Diversity | The Brainzooming Group - Part 2 – page 2

I’m in Cedar Rapids, IA today to be a keynote speaker at CreativeBloc 2011. It’s a wonderful opportunity to speak about both dealing with organizational innovation barriers and personal creative blocks. One way for adults to attack creative blocks or improve creativity in general is to revert to doing what kids – who are often at the creative pinnacles of their lives – do naturally. These 10 creativity-inducing ideas (which all started life as tweets one night last week under the #KidCreativity4Adults hashtag) are great ways for adults to take a more creative and fun approach to our oh-so-serious work lives:

  • Always have a sweet box of Crayola crayons around so you can color a picture and put it on the fridge.
  • Do something every day that will make you giggle. Better yet, do it multiple times daily.
  • Take something with you when you’re in public to occupy yourself creatively in case you get bored and cranky.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a problem, take a guess. Or copy off the person sitting next to you.
  • Draw your ideas, even if the lines are crooked or it’s tough to tell exactly what it is. And don’t call it an infographic!
  • If something isn’t making sense, be sure to scrunch your face so it’s apparent to everybody!
  • Get everybody together for a meeting in the cafeteria and serve ice cream cones.
  • Don’t wait to raise your hand; just start talking when an idea occurs to you.
  • Always have toys in plain view in your office. Don’t be reluctant to play with them during boring meetings.
  • Forget to bring your homework home with you at day’s end. Work on it tomorrow between meetings. It will probably be better anyway.

The fun part of tweeting the forerunners of these ideas was when other tweeters jumped in to contribute to this friendsourced post. @SBarton1220 recommended including a Magic 8 ball and a “Jump to Conclusions” mat (from “Office Space”) in the toy mix. She said she uses Magic 8 balls to help clarify the outcome she really wants by shaking it until the “right” answer appears. @EastRidgePrint suggested her favorite: “Silly putty. Best. Invention. Ever.”

What other ideas do you have to add to #KidCreativity4Adults?– Mike Brown

For an additional creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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One learning from the 2011 TED simulcast is that the 18-minute TED talk isn’t a magic formula format ensuring anyone comes across as a genius presenter. While there were a number of outstanding creative presentations, many had clear weaknesses. The recaps today definitely fall into that category, but still held learnings which warrant being singled out.

The Entertainers

“Worlds Imagined” (or Session 5, or Wednesday’s second 2011 TED simulcast session – all the same) was a mishmash and a relative disappointment on the heels of “Deep Mystery.” It began with the E in TED: Entertainment.

Director Julie Taymor‘s introduction referred to the challenges she was going through and expressed amazement she was able to make her TED appearance. With the introduction’s tone, I figured she must be battling a life-threatening illness. She started out talking about how under fire she was, but the huge challenge potentially standing in the way of her appearance was getting the Spiderman musical to work. With the presentations that followed on fighting poverty and disarray in Nigeria, trying to eradicate polio, and a taped talk from TEDxCairo, getting a Broadway show in check seems like nothing a little “what really matters” perspective wouldn’t improve.

Taymor talked about her artistic perspective in bringing stories to the stage and screen. She begins with an ideograph – 3 broad strokes which convey an entire concept. These abstractions set the basis for how her stories unfold. While an artist has to be true to the artistic vision all the way through a piece, it’s vital to also share it with the audience so they can actively participate in the work. Taymor pointed out realities such as budgets and the medium employed can dramatically affect how a story is depicted. Her fantastic reminder was you can use skeletal elements in the theatre to convey much more detail than is really there since inside the theatre, audiences are ready to suspend disbelief and fill in the blanks of what hasn’t been depicted.

Morgan Spurlock (of eating McDonald’s food for 30 days and filming it fame) was there to pimp his new movie “Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” The film revolves around him trying to get advertising agencies to recommend their clients fund his movie through sponsoring product placements. He ultimately went directly to clients and got a number of brands to sign up. All the while he filmed his potential funders, editing it so they look foolish. His presentation hit close to my marketing home, yet it was so jarring because it was a purely promotional message among a 2011 TED simulcast of ideas. He did pass along some sage advice: you must embrace fear, transparency, and risk, and you will find opportunity in risk. Thanks for sharing.

The CEOs

Also during “Worlds Imagined,” Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, cited a statistic: only 5% of TED presenters in the past 10 years have been CEOs. After her presentation and that of Bill Ford, Executive Chair of Ford Motor Company, I’d recommend the number move lower. While other presenters were talking about what they are doing personally, CEOs talk about their organizations. Their stories, even when they are trying to be intensely personal (as Bill Ford was), sounded crafted by speechwriters. As with Spurlock’s remarks, big full-on commerce just felt icky during the TED simulcast (and this from a guy who loves commerce!).

The Second Big Picture Guy

Quick disclaimer: by the last 2011 TED simulcast session of the day, “Radical Collaboration,” my brain was too zooming to take in many more ideas. Trying to process another 90+ minutes of content wasn’t helped by the session’s structure, which was all over the place. From Egypt to underwater luminescence, from crappy food to TED fellows, my attention span was way over-taxed. My sense was there was a significant, TED-insider back story which might explain the pieces, but the story wasn’t apparent to TED newbies. My big take away as seemingly disconnected cause-related issues were presented – and support for each requested – was that TED had devolved into an intellectual Jerry Lewis Telethon with viewers left to decide the most worthy need to support: Nigerian kids, polio, health food, or finding other life in space.

Amid these competing inputs, French street artist JR, the 2011 TED Prize winner, delivered an image-rich, although challenging-to-understand, talk on his use of enormous photo posters displayed in metro settings to call attention to issues and people society overlooks. Funding his project through art sales, JR travels around the world to create his street installations (made of paper and glue) which sometimes are in place for years. The gist of the award, as best I could tell, was to provide not just finding to JR, but to also help fulfill his wish of using art – photographs and posters – to change the world through involving people globally in creating giant images.

As JR’s presentation concluded, host Chris Anderson hopped on stage to play a role similar to a private school fund raising auctioneer, soliciting ideas from the audience on how they could help fulfill JR’s wish. While there were some intriguing suggestions (a guy from Google offering to make sure the images show up on Google Earth and Darren Rowse – at least I think it was him – offering access to his 150,000 amateur photographer audience), many suggestions went counter to JR’s artistic vision. His wish was for others to become more involved, but attendees were more focused on giving HIM new places to work (including inside museums, which did not trigger a positive reaction from JR).

I’m sure this format for generating ideas is a well-developed and understood formula for TED insiders, but it got my brain zooming thinking of MUCH more effective ways this mass solicitation of support could be conducted. Again, I’ll admit by this point I was probably just cranky and needed a nap, because I didn’t take away the emotional impact from JR’s presentation that others present at the simulcast did. Check out JR’s video (one of the first 2011 TED videos to be posted) and his project website to truly appreciate how you can get involved.

I warned you there was a lot of content, even with skipping several discussions. Tomorrow we’ll cover the take-away lessons from the 2011 TED simulcast, sponsored in Kansas City by digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  – Mike Brown

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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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At some point I lost track of the number of different presentations during last week’s 2011 TED simulcast. Beyond standard 18-minute TED presentations, there were video segments, 3-minute talks, audience talks, musical interludes (from the house band comprised of teenagers), introductions of TED-related people, and Skype exchanges with remote simulcast locations (BTW, the Swiss had the right idea, holding their simulcast in a winery). Let’s just say there’s no way here to share every talk (that’s what the videos are for), every challenging idea, and every insight which didn’t occur to me until after all the live TED simulcast tweeting was over. To manage the glut of content, today’s post recaps a few of the more innovative science-oriented stand-out presentations. We’ll cover a few more presentations on Thursday (after a Wednesday post on creativity and taking time to reflect). Friday’s post will highlight the big ideas I took away from the 2011 TED simulcast.

The Scientists

The first simulcast session was titled “Deep Mystery,” and it was packed with really smart scientists and one cellist (hey, it’s TED). Scientists don’t talk in natural one-liners; their messages unfold and the big ideas emerge. This makes them tough to live tweet but yields loads of (and by “loads of,” I mean “too much”) blog content. Here are my “it’s been forever since I was in a science class, and when I was, we didn’t cover this stuff” reflections:

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explored what constitutes the conscious mind and our sense of self – the “me” in our minds. The critical connections are between the cerebral cortex (which provides the visual spectacle of our minds) and the brain stem (the grounding for the self), and between the brain stem and the body, which creates the autobiographical self, setting us apart from other life forms.  The process depends on the interrelationship between the image-making and memory-forming parts of the brain, and the precise workings between them.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a geobiochemist, addressed a wondrous question: How do you know what you’re looking for if you’ve never seen it before? Her focus is identifying alternative microbiological systems both on earth and elsewhere. She claims we look at the tree of life too closely (ignoring many other branches), which causes us to notice great diversity and conclude ALL life must be comprised of the 6 elements making up everything we view as “living.” Wolfe-Simon’s contention is that taking a giant step back to look at the full tree of life opens the view to many other possible life forms. Searching for alternative biochemistries, she began by looking at elements in the periodic table adjacent to those we “know” comprise life, i.e. could a toxin such as arsenic substitute for nearby nitrogen or phosphorous? She indeed found an instance where arsenic does function in a life-supporting role.  Her summary, applicable in SO many situations, is what we don’t know easily precludes us from seeing new forms of life all around us.

Physicist Aaron O’Connell discussed the “weirdness of quantum mechanics,” an area which has been confined to explaining small particles, not larger objects. The interplay between his logical and intuitive points of view launched him on a path to find quantum mechanics playing out on a visible scale, i.e., a visible object which could be in two places at once. Again, I won’t delve into the science, but using a small piece of metal, and getting everything around it (air, heat, etc.) away, allowed the metal to act very differently. O’Connell was able to get the metal to both vibrate and not vibrate at the same time – being in two places at once. He pointed out that the scale differences between an atom and the piece of metal is the same as between the piece of metal and humans, opening up a whole new set of considerations about our ability to be in two places at once.

The most accessible of the science presentations was from cognitive scientist Deb Roy whose remarks incorporated multiple elements which draw in audiences – kids, poignancy, and video of both. Roy installed cameras throughout his home to continuously capture activity (200 terabytes of video) with the purpose of better understanding how children (specifically his son) learn language. Through examining video “space time worms” it was possible to look at the connected places, events, and language which led to his son learning words. Roy demonstrated the technique being applied to media analysis to see how people engage and learn from media exposure.

    The intriguing take-away for me was the interplay between proximity and connectedness throughout each of these talks. More about this Thursday in the take-away lessons.

    The Educator

    Salman Khan, a former hedge fund manager and now YouTube education star, covered the inception and growth of his 12-minute tutorial videos on a variety of mathematical, scientific, and other topics. Growing out of a very informal and convenient means to help tutor his cousins, his videos are now seen by 1 million students monthly. The videos allow for time shifting classroom learning: teachers can use class time for direct student interaction and what is traditionally considered “home” work. Outside class, students are able to review the engaging tutorial videos at their own pace, potentially multiple times, with skills testing that creates enough repetition for a student to have to demonstrate mastery by getting 10 correct answers in a row before moving to the next topic. And since the learning is delivered online, Khan envisions a global classroom community where students around the world are in a position to help each other learn.


    The First Big Picture Guy

    Historian David Christian is the consummate intellectual integrator, tugging upon a wide range of disciplines to spin the story of “Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity.” The TED simulcast audience received an 18-minute version of the multiple billion year story, focusing on how, in a world governed by the second law of thermodynamics, the universe creates complexity. There’s no way to explain this presentation; it has to be viewed. The big fascinating revelation for me was this: Christian points to six threshold events between the big bang (which he puts at 13.7 billion years ago) and the emergence of the human species just 200,000 years ago. Hmmmmm. Know of any other big story of how we got here with six major time divisions? Coincidence? Probably not.

    Wrap Up

    Thanks to Kansas City digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for bringing the 2011 TED simulcast to Kansas City.

    Thursday we’ll cover some additional 2011 TED simulcast presentations, including the 2011 TED prize winner who invites you to join in changing the world through REALLY big pictures.

    What do you think? Are these TED overviews starting to suggest some big ideas for you? 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 you focus your brand strategy to improve on  the things which really matter for your business.

    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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    Creative Ideas for CreativityFiguring out how to be creative when your creativity is blocked can depend on simply choosing appropriate creative thinking techniques to boost your creative inspiration.

    Here are 26 creative ideas you can use when you are struggling with how to be creative and boost your innovative  thinking.

    Pick as many of these tested creative thinking techniques as you need to re-start your creative process, find creative inspiration, and overcome a creative block.

    Try Simplifying Things

    Start your Creative Process with Things You’ll Throw Away – Decide upfront you’ll discard anything you create in the next hour, then simply dive in and start doing something toward your creative goal right away. You’re willing to trash it, so don’t let any self-criticism block your creative inspiration.

    Doodle and Eat – Many restaurants use white paper in place of cloth table coverings. Go to one nearby with pens, markers, or crayons and doodle your way through dinner. Write, draw, diagram, or do whatever else will trigger your creativity.

    Try Trait Transformation – Write down 6 descriptors or characteristics of your creative challenge. For each descriptor, ask how it would help meet your creative objective if it were bigger, smaller, turned around, removed, customized, standardized, or simplified. Asking these questions to twist your situation leads to lots of new creative ideas.

    Create an Artifact – Find a small something to create that’s more easily achievable than your whole project (it could be working on something you’ve already put in the creative trash heap). Create your small start and use it as a tangible first step to get to your next bigger creative ideas.

    Change Your Creative Environment

    Finish Something – Maybe an obligation completely unrelated to your creative challenge is hanging over your head. Drop your creative project and focus on other nagging deadlines which may be affecting you subconsciously. Getting pesky non-creative deadlines out of the way can free you for a new perspective on creativity.

    Go Get Sweaty – Studies show it and so does any great workout – physical exercise is a wonderful way to shake your mental cobwebs loose. Pick your favorite exercise and participate in it aggressively, putting your creative block to the side. When you’re done, you’ll see your creative challenge with new clarity.

    Embrace Mindless Activity – Perform an activity you’re able to do without thinking or using any creative thinking. Maybe it’s cleaning or lawn work or driving around. It has to be active with plenty of opportunity for your mind to wander creatively.

    Change Scenery While Staying Where You Are – Alter as much as you can about your current environment – vary the lighting, rearrange the furniture (avoiding creativity constricting right angles), sit in a different chair, stand up or lay down, look out the window, step away from the computer. Whatever you’re doing where you are, do things completely differently to stimulate your creative process.

    Change Scenery By Changing Where You Are – Get as far away as you can from your creative block’s “home field.” At the office? Go to a museum or a hotel lobby. Spent too much time inside? Get outside as quickly as you can. Bored with your hometown? Start traveling. Whatever it takes, force yourself to change your physical surroundings for a creativity boost.

    Take advantage of “Crowdspiration” – Go where there’s a crowd of people and use the looks, conversations, and buzz of the crowd to catalyze your creativity. Remember: the crowd can be in real life or virtual, because wading into the Twitter pool is another great source of random crowdspiration too!

    Switch to a Bare Wall – Completely change the “canvas” on which you’re trying to express your creativity by switching to a new, blank one. If you’re stuck on a computer, get a new notebook and start handwriting. When you’re not able to draw something with a pencil on paper, switch to painting on an oversized canvas.

    Borrow Creative Inspiration

    Return to the Familiar – Use the forms, styles, characters, and media that are old standbys for your creative expression. Take advantage of familiar forms to get your creativity re-started.

    Revisit Your Creative Pinnacles – Go back to a past creative success and create a variation on the theme. When stuck while blogging, redo your favorite post from a different perspective or angle. If the music isn’t flowing, play a favorite piece in a different key or tempo.

    Seek out Someone Else’s Creative Pinnacle – Pick some output from one of your creative inspirations and do a BIG (i.e. non-copyright infringing) variation on a successful theme they used.

    Use “Real Simple” Magazine – Real Simple, in particular, is a great creative inspiration. Take your creative block and go page by page asking how the images and headlines you see could shape your creativity, writing down ideas as you go. If you prefer a different magazine, look for one with lots of images and big headlines.

    Random Wikipedia – Random inputs help trigger innovative thinking, so here’s a quirky approach to try. Take a period of your life, pick a starting point (i.e. an actor or author you enjoyed then), and look it up on Wikipedia. Click on a random link in the first Wikipedia entry and keep surfing for semi-random inputs. You never know what cool creativity will be inspired via Wikiwaves.

    Stop Trying So Hard to Be Creative

    Stop Everything – Walk away from your creative process and take a 30 minute nap (or whatever length leaves you refreshed). Let your mind wander and imagine anything at all as you go to sleep. Come back to your creative process refreshed and ready with new creative inspiration.

    Tend to Your Basic Needs – Drink some water. Take a shower. Eat your favorite meal. Eat something you’ve never eaten before.  Take care of the basic needs of life and then restart your creative efforts.

    Laugh Like Crazy – Watch an incredibly funny TV show or movie and laugh like you never have before. If laughter isn’t your best medicine for creative inspiration, pick something else to watch that you know will tug on other emotions. The key is triggering your emotions to open yourself to new creativity.

    Be Patient – You know what? Now might just not be the time you can muster your creativity to respond to the goal at hand. Put the project to the side (maybe for an extended period of time), apply your creativity to areas where it is readily flowing, with the faith (you may want to say a creativity prayer) that the spark you need will happen at the right time, even if you don’t know when that is!

    Seek Out New Creative Inspiration

    Find Some Fresh Eyes – Ask a creative friend who doesn’t have any background in the area of your creative block how they’d approach your challenge. With a new set of eyes and fresh thinking, chances are the other person will see a creative key you’re missing.

    Put Your Kids in Charge – For little kids, the whole world is new and full of creativity. Get your kids (or borrow somebody else’s, but ask first) and see what kind of creative fun they’d like to have. Whether it’s playing in the yard or going to Chuck E. Cheese, throw yourself into creativity with childlike glee to uncover new inspiration for creativity.

    Seek out People with Dramatic News to Share – For some people, angst leads to creativity. For others, happiness triggers creativity. When stuck creatively, find the people in your circle with compelling stories to share – whether of challenges or of successes – as new inspiration sources.

    Find Someone Who Loves Something You Created – People who think you’re creative are great creative catalysts. Seek them out and ask what inspires them about creative work you’ve done. Use how you’ve inspired them in the past to inspire your creativity now.

    Host a Creative Happy Hour – Invite a group of cool, creative people to join you for a happy hour. Have fun, share some stories, ask for some creative input from your companions, and get in a creative spirit once again.

    Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” – This Brainzooming Ebook highlights 8 perspectives for how to be creative to stimulate innovative thinking.

    Are You Inspired Yet?

    These 26 creative ideas should get you started in your discover of how to be creative when creativity is elusive for you.

    What creative process tips or creative ideas can you add to this list of creative inspiration techniques? We’d love to include your ideas to overcome creative block as well. – Mike Brown

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

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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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    First day back from a long weekend, no one needs anything too heavy dumped in their lap. So here’s an easy strategic assignment.

    Look at the list below. On the left side are typical left-brained, analytical skills. The right side includes the more classic right-brained, creative talents.

    Review the list and pick out the skills you possess. For each one you don’t have, identify which close friend or team member you can easily reach out to for help who possesses the characteristic. For each item still without a name by it, set out to find someone over the next weeks and months to bring into your formal or informal strategic thinking (and doing) team to fill the gap.

    Why should you do this? Because if you have a gap within your personal strategic team on any of these vital roles, you have real challenges ahead of you, if not already.  – 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 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 watched the @ThatKevinSmith and @SouthwestAir brouhaha erupt live on Twitter but didn’t write about it last week. Bunches of tweeters and bloggers hashing out who was right and wrong based on second, third, or five hundredth-hand information simply wasn’t interesting enough to warrant adding to the noise. Getting ready for a social media presentation tonight though, I’ve been thinking about service defects and service recovery in the world of social networking. I sought an analogy to help think strategically about how a company prepares for an angry customer who wants to be heard and starts tweeting incessantly: handling a hostage situation is very comparable. Rather than a person though, it’s a brand’s reputation being kidnapped by a customer threatening irreparable harm unless demands are met. With the one-to-many communication capabilities of social media, this type of threat has never been more credible. 

    Here are five hostage negotiation principles and related implications for preparing to handle when your brand’s good name is being kidnapped:

    1. Have a negotiating team ready.

    This means more than a single person monitoring Twitter and handling responses. In hostage negotiations, the primary negotiator, who is ideally the sole contact with the hostage taker, is joined by a coach/commander in charge of the situation and personnel along with a secondary negotiator to help monitor, listen, and offer input.

    Strategic Questions – Does your company have a pre-identified team and protocols for how it will work together in a social media-based service recovery effort? And how would you incorporate front-line employees when you’re trying to recover from a service failure playing out both at one of your company’s locations and online?

    2. Gather as much solid information as possible right away.

    Beyond having standard questions to run through, there’s added complexity in a social media-based service recovery effort. Suppose the customer issue IS taking place in-person. With social media monitoring removed from the scene, it may not even be possible from a customer’s messages to determine where the issue is occurring. This creates an interesting implication for enacting rapid service recovery.

    Strategic Questions – If it’s clear the issue is taking place in the presence of front line employees, what steps will you take to identify the location and establish communication with them immediately? Since multi-person communication with the angry customer is almost a given, how will you ensure your multiple contacts are speaking with one message?

    3. Connect on a personal level.

    Social media throws a whole new wrinkle into this, especially when you want to move interaction with the customer to a private messaging stream. If it’s even available, the company may have outdated phone information on the customer, making direct contact challenging to establish. A corporate tweeter may have to try to get a brand kidnapper to “follow” the company so direct messaging can take place. And typically, the corporate tweeter is communicating under a corporate account without a personal avatar. It makes establishing a personal tone of, “I’m here to try and fix the situation,” difficult when the customer is receiving tweets with the corporate logo.

    Strategic Questions – Are you following your customers on social media? Do you have multiple ways to reach out to customers? Do your company social media people have work-related, personal accounts they can use to reach out specifically in these cases?

    4. Communicate openly and actively listen.

    When you have face-to-face contact, listening, and the silence that goes along with it, is easy to convey. It’s a little tougher via phone. But in a medium geared toward short, back-and-forth messages, a pause associated with listening or contemplation comes across as being distracted or ignoring the other person.

    Strategic Question – Beyond having plans for migrating service recovery conversations to private channels, are you actively training your social media response team in dealing with the dynamics of these new service recovery situations?

    5. Show empathy.

    One way hostage negotiators demonstrate empathy is by delivering on aspects of the demands that have been made. Granting small, detailed requests is done in real-life hostage situations to slow and drag them out, which is desirable. In a service recovery situation (especially one playing out in public), the last thing you want to do is extend it.  

    Strategic Questions – Who is on your social media service response team? Have you included your best customer service people – the ones with strong understanding of what you can do to solve customer problems and are best at understanding issues from a customer’s point of view?

    No matter what your company is doing in social media, you have to address this reality. Even if your company doesn’t want a proactive social media presence, there’s a greater chance every day your customers will be talking about your brand via social media. When they do, and the discussion gets negative and brand threatening, you better have thought about your strategy, with a plan for what you’ll do. Mike Brown

    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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    In contrast to last week’s UK-based post from Andy Wolf, this week’s guest author is a veritable neighbor of mine. Carol Kobza is a creative force with incredible innovation experience in creating brands, leading new product development teams, art directing new products, and focusing team efforts toward results.

    I’ve gotten to know Carol over the past year as we’ve both been getting our businesses fully going. We’d talked about Carol doing a guest post, and I was so excited when this article arrived talking about how you can build a trusting environment that “nurtures creativity” in an organization:

    Imagine that you are new to an organization. You’re enthused as you participate in one of your first meetings. A manager says, “We’re having trouble coming up with an idea for an activity for the executives’ meeting in Philadelphia next week.” You say, “How about the symphony?”

    The response: “Bwaaaaaahhh!” followed by huge laughter that fills the room and bounces off the walls. No one else gives another idea. You leave the meeting and describe the occurrence to your co-workers. “What a rotten thing for her to do,” they whisper…and it begins. The manager becomes a regular subject of jokes in the cafeteria. Before you know it, there’s some serious, negative politicking going on.

    Trust among people in organizations is a tender twig that is easily broken. And it is one of the elements of an environment that nurtures creativity.

    How can you build trust in your organization?

    • Allow and reward people for discovering problems. Identifying a problem is not a criticism. It’s often an honest attempt to creatively improve the way things are done.
    • Sponsor and support ideas. Everybody with a great idea needs someone, who will protect them from the power of “NO” and clear paths around obstacles.
    • Support rather than undermine one another’s creative efforts. If people know they won’t be punished or laughed at for speaking up, they’re more likely to continue to give ideas. Who knows? The next one might save or make millions.
    • Encourage creativity. It doesn’t cost a dime. Studies show over and over again that a sincere compliment or “thank you” is more motivating than cash.
    • Let people be who they are. Diversity is more than race, gender and sexual preference. It’s also about the style in which someone thinks, speaks and dresses. The research bears this out. Diversity equals a happier, healthier and, guess what, more successful organization.
    • Free up information. Face it. Everyone has access to information so why put a choke hold on it? Where there is collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge, you’ll find people who enjoy their work and want to see their company succeed. – Carol Kobza

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    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.

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