t have imagined the night before.

3. Revisit your creative inventory.

I hang on to completed creative output, as well as interim drafts and partial ideas that might never see the light of day. Not only does this provide a source for new and reformatted creative ideas, looking at interim creative drafts helps me think about previous creative techniques that might be a fit for what’s needed now.

4. Develop reusable creative structures all the time.

Call it laziness or call it smarts, but with every client we take on for a strategic or creative effort, we review how even impromptu efforts can become creative thinking exercises we can use as future creative structures.

5. Have creative fakes available.

A “fake” songbook gives musicians enough of a song’s framework (lyrics, melody, chords) to perform at a moment’s notice. A creative fake book provides the core of a creative structure to go from nothing to creativity rapidly. For me, the Brainzooming blog is my creative fake book. When I need a creative structure to get started quickly, I visit the blog, no matter where I am.

6. Get away from the daily routine whenever you can.

Contrary to everyone else on the planet, I love airports and airplane flights. Time on an airplane is my most creative because it is disconnected from the daily routine. Even if I don’t have a plane trip on the horizon, going somewhere different around town that’s fun and new can provide the needed creative boost.

7. Be around the right people.

From experience over time, I know being around people (vs. being by myself) helps to get the most from creativity. Specific individuals can often stimulate certain types of creativity very efficiently. When it’s been too long since I’ve been around one of these people, I know it’s time to get together right away!

What boosts your creative thinking skills daily?

These seven ideas are what I’ve been using the past few years when I tell myself, “Be creative dammit!” What works for you when you’re facing the same type of creative demands, whether imposed by your client, boss, or even yourself? – Mike Brown

 

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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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Blog-ScrapIf you’re blogging on a regular basis, it’s likely you have accumulated plenty of blog scraps along the way.

Blog scraps are the stray ideas, sentences, paragraphs, or maybe nearly complete blog drafts that have not turned into published blog posts. It could be they aren’t timely anymore, you’ve struggled to fashion them into full blogs, or you are suffering from creative apathy relative to the original topic. I can’t even begin to tell you how many online pages and notebooks I have filled with partially written copy that is only seen when I revisit them looking for ideas on what to blog about when time is tight and there’s a daily blogging deadline looming.

What to Blog About – 10 Things to Do with Your Blog Scraps

While these scraps may have seemed like good ideas for what to blog about at some point, that has not turned out to be the case. No matter the reasons  your blog scraps haven’t been published though, the question is can you find SOMETHING to do with them?

Here are ten things to do with your blog scraps:

  1. Expand a blog scrap into a full blog post in a different direction than you originally intended to write it.
  2. Simplify the blog scrap to one central idea, making it more viable as a blog post.
  3. Compile a bunch of related scraps into a themed blog post.
  4. Compile a bunch of unrelated scraps into a potpourri blog post.
  5. Add your scrap to a related blog post you’ve already written to freshen it up.
  6. Find someone else’s blog where your blog scrap works as a comment.
  7. Make your blog scrap into a short Google+, Facebook, or LinkedIn group post.
  8. Keep the scraps for use as fresh content in a white paper, eBook, or book.
  9. Take another shot at writing the original blog post for which the scrap was intended.
  10. Throw the blog scrap away (or delete it online) to free yourself of feeling guilty about trying to do something with it.

What do you do with your blog scraps?

When an idea you have for what to blog about doesn’t turn into a fully fledged blog post initially, what do you do with it? Are there other ways you’ve found to take advantage of your preliminary work to get value from your initial writing, video, or audio efforts? Please share what works for you! – 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!”

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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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SessionIf you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen a status update the other evening about launching an intense period of learning for Brainzooming as we undergo a process change the next few weeks. We’ve been in the midst of introducing a new online collaboration tool over the past several months. In the next few weeks, we’re incorporating this online collaboration tool into multiple strategic thinking sessions with varied objectives, formats, and group sizes.

In the midst of designing and facilitating these new types of strategic thinking sessions, there have already been ample opportunities to have session participants play new roles within the Brainzooming methodology. Whenever that type of process change happens, we benefit and learn many lessons as new individuals carry out what we’ve designed.

I imagine it must be similar to a playwright seeing his or her written work interpreted and brought to life by actors. There are bound to be nuances and lessons in these performances  the playwright didn’t envision.

12 Process Change Lessons

Thinking back over the first half of this week’s strategic thinking sessions, here are twelve lessons from loosening or completely turning over the reins to others in bringing the Brainzooming process to life.

So far, I have . . .

  1. Become reacquainted with little things we do without thinking that make a significant difference in helping people perform more productively.
  2. Realized anew how we create a visual and photogenic depiction of an organization’s strategy.
  3. Seen how others approach resolving open questions and issues in alternative ways that make sense to them.
  4. Taken process suggestions from others causing me to use skills I don’t use that often now because they aren’t as fun.
  5. Been forced to stick with a strategic thinking exercise I didn’t think was working (but ultimately worked very well) because a client wouldn’t let me skip to another one.
  6. Gotten to see what others expect they will need or will have happen during a successful strategic thinking session.
  7. Needed to marry our new technology with other client technology to integrate remote participants in a strategic thinking session.
  8. Used our new online collaboration tool in ways I hadn’t anticipated in order to be more personally productive.
  9. Cut down the development time for what we do by weeks because of a client’s limited availability.
  10. Tried to figure out fewer things ahead of time to give our strategic thinking process more capacity to adapt to a client’s current needs.
  11. Screwed something up without freaking out which allowed someone else to help troubleshoot the problem and fix it with little notice.
  12. Accepted “better done than perfect” more readily than I prefer.

These dozen benefits didn’t take much time to list. But being able to identify them depended on being willing to exercise less control, embracing experimentation, and being open to mistakes.

Step Back, Experiment, and Learn with Your Own Process Change

When was the last time you stepped back from a process you know inside and out to experiment, learn, and see how it plays out under the influence of others?

My advice is, if you haven’t pushed for this type of process change recently, figure out a way to make it happen right away and starting learning new lessons! – Mike Brown

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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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blogging-for-businessAt a recent blogging for business training workshop I conducted, the audience members had many great social media questions during the session and in the post-session evaluation. These four social media questions from the blogging for business training workshop are applicable across organizations on the front end of blogging.

What do you do when your boss does not understand social media?

If your boss does not understand social media, you need to have a strategic business conversation, not a social media conversation. Before you have the conversation, do your homework and have a firm understanding of what drives success in your organization. When you understand what translates to success for your organization, structure and prepare a strategic conversation addressing business fundamentals and priorities. With that strategic foundation in place, consider how social media contributes strategically toward overall goals. Do not start with talking about Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or even blogging. Start with revenue, leads, customer service, processes, or any other real issues that drive the business. Then put social media in that context.

Are a website and a business blog separate places online?

This was an intriguing question, because in the context of the blogging for business training workshop, I was talking about an organization’s website and business blog separately. I did this because websites and blogs are different in tone, intent, and messaging. Digitally, however, they are tied together, if not one and the same. You do not want your blog and website to be in two separate digital locations. If they are, you lose real advantages of the web traffic a blog helps attract on a daily basis.

How do you not give away your competitive secrets to your competitors when blogging for business?

I have heard people talk about sharing the “whats” and “whys” of your business, but not the “hows” to protect your proprietary techniques from spilling into your business blog. You can also write in generalities vs. specifics (i.e., we rarely name specific clients). It is also great to write about something other than your organization that is of more interest to your audience. Quite honestly, I do not think about this much since with the strategic planning and marketing work we do, how we do it makes all the difference in efficiently producing the strong imaginative thinking and implementable strategies we devise. You cannot read about it and go do it.

When blogging for business, how do you balance messages so you aren’t overly sales-oriented?

My answer on this question was when it comes to organizing your business blog content, think about a TV show. A ½ hour TV show has approximately twenty-three minutes of content, and seven minutes of commercials (as opposed to an infomercial with is 100 percent commercials). Within a business blog, you’re trying to create entertainment and a reason for people to show up at your website. With that in mind, having at least a 2-to-1 non-commercial to commercial ratio is a starting point. By simply being yourself, you’re “advertising” your value. As a result, blatant selling should be a very small part of the time and messages in your business blog.  – 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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