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Each year we share the top 10 new Brainzooming blog posts from the previous year based on your views. Reviewing the list is an intriguing exercise for me, especially when comparing it to tomorrow’s list – my favorite blog posts from the year.

The most striking thing about your most popular new Brainzooming blog posts is only five are numbered lists. This is in stark contrast to previous years where nearly all of them were numbered lists. One change could be that we published fewer list posts this year. In previous years, list posts were among the easiest content to write. This year, however, my worldview just has not produced list posts as readily as in previous years.

Two other take-aways from perusing Google Analytics for the year are:

  1. Evergreen content (i.e., blog posts from previous years) was more prevalent than previous years among the most-viewed posts.
  2. Woody Bendle’s great guest posts on innovation and branding ranked significantly among the most-viewed posts. (Woody’s most-viewed posts are featured at the end of the top 10 list.

Your Top 10 Most Viewed New Brainzooming Blog Posts this Year

Love-Ideas

Here is your top ten most-viewed new Brainzooming content for 2014:

1. 10 Meeting Spaces for Work at Home Professionals, Other than Starbucks

While billed as being for work at home professionals, these ideas are also valuable for anyone who works in an office but needs a change in meeting venue.

2. Creative Thinking Skills: 29 Phrases Blocking Innovative Ideas

These twenty-nine phrases blocking innovative ideas were easy to write. I simply tried to remember all the challenges to new ideas I have encountered during my career.

3. Strategic Thinking Skills: Dilbert on Taking Credit vs. Making Innovation Happen

This Dilbert hits on one of the keys to getting things done that many people overlook: if you really believe in an idea that’s struggling, and you’re willing to surrender credit, it may be enough to get the idea implemented. It’s not a strategy for every ego, but it can definitely be very effective.

4. New Product Development – Brainstorming Ideas Grounded in Business Strategy

Start with a strategic target, and you’ll find yourself brainstorming ideas that make sense for your organization’s business strategy. Don’t and you won’t.

5. Social Media Strategy: 7 Lessons for Fantastic, Creative Content Marketing

This post is a one-stop for great tools to turn a brand’s aspirations for fantastic, creative content marketing into a reality.

6. Creative Thinking Skills: 9 Ways to Present a Business Strategy with Panache

These are all tried and tested, although some are much easier to make happen than others are. And in case you’re wondering, it’s the first use of the word “panache” in the Brainzooming blog.

7. Social Media Strategy: Explaining Social Networks to Executives Who Don’t Get It

This is one of the most popular parts of my social media and content marketing presentations. Its popularity prompted sharing these valuable analogies for social networks that had only been shared in live presentations.

8. Creative Thinking Exercises – Would you like S, M, L, or XL Creative Ideas?

This is a compilation post that really SHOULD be a numbered post. See what I mean about not seeing the world as an endless source of list posts this year?

9. Strategic Thinking: Asking a Different Type of Question

I hate to say it, but this post now seems to me to be a pre-cursor to number 8 on the list. Sorry about that! ; )

10. 5 Ways to Help a Speaker Deliver a Successful Presentation at Your Event

This is the latest post on the list, appearing on April 1. It’s a nice example of being able to go to school on a client’s very beneficial help and feature them, even if I can’t mention who the client is.

And What about the Woody Bendle Posts?

And as promised earlier, there are the most popular Brainzooming guest posts from Woody Bendle this year:

1. Creative Thinking Exercise for Extreme Innovation by Woody Bendle

2. Visual Thinking: Better Ways to Think about Calorie Data by Woody Bendle

3. New Product Innovation Strategy – Go Opposite by Woody Bendle

The fact that Woody’s guest post on “Go Opposite” is from November is testament to both how strongly Woody works his network to get eyeballs on the his posts and the value of getting a post picked up by a major content aggregator (which happens with many of Woody’s posts).

Tomorrow’s List

You will see a very different list tomorrow with my favorite posts. I guess I love the underdogs, the posts that have a story behind them, but maybe do not get the same attention!

 

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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.

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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Offering ways to boost your creative thinking skills is one of the important topic areas on the Brainzooming blog. This is a recap of 38 articles from the past year on creative process, creative leadership, and various techniques and creative inspirations. There is some overlap the recent look back at innovation articles, but we tried to keep the two lists as distinct as possible.

Enjoy perusing the list and diving in wherever and whenever you are looking for a creative thinking boost!

Creative Process

creativity-boost

Creative Thinking Skills and Leadership

Idea-Cartoon-Balloon

Real-Life Creativity Stories

Creative Thinking Questions

Creative-Thinking-Questions

Creative Inspiration

 

Enjoy this article on creative thinking skills? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

 

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.

 

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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Here is a look back on the last year and 46 articles on innovation strategy, whether it’s crafting strategy for your own brand, looking to the market for innovation opportunities, using structured innovative thinking to drive change, or contending with internal barriers to innovation strategy. All that, plus a few articles via innovation strategy expert, Woody Bendle.

Get out there and change things for the better!

Innovation Strategy

Innovation-Strategy

Marketing and Competitive Strategy

Rules-of-brainstorming

Structure, Exercises, Roles, and Rules

Barriers to Innovation and Change

We-Create-Innovative-Ideas-Brainzooming

Innovation Strategy via Woody Bendle

 

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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.

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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When facilitating creative thinking for a group, it’s helpful, at least for us, to think of structuring the flow as a performance, even though none of the participants may think of it like that. Considering an analogy between creative thinking and planning a live performance opens a whole variety of new ways to approach creativity.

Creative Thinking and James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show

I led a sheltered musical life growing up and missed a lot of great music when it first appeared. One music experience before my time I only learned about years after it took place came via a reference in a Police song. In the song, “When the World Is Running Down,” the Police mention a video of James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show.

Although seeing James Brown live twice in his later years, it wasn’t until recently I discovered how incredible James Brown was on the T.A.M.I. show while watching the Mick Jagger-produced documentary, “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.”

I have read many references over the years to how memorable James Brown was on the T.A.M.I. show, but seeing snippets of the performance in the documentary prompted watching the full performance on YouTube many times in the past few weeks.

It truly is remarkable!

Jeams-Brown-TAMI

Just Watch the Video

So I know everybody is busy, and NO ONE has any time for watching a nearly fifty-year old, eighteen minute music performance.

Ignore all that.

Take time to watch this video of James Brown on the T.A.M.I. show if you’ve never seen it. Careful though, because the video may be TFFW (Too Funky for Work) depending on your office.

And in case you need to make watching the James Brown performance “work-related” to justify taking time from your day to watch it, you’ll find an array of lessons that translate into how you might approach leading a team through creative “performance.” I counted nearly twenty lessons on starting a group sessionsequencing creative thinking exercises for maximum effect, exploiting the rule of three, and better using emotion to get people engaged in creativity.

If you’d like to see the list, with time codes, you can do so on this page. You can use the list to prove to your boss everything is above board and all very productive! – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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I received a question asking for more details on the recent post about how a Zoomference enables an organization to streamline strategic planning exercises and deliver a plan more quickly through using our online collaboration platform.

In response, here’s a case study from a Zoomference we facilitated last week. If you need to remove time from your organization’s strategic planning process (either for an imminent planning deadline before year end or for planning you do throughout the year), here’s how a Zoomference from Brainzooming makes it happen.

The Zoomference Case Study – Ideas to a Plan in 6 Hours

Our client is an industry association management team deployed in multiple locations. With forty potential initiatives identified as possibilities for the next year, our objective was to help narrow the initiatives to a manageable number and develop strategic plans for the top priorities.

The pressing deadline was the need to deliver the strategic plan to its board members a mere eight days after we started our work.

Based on a preliminary conversation with the client, we designed a planning schedule and four online collaboration sessions for the week. The first three Zoomference online collaboration sessions included an orientation and two working sessions to gather input on priorities and implementation; these sessions were MondayTuesday, and Wednesday. The final session, last Friday morning, was to review the plan based on the week’s work.

2015-strategic-plan

Zooming through Strategic Planning Exercises

Within the first three online collaborative strategic planning sessions (less than six hours of the client’s time), we:

  • Gathered input to develop a prioritization model for the organization going forward
  • Identified the list of forty potential priorities
  • Used a rough version of the prioritization tool to narrow the forty initiatives to six
  • Ranked the six initiatives and identified the top five
  • Gathered input from the group about their objectives and potential approaches with each of the five initiatives

After completing the third session on Wednesday, The Brainzooming Group team developed the input into five initiative plans, complete with strategy statements, metrics, critical success factors, and implementation steps to make the plan a reality in 2015. We reviewed the twenty-plus page strategic plan with the team on Friday morning, making final edits to prepare this week’s board presentation.

Yes, you read that right.

The start-to-finish client time investment for a prioritized, five-initiative strategic plan ready to share with the board was about seven hours.

In fact, at one point, I let the team know they’d done 4 weeks of work in 45 minutes.

And the client’s reaction? It’s “amazing.”

That’s the power of combining Brainzooming strategic planning exercises with our online collaboration platform to create a Zoomference.

Want to take advantage of the power of a Zoomference?

If you’d like to spend less time planning and more time doing, a Zoomference is what you need.

Email (info@brainzooming.com) or call us at 816-509-5320 to schedule time to learn how The Brainzooming Group can create a Zoomference to help you address your strategic planning questions and complete your plan for next year while there’s still time! – Mike Brown

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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.

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 great to post the rules of brainstorming on the wall when you have a group assembled to use their collective creative thinking skills to come up with new ideas. Doing this is helpful as a reference point just in case anyone is unsure about encouraging wild ideas, the importance of not judging ideas right away, or the creative hazards of thinking too narrowly about possibilities group members might suggest.

And if you’re going to put up the rules of brainstorming, you might as well go big!

Rules-of-brainstorming2

This installation, “Rules of Brainstorming,” is featured in an Innovation Lab at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management on the campus of the University of Missouri Kansas City. It is a gift from Steelcase, Scott Rice, BNIM, and Moore, Ruble, Yudell Architects and Designers.

Caption-Brainstorming

While I’d have loved to see “defer judgment” all on one line so you don’t simply see “judgment” by itself and “take small bets” seems to move into convergent thinking (as opposed to the divergent thinking phase of brainstorming, the installation is an incredible addition to an already great space.

Applying Creative Thinking Skills from Across the Nation

I’m particularly excited to know we’re going to use this Innovation Lab for a Brainzooming creative thinking session!

As part of the January 2015 Gigabit City Summit, we’ll be leading communities from throughout the United States in exploring the social and economic impacts of gigabit internet availability, much as we did in Kansas City in 2011. At the Gigabit City Summit, we’ll be sharing a variety of strategic and creative thinking tools the communities can use to envision the future in a more dynamic and collaborative way! – Mike Brown

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

 

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.

 

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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While the year is winding down, it’s an ideal time to use strategic thinking questions to think about what you need to change for next year.

And what better way to get started than with a new batch of strategic thinking questions.

Strategic-QuestionMark

15 Strategic Thinking Questions to Explore

Some of these strategic thinking questions may seem reasonable; others may seem so outrageous that you wouldn’t ever considering using them. Our recommendation is to start with all of these ones that seem unbelievably outrageous.

In fact, the more outrageous, the better when it comes to applying these strategic thinking questions to your aspirations for the year ahead!

  1. How can we educate and cajole customers to raise their standards about the product / service we deliver? Then how can we more overtly encourage them to proactively point out when we aren’t meeting their high standards?
  2. What steps can we take to lower our brand’s tolerance for creating products and service that aren’t perfect?
  3. How can we reduce the barriers to starting new initiatives for our people who are most likely to do great things and deliver incredible value?
  4. How can we enable talented and less experienced people to get the backing for new initiatives early in their work histories before they’ve had a chance to imagine their ideas won’t work?
  5. How do we design new products or services for the potential customer who could be the most outrageously important and critical customer we could ever serve (as opposed to designing it for the lowest common denominator)?
  6. What would our brand look like if we deliberately tried to break every rule we can imagine that’s defined our industry and business until now?
  7. Where does our company move the slowest, and what steps can we take to dramatically speed things up by next week, at the latest?
  8. How would it improve our organization if we only paid people based on delivering the specific results we need for customers?
  9. In what ways would only paying people based on delivering the specific results we need for customers make things worse?
  10. What steps could we take to turn the craziest good idea we have into reality as soon as possible?
  11. Before we start deciding how we’re going to do something, what are all the ways we could decide to measure success or failure as early and often as possible during development?
  12. What are all the little pieces we need to break a “too big to start or even imagine how to start” project up to finally get it started?
  13. What will it take to blow up every reason why our organization fails to start tackling the important challenges we’ve become too accustomed to accepting?
  14. If we ruled out the belief that ANYTHING is impossible to accomplish, what would we start trying to accomplish RIGHT AWAY?
  15. What are nine other projects we could start that are related to our organization’s biggest project to help us move it ahead more quickly?

Are there enough strategic thinking questions on this list that make you squirm?

If so, be sure you start asking those first! – Mike Brown

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

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.

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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