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During a pitch for a broadband community visioning engagement (similar to work we’ve done in Kansas City before and after the Google Fiber launch), the city project team asked how we handle what we call “challenger” voices. These are individuals within the community who have alternative perspectives about community issues. They challenge commonly-held perspectives. They can effectively slow and (ideally) improve the direction of popular opinion.

A positive outcome can come about when challenger voices are effectively embraced and incorporated into community visioning.

If not, it’s easy for them to challenge for the sake of challenging without realizing any benefits from the energy required for countering popular opinions.

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How to Maximize the Benefits of Challenger Voices in Community Visioning

There are multiple ways to produce positive results from overtly inviting challenger voices into community visioning:

  • Ask them to organize and articulate their thoughts in writing to share them more broadly.
  • Invite challengers to raise their issues in a private setting. Also give them an insider’s view or understanding of the community issue under consideration.
  • Request challengers turn their objections into recommended solutions (individually or as a group). This helps even if the recommendations only apply to certain elements of the overall opportunity.
  • Develop defined times and venues throughout the development process where the challenger voices are put front and center to share their perspectives.
  • Create “jobs” for them. As you develop the plan for a community initiative, identify varied roles where people with contrary perspectives can most effectively help move things forward.
  • Introduce challengers to others with equally passionate perspectives that don’t agree with them and let them duke it out mentally.

There may certainly be other options for involving challenger voices. These are all collaboration strategies we have used and have worked to produce successful results. Granted, they haven’t always been successful, but if challengers have open minds and are honest in their willingness to positively participate, they are tremendous in improving community visioning and the direction the community pursues. – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for strong ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

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 you’re on the road, lots of things are going on, and you’re up at 4:30 a.m. trying to write, you get very creative about what you can share in that day’s blog post.

At least that’s what happened with these strategic thinking quotes for today!

These strategic thinking quotes all came from some of the earliest, pre-Brainzooming strategy sessions we were doing in the Fortune 500 world. Some are serious; some were meant to take friendly jabs at our economist; some (specifically the last one from me) were made up to get a laugh when one was needed in the middle of the afternoon.

Blah-Blah-Blah

16 Strategic Thinking Quotes on Ideas

“Most people don’t take the time to think. I made an international reputation for myself by deciding to think twice a week.”  – George Bernard Shaw

“No brain is stronger than its weakest think.” – Thomas L. Masson

“The man who gets the most satisfactory results is not always the man with the most brilliant single mind, but rather the man who can best coordinate the brains and talents of his associates.” – W. Alton Jones

“I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Our best thoughts come from others.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  – Dr. Seuss

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck

“The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.” – Robert J. Shiller, Irrational Exuberance

“To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.” –Mary Pettibone Poole, A Glass Eye at a Keyhole, 1938

“Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg

“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” – Thomas Dewar

“I dwell in possibilities.” – Emily Dickinson

“If you have to forecast, forecast often. “ – Edgar R. Fiedler

“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” – Laurence J. Peter

“For a successful strategy session, keep the food light, the lights bright, and drink caffeine all night.”– Mike Brown

“Generating exciting new ideas burns 325 calories per hour and has no carbs. Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. Rambling aimlessly about a point that someone has already made burns only 3 calories per hour.” – Mike Brown (Definitely don’t quote me on this one!)

 

10 Keys to Engaging Employees and Creating Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

 

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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4

I found this picture while cleaning off my iPad. The notepad with the message, “Leave a Trail of Genius,” was from a meeting at a Marriott in Jackson, MS.

Leave-Trail-Genius-Pic

When it comes to creating strategic impact, what CAN you do to leave a trail of genius?

That doesn’t have to mean you have to be a genius, however. It simply means you have been creating strategic impact by bringing out the genius in others.

26 Ways to Leave a Trail of Genius

So what are you doing to leave a trail of genius wherever you interact?

  1. Encouraging people to use their distinctive talents to express their ideas.
  2. Teaching people things that took you a long time to learn.
  3. Asking questions of others that lead them to discover new ideas.
  4. Being able to listen to others with as much skill as you display when doling out advice to them.
  5. Encouraging others by reminding them of past successes.
  6. Seeing potential in others they don’t even realize.
  7. Knowing exactly when to push and when to let up.
  8. Introducing big possibilities without specifying all the answers for how to accomplish them.
  9. Bringing excitement to unexciting situations.
  10. Seeing new possibilities where others only see the status quo.
  11. Assembling the right team for the moment.
  12. Challenging what’s expected and expecting the challenges you’ll receive in return.
  13. Not worrying about being understood.
  14. Painting a compelling vision that stretches everyone.
  15. Creating things people haven’t even imagined before.
  16. Getting everyone focused on what matters.
  17. Experimenting all the time.
  18. Cultivating enough mystery to keep everyone intrigued and guessing.
  19. Borrowing ideas from other places that are new to what you do.
  20. Knowing how long to repeat what is working before you suddenly change it.
  21. Giving others the time and preparation to come along and be ready to perform when they need to perform.
  22. Laughing at authority figures that believe they matter much more than they really do.
  23. Trying for something bigger every time.
  24. Never learning anything from your mistakes that would make you fearful of making future mistakes.
  25. Always letting other people shine by giving them the opportunities and stages on which to perform.
  26. Cultivating just enough of the myth behind all the genius moments you leave on the trail.

That’s a start at a list for creating strategic impact. What do you do to leave a trail of genius behind you? – Mike Brown

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

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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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-time workshop questions always trigger blog posts. A new question from last week’s Outside-In Brand Innovation Brainzooming Workshop at the Brand Strategy Conference is no exception.

The intimate size of the brand innovation workshop afforded a rare opportunity. The participants decided to select one brand from among the attendees with everyone working together on outside-in innovation exercises for that brand. Using this approach with the strategic thinking questions, we created a tremendous jumpstart for a B2C brand whose brand manager admitted struggling with differentiating itself from its closest direct competitor.

The group’s responses to the strategic thinking questions and their brand innovation ideas filled many easel-sized Post-it pages.

Modifiers

7 Keys to Creating a Brand Toolkit for Brand Innovation

The voluminous poster-based output led one participant to ask what we do AFTER the strategic thinking questions and exercises to document the Brainzooming results.

That’s something I don’t typically cover in workshops, especially since most involve participants working on exercises individually.

After reviewing the poster photos to begin documenting a session, here are the next strategic thinking questions we ask ourselves to create actionable report outs:

  1. What big ideas jump off the page (or stand out in our memories) as natural big messages?
  2. What are big ideas people overlooked that should be brought to the forefront?
  3. Are there big themes that emerge when we aggregate multiple ideas from across exercises?
  4. How do we best call attention to the expected deliverables and outcomes from the workshop?
  5. If we are putting results into a table or matrix, are there obvious dimensions for organizing them? Are there less obvious dimensions to organize them in new ways?
  6. Were there any ideas that took my breath away when they were suggested? (From our Brand Strategy Conference workshop, one attendee shared an insight that could be a million dollar idea for a differentiated brand position. Those ideas make me gasp when they emerge.)
  7. Are there interesting parts of ideas that emerged during different exercises that need to be put together?

Asking and answering strategic thinking questions such as these helps develop what we characterize as a “strategic brand toolkit.” A brand toolkit (in electronic form) provides a brand manager so many possibilities for ongoing brand innovation.

Does that sound like what your brand needs?

Let’s talk about making it happen for your brand! – Mike Brown

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

 

Looking for Brand Innovation to Grow Your Business? Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking eBook

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 compare how we approach creating Brainzooming strategic thinking workshops to how a band develops a live music set list for a concert. For example, I read somewhere that when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band go out on tour, they have more than two hundred songs ready to slot into any one concert. They play some songs nearly all the time; other songs might only appear once.

That’s comparable to how we select specific strategic thinking questions and exercises from among our large (and always growing) repertoire for a client session. We include some exercises (in one form or another) in nearly every workshop. These are supplemented by less frequently used strategic thinking exercises serving a particular role to address a client’s needs.

Similarly, we select specific exercises to teach at conference workshops to best address a particular conference topic or learning objective. For the Brand Strategy Conference in San Francisco, we used the Outside-In Innovation Fake Book of Strategic Thinking Exercises as the basis for a brand innovation workshop. We concentrated on how companies can use customer, market, competitor, and other external, outside-in looks for brand innovation.

8 Strategic Thinking Exercises for Brand Innovation

Among the sixteen exercises in the Fake Book, we picked eight that were most relevant for brand innovators. Want to apply them to your own brand innovation needs? Here is the set list we used in the workshop (along with the Fake Book page numbers):

1. Looking at Your Brand as a Set of Benefits (Page 7)

This brand innovation exercise is central to most of the following benefits-based exercises that unlock innovation opportunities.

2. New Ways to Enhance Benefit Delivery (Page 8)

Using your audience’s needs, this exercise lets you imagine new ways to address them through the brand experience.

3. Innovating Brand Experience Proof Points (Page 12)

This exercise explores ways you currently deliver and could potentially strengthen your brand experience backstage and onstage.

Brand-Experience-Mapping

4. Determining Your Benefit-Based Competitors (Page 8)

Your competitive set looks dramatically different when you identify competitors based on brands delivering comparable benefits (instead of simply picking those that look like your brand).

5. Identifying New Markets (Page 10)

If your brand is seeking growth, where else can you deliver benefits central to your brand in new markets? This exercise yields the answers.

6. Messaging Benefits in New Ways (Page 9)

There may be many brands in diverse markets providing benefits comparable to yours. Go to school to discover new ways to sharpen and improve your messaging.

7. Deconstructing What Your Brand Does (Page 22)

One of our favorite exercises (What’s It Like?) provides multiple strategic and brand innovation ideas to change the game for your brand.

8. Disrupt or Be Disrupted (Page 20)

There’s no one way to disrupt your brand or others in the marketplace. These strategic thinking questions are a starting point, however, to imagine a range of potential disruptions.

 

If you have brand management responsibilities in your position, download the Outside-In Innovation Fake Book today (it’s still free to download!).

Then you can use this set of exercises to start thinking about your brand in a dramatically new way.

Chances are, there will be a million dollar idea in there for your brand too! – Mike Brown

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

 

Looking for Brand Innovation to Grow Your Business? Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!


Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking eBook

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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1

If you’re trying to create strategic change in an organization having a sense it knows the right way to do things and an even stronger perceived handle on which things are important to do and not do, what is the best change strategy?

Is it better to do a two-step sale or a one-step sale to get the go ahead for strategic change?

This strategic pondering emerged from several Brand Strategy Conference presentations this week.

BrandStratConf

Strategic Change Management in 1 or 2 steps?

There were discussions during various Brand Strategy Conference presentations about how you get an organization to understand branding, design thinking, or social media. The premise, understandably enough, is you need to win the organization over to a belief in the overarching concept before selling-in the related strategic change associated with embracing the concept.

This is what I’d call a two-step sell: sell the concept, then sell the specific strategic change.

A one-step sell would eliminate the separate first step of selling-in the overarching concept. Instead, you would simply start selling-in the strategic change that is needed by linking it, as best possible, to things the organization already believes in and supports. The idea is you may be far better off to not telegraph strategic change by either creating or acknowledging the hurdle of getting the organization to accept a big concept as a precursor to change.

For instance, if you’re trying to implement stronger and better branding in an organization that doesn’t get what brand is, you could start with aspects of brand building start where agreement to do something already exists. If product quality or customer engagement is something the company has been addressing even though it doesn’t completely understand branding, how about simply launching brand strengthening quality or customer engagement changes you align with more familiar initiative? You wouldn’t even have to mention the “B” word, especially if it were likely to just muddy the waters.

Think about this strategic thinking question this way: if you’re dealing with small minded people, are you better off to give them small ideas to consider rather than a huge, unfamiliar idea?

If you think you might be, a one-step strategic change cell may be exactly the approach to pursue.

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

 

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Innovative Perspective with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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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You want input from your employees and partners on your branding strategy, but you cannot afford the risk of the input getting out of control.

Why the big risk?

DSCF6618

You are two-thirds of the way toward finishing your brand strategy development. And, while you are seeking input from others, you cannot afford the input to needlessly and non-strategically unwind the branding strategy work you have already finalized.

One option is to not seek any input. Another is to stipulate certain topics are off limits. Another is to have a town hall type meeting (a few individual speakers with lots of listeners) so people have to acknowledge (if they’re being honest) they were in the room as the branding strategy was discussed, even if very few of them had a chance to offer ideas.

All of those options are weak.

Not soliciting input sets you up for multiple issues, including looking as if you are trying to hide something. Taking certain topics off the table makes it OBVIOUS you are hiding something. Holding a town hall meeting runs the risk of exposing your most negative and toxic audience members to the widest possible audience.

3 Ways to Invite Productive Branding Strategy Input

The far better alternative is bringing your larger audience together and maximizing the benefit of the input they provide through several techniques:

  • Have them work in small groups (which you assign or let naturally develop) so each person has a greater opportunity to contribute.
  • Give them specific questions to respond to that focus on areas where you need input you can actually consider and incorporate.
  • Provide a way to capture their input and conversations in a way they can easily share it with you.

Using this type of approach, you can focus interested brand participants on topics that are additive to your branding strategy. And it ideas or other input surfaces that runs counter to your strategic direction, you can see it in the small group output and react in a sound strategic way – rather than having to field a hot question off-the-cuff in a big audience setting.

Want to learn more about the opportunity and value of incorporating more voices in developing strategy? Download our latest RESULTS!!! mini-book to learn more about the advantages of dramatically growing the perspectives shaping your strategy. Do you have many things you want your employees to understand about your corporate branding strategy, what they should be doing to carry it out, and how they should interact with customers to fulfill your brand promise? – Mike Brown

10 Lessons to Engage Employees and Drive Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

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

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