Performance | The Brainzooming Group - Part 155 – page 155
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Powerful comparisons are important to many creative thinking exercises. While the types of comparisons may vary, for the more than twenty-five “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises on the Brainzooming blog, delegating an opportunity or challenge to someone you wouldn’t typically think about selecting to do your work yields a wide variety of creative ideas.

Creative Ideas from an Unlikely Character?

The Change Your Character creative thinking exercises use someone in a completely different line of work to help you look at your own situation with a fresh perspective.

Here are the steps for Change Your Character:

  1. State the business challenge that you’re addressing – it could be an opportunity, a problem, a new process or approach, etc.
  2. Pick who you want to work on your situation. This could be a real person, a fictional or cartoon character, or even another business that faces an analogous situation.
  3. Once you’ve identified who you’ll put on the job, list 8 to 10 approaches that the person, character, or business uses to address opportunities or challenges.
  4. Using the 8 to 10 approaches, apply them to your situation to generate at least 3 new ideas each for solving it.

Each of the Change Your Character creative thinking exercises does steps 2 and 3 for you. This allows you to focus primarily on step 4 – creative idea generation.

25 “Change Your Character” Creative Thinking Exercises

Here’s a compilation of 25 of these creative thinking exercises you can bookmark for use in successfully addressing future opportunities. Within each category, the situations and characters covered are listed, along with a link to the original article.

Strategy

Relationship & Brand Building

Team Building

Management & Problem Solving

Professional Skills

Just a note – I used Bart Simpson recently, and it worked very well. Give it a try and have great success Changing Your Character! – 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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There is always the potential for a business, a project, or even a personal situation to run into difficulties. In the business world, a frequent answer when something goes wrong is to call in a turnaround CEO to fix it. Using well-tested techniques, their goal is to quickly diagnose underlying problems, correct them, and return the business to solid performance.

This week, consider delegating a broken situation you have to a turnaround CEO and let them take a run at fixing it. Try to generate three new turnaround ideas for each item below as a turnaround CEO would:

  • Identify the most critical problems
  • Bring in unbiased consultants to help fix things
  • Make fact-based decisions
  • Look for smart & simple steps to take right away
  • Bring in their own people to run the company
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Cut costs in a dramatic fashion
  • Uncover hidden problems in the business
  • Secure needed resources
  • Write off bad operations

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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Someone showed me a list of nearly 30 salesperson expectations in their company; these were things salespeople were expected to be informed about and follow at all times. Most of the processes and behaviors were reasonable, although the list came across as sprawling because there was no attempt to help readers make sense of its varied topics.

It was a classic example of intellectual laziness – failing to make the effort to help the audience process and act on information successfully. The lesson is if you must share a long list of complex or diverse information with a broad audience, do the hard work yourself of organizing it in ways to make it more memorable and easily implemented.

Understanding that people can only remember about 7 things at one time, look for meaningful groupings in a big list. Some possibilities could include:

  • Categorizing it by subject or type
  • Using a chronological sequence in particular steps or phases
  • Assigning clear priority levels to tasks

These are just a few possibilities; there are certainly others. The key point is to place yourself in the reader’s role, imagine you know nothing about the information, and think through and organize it in a way that allows your audience to spend much less time on deciphering it, and much more time on doing something with it.

Today’s Get ‘Er Written Approach Eliminating a theme that wasn’t relevant (in this case, cutting out a rant about bosses and teamwork that was getting in the way).

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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We can all recall great school teachers who made otherwise boring subjects come alive and taught lessons that shape us still.

We’re all teachers in our own ways. There are people that we work and interact with daily who look to us for both technical learning and life lessons. Let’s explore great teachers’ approaches and see what they can teach us about our teaching roles. Great teachers:

  • Present challenging concepts
  • Are passionate about their subject(s)
  • Use vivid stories to illustrate lessons
  • Ask you about the subject area even outside the class room
  • Are true to the principles they teach
  • Teach heuristics to master & use the content
  • Make complex topics understandable
  • Are interactive
  • Make learning fun and rewarding
  • Don’t simply give answers away for the asking
  • Are still actively learning themselves
  • Have a love for the material / topic
  • Adapt to students’ various learning styles

Identify three new ideas for each of the approaches above that you can adapt to become a better teacher to those around you.

This post is dedicated to Dave Wessling, for so many reasons. May he rest in peace.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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

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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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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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It’s easy to wallow in a bad situation. Many of us do, because there can be an odd comfort in complaining. It’s the courageous person who will stand up amid frustration, form a viable recommendation, and take it to someone who can help solve it.

There was a work situation recently where a person took the initiative to call my attention to a stupid situation we were potentially getting ourselves into soon. Realize that in doing so, he went across multiple organizational boundaries and reporting lines with all the associated personal political risks that can entail. But he did it, not to complain, but to make a recommendation on a smarter decision for the company to pursue.

It took about 3 phone calls and emails combined to advance his recommendation (and yes, I used the format suggested in a previous post). Once that was done, everybody above in the organization supported it, and the company is better off for having implemented his suggestion.

So here’s a question for you (okay, and for me also) to answer: What is there you b!7#h about all the time (to anyone who will listen) even though you refuse to go out on a limb and actually take a positive step to resolve? Figure one out? Or maybe two, three, or four of them? Now create a recommendation, reach out to somebody who can assist you, and actually do something to solve 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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