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Not sure whether your brand should invest in its innovation strategy right now?

10 Signs to Invest in Your Brand’s Innovation Strategy

Review these ten signs about your brand’s innovation strategy needs attention right away. See how many of these sound like your organization.

Innovation-Strategy

  1. Sales growth with current customers is not meeting expectations.
  2. Your product offerings don’t match the decision factors driving why clients select providers in your marketplace.
  3. When you look out five years and project how your brand will be performing in the marketplace, you can’t explain how or why you’ll be successful.
  4. You have employees leaving your company to start businesses disrupting your core business.
  5. There are brands looking nothing like your company circling around the fringes of your industry.
  6. You have only a trace (or less) of revenue coming from products less than two years old.
  7. The management group doesn’t think innovation is all that important for the company’s success.
  8. There are intriguing ideas bubbling up in your organization but employees don’t have productive outlets to develop them.
  9. Your company says innovation is important but no senior leader is on the hook to turn ideas into results.
  10. You aren’t investing in innovation right now.

If you more than a couple of these are familiar, you need to take a hard look at the need to invest in innovation. And if number 10 sounds describes your brand, even if none of the others do, you definitely need to invest in innovation and shore up your innovation strategy – right away! – 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 brand’s innovation strategy and implementation success.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal “Marketplace” section was like a who’s who of retailers getting their rears kicked for not having new ideas and being unable to get ahead of changes now and in the future for retailing.

Among the headlines were:

  • Big Retailers Find It Hard Shopping for a CEO (featuring JC Penney, American Eagle Outfitters, and Target)
  • Whole Foods Shares Drop on Flat Earnings
  • Office Depots Plans to Shut 400 Sores
  • Sear’s CEO Signals More Closings Likely

The CEO article that includes Target said the retailer is ready to move away from its 112-year track record of internal leadership to look beyond Target, and potentially the retail industry, for its next leader.

Why the change in strategy?

Target needs “fresh eyes” to create dramatic change, rapidly test more new ideas, and get “pilots” and “experiments” into its retail stores with greater speed.

Fresh eyes, more new ideas, and experimenting with greater speed?

Sounds like an organization trying to figure out how it is going to start Taking the NO Out of InNOvation!

The Taking the NO Out of InNOvation Webcast

TTNOOI-CoverMaybe the timing is a coincidence, but yesterday also marked the release of the first Brainzooming webcast on our Taking the NO Out of InNOvation strategy. The twelve-minute webcast, part one of a three-part series, is featured on Smallbusinesstalent.com, whose founder, Stephen Lahey, is the undisputed #1 Brainzooming fan.

At least no one has dared step forward to run against Steve for the presidency of the virtual Brainzooming fan club!

If you enjoy and find value in our content on personal and business innovation, you’ll definitely benefit from this three-part series that combines presentation content, blog links, and narration by me to bring the methodology we use to a new level of online availability.

Please jump over to SmallBusinessTalent.com for part one of the Taking the NO Out of InNOVation webcast. Stay tuned over the next two weeks for even more on Taking the NO Out of InNOvation!

We appreciate your support! – 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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If you want to apply creative thinking to a challenging business situation, consider these ten quick tips to enhance your personal and team creativity.

Team-creativity

Creative Thinking – 10 Quick Tips about Team Creativity

1. Know what you’re trying to make happen before you dive into creative thinking.

2. Once you know what you’re trying to make happen, don’t be reluctant to dive in without TOO much forethought.

3. Sometimes blank pieces of paper are successful, but a creative thinking exercise is almost always your best friend for boosting team creativity.

4. Keep your early, failed attempts at creative thinking around for later since you never know when you had all or part of the answer early, but it was too raw to recognize.

5. Even if you could get the same people to help with creative thinking, team creativity is more fun with a gang of diverse people.

6. Don’t spend too much time going down a creative thinking path that’s not working when you can quickly change and try something new.

7. The most unlikely person with the least background in what you’re doing could have the best creative answer, IF you’re paying attention.

8. If everyone gets silent all of a sudden or everyone laughs all of a sudden when a new idea is presented, chances are it’s the right creative idea.

9. Make sure you know when to stop and leave well enough alone with creative thinking so you don’t OVER create.

10. If you have to sell your creative ideas to somebody else, never show them something you wouldn’t be willing to live with if they pick it.

Armed with these 10 tips, you’re set to boost the team creativity you can apply to any challenging business situation.  – 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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The past eighteen months, I’ve participated in several life changing Bible studies produced by Jeff Cavins.

The point of this blog, however, is not to share the impact they’ve had on me. The objective is to share intriguing learnings about visual thinking and the value of organizing content and infographics the courses have taught me.

Visual Thinking and Organizing Content

Bible-Timeline-InfographicAt the heart of Jeff Cavins’ “Bible Timeline” series is a visual thinking and teaching method.

He organizes the books of the Bible based on the type of literature each represents. To help readers understand the “story” the Bible contains, Cavins focuses on fourteen narrative books. These books span twelve specific historical periods. Other books are slotted to fill in details or expand understanding of what happened during each period.

To visually communicate this multi-faceted content, Jeff Cavins developed a color-coded infographic. The Bible Time infographic illustrates multiple patterns within the Bible’s content.

Cavins creates additional insights into the content by highlighting and organizing content in multiple ways. These include the following organizing concepts:

  • Sequential – A beginning to end arrangement of selected content to create a story
  • Chronological – An earliest to latest historical timeline of broader events
  • Thematic – Specific related message and content grouped together
  • Purpose / Function-Based – Arranging pre-existing content in new ways to highlight more subtle patterns (i.e., geographic movement within the Bible)

I had an opportunity to see Jeff Cavins present in November 2013 and videoed part of his talk where he discussed the strategic thinking behind developing the Bible Timeline infographic.

If you’re interested in creating visual thinking insights from complex content, it’s worthwhile to view Cavins’ discussion about organizing content and using an infographic to communicate his message.

While you may think this is far afield, if your organization has a wealth of content that’s been created by multiple people at various times for different purposes that would benefit from SOME type of organization to make it easier to use, there’s a lot to learn here.

As a blogger with more than a half million words written (vs. the Bibe’s nearly 800,000 words), I definitely think about the lessons learned in creating the Bible Timeline and how they apply to adding value to our Brainzooming content.

What about your organization? What lessons are there here for organizing your content to better tell your story? – 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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imageWhen it comes to creative thinking exercises, I’m typically a proponent of introducing people to incremental creative thinking before trying to dunk them into extreme creativity.

That preference is predicated on getting people more familiar and comfortable with smaller creative steps. In that way, the first creative step you ask them to take isn’t such a doozie.

Sometimes, however, when it comes to creative thinking exercises, starting small is not the best strategy to follow.

We were using a combo creative thinking exercise recently. We had asked creative thinking session participants for three progressive creative leaps. For the first step, it was okay for their response to be a conventional idea. We wanted to stretch the creative thinking, however, for steps two and three, with the third answer being a strong example of extreme creativity.

While that was the plan, the mindset we first set was too incremental creatively and too lasting.

Our initial question got them too stuck on what’s happening today.

Subsequently, absent very strong and clear extreme creativity inducing questions for steps two and three, we had to work extra hard to move everyone toward more outrageous ideas. We eventually pushed toward extreme creativity in their responses, but it was much harder than it needed to be.

The lesson?

While it’s not always the case, sometimes you do need to go big creatively right from the start before you are forced to go home with overly familiar ideas. – 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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Baseball-FieldWith the major league baseball season upon us, think about an innovation lesson now common in many baseball leagues, but not all: the designated hitter rule. (Or more specifically, Major League Baseball Rule 6.10 for you precise baseball fans.) 

The designated hitter rule, which Wikipedia suggests was almost implemented in the 1920sallows a baseball team to substitute a hitter for the team’s pitcher in its regular batting lineup.

While preparing a strategic thinking workshop for a client, it struck me that the designated hitter rule takes what used to happen as an irregular event for a baseball team (and still does for National League teams) and simply extends it.

Extending an Irregular Event

Specifically, it’s always been possible to substitute players in a baseball lineup. Before the designated hitter rule, it was common for baseball teams to substitute for the pitcher, especially late in the baseball game. The reasoning behind this is using a pinch hitter to get a strong batter to the plate in place of pitchers, who are notoriously weak hitters. A team is willing to bet that the pinch hitter’s effectiveness in a particular batting situation will be greater than any downside of losing access to the current pitcher for the rest of the game.

In essence, the designate hitter rule says, if that move is a good one in a specific situation, let’s extend it, doing it all the time for the benefit multiple audiences.

And that’s a great innovation lesson.

The Innovation Lesson in the Designated Hitter Rule

Rather than only looking for high frequency situations in your organization and exploring them for innovation opportunities, look in the fringes for innovation opportunities you can extend to more situations.

Ask, observe, and identify what your organization is doing that might be considered an irregular event, a temporary situation, or only done in very special or specific circumstance.

After identifying possible innovation opportunities, see if you can extend these special cases to apply all the time to improve performance and results.

It all comes down to finding ways to get your smart, but infrequent moves, into the starting lineup of your business every time you go out on the field of competition! 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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We’ve covered how comparing apples and oranges in a variety of ways can spur creative thinking. Dilbert took up the identical topic in a Sunday comic strip. Dilbert and Wally double team the pointy-haired boss on appropriate and beneficial ways to compare apples and oranges. 

Dilbert.com

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

Comparing Apples, Oranges and Anything Else

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

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

 

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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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