Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 246 – page 246
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“I like progress, but I hate change. And I think that counts for something in this day and age. I think it also has helped my career . . . You just stay the course, and do what it is that you do, and grow while you’re doing it. Eventually, it will either come full circle, or at least you’ll go to bed at night happy.” – Jon Bon Jovi

This quote is intriguing, and it appears to come down to this question: are there parts of your life that you are willing to live in an apparent “rut” so you can disproportionately focus your creative energy in areas that are most important to you? In Bon Jovi’s case, he points to having the same band members and a long-term marriage (18+ years) as constants that allow him to concentrate progress on the work that his band produces.

The idea resonates with me because I make similar trade-offs, keeping some long term constants (where I live, my car & employer, clothing choices) so that I can save up creative energy to pour into things I really love (what I do and create at work, speaking, writing, cartooning, etc.).

While this approach isn’t for everyone (one of my incredibly creative strategic mentors keeps most things in life in a state of flux), if it sounds like you, embrace putting parts of your life on idle so that you can be a rock star in the areas of greatest creative interest to you.

Today’s Get ‘Er Written Approach Breaking apart an overly ambitious idea and keeping only part of it.

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’m okay with having started projects that will never be completed. While I don’t have a problem finishing things, sometimes the overwhelming amount of learning and growth a project will yield comes well before its completion. Or perhaps the effort to finish it far outweighs the benefit it will provide. In either case, if there’s no overriding reason to finish such a project (i.e. a commitment has been made to someone else), it’s likely it will be abandoned.

Usually, though that means keeping the remnants around in case there’s more value to be squeezed from them later. Whether you’ll really get more value at some point in the future often depends on modifying the original idea. Based on the potential issue that’s halted progress, here are questions to ask for modifying an idea that’s:

  • Not good or relevant – Is there an element that has value and can be moved to something else?
  • Not fully formed – Can it be combined with something else?
  • Being used too ambitiously – Can you break it apart and only keep some of it?
  • Inconsistent with your brand – Could it fit with another brand that’s available?
  • A true non-starter – If you walk away and come back later, might it make more sense?

This is relevant because I have a number of partially-written blog fragments started weeks or months ago that haven’t yet made it into the blog. Before completely trashing them, I applied these questions to try and resuscitate four ideas into posts for the rest of the week. Check back in, and see which of the possibilities above worked to rescue these ideas.

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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My wife and I were strolling through Union Station in Kansas City three years ago and happened upon a collection of paintings in the styles of famous artists – Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, and others. All of them were done by Montessori students under the tutelage of Matt Barr. The paintings were on display as a pre-cursor to being auctioned to raise money for the school.

Having always loved Andy Warhol’s work, this seemed the closest I’d ever get to owning one. On the night that bidding was closing, a number of people were trying to outbid each other via email with Matt. All of a sudden, the bidding exploded on the Warhol picture, probably from parents of the students whose images made up the picture. At the last minute, my wife said she really wanted “The Starry Night.” On just two bids, we bought the Van Gogh painting for about $400. Pretty cheap by Sotheby’s standards!

The highlight was when Matt delivered the picture accompanied by his daughter, who had contributed to “The Starry Night.” Matt explained that he sketched out the paintings, setting the kids up to be successful in reproducing the works. They did the lion’s share of the painting, and he touched them up at the end.
We’ve not been in contact with Matt since then (although if you Google him you’ll find an interesting Snakes on a Plane for kids project), but what an incredible teacher! To figure out a way to allow the students to learn and actively contribute to reproducing a wonderful work of art is such a cool gift to them. It had to open up so many possibilities for those kids. And for us, it means we can always claim to have an original Van Gogh!

The challenge for all of us is to figure out what we can do in a similar vein to share our creative passions with kids and adults. Take the steps to introduce people you know to your creative pursuits. Give the gift of some basic structure and then encourage their creative energy to take over. I know I haven’t done enough creative instigation lately. How about you?  – 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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Police detectives are responsible for identifying and developing leads, often with little actual information to go on, and successfully solving cases. The challenge is not unlike the effort required to find and develop solid leads for business development purposes.

Next time you’re faced with that task, delegate your challenge to a police detective and see how their methods could help you solve the case of the missing customer. Detectives:

  • Interview witnesses & knowledgeable people for clues
  • Gather evidence
  • Check for & analyze fingerprints
  • Perform forensic analysis
  • Search databases for suspects in previous similar cases
  • Work with other related agencies
  • Tap phone lines
  • Conduct surveillance
  • Ask the public for help

Once again, try to generate three ideas for each of the police detective approaches above. And be careful out there!

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – 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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I’ve always wondered why Bruce Springsteen has only played a few guitars on stage during his career while Tom Petty seems to change guitars on nearly every song. The different strategy each of them takes probably comes down to what it takes to fuel creativity. The last several weeks, I’ve gotten a little better insight into the impact of various creative tools you might use.

The morning of a recent plane trip to Las Vegas, we stopped at Wal-Greens for last minute items. I bought a relatively inexpensive sketch pad similar to ones I’d had as a kid. My desire was to simply have a tool to spur creativity by offering a different type of bare wall to go along with the change of scenery (Las Vegas) and activity (an actual non-working vacation).

Lo and behold, the bare wall theory for creativity held up. On the way, I sketched out seventeen potential posts for another blog I’m doing. Once in Vegas, the creative tool of focus shifted briefly to the camera on my phone, which yielded another 5 ideas for posts. Returning from a quick trip to Washington last week, it was back to the sketch book’s creative boost, writing out some posts (including this one) with a Sharpie marker.

Going back to a previously familiar creative tool has provided an opportunity to wring some new and varied creativity from it. Needless to say, I’m really enjoying the creative stimulus provided by the sketch book right now!

So ask yourself – are you more like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty when it comes to your creative strategy? And do you have all the tools you need to keep your creativity flowing in various situations? Act on the answers to these two questions to fuel your creativity!  – 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 see how we can help make your strategic thinking and planning more productive, even when you’re not on a plane!

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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Seven months into daily posts on the blog, it’s time to directly request comments from those of you who are reading it.

One objective in starting the blog was to force myself to commit new ideas to writing. Rather than just creating Powerpoint slides for presentations, I wanted to express concepts in new ways and to avoid forgetting them because they had never been captured. From that standpoint, the blog has been very successful. As I’ve done many strategic thinking “how to” sessions this year, there’s been plentiful new content to freshen the basic presentation.

Other clear positives have included:

What hasn’t worked, from my perspective at least, is creating a strong dialogue with you. Amid sporadic comments (which I appreciate more than you’ll ever know), most posts don’t trigger much response, although at times I get email comments that aren’t left on the site. Interestingly, the dearth of comments or questions happens often in live presentations. I’m not sure if it’s the content, the quantity of material, or my delivery style, but obviously something isn’t triggering you to share your perspectives as frequently as I might have anticipated.

An interesting for me is that this blog has helped trigger the introduction (or re-introduction) of several other blogs – some among all of you and several that I’ve started in related, but narrower categories tied to my personal and professional work. Additionally, I’m beginning this Thursday as a weekly marketing blogger on Schmoozii, a new business-oriented social networking website. It’s an exciting opportunity resulting from writing this blog.

With this new effort, my weekly “blog output” quota will reach 12 posts (plus graphics and trying to respond to comments that are offered). For me at least, as a part-time blogger, that’s a lot to produce. Which led me to a personal recommendation: ask you for your perspectives to help shape the content and frequency of my efforts. And being a fan of the Plus – Minus – Interesting – Recommendation format, I’d sincerely appreciate your thoughts on the following:

  1. Plus – What works for you about this blog (content, frequency, certain types of posts, etc.)? Where does it provide value to you professionally or personally?
  2. Minus – What is lacking in the blog from your perspective? Are there things that are less valuable or could be re-tooled to be more helpful for you?
  3. Interesting – What are things you’ve found interesting, intriguing, or surprising as a result of the blog?
  4. Recommendation – What recommendations do you have relative to changes or enhancements?

Please leave a comment with your PMIR thoughts (or send me an email at mike@mikebrownspeaks.com if you’d prefer) and help me shape the blog in the months ahead. Thanks for you help!

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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“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” – Frederic Chopin

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

“What’s really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous.” – William Albert Allard

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“I apologize for the length of this letter, but I didn’t have time to make it shorter.” – Mark Twain

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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