Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 118 – page 118
5

Final-ReportPreparing the final report for a long-term client engagement, I revisited our project management techniques relative to what goes into the document. Certainly The Brainzooming Group has nuances regarding how we conduct and create the final report for a strategy session we facilitate. Our new and reconfirmed project management techniques for closing out big projects, however, will be valuable to you when you are on the hook to prepare a final report of your own.

5 Final Report Success Tips

1. A final report is about the valuable output, not all the inputs

The important part of a final report is the set of recommendations from the project effort. While individual ideas generated along the way may have been interesting, their value as standalone ideas is secondary if they were not incorporated into the recommendations. While this is not surprising, there is still a part of me that struggles with not including all the ideas we had along the way into the final report for whatever value they may have in the future. Slowly, however, I am getting over this.

2. Do not waste too much time working out of sequence on the final report

Preparing the final report of a project that is complex will not necessarily happen in sequential order. If you are stuck trying to work on the beginning of the report, your inclination may be to start skipping around between sections to make at least some forward progress. As a project management technique, that is worth a try, but resist the inclination to skip around too much. Instead, settle on the section you think you have the best chance of advancing and focus on pushing that section of the final report forward for an extended time. Doing this lets you build momentum in a way that skipping around will not.

3. Print the final report draft and spread it out

When you have a big final report document underway, it is possible you will only be able to go so far organizing it onscreen. This is especially true if you need to make significant changes to move the final report of the project toward completion. If you find yourself staring at the screen for more than ten minutes unable to make a move to rearrange it, print the document (or at least a section of it) and use a paper copy you can spread out, reorder, and discover a better way to organize it.

4. Some final report sections may not fit and aren’t worth any more time

If a project is strategic, creative, and/or developmental in nature, by the time you get close to completion, you may have sections of the final report in both varying stages of completion and applicability. Some sections may seem less applicable the further along you get in preparing the report. Do not be reluctant to yank those sections from the final report if you cannot reasonably fix or complete them efficiently or on a timely basis.

5. Finishing can involve taking things away, not doing more

Looking at this project at one point, my comment was, “It’s too much and too little at the same time.” Sounds like Goldilocks when you read it here. The point is for as much as completing the final report of a project “seems” to be about adding more things, if you’re getting lost in how to complete it, smartly removing things may be the fastest way to get a project done.

What project management techniques help you finish the final report of a project?

We have many readers who have project management responsibilities, so what works for you in completing a significant final report document? Or what have you tried and found to not work – even though you would think it would? Getting projects closed out is a valuable skill, so we’d appreciate hearing your successes. – Mike Brown

 

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

Does your organization have good ideas, but lacks the wherewithal to bring them to reality? The Brainzooming Group and our collaborative, implementation-oriented project management techniques will quickly move you toward success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 for a free consultation on how to get started.

 

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

1

I listened in on Dan Rockwell (aka “Leadership Freak”) and his “Writing Blogs that Get Read” webinar. Dan has built a very successful blog and social media presence with a large audience in a few years. “Writing Blogs that Get Read” was his first webinar and targeted at sharing his blogging success ideas.

Do-This-ThatWhile Dan Rockwell certainly shared many familiar ideas during the webinar, I kept a running list of ideas we haven’t pursued with the Brainzooming blog. Sometimes it has been because of priorities; sometimes is has been because of conscious decisions we haven’t adopted a particular strategy.

Regardless of the reason, since we share social media lessons from our experience, the page full of alternative blogging success ideas I captured makes sense to feature since it’s new to Brainzooming readers.

18 Blogging Success Ideas You Haven’t Read on Brainzooming

Here are eighteen blogging success ideas Dan Rockwell is using for content development, engagement, audience building:

  1. Write each day’s blog post that day to increase the sense of immediacy.
  2. Write in a “you” voice, not “I” or “me.”
  3. Don’t ever go over 300 words in a blog post. If the topic could be longer, either don’t write everything or break it up into multiple posts.
  4. Display your picture prominently on the blog.
  5. Don’t feature guest blog posts. Readers want to hear the primary blog author’s perspectives and voice.
  6. Contact industry leaders, business experts, and authors to connect and pave the way for interview posts. This strategy makes them part of your audience building effort as they point their networks to your blog when the interview blog post publishes.
  7. Aggressively first follow on Twitter (i.e., follow many people first, and more people than are following you) – even after you’ve built a social media audience.
  8. Reach out to book publishers to request author interviews. This also increases the range of connections and content opportunities you have.
  9. Create awards you develop and sponsor. These grow the number of people engaged with the blog at multiple points in the awards process.
  10. Incorporate excerpts from your blog posts into the tweets promoting the blog post link.
  11. Keep extensive lists of how your blog promotion tweets perform and repeat the tweets creating the greatest engagement.
  12. You can build an audience without paying much, if any attention, to SEO – if you use other social media audience building tactics.
  13. Give away incentives for readers leaving comments.
  14. Email contributors who leave comments to extend the discussion.
  15. Have a specific set of needs you are asking readers and your extended network for help with on a regular basis.
  16. Invest time to leave comments on high traffic sites, such as Harvard Business Review.
  17. Avoid shifting the URL for your blog as it develops (we’re on our third URL).
  18. Have a spouse who reads your blog (mine doesn’t…ever) to provide another perspective.

Blogging Success Ideas You HAVE Read on Brainzooming and Can Now HEAR!

Relative to blogging success ideas you have seen on the Brainzooming blog, you now have a chance to HEAR them as well. I was very excited to be a guest for the first SmallBusinessTalent.com podcast episode. During an interview with the host (and loyal Brainzooming fan) Stephen Lahey, we discussed a variety of ways to make sure a blog makes sense and produces results. It was a very fast paced discussion, and I invite you to listen to the podcast on Stephen’s website, SmallBusinessTalent.com.

You Have to Find What Blogging Success Ideas Work for Your Organization

Ultimately, determining your own content strategy and audience building efforts must make sense for you and your organization’s overall objectives. That’s why there are so many different blogs and so many varied ways of approaching them. – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

Tweet-ConvoDuring a branding webinar presented by Julie Cotinneau, she asked for examples of how participants’ organizations encourage and recognize failure in pursuit of business innovation. The Twitter exchange to the right ensued after Julie reported one organization holds fake funerals for its failed initiatives.

I immediately reached out to Jamie Lacroix to see if she’d share a guest blog post about fake funerals for failed business innovation initiatives.

Jamie, who you can tell from her tweets is a little shy (kidding), agreed! Jamie is the Director of Marketing & Communications for The David Project. She has responsibility for developing and managing its annual comprehensive marketing strategy, in addition to handling its website, marketing materials, advertising and press inquiries, and working with staff members to embrace The David Project’s brand.

Here’s Jamie with her super cool guest post:

 

JamieLacroixPhotoBusiness Innovation – R.I.P. Failure by Jamie Lacroix

Winston Churchill once said, “Failure is not fatal.” Well, if you work at The David Project, it is.

But let me expand on that, lest you think that we have some horrible policy about literally terminating our employees (think Darth Vader) should they fail at a task.

The David Project adopted seven Core Values in the spring of 2012, which are at the forefront of how all employees interact internally. (More on our Core Values can be found in another blog post I wrote: This Blog Post is Brought to you by the Number 7.)

RewardingSuccessOne of our Core Values is Rewarding Success & Embracing Failure, which means celebrating success, encouraging risk-taking, and redefining failures as learning opportunities. Well, the rewarding success part of this is a bit more straight-forward, as there are a number of ways to show an employee or team that they succeeded – ranging anywhere from a high-five to a full staff email to a promotion. The embracing failure part, on the other hand, is not so simple. How does one properly recognize failure without making a particular person or team in the organization look like failures themselves?

What The David Project came up with, after doing some research and brainstorming internally, was to create gravestones for our failed initiatives and hold fake funerals for them. This gives us the chance to reflect on why the initiative failed in the first place and how to better move forward with other ideas in the future. And yes, we may have ordered a Grim Reaper costume to wear when conducting said funerals. And yes, you may have to bribe a certain staff member here if you’d like to see said photos.

Failure-GravestonesCreating these gravestones and holding funerals is a relatively new practice at The David Project. We currently have three gravestones in place, displayed for all to see who enter our “Green Room” – which is called such because we have a green screen in there. And a ping pong table that’s green too, come to think of it. But I digress.

The gravestones state the name of the initiative or program and then contain a funny caption underneath. The captions are perhaps only funny to staff members, but that’s our target for the Core Values, so it works. No one in particular is blamed for a failure, but the entire organization uses the opportunity to reflect upon why the initiative wasn’t successful (e.g. it was no longer in line with our current strategic plan). We also use that time to tell funny stories and give examples about why the initiative was, perhaps, a complete flop.

Winston Churchill also said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” That is the true reason why The David Project embraces failure. Every time we fail at something, we know that we tried the best we could and keep on trucking until we succeed at something else. Because really, when has someone been entirely successful without first failing a few times? – Jamie Lacroix

 

 

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


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.

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.

More Posts

Continue Reading

1

A Windmill Networking blog post highlighted fifteen social media activities and mindsets professionals need to address toward improving their 2013 marketability. The social media activities list provided a solid overview of fundamental social media strategy thinking and expertise areas.

For many Brainzooming readers, you’ve already absorbed the fundamentals of social media strategy and live them out on a daily basis. Yet I know for many others, especially mid-career professionals, social media is something you’re barely and only begrudgingly embracing – and then often only sporadically.

Fifteen Social Media Strategy Thinking and Expertise Areas

For all of you, here is a recap of the fifteen social media fundamentals list, along with a link to a previous Brainzooming post for each topic. While you definitely need to explore other sources, these Brainzooming articles on social media fundamentals provide initial ideas if you’ve been resisting social media as a more important part of your professional skill repertoire.

Here are the fifteen social media thinking and expertise areas for you to address:

  1. Having an Active Personal Social Presence
  2. Understanding the Importance of Engagement
  3. Knowing the Role Social Media Listening Plays
  4. Being Flexible and Open to New Approaches
  5. Getting a Handle on Understanding Social Media on an Ongoing Basis
  6. Diligent in Social Media Monitoring
  7. Actively Connect with Customers
  8. Regular Analysis to Monitor Performance
  9. Strong Content Creation
  10. Tie Social Media to Business-Related Goals
  11. Possess a Long-Term Orientation
  12. Integrating Traditional and Social Media Strategy
  13. Having at Least a Cursory Understanding of SEO
  14. Reaching Out to Collaborate Across Departments within the Organization
  15. Know who the Top Influencers Are in Your Industry

How are you stacking up on these social media strategy activities and mindset recommendations?

Do you have a long or short list to improve your 2013 marketability? If you’re in good shape, is there someone else you know who could benefit from this list? Maybe you can share it with them. That would be a great demonstration of #2!  – Mike Brown

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

6

At some point, the common fortune cookie seems to have turned into an “advice” cookie, which is probably just as well. Posting this photo from my fortune cookie / advice cookie the other evening generated some interesting comments on Facebook about asking honest questions.

Is there any harm in asking honest questions?

A current teacher that I went to grade school with said she has to work hard to get her students to feel comfortable asking questions without concern for being laughed at for not knowing something. A college friend pointed out that “never is a long time” and that there a variety of situations where even honest questions can be too honest or sensitive and indeed cause harm.

What do you think? Is there ever any harm in asking honest questions? – Mike Brown

Honest-Ques-High

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

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

NMX-WebsiteIt’s fantastic that live event social media coverage of an incredible conference allows you to experience an event live from afar along with the blogs, presentations, and videos recapping the content afterward.

The only downside is you get to start kicking yourself while the event is still underway for not having ponied up the bucks to attend.

That was my sentiment with the New Media Expo (#NMX).

The Sunday afternoon tweets clearly confirmed the great content coming out of the Las Vegas event. By Monday, any remaining doubts were erased that the investment to attend the New Media Expo would have been a great one.

So while I wasn’t at #NMX, here are a sampling of tweets from the event. Again, this wasn’t my original content. These tweets are simply a sampling of great content I monitored and retweeted. Thanks to all the live tweeters for their efforts to share these ideas with the outside world!

This first link is to a Slideshare eBook with highlights from a broad range of #NMX presentations.

Audience Growth and “Viral” Content

These New Media Expo tweets underscore that it’s a different ballgame for bloggers than for traditional journalists. This point is lost on many traditional media outlets trying to look like social media sites, often with silly results. Social media content creators, however, would do well to consider adopting the ethics professional journalists operate under daily basis. And speaking of “daily,” there is value in writing more – even publishing daily.

While I still contend viral content is largely a game of numbers and chance, these tweets provide an underpinning to creating content that will be better received, even if it doesn’t become viral content. The theme of a micro focus inside a macro sentiment provides a basis for both generating and refining ideas that are near this intersection.

Social Business

This slide from the “War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing” presentation by Lee Odden is a wonderful illustration of how social content interacts with traditional marketing to address wherever a customer is in the buying cycle. You can find whole presentation from Lee Odden on Slideshare.

These additional #NMX tweets point to how adopting a social business perspective not only paves the way for a different way of creating a brand’s customer experience, it also opens up intriguing possibilities for ongoing content ideas.

Guy Kawasaki on Social Networking, Apple, and Marketing Success

Keynote presenter Guy Kawasaki was filled with tweetable one-liners – no surprise there. Here are several that prompted my retweets. The first one sums up his take on four social networking platforms:

I’ve tried to say what Guy Kawasaki says below in several posts about Steve Jobs and the fascination with doing what Steve Jobs did at Apple. There’s no modeling Steve Jobs because he didn’t have to operate with typical strategies because he was wired differently. In all those time of writing about it, however, I’ve never been able to describe the unique situation with Jobs so clearly:

Always a challenge to force yourself to accept when you want to do a variety of things:

Two Final Random Thoughts from the New Media Expo

This is one of those tweets that you sort of agree with, and sort of makes sense, but I would never have said it this way:

Definitely not the sexiest of the rewteets, but a tremendously beneficial idea, nonetheless. I’d throw in your attention and passion right in there with your time as the most valuable things you have:

I’ve got to find a way to get to #NMX in 2014!

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

Product-NameA recent MarketingProfs story highlighted ideas about the best and worst product names for the year. Since a Brainzooming post with eight creative thinking questions behind creating cool product names was at the top of our most viewed articles list, the MarketingProfs article was fodder for another post full of creative questions.

But the Brainzooming strategy isn’t to give you list of cool product names and simply say what’s cool about them (especially since that’s what the MarketingProfs piece does).

Instead, we took a look at what might have been behind the six best cool product names according to MarketingProfs:

From the background MarketingProfs provided on each of them, we devised a list of creative thinking questions that COULD HAVE yielded these six best product names.

Think of it as our best of product name generator list!

As with the previous cool product names post, these creative questions are intended to help you generate intriguing, real-sounding product name ideas. By asking some or all of these seventeen creative thinking questions, try to generate as many potential cool product names as possible. Afterward, you can work with individual words, phrases, and their combinations for further brainstorming before prioritizing the options having the most strategic and creative possibilities.

17 Creative Questions for Cool Product Names

Here are seventeen new creative thinking questions to add to your product name generator list:

  • What words describe the product’s most significant characteristics?
  • If the product were a character on a reality TV series, what would the show be about? How would the other characters on the reality TV series describe your product’s most prominent features?
  • What words describe what the product looks like? Describe how the product feels to the touch? What sounds does the product make when it is being used? How could you describe the smell the product has (even if it doesn’t have a smell)? Whether or not the product has a taste, what words describe what it tastes like?
  • What words or phrases are antonyms (i.e. opposites) of the typical customer complaints about other products in the category?
  • What characteristics or needs should a customer have to get the most from the product?
  • If you mainly use real words for other product names, what faux words would describe this product? If you mainly use faux words, what real words would describe this product?
  • If you mainly use acronyms for other product names, what phrases describe this product? If you mainly use real words/phrases for product names, what acronyms work with this product?
  • What words describe the people who use the product? What words describe where, when, why, how, and what it’s used for by the product’s best customers?
  • Reviewing the list of words generated so far, what are more unusual or exaggerated synonyms for each word you generated as names?

What cool product names made your best of list?

Were there cool product names that stood out for you? And if so, what creative questions would you ask to come up with more product name ideas like them? – Mike Brown

 

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

 

Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

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