Events | The Brainzooming Group - Part 22 – page 22
8

Here are a few of the topics I was tweeting about this week:

The Rapture didn’t happen last weekend. The lesson? When the boss tells you NOBODY knows the answer to a question, don’t be a brown-noser and try to answer the question anyway.

The labels YOU place on yourself can either free you or close off opportunities. Be careful which, if any, you pick!

There’s no policy that says you have to let everything that happens in your life define you. Be a Teflon person and protect yourself.

When you’re getting ready for a difficult conversation with someone, think about the challenging points you’re going to need to make. How many of them apply to you also?

Whenever and whatever you edit, leave lots of white space.

It’s easy to be busy. It’s hard to be productive.

Trust me – it’s not always advisable to pick the first words that show up at your mouth.

If you’ve dealt with a challenging client, write down what was challenging. Re-read it next time they call you about working with them.

Sometimes the project you’re working on is trying to tell you it’s done. You’re simply not listening.

Watching the first Oprah shows I’ve seen in something like a 150 years this week, “Oprah Behind the Scenes” was a lot more engaging than her regular show. The “how do they do that” element really got me interested.

Having said that, Oprah shared some decent life lessons in her wrap-up show (paraquoted here) – Get yourself-perceptions out of the way to be able to see your blessings. Every single person you meet is looking for validation. Every person wants to be heard. God’s voice is with all of us. We decide whether we ignore it or do something about it.

Remember – a platitude gets tweeted halfway around the world before something of substance has a chance to be ignored.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 help you enhance your brand 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

I witnessed my first in-person flash mob last night as Eric “Mean” Melin (@SceneStealrEric on Twitter) led this creative group of Richie Sambora and Eddie Van Halen wannabes in what is rumored to be the world’s largest air guitar flash mob – right here on the streets of Kansas City.

The air guitar flash mob was in support of the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships Regional Competition coming to Kansas City on May 19, 2011. In a Kansas City First Friday filled with lots of strolling and looking at works of art, Eric’s air guitar flash mob was definitely a creative highlight! – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

How do you start enhancing innovation in a small organization?

The keynote training presentation I did for CreativeBloc was on “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation,” with its ideas on how to counteract ten innovation barriers. Each time I present this topic, the audience picks the barriers most relevant to their organizations for us to discuss. In that way, the presentation is never the same, covering a different five or six innovation barriers chosen by the audience.

One post-presentation evaluation thought the concepts were more suited to larger rather than small organizations, prompting today’s CreativeBloc question and blog post.

In reality, the strategies in for circumventing innovation barriers are applicable in a small organization too. If you’re in a smaller organization and want to improve innovation efforts, here are four specific steps you can take:

1. Do a self-assessment to figure out if you are personally creating NO’s to innovation.

This assessment involves examining your personal innovative approach and also asking others who would be confident (and feel safe) in telling you if the see issues with how you conduct yourself. It’s probably best to ask more general questions on where individuals in your small organization feel like they are and aren’t able to contribute new ideas.

2. Get someone outside your organization to ask questions about potential barriers.

The same questions you ask yourself and a small group about contributing and acting on new ideas in your small organization need to be asked of your entire team. Having someone external ask the questions and allowing people to respond anonymously provides the greatest likelihood of getting honest answers.

3. Assess the answers to identify your innovation barriers and ways to counteract them.

Interpret the responses openly and honestly to identify innovation barriers in your organization. Begin implementing changes by involving your organization’s people in sharing ideas. Be clear, however, about what role you’re asking them to play. Are they simply providing input which you’ll evaluate and prioritize? Or are you asking them to actually participate and own responsibility for implementing strategic fixes to the issues?

4. Watch what you say and do.

Throughout this process, display consistent daily behaviors to reinforce your words about truly wanting to create a more innovative culture. Matching what you say and do supports the individuals on your team in creating making innovative changes.

Try these 4 steps in a small or large organization when you want to experience a more innovative perspective and see better results.  – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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

Continue Reading

11

When creativity isn’t appreciated in your organization culture, what can you do if changing jobs isn’t an option?

I told the recent CreativeBloc audience that if anyone worked in a place that didn’t value creativity and innovative ideas from its own people, it was best to get out; thus, this CreativeBloc question arose.

Honestly, unless you’re an indentured servant where you work now, changing jobs and finding an organization that places a value on creativity is always an option. It just may be that changing jobs RIGHT NOW isn’t an option.

If changing jobs in pursuit of a more creativity-friendly culture seems like a far-off possibility, you need to start preparing. The first steps are to make sure you’re building a financial cushion (which may involve altering today’s lifestyle), honing your online presence to showcase your expertise and talents, and aggressively putting yourself in situations to meet and help people who can be a part of your future plan.

From the standpoint of protecting your creativity while you get ready to change jobs in the future, two streams of activity are vital:

  • Developing and implementing a plan to cope with where you are (Plan A)
  • Concurrently working on what’s next (Plan B)

Plan A – Your Creativity Coping Plan at Your Current Job

If creativity isn’t valued at your current job, identify what IS valued there. Ask yourself and others, “What matters in our organization?” Beyond asking the question, enhance your understanding by observing where the company’s management devotes its attention.

Once you’ve figured out what’s valued, look for ways to introduce creativity (defined as “seeing things in new and different ways”) into areas the organization values. While you may be stretched to introduce creativity in what you think are non-traditional areas, it’s vital for your creative health.

Make sure management notices your innovative contributions to company priorities. Call attention to what you’re doing. Showcase the value you’re creating for the organization. Don’t do it in a cheesy, conceited way, but confidently make sure your contributions are recognized. Management visibility is important since you’re going to need to reduce your emotional investment in your job. If the job’s not going to enrich your creativity, you can’t afford to be too wrapped up in it. That doesn’t mean you won’t perform well, but don’t over-perform since you’ll need to divert mental energy to other activities.

Personally, in my corporate life, our company began appreciating creativity even less than it had following significant management changes. What was valued? Cost cutting, stopping programs, and doing what we were doing with dramatically reduced expenditures. As a result, I tried to find creative and innovative ways to carry out those tasks. It wasn’t nearly as rewarding as investing in new marketing programs, without a doubt. But taking initiative on these priorities demonstrated my active contribution to the organization even while shifting my mental focus to my Plan B.

Plan B – Working on What’s Next

If you haven’t already, start looking at your entire life as a creative outlet. Concurrently, compartmentalize your work – viewing it as one small part of your life – not your whole life. This move is vital since you’re going to need creative energy to work on Plan B. You can’t be successful in this dual track strategy if you’re allowing your current job to drain you creatively.

Identify your distinctive talents and identify ways to incorporate them into everything you do in both your work and personal lives. Since these distinctive talents should be areas that most excite you creatively, you’ll receive you a much needed creative boost by allowing them to occupy a bigger portion of your waking hours.

Begin creating a new, expanded creative team with which to surround yourself. Take advantage of both the people you know in person and those you meet through social media to share and fortify your creativity.

As your mind starts to clear creatively, begin identifying your strategic career options. As you do this, take deliberate steps to find and/or create your second, more creative “job.” The job may be a paying one, or it could be volunteer work. It may be expressively focused on cultivating your creative pursuits. No matter what it is, your pursuit should be providing disproportionate creative fulfillment and leading you toward what your future holds – moving your creative life and career pursuits in a way that today’s plan B becomes the plan A of some point in your very near future!  – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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

Continue Reading

3

Last week, I was back in event planning and production mode helping a client put together an internal event to launch a new initiative. This event had an interesting twist. While there were fewer than 200 attendees, the event was held inside a major indoor concert and sports venue. The dichotomy of hosting a relatively small group in a venue with thousands of seats (and the associated infrastructure to support them) reconfirmed some long-held event planning lessons and introduced some variations on other event planning practices. Doing my personal recap on the successful event, the lessons seemed worthwhile to share for those of you doing event planning or managing other creatively-oriented projects. Here are my 11 take-aways:

1. When you have a choice, pick the event venue with the greatest capabilities and expertise.

This will give you a big head start toward a successful production. Having just done an event at a venue with a permanent control room and a production team running it every day, the differences versus a hotel and hiring a production company to bring along a temporary setup were dramatic.

2. Insert emotion into the program wherever possible – ideally in every presentation.

Remember – the tougher it is to figure out how to put emotion into a presentation on a particularly dry topic, the more credit you’ll get from the audience for trying it.

3. Push your presenters to use more pictures than words.

It’s easier on both the presenter and the audience. Plus a great image can help inject needed emotion into a boring topic.

4. Make it clear to everyone when you have to move from a period of creative exploration into finalizing decisions for an event.

There may be additional opportunities to move back into creative time later. Acknowledge that shift with everyone as well. But at certain points, you simply have to decide and move on without introducing any more intriguing possibilities.

5. Work from a solid to-do list of critical items which need to be completed.

Work your list hard, but realize things may not get checked off in the order you’ve listed them or much before when you think they need to be done. Some of them may never get checked off, yet you’ll still have a tremendous event. That’s a signal to continue refining the way you determine what’s really critical.

6. Do whatever you can ahead of time.

While it’s boring to sit around and wait when you’re ahead of schedule, it’s fantastic when you’re in event planning mode. You’ll be really glad you were later when time’s running out.

7. If someone critical to the event is prone to running late, do whatever you can to remove roadblocks which will slow the person down.

That may be getting them food so they don’t have to stop for it, or securing a meeting room so they can make phone calls and keep business going while at the event. Whatever it is, remove the obstacles that could make them unavailable when you need them.

8. Don’t empower five people to direct things.

Identify a clear decision maker who will make the decisions which need to be made – in real time. Have one person (either the same or a different person) who is the sole person to communicate changes to production people. This will make for greater clarity and a better event. It also demonstrates you’re thinking about #9.

9. Be nice to the production team.

This group will make or break you, so treat the team in a way which predisposes them to want to “make” you (and the event) successful. That doesn’t mean you don’t challenge things. It does mean, though, you say “please,” “thank you,” and other words of encouragement at every opportunity.

10. Stay calm, especially during pre-production.

When you’re working with pros, pre-production and rehearsal time is the opportunity to experiment, test, and be creative. While rehearsals and walk-throughs can look and feel like disasters, the final event almost never reflects the gaffes you see the day, morning, or even the hour before the event is live.

11. Always bring some pain relief medication to the event.

Somebody will need it, trust me.  – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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

Continue Reading

11

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

4

I’ll be up in Iowa next week, April 14th for CreativeBloc 2011, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation: Cedar Rapids-Iowa City. This year’s conference is billed as “CreativeReFresh,” and I’ll be doing a couple of presentations in keeping with the theme.

And those are just two of the many sessions scheduled throughout CreativeBloc 2011 on creativity, innovation, social media, SEO, and blogging.

If you’re located in Iowa (or are interested in traveling further to come!), it would be great to see you, hang out, and enjoy a great day of creativity at CreativeBloc 2011!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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading