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SPOILER ALERT!

I’m going to reveal what we’re doing this afternoon at the Nature Explore / Outdoor Learning Project Leadership Institute at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, NE.

During our closing Brainzooming workshop, more than 120 attendees will use several Brainzooming exercises to create a book in just 45 minutes.

Yup, 45 minutes, and I cannot wait!

How do 120+ People Create a Book in 45 Minutes?

Nature-Explore-Session

With Creative Thinking Exercises!

Working with Nancy Rosenow, executive director of our long-term client Nature Explore, we’ll teach the attendees at the Leadership Institute the Change Your Character and Extreme Creativity creative thinking exercises. They’ll use the exercises to identify new ways to address challenges they face in developing outdoor, nature-oriented classrooms for children.

Taking advantage of the math (lots of people, high yielding creative thinking exercises, and compressed time) we’ll work with Nature Explore to shape the group’s content to create a book. They’ll make the ultimate eBook available to Leadership Institute participants plus use it as a download and list-building content asset for their new online learning offering.

This content development strategy builds on the large-scale focus group workshop we created for the Leadership Institute last year. It also fits with the strategies for effectively using events to create massive amounts of content that we shared, along with author Pam Didner, at the 2014 Content Marketing World.

As we develop and launch the eBook, we’ll keep you updated. Additionally, plans are to video the session and create a brief case study recap to demonstrate how we can work with your organization to harness the insights, imagination, and enthusiasm of your audiences to create similar great content in a very short time!

If you want to learn more about our techniques sooner than later, email me at info@brainzooming.com or give me a call at 816-509-5320. We’ll start imagining how to do something comparable for your organization!

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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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1

Luncheon-Graphic

I’m in Carbondale, Illinois today delivering a talk at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on “Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity.” It is an honor to return to Southern Illinois University, since I received an MBA from SIU.

At today’s luncheon, there will be an opportunity to meet and talk about community visioning with leaders working to turn Carbondale into a Gigabit City. Two Carbondale leaders, Gary Williams, the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Carbondale and Steve Mitchell with Connect SI, participated in the Gigabit City Summit that The Brainzooming Group co-developed in January 2015. They had the opportunity to hear, via a Brainzooming workshop at the event, how we help foster community visioning for cities, organizations, and institutions.

In the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute talk, we’ll cover some of the same themes on community visioning with a specific emphasis on what it means in trying to build a creative economy.

You can follow the conversation on Twitter today at #CarbondaleGigabit, plus dive deeper into the content incorporated into the talk via links below:

“Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity”

SIU-Know-No-Bounrds

Appreciating Perspectives

Cultivating Diverse Ideas

Creating Collaboration

Exploiting Structure

Crowd-Friendly Communication

“Measuring” the Return on Creative Ideas

Mike Brown

 

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Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

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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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Yesterday, we talked about the creative constraint at the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference where we were limited to taking only five pictures of the school environment. Today, I wanted to share my six (yes six, not five) photos!

I’m sure I wasn’t as strategic and reasoned in selecting my photos as the teachers who were at the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference. Obviously, I wasn’t looking for specific projects or ideas to bring into a classroom setting. Nevertheless, they all represent aspects of the school that served as creative inspiration for me.

It’s a Museum

As someone explained it to me matter of factly, “This is a Saturn V rocket; it’s the biggest rocket there is.” Well of course it is. Notice the black walls and ceiling along with the planets and stars. It struck me that not only was building the Saturn V a project, the entire installation conveys a sense of the Boulder Journey School as a museum for children to appreciate art, science, and multiple other disciplines.

BJS-SaturnV

Changing Scale for Creative Inspiration

We were introduced to several examples of using GoPro cameras as a means to explode the size of very small scenes so the children can interact and engage in new ways. This shows a scene the children drew, turned into a 3-D scene, and then were videoing and projecting at a huge scale on the wall. I am excited about the possibilities for how something comparable might let us show what happens at a Brainzooming strategy or creativity event in new ways.

BJS-GoPro-Dinner

This Is Where the Wild Things Are!

This was the actually the first photo I took once our photo taking time began. I had been in this classroom earlier and noticed the Where the Wild Things Are characters sitting on a couch in front of pillows that look like the ones we have on our couch at home…except these have orange in the design! Plus, I painted the character on the right as part of a huge event banner in graduate school, so that brought back memories of long ago creative inspiration.

BJS-Wild-Things

What Goes into Creativity?

If I were being completely strict about ONLY five pictures, this would have been the one that would have gone. I really wanted the list of words tied to creativity:

  • Thinking
  • Analyzing
  • Processing
  • Guessing
  • Hypothesizing
  • Predicting
  • Manipulating
  • Sloping
  • Rolling
  • Blocking
  • Falling
  • Measuring

Yes, I could have just written the words, but the creative inspiration for me was in how they dissected this process into a whole series of specific actions adults would typically never think about as discrete activities.

BJS-Creativity

One of the Creative Inspiration Stars

I’d heard stories about the fish at Boulder Journey School Skyping with one another and was mystified. When I heard the full story of how the children wanted to connect the fish tanks at the school so the fish could interact, it started to make sense. Then when they showed how they used GoPro cameras to project the fish (including this cutie, Diggum) on a wall so they were larger than the children, it really started to come together for how it all provided creative inspiration. Suffice it to say, I couldn’t leave without taking a picture of Diggum!

BJS-Diggum

This Was Definitely the Sixth Picture, but Hardly an Afterthought

While this was my sixth (and last) photo, I identified it as a strong possibility early in the conference. This is the intra-school mail center. Children can write notes to other kids, but importantly, parents can leave notes for children that will be delivered later in the day. When I worked in a ten-story office building, we had intra-office mail, even after email was prevalent. Why WOULDN’T you have the same capability in an early childhood school? The answer is you’d only have it when the administrators and staff are incredibly open to translating beneficial concepts into a child’s world!

BJS-Intra-Email

– Mike Brown

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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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An intriguing creative thinking twist at the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference runs counter to all but one other event I’ve spoken at or attended in the past several years.

What’s the twist?

It was the spoken expectation that attendees would take no more than five pictures of the Boulder Journey School environment. These five pictures were all to be taken during an ice cream and exploration break on the conference’s second afternoon.

Creative Thinking – Focusing Your Ideas BEFORE You Get Creative

I first learned about the five picture creative thinking and implementation constraint during our preparatory calls for my conference presentation. There are several reasons for the request, including keeping attendees focused on experiencing the current moment, not clogging the narrow hallways with picture takers throughout the event, and helping to reinforce the message that teachers and administrators shouldn’t expect to recreate exactly what Bolder Journey School has done.

Boulder-Journey-Selfie

L to R: @teachercoder, @Brainzooming, @accruick

The five picture expectation, while obviously grounded in a strategic rationale, does seem counter to the school’s philosophy of creative exploration – at least creative exploration as most of us have come to think of it in the age of digital assets. Being limited to five photos along with the expectation that attendees would spend 1 1/2 days of creative thinking time to explore and select what the five photos should be is a huge throwback to the days before digital assets:

  • When you had to print a picture to know how it looked, so you were careful about getting things right the first time
  • When you had to type something on paper and couldn’t easily edit it after it was typed, so you focused on outlining and crafting polished prose
  • When creating a “moving picture” involved physically processing film, then splicing it, so you didn’t just show up, start shooting, and see what happens

Yes, the five-picture expectation causes different creative thinking and creative behaviors. It makes you:

  • Think and plan where you will focus your creative energy before expending it
  • Edit your creative aspirations to stay within a very real creative constraint
  • Get it as close to right the first time as you can since you can’t simply pick five great photos from two hundred photos you took and call it good
BJSSC-Orange-Socks

My Incredible Speaker’s Gift from #BJSSC15 – Orange Socks!

Wonder how I did with the five picture creative thinking and implementation constraint?

In the next post, I’ll show you what SIX things I considered creatively intriguing enough to be picture-worthy! – Mike Brown

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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.

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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The forming and use of creative thinking heuristics fascinates me.

That shouldn’t be surprising.

As the Brainzooming name suggests, we concentrate on opportunities for short cutting creative thinking in smart ways to keep (or start) things zooming along. If there’s a smart creative thinking shortcut to be tried, we’re up for it.

Creative Thinking at #BJSSC15

During the presentations from mentor teachers and intern teachers at the Boulder Journey School Conference, it was fascinating to hear the lengths to which they go to honor and fulfill the intricate thinking paths the children devise.

150629-BJSSC-Ideas

For instance, the children in one class were working on designing homes for animals, thinking about and accounting for all the things a home would need to include to be homey. The work inspired one of the teachers, Lauren Frazier, to pursue the idea of actually getting a pet for the classroom. Through multiple rounds of voting on what type of pet they wanted (and even absentee voting for parents and grandparents) and what the pet would be named, the class arrived at Nibbles, the guinea pig.

Then, beyond translating their ideas about an animal’s home into Nibbles’ new home, the children wanted to decorate Nibbles’ cage in her favorite color. They devised a series of tests where “doors” of various colors were placed with Nibbles. Students tallied Nibbles’ activity across several days, and using multiple criteria, and they determined red was Nibbles’ favorite color. This paved the way for creating a series of red decorations in her cage.

Before Shortcuts, There Were Many Steps

You may wonder why I’m sharing the Nibbles story.

Beyond the striking separated-at-birth resemblance between Nibbles and our very own Brainzooming Director of Enthusiasm, there’s a very important reminder.

It’s so easy in business and organizational settings to cut out steps and reduce thinking time to save costs and improve the bottom line. We hear the mantra to “ship” new products sooner and fix it later. It’s all part of what we think is making business more revolutionary these days. It’s all about taking fewer steps.

At the Boulder Journey School, however, they walk through each decision step. And the children are the ones charting the steps…not the adults who know better and thus might be the first ones to cut out steps. I know I fought the quick conclusion during the Nibbles presentation to think, “Just pick a color for goodness’ sake and get on with it!”

The learning is when your audience or stakeholder group is newer to ideas and concepts than an organization’s leadership is, there is value to letting them chart the steps and taking all the steps necessary to bring them along in shaping and supporting new ideas. Even if it takes longer, and even if it so deliberate that it can seem maddening, maybe the best answer is going to be the one that emerges from all those steps.  – 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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I was in Boulder, CO last week for the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference. As more than one person asked me, “Why were you at an early childhood education conference?”

Fair question.

Mike-BJSSC15

The short answer was the school’s founder, Dr. Ellen Hall, and I serve together on the board of another non-profit, Nature Explore. Ellen Hall paved the way for the invitation to speak and attend both days of the conference.

The longer answer is, beyond speaking on creative thinking, it was a welcome change to be surrounded by people and an environment fostering in children the same types of creative thinking we try to instigate among adults in the business world.

And as expected, it was an incredible learning experience.

I’ll share various creative thinking insights and images from the Boulder Journey School Summer conference this week; they are all related to the adult world of strategy, creativity, and innovation we cover.

Today, here are creative thinking quotes and comments that resonated and pushed my own thinking:

Creative Thinking Quotes Mentioned During Presentations

“You can’t do a good job unless you’re keen on it yourself.” – quoting David Hawkins

 

“To be in dialogue means to accept transformation.” – quoting Carlina Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children

 

“If you have no bloody owies, you’re being too careful. If you have more than three bloody owies, you’re probably not being careful enough.” – quoting Teacher Tom

  • This does a lot better job of conveying the whole “you have to fail to succeed” perspective than anything else I’ve seen on the topic.

 

“To listen is not to fit what we hear into what we already know, but rather to be poised for the possibilities of what we are about to come to know.” – quoting Davies

 

Live Creative Thinking Quotes from Speakers

“I have a lot of learning to do, that’s why I’m up here presenting today.” – Jen Selbitschka, Studio Teacher

 

“You can’t bring seventy-five people together and make a decision.” – Andrea Sisbarro, School Director at Boulder Journey School

 

“You could look at turning over 41 interns every year as a disaster, or you can see it as a great opportunity to bring new learning into the school.” – Alison Maher, Education Director at Boulder Journey School

 

“The best thing about dandelions is nobody cares if you pull them up.” Another Teacher at the Boulder Journey School

 

“What are we working on together?” – Mary Jane Moran

Mike Brown

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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.

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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Based on conferences I attend, there’s an opportunity to see many “emerging speakers.” These are either executives inside corporations or ones having recently departed. They are in a different experience and style category compared to speakers on the full-time speaking circuit.

This speaking world of emerging speakers is both frustrating and exciting.

It’s frustrating when you sit through full-on bores with content that isn’t compelling. There’s one global B2B company, and every speaker I’ve seen from it the past few years is arrogant and plainly disconnected from the audience. Their presentations are horrible.

The frustrating experiences are more than offset, however, by the excitement of seeing new, strong presenters speaking from real, ongoing experiences. These are always delightful, and a great reminder about effective presentations skills to try to develop for my own speaking engagements.

I saw one of the latter types of speakers recently: Amy Brusselback, a former P&G executive. She left the corporate world to start Design B&B. Amy’s speaking style was a great reminder of three aspirations any speaker should embrace: Be funny, self-deprecating, and quotable.

3-Magic-Keys

More than 127 Tips for Effective Presentation Skills

Thinking about lessons in effective presentation skills from sitting through both good and bad presenters prompted me to compile the varied Brainzooming content focused speakers. Along the way, there have also been plenty of tips for how conference organizers can facilitate speakers being better. There have also been some for how audience members can involve themselves in getting the most from conference presentations.

Effective Presentation Skills for Various Situations

Effective Presentation Skills – 8 Ways to Put More of You in Your Talks

Effective Presentation Skills – 16 Ideas to Immediately Engage an Audience

TED Talks – Six Ideas for Developing a First Time TEDx Talk

9 Things I Do Give a Damn ’bout with a Bad Presentation

9+ Tips for How Not to Use PowerPoint and Other Creative Presentation Ideas

Keynote Presenter Advice – Don’t Do These Things

Effective Presentation Skills – 6 Keys to Successful Last-Minute Changes

5 Things all Conference Presenters Must Stop Doing Right Away

Better Presentations with a Small Audience and a Big Room – 9 Success Tips

Pecha Kucha in Kansas City – 6 Reminders for Better Presentations

7 Steps to Be Ready to Present When Your PowerPoint Fails

Eight Tips for Making a Big Presentation Successful

Presentation Tips – 4 Ideas for Successful, Last-Minute Speeches

Great Presentation Content

Strategic Thinking Lessons – Why Recipes Are Better than Dinner Stories

Presentation Tips – 3 Reasons to Admit You Don’t Do Something Well

Presentation Tips – 5 Tips for Creating Photogenic Slides

16 Creative Ways to Supercharge Presentations

Creative Thinking – The 25 Stages in Creating a New Presentation

Create Lasting Memories in Online Events – 10 Ways to Do It

The Value in Presentations

Strategic Thinking Question – When Does Free Become Getting Paid?

Strategic Thinking for Your Career – What Free Speaking Engagements to Do?

Free Speech? Try a “Fair Trade” Speech Strategy Instead

How Organizers Can Help Speakers Be More Successful

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

Event Strategy – 5 Ideas for Generating Applause When You Need It

The Audience Role in Presentations

Creative Ideas – A Memorable Way to Meet Conference Speakers

5 Strategic Thinking Questions for Integrated Listening

8 Warning Signs a Professional Development Conference Could Be a Stinker

Is a Smart Presenter Always Better?

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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