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Are you an idea magnet?

Idea magnets come up with great creative ideas. And just as importantly, through encouraging and motivating others, idea magnets attract other innovators and creative leaders with incredible ideas into their circles. Idea magnets make work and life more exciting, fulfilling, and successful!

Idea Magnets – 7 Keys for Creative Leadership Skills

Idea-MagnetsWould you like to boost your creative leadership skills to become a stronger idea magnet?

Then you need to join me for the LeadOn Webcast: “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders.”

This exclusive webcast, sponsored by the American Marketing Association on June 23, 2014, springs from a popular Brainzooming article highlighting lessons from idea magnets I’ve worked with during my career.

The webcast features a wide array of new Brainzooming creative leadership skills content not covered in our other innovation and creativity workshops. We’ll talk about:

  • ​Strengthening your creative leadership impact with a diverse team
  • Identifying unique connections to maximize new thinking and creative leadership impact
  • Translating creative thinking into effective change, progress, and results​

I would love to have you join us for this webcast! You’ll learn great techniques you can start using right away, plus “Idea Magnets” represents a first-time collaboration that is creating a new look and tone to our Brainzooming content.

Idea Magnets – A New Collaboration

This exciting new collaboration is with long-time friend Leslie Adams who is creating the visuals for the Idea Magnets webinar.

Leslie-Adams-CrownMany people know Leslie as a writer. Over the past few years though, she’s been showcasing her creativity online with her wonderful photography. She has become very active on Instagram and in the Instagram community in Kansas City.

While reviewing Leslie’s Instagram and Flickr portfolios for images to incorporate in the webcast, I was reminded of a unique aspect to Leslie’s work that integrates two areas of her creative talents: you have to look at her photos AND read the captions she creates for them. It’s easy enough to glide through virtual contact sheets and not notice what’s written about the photos. In Leslie’s case, you’ll want to do both because her words contribute so much to pointing out the subtle details and motivations for her photos!

In fact, many of the captions and quotes Leslie has included with her photos are inspiring ways to expand and add new texture to the webcast’s content.

We’re hoping our collaboration will turn into an eBook to accompany this new Idea Magnets content.

Register Today for “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders”

Step one is for you to join us for the Webcast on June 23, 2014. Register today for the webcast, which is open to both members and non-members of the American Marketing Association, on the AMA website.

We’ll see you on June 23 as we attract all kinds of new ideas to develop your creative leadership skills! – 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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Having written the eBook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation,” it is obvious I take issue with “NOs” standing in the way of generating creative ideas and turning them into innovations that benefit others.

Recently though, I ran smack dab into a NO I hadn’t considered for a long time.

Creative Snobbery

This NO was a comment about what creative tools are appropriate and cool and which aren’t: : “NO, you can’t use THAT to be creative!”

My creative tools were labeled (without hesitation) as not appropriate and not cool. Even though the comments were delivered humorously within a fun conversation, this NO to creative ideas bugged me into the next morning (as I’m writing this).

Hmphhh

What’s interesting is amid the various NOs to innovation I encountered growing up, this NO (which I call “creative snobbery”), was definitely NOT present.

In fact, the attitude at our house was the quality, newness, and sometimes even presence of traditional creative tools, shouldn’t matter. The expectation was you work at what you want to do with what you have, and then maybe when you’ve demonstrated you’re actually sticking to it and improving, THEN maybe you might get better creative tools.

This is really another NO in disguise. It did lead, however, to appreciating folk art, found materials, and individuals and groups creating wonderful work beyond mainstream tools and techniques.

Creative Ideas However You Can Create Them

If you’re figuring out how to create and innovate with whatever tools you have? Fantastic!

Embrace whatever creative tools you or anyone else has. Sure, better tools WILL enhance your talent and may make creativity easier, but don’t overlook (or ostracize for heaven’s sake) the person who is using and compensating with creative tools other think inappropriate or uncool.

So here’s a creative NO you should embrace: NO creative snobbery! – Mike Brown

 

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

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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Remember, strategic thinking lessons are all around us if we’re willing to search for them.

For instance, there is an account in Acts of the Apostles from the Bible’s New Testament about the apostle Paul visiting Athens. While in Athens, Paul was taken to the Areopagus by some of the Greek philosophers. They wanted him to talk about the teachings he was speaking of as the Athenians “used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.”

Paul began his discourse at the Areopagus by speaking of walking through Athens. Amid a city full of gods and idols of various sorts, he reported finding “an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.'” This altar was intended to cover the Athenians and stay in the good graces of any god they hadn’t yet learned about.

Paul-Areopagus

I have written and spoken previously about this Bible passage, which is read in Catholic masses on the Wednesday of the sixth week of Easter. It’s a fantastic example of understanding what your audience believes and launching your attempt to sway their strategic thinking by recognizing where you agree rather than where you disagree.

Strategic Thinking and Unknown Ideas

It struck me yesterday how, from the audience’s perspective, this is also a wonderful story to reflect how we receive new, unknown ideas and strategic thinking.

It’s easy, over time, to fill our heads with ideas and strategic thinking that define our world view and represent our attempt to explain everything we have experienced. It’s also easy to become so fascinated with our own strategic thinking that we leave no room to consider new ways of doing things or opposing points of view.

Some people take this to such an extreme that they can’t even consider opposing ideas simply to understand why people hold them even if they have no intention of believing or embracing these ideas.

Here’s a reminder for all of us: as you grow in years and experience, keep a space that never goes away where you are willing to hear others on new, unknown ideas.

Because if you’re going to grow in your strategic thinking capabilities, you can never NOT have the mental space to hear, consider, and potentially expand your thinking. – Mike Brown

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


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’m a little sad this week because Fox Sports 1 canceled one of the few TV shows I watch outside of programming on EWTN.

“Crowd Goes Wild,” a very different take on sports programming didn’t even make it a year. The show (sometimes) featuring Regis Philbin, and a panel of much younger people than Regis with varied sports and media experience, was unequal parts:

  • CGW-PanelNews
  • Interviews
  • Game show
  • Social media monitoring
  • Comedy
  • Snark
  • Analysis
  • Live audience cheering
  • And whatever else they decided to try

You can imagine how this eclectic array of content meant you never knew what exactly was going to happen. You can also see why the eclectic content wound up dooming Crowd Goes Wild to a short run since it didn’t generate a big enough audience.

Big Strategic Change and the One Place You Better Be Looking for It

And yet, I predict (and I’m not a big predictor), time will demonstrate that Crowd Goes Wild is a noticeable influence on where boring, analysis-heavy, over-serious sports programming winds up heading in the next five years.

I’m basing my prediction on how much I enjoyed the eclecticism of the David Letterman morning show (which set the stage for Letterman’s later work and influence on talk shows) and “Breakfast Time” (which in its short run on FX in the 1990s introduced the hosts of nearly all of the most successful reality TV programs plus set the stage for the toned-down wackiness on today’s early morning TV).

For all three of these TV programs on the fringe, the absence of pre-cursors, sizable audiences, and standard formats led to truly exciting programming where you simply weren’t sure what might happen next.

And this potent combination leads to change – maybe not right away, and not for whoever goes first, but for the marketplace overall.

So when it comes to looking for big strategic change in your business, are you looking on the fringes where new things are happening outside of mainstream attention?

If you want to understand where the change is likely to come from in your marketplace, consider the equivalent spot where:

  • The audience is small
  • The stakes are low
  • The expectations are fluid

Go to school on the fringes and see what changes it suggests for your organization’s future. Mike Brown

 

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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on big strategic change will boost your organization’s 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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A recent Dilbert comic strip where the boss has a meeting to request on employee ideas definitely falls into the “more pathetic and true than funny” Dilbert category. But then again, when Dilbert isn’t going for pure laughs, there is usually a bigger point to be made about what is messed up in business.

In this case, the boss opens up the meeting with the employees looking for “billion dollar productideas.”

By the time Dilbert and Wally point out that if they had billion dollar ideas they’d do them on their own, the boss winds up with the ideas his question deserves: “a phone with a wooden screen” and a “drone that attacks anyone who looks at it.”

Dilbert.com

Screwing Up How to Request Employee Ideas

If you REALLY want input from your employees to help your business, you obviously don’t ask for “billion dollar ideas.” But then again, you also shouldn’t describe the employee ideas you’re looking for as:

  • Big (or The Next Big)
  • Great
  • Implementable
  • Smart
  • High Impact
  • Strategic
  • New
  • Disruptive
  • Game-changing
  • Unique

Feel free to add to this list any other descriptor that causes your employees to “judge” their ideas before sharing them.

When you describe the types of ideas you want in a way that implies they need to be judged before they are shared, you’ve mingled divergent and convergent thinking into one. The result is you’ll miss ideas with tremendous potential because you forced employees to self-evaluate them properly and potentially hoard them because they’re too good.

Far better to simply ask for ideas.

Or even better, ask employees to share:

  • Challenges your customers are facing with what you offer
  • Challenges your employees are facing in delivering what you offer
  • Work arounds being used to make your organization’s processes more effective
  • Things your customers have been complaining about or asking for that have gone unaddressed

None of these involve any judgment, but any of them could have a major impact on your success if you address them successfully.

Be careful what you ask for when it comes to soliciting employees ideas. If you don’t request employee ideas in a way that opens to the door for participation, you’ll wind up with exactly the opposite of what you wanted in the first place. – 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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How thoroughly do you understand what triggers your creative thinking skills?

If you need to be (or it FEELS like you need to be) on top of your creative thinking game all the time, you don’t want to become stuck in the creative doldrums without an answer for how your next idea will emerge.

Here’s a 10-minute trick to inspire your creativity when you REALLY need it.

And it isn’t just for people in jobs seen as “creative.” This works for executives, content creators, or anyone else who simply needs the inspiration to routinely come up with new ideas – big or small.

A 6-Question Inspiration Inventory

When you need new creative thinking, you want to be able to rapidly construct a situation to support creativity, even if it seems as if you’re feeling anything but creative at that moment.

Here’s one answer to doing this.Thinker

Take ten minutes when you ARE feeling creative and begin answering these six who-what-where-when-why-how questions about your creativity:

  • Who boosts your creative thinking?
  • What situations inspire you?
  • Where can you go to refresh your creative thinking?
  • When do you feel like you’re at your strongest creatively?
  • Why does your creativity flourish when it does?
  • How have you triggered new creative thinking before when you’ve been stuck?

Then some other time this week, take another 10 minutes to add to this inspiration inventory; do it again a few days later, too.

After a couple of rounds of noodling on these creative thinking questions, you’ll have created an incredible creativity menu you can use to push yourself out of the creative doldrums we all face. You can use a single idea or a combination of items from your inspiration inventory routinely or when you most need a particular creative thinking boost.

Creative Thinking Skills and Your Inspiration Inventory

Working on your personal inspiration inventory will be the best 30 minutes you invest in your creativity all week.

And as someone who has to come up with five or more new blog ideas weekly, plus new ideas for clients daily, and for other activities, trust me: an inspiration inventory works wonders! – Mike Brown

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

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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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

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

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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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