0

We’ve covered how comparing apples and oranges in a variety of ways can spur creative thinking. Dilbert took up the identical topic in a Sunday comic strip. Dilbert and Wally double team the pointy-haired boss on appropriate and beneficial ways to compare apples and oranges. 

Dilbert.com

Although you might not completely get the point from Dilbert, it is definitely true that the better you become at finding insightful, intriguing comparisons, the more consistently strong your creative thinking will be.

Comparing Apples, Oranges and Anything Else

This Dilbert comic strip is a great introduction to a compilation of Brainzooming articles on creative thinking and making intriguing and valuable comparisons.

Here is wishing you all the fun and success of making better comparisons for learning, creative thinking, and implementation! – 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.

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

Brand marketers can find it challenging to identify all the brand language available to communicate a brand’s distinct benefits and value for customers and prospects.

Based on a recent client brand strategy experience, I highlighted an often overlooked source of compelling brand language in my first LinkedIn article: Is Your Brand Exploiting All Its Brand Language?

If you’d like to read the brand strategy lesson from our experience, you can do so over on LinkedIn.

As an alternative, we also put together a screencast that recaps the article plus adds visuals the LinkedIn article does not contain. This is the first time we’re introducing screencasts into the blog. We’re excited by the possibilities because it gives you the opportunity to have a richer experience with Brainzooming blog content. Additionally, because audio and visuals are incorporated in a screencast, I expect it to open up new topics that just don’t come across as strongly when using words alone.

So go ahead and ask yourself: Is our brand exploiting all its brand language? – Mike Brown

Brand Strategy Screencast – Is Your Brand Exploiting All Its Brand Language?


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 with a strategy session and branding development to create strategic impact 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

This post was originally intended to be written when universities were changing conferences and suddenly the Big 10 had twelve teams and the Big 12 had ten teams. In the wake of those moves, very regionally-named athletic conferences wound up taking on member universities spanning multiple regions, if not half the United States.

Terminal-HuhWhat prompted the post’s writing currently is the state of the Kansas City airport. Amid airlines consolidating, the Kansas City airport’s original three open terminals have now become two open terminals.

While Terminal B and Terminal C are open, there is no Terminal A anymore.

This seemed particularly odd during my drive into the airport last week. Since some of the Terminal A signage has been removed, signage starts with references to Terminal B.

The problem in each case is a naming strategy that clearly relates names to other systems for which your audience has context. The relationship may be internal (i.e., we have 12 teams or 10 teams as reflected in our name) or external (i.e., we’re all about the Southeast, so that’s reflected in our conference name).

6 Naming Strategy Questions to Anticipate Future Oddities

While it’s fine and well for whoever is in charge to name things however they might like, before using a relational naming strategy, it is smart to ask a few strategic thinking questions and perform some what-if analysis.

These questions revolve around whether your naming strategy will make sense if:

  • You grow?
  • You shrink?
  • You fundamentally change the nature of your organization, products, and/or services?
  • Your far off / future sounding name has to represent your organization when you stay in operation a long time?
  • You change the parts of your organization in a different order than the order in which you originally added names?
  • Your organization changes in some unexpected way (versus the names becoming future oddities)?

Clearly there are advantages to a matter-of-fact naming strategy.

A, B, or C are never going to be a future embarrassment because they get caught cheating on their spouses or at the sports they play. Everybody will already understand a lot of what you are trying to say with a realistic, matter of fact naming strategy.

But, as these currently problematic naming strategy examples illustrate, you can throw what makes sense for a loop when your organization changes in unexpected or unusual ways.

There are certainly other naming strategy questions you can ask, but these six questions are an easy head start to consider when opting for a naming system that everyone is going to know, understand, and be able to compare to the reality your organization is presenting. – 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.

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

Firefighter-StrategyHave you been waiting for your organization to really be strategic instead of continually fighting fires?

If so, this story is for you.

Near the start of any presentation, I ask the audience for their expectations during our time together.

One participant at a Creating Strategic Impact workshop for an organization responded to the question with a challenge on how I would customize the content to his organization’s unique situation.

Fair question.

I spent several minutes of the limited time with the group explaining the multiple steps we had taken to tailor the content specifically for his organization. Based on his body language, the answer satisfied him that they wouldn’t be hearing a canned presentation (which mine never are, btw).

How to Start Creating Strategic Impact

At the workshop’s conclusion, this participant was among the first to come forward. He asked a really important question:

“What does it take to get organizations, particularly those outside the for-profit sector, to fundamentally embrace a strategic perspective and begin operating differently than they have?”

My answer was to just START. Today. Or tomorrow at the latest.

I followed with several ideas to get people thinking strategically without them even realizing what was happening.

He responded by saying he was asking specifically about what it takes to force strategic changes at the senior-most levels of an organization such as his.

Given the complexity of the question’s answer and the rush to clear the room so the next presenter could begin, I didn’t get to answer his bigger question.

My answer to his BIGGER question would have been to just start. Today. Or tomorrow at the latest.

Just Start!

Many people want to wait around for strategic changes to happen at the top. The best way to capitalize on change when it does happen, however, is to have prepared YOURSELF and the people YOU can realistically influence to improve their orientations toward creating strategic impact.

While you may not be able to set the overall strategic agenda for your organization, you can find ways to shape strategy in your own little corner of the world.

That can start with small things done repeatedly and consistently to demonstrate you both understand the bigger picture and can take action to bring it about within your sphere of influence.

Creating Strategic Impact Wherever You Can

Some people get off on big picture speculation about what senior leaders are thinking, expecting, and doing.

Yet, at some point, it’s up to YOU to start crating a change.

OR if you aren’t up for that, you need to quit worrying about it. Or perhaps you need to move on to another organization. Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your organization’s success!

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 am asked about personal success strategies frequently, as I’m sure most business people are.

My 4-Step Career Advice

When someone expects career advice and ideas on personal success strategies for free (as they so often do), my standard career advice, particularly to mid-career professionals is:

  1. Get a Plan B up and running while your Plan A is still working.
  2. Start communicating your expertise in your Plan B area (and Plan A if it fits), whether that’s via a blog, a social media site, video, presentations, audio, etc. The medium doesn’t really matter as long as you start communicating what you know sooner than later!
  3. The minute your Plan A job shrinks (or there’s even a hint it might shrink), start ramping up plans for Plan B to become your major income source.
  4. Should plan A ever go away – or you decide you want it to go away – you’re in control of making the right decision.

That’s my standard advice because it’s what I did. And since it has worked reasonably well, I share this personal success strategy because I have at least case to suggest it’s a reasonable strategy. And I don’t want to suggest a bad course of action to anyone.

Nearly Everyone Ignores this Career Advice

career-advicePerhaps because this is my most frequently shared advice (I’ve been giving some version of it for twenty years), it’s the advice nearly everyone ignores.

One friend has been receiving this career advice from me his entire professional work life, and he has yet to act on it. For twenty years he’s been doing something he doesn’t really love doing, but he won’t launch plan B linked to what he is truly passionate about doing. So when his plan A evaporates – and it’s been close before – he will either be starting from scratch on his passion OR wind up doing more of what he hasn’t REALLY loved doing for twenty years because it’s the only thing where he has deep professional experience.

I understand the reluctance to follow this career advice.

Step 1 is a pain in the ass.

That’s not how popular personal success strategies work; they are supposed to start incredibly easy.

Step 1, however, is hard work. It means doing double time, or at least one-plus time. Thus, if you aren’t up for that, you’ll ignore this advice.

I understand the problems with the whole “I have to work even harder now and probably later” part of this personal success strategy.

But it works. That’s why I keep giving it out to people who ask – and don’t want to pay for more customized advice.

Now, having written this, I have a link to give anyone looking for free career advice. Which is a LOT easier and simpler for me. But for you, if you choose to do it, it still going to be hard. It’s so worth it though.

Trust me. It’s great advice, and it only gets better with time. - Mike Brown

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.

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

Group-DecisionsSomeone asked during a recent strategic thinking workshop asked about the optimum size for a brainstorming group.

He was specifically interested in what size of group would maximize the creative thinking and number of new ideas from participants.

Similar to the post about the math behind brainstorming new product ideas, we use a loose formula to figure out how big a creative thinking group should be.

What’s the Right Size for a Brainstorming Group?

In any brainstorming group we try to account for:

Put all these together, and the right size for a brainstorming group usually winds up between two or three people on the low side and eight to ten people on the high side.

The lower number works when participants are especially diverse and individually adept at multiple strategic thinking perspectives. The high side number usually comes into play when having a group any larger creates situations where too many people are listening to one person at a time come up with ideas.

One exception to the upper end number is if you are using an exercise where multiple people can actively share ideas simultaneously (as our online collaboration platforms allows participants to do). In those cases, we can have many more people brainstorming simultaneously on a topic.

If there are more than eight to ten people, that’s when we start managing the group size through smaller groups. These groups can be working on identical or related parts of an exercise simultaneously.

Creative Thinking Is the the Solution

Ultimately, we design a Brainzooming creative thinking session to balance between maximizing each individual’s time to contribute ideas with the opportunity to hear other people sharing ideas as an additional source of creative thinking inspiration.

Having written it all out, this sounds like it may be a differential equation-type question. Since I stopped pursuing a math minor in the midst of differential equations class, this loose multi-equation approach is as complicated as we get with this brainstorming math! Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your organization’s success!

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

imageA prospective client asked about the brainstorming dynamics we address to generate a large volume of new ideas and concepts to replenish a new product pipeline.

My short answer was, “It’s all in the math.”

While that’s the short answer, it’s also the answer at the heart of designing a Brainzooming creative thinking session so it generates many new ideas.

The Math of Brainstorming and New Ideas

As we identify a client’s objectives and desired outcomes, it comes down to the math of how much creative thinking productivity we need from a group to generate the desired volume of new ideas. Among the variables we evaluate are:

  • The number of diverse participants
  • How much time we have for creative thinking
  • The inherent productivity of various creative thinking exercises
  • How many people will be able to share new ideas simultaneously

When you start putting numbers to those variables, you quickly get a sense of how many new ideas a brainstorming session will yield.

Turning Creative Thinking into Ideas

Once the math is done, that’s when the real work starts of actually arranging, designing, and structuring the Brainzooming creative thinking exercises to bring the math to life!

So how many new ideas do you need? We’d be happy to do the math AND turn it into actual ideas! Just call or email to get started! – 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.

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