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Remember to click on the headlines to link to the creative thinking articles. Enjoy! –Marianne Carr

Marianne-Carr-Photo

Creative Thinking Boosters – Why do I feel these next three clicks work well together?

Playfulness and High School Kids

Looks like Bueller was right all along. But we knew that.

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The Creativity Pill

Wow, this is fascinating. What would it have been like if Spicoli had been on this instead?

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Here’s Why You Should Doodle

I have been visually “taking notes” since High School. Sister Mary Elephant just didn’t understand creative thinking, man.

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Read this Blog even if you don’t need help.

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Learning is never about being right or wrong; it’s about understanding. Learning with your team means putting on someone else’s glasses and seeing the world through his or her eyes. What you extrapolate is exactly what you should share. – Paul Jun, Growth team at Help Scout.

This organization does content marketing right. I don’t even need a help desk and I read the blog posts. You should, too.  Here’s this week’s and it’s about learning. The criteria for learning together to occur, and I concur, are explained well: Humility, Empathy, A Schedule, and A Safe Environment. I also like the thoughts about writing.

Creative Thinking Down in the Weeds Part 1 and Part 2

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Avoiding the weed patch is usually advantageous — except when it isn’t. Just as some desirable plants do sometimes grow among weeds, ideas that truly are treasures sometimes appear only when we take trips down into the weeds. That’s why examining the detailed structures underlying the big issues is a useful thing to do. What is usually less useful is doing so when we’re supposedly doing something else. – Rick Brenner, Chaco Canyon Consulting

The Chaco Canyon e-newsletter was one of the first newsletters I ever signed up for, and, to date myself, I think it was when I was using Netscape! Rick’s email newsletters aren’t pretty nor has it changed the format in 20 years, but they are good sources for team work, meeting management and project management creative thinking.

Around the World Designing for Change

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Love the Illinois Institute Technology (IIT) Institute of Design. I have been to several of their conferences in Chicago, so I anticipate this World Tour approach will be well executed and worth following.  I hope I can get the t-shirt!

The Best Use of Creative Thinking — Inspiring those that need it most.

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In full disclosure, I have never been to a PechaKucha event. I don’t even know how to pronounce it (Puh-chalk-cha?). Makes me think of that famous Pokemon character. But I like what this organization does. It has a big heart and a lot of creative thinking. This series of supporting global catastrophe zones is inspiring to me. It is beautiful what individual creative minds from around the world create. Why does this program make me more cynical about Ted Talks?

And Now for Something Completely Different…

And I quote, “Here’s an appealing idea: candy containing small amounts of fish.”

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This article, Fruit candy that tastes like salmon by Patrick ST. Michel, Special To The Japan Times, Jul 24, 2015, is short and sweet(?!). Reading articles about Japan from Japanese sources allows me to explore the ever-changing world of fads and trends that this wonderful country offers. I find myself Oooooing and Ahhhhing every day. –Marianne Carr

 

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Marianne-Carr-PhotoLast week I was challenged by some of my friends after reading my last two creative thinking posts. The challenge was – Where are the Women?  GOOD POINT! Women are inspiring leaders in so many ways for innovation, creative thinking, and marketing.  Here are Creative Clicks by Women, and in some cases, about Women. Hope you are Inspired! – Marianne Carr

A Note on these Creative Clicks by Gal Friday, Marianne Carr: Click on the Creative Thinking Headlines to Get to the Creative Thinking Original Post. 

Who in the Universe is Vera Rubin?

Vera-Rubin

“Instead of advice, I offer my hopes for you. I hope you will stay alert and heed the words of Yogi Berra: “You can see a lot by just looking.” I hope your lives will be filled with health and peace, that you understand there is much work to be done in the world and that many of you will choose to join with those who work and lead. I hope you will disdain mediocrity and aim to excel in whatever you do. I hope you will love your work as I love doing astronomy. I hope that you will fight injustice and discrimination in all its guises. I hope you will value diversity among your friends, among your colleagues…” Vera Rubin addresses the graduating class of Berkeley, 1996  Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter

If you are not reading  www.brainpickings.org run, don’t walk to your device of choice and sign up for blasts – email or in Facebook or Twitter. Do it noooow.

Oh, and it’s written by a woman  Maria Popova. She is a rock star to me.

Color, Color Everywhere and Lots of Stuff to Think

As a self-described Color Freak, (Lori’s title, not mine) I have been enjoying reading Lori Sawaya, Color Expert and Strategist, Facebook posts www.facebook.com/TheLandofColor for years now.  And of course, her thoughts are a natural fit for Pinterest,  www.pinterest.com/TheLandofColor/ with STUNNING posts that if you like color, and I know you do, you will eat up like candy.  Lori has 82 boards with trends and information. Her boards dedicated to just one color, are, dare I say, provocative. Also you can learn some great history from Lori. Her page Haint Blue the Legend includes Ghosts and Southern Mansions. Hopefully you get the picture why this colorful expert is an inspiration to creativity.

02-Orange

In honor of Mike.

Women and Innovation and 18 Pages of Articles about Women, Girls and Social Innovation

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“The world is waking up to the economic power of women. A growing number of studies have indicated that gender-inclusive companies are more successful, that women’s participation in the labor force has had measurable effects on economic growth—indeed, that women’s leadership benefits the economy and society on every level. Despite this, traditional investment opportunities—both in the for-profit and the social sector—have excluded women from access to capital and done little to further gender equity in the workplace. In recent years, a movement towards “investing with a gender lens” has emerged. This movement encourages the use of capital to deliver financial returns…

Says the intro to the Webinar on The Rise of Gender Capitalism. And isn’t that what Innovation is all about? Making Money. Make some noize Girrrrls! Woot Woot!

Women Blogger on Innovation at Innovation Excellence

I researched  “Women Bloggers on Innovation,” and the Innovation Excellence site has several good woman bloggers.  One notable is Saga Briggs. Saga tends to focus on Learning and Education.

Blogger-Profile

Here are two recent posts from Saga:

 

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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Great minds think about the same topics at the same time.

Or maybe another way to put it is that strategy guys start thinking about business strategy questions at the same time because it’s time to start thinking about strategic planning!

On Sunday afternoon, customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle emailed this new blog article on business strategy questions. I saw the email, but didn’t take a look at the article. Later Sunday night when I decided to write a blog post for Monday, I did a Twitter search on #strategic to find creative inspiration. The result was a blog post on…you guessed it…business strategy questions! While there is a little bit of overlap with Woody’s article, his questions are focused on generating the strategy while the ones from the previous column were more for reviewing strategy after it’s been completed.

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So with that setup, here’s Woody!

 7 Business Strategy Questions from Woody Bendle

woody-bendleAs we enter into the back half of the year, it seems this is typically when many organizations begin their strategic planning and goal setting for the coming year.

Strategy and strategic planning needn’t be mysterious nor overly complicated although many organizations do in fact overcomplicate strategic planning.  The problem with this is complicated strategic planning processes tend to lead to needlessly complex strategies.  And the more complex your strategy, the less likely it is to be executed successfully.

After being involved with and/or leading strategy development for more than 20 years, I’ve found that organizations can develop a highly effective strategy by asking and answering just seven key questions.

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. Why are we trying to do this?
  3. What are our core values or what things do we believe in?
  4. What are the things we need to do in order to accomplish what we’re wanting to accomplish?
  5. How will we know if we are making progress towards our stated goals and objectives?
  6. What things (both internal and external) could get in the way of us achieving our goals and objectives?
  7. What things are we willing and or prepared to do if we are not achieving our stated goals or objectives at the rate desired?

Granted, these are pretty meaty questions; but you have to admit, they are pretty straight forward.

One thing I’ve definitely observed over the past 20 years is that the more straight forward your approach to strategy, the more straight forward your strategy will be; and the more likely it is that your strategy will be successfully executed.

And after all, the point of a strategy and a strategic plan is to define what success looks like for your organization and determine what all needs to be done in order for your organization to be successful.

I think Yogi Berra sums up this sentiment nicely, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”  Woody Bendle

 

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Marianne-Carr-PhotoMarianne Carr has been working with us for nearly a year. We met (courtesy of mutual friend, Doug Steveneson) at a lunch neither one of us wanted to attend.

I knew there may be possibilities, however, when she was willing to skip the two-hour wait at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ (as it was still known then) and head across the street for tacos and margaritas at Taco Republic. It’s my fault for not getting her listed on the website (gotta get that fixed), but it’s great to finally feature her first blog post. It’s another in our planned series of recaps of intriguing creative inspiration clicks to articles around the web each week.  – Mike Brown

Gal Friday – Marianne’s Memes and Creative Inspiration Clicks

Meme

 

I had to look this up!

Variety is the Spice of My In-Box: Connecting Dots and Finding Golden Threads

I get a lot of different things to read in my in-box. I mean a lot. I mean different.

To me, some how all of these thoughts, opinions, facts, what-nots are interconnected. Not sure how, not sure why. Maybe it’s for you to decide.

I offer some of my own humble opinions for consideration. 

At Work, Captain Hindsight Really IS a Super Hero

“….calls it the “premortem”, and it’s embarrassingly simple: you imagine yourself in the future, after the project you’re considering has ended in spectacular failure. “Unlike a typical critiquing session, in which project team members are asked what might go wrong, the premortem operates on the assumption that the ‘patient’ has died,” Klein writes. In the fantasy world of the premortem, it’s already over. You’re screwed. Everything went as badly as you could have feared. Now: why?”

IMHO: It’s always about asking better questions (more about that in a couple of weeks). I like the way this is “packaged” however, and sometimes the packaging of a technique helps sell it internally at an organization.  Doesn’t seem like frivolous and ineffective “brainstorming” or “ideation” if it’s called “Pre-mortem.”

Australians Spell Words Differently, but are Not Worlds Apart

“Yet legacy technologies, siloed operational structures, risk aversion and data analytics immaturity must be overcome if an organisation is to achieve the real-time responsiveness customers are demanding. Many marketing functions are also still coming to terms with what customer engagement across the lifecycle means, and how to best utilise content and social channels to make that happen.”

IMHO: Duh. Okay that’s rude. Some of this is obvious, but still true, and no one is doing anything to correct it in many large organizations. Or prevent it in start-ups that hit that scary 5 year, too-many-people, grew-too-fast plateau so that the silos have just magically appeared. But you know all that. My slightly more impressive thought is — I have heard that Australia is considered a good testing ground for ideas prior to launch in the USA. There are several similarities to behavior and attitude.  I’d love to know if that’s true.

The Secret Life of Being; Remember Each of One of Us has Something

“By the last week of October, Alex was communicating with more than a dozen people who openly admired the Islamic State. Her life, which had mostly seemed like a blurred series of babysitting shifts and lonely weekends roaming the mall, was now filled with encouragement and tutorials from her online friends.”

IMHO: This article highlights how we each individually face some monumental, and often very secret, challenges in our daily lives.  Never forget to be open and empathetic.  And think in terms of people, instead of consumers, when innovating.

My Subconscious Ate my Social Media Campaign

“Why do you have an urge or thought that you shouldn’t be having? Because, in a sense, the consciousness system doesn’t know that you shouldn’t be thinking about something. An urge generator doesn’t know that an urge is irrelevant to other thoughts or ongoing action.”

IMHO: Oh thank goodness, it’s not me, it’s my subconscious that’s going to eat that cupcake. And I’m not even hungry. So is reading Facebook all day, or tweeting, or pinning, or LInkedining, or Vining or Snapchatting or texting really just a subconscious urge?

New School/Old School – but is it the Right School?

Conf-Infographic

IMHO: Is this the right way to use the infographic format? Am I supposed to print it and hang it on my wall?  Wouldn’t that be better to send me AFTER I signup? But I have heard this is a good event. Maybe I should go some time.

sxsw-cover

IMHO: And these guys have a MAGAZINE?! Shocker. I’ve heard this is a good event, too. – Marianne Carr

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Recently, the “Inside the Executive Suite” executive newsletter from Armada Executive Intelligence turned its attention to strategic thinking exercises and possibilities for breakthrough thinking. Their story was based on a review of two new books on the topic of insights. The books and the article were intriguing, and the folks at Armada Executive Intelligence gave us permission to re-run the piece here.

Strategic Thinking Exercises – 5 Breakthrough Thinking Possibilities

(via Armada Executive Intelligence)

How do you personally generate successful breakthrough thinking?

Do your methods compare favorably to approaches of the great thinkers of history? Additionally, are there proven lessons you can apply in specific types of situations?

Thinker

The last two questions are addressed in new books featured in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal Review section. William B. Irvine’s, “Aha! The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World,” and “The Eureka Factor” by cognitive neuroscientists, John Kounios and Mark Beeman, both address insights – the result of people achieving deep, accurate understanding of an issue facing them.

Irvine’s book presents case studies on the thinking approaches of history’s greatest thinkers. The Kounios and Beeman book examines, as much as is possible, the scientific basis for developing insights.

Irvine’s book highlights varied, successful insight patterns. In science and mathematics, doing something unrelated to the current task is common before generating breakthrough thinking. He credits religious insights as emerging from actual experience; with moral issues, insights vary in appearing after extended reflection or through sudden revelation. When new thinking depends on creative thinking, they tend to emerge after establishing a solid foundation of work leading to insights that emerge later.

What Works to Generate Breakthrough Thinking?

Figuring out how your situation ties to which type of insight pattern may seem confusing. That’s why we advocate for what Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling said: “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

You can extend this concept to developing insights. It’s helpful to employ a full repertoire of thinking techniques to produce many potential insights to fuel breakthrough thinking.

We’ve seen, tried, and returned to various approaches to trigger breakthrough insights. Here are several possibilities when you have to consistently introduce new insights in an organizational setting.

1. Sorting Out What You Know

From all the available potential facts and conclusions, sort them based on ones you KNOW to be true versus others you THINK to be true or HOPE to be true. This exercise helps identify how strong your foundation is for generating new insights.

Are most of your points of information and conclusions already proven to be true? Do you need to develop proof points (if you only THINK much of the information is true) or conduct additional, novel research or analysis (if you simply HOPE the ideas are true)?

Based on what you find, there are natural questions to firm up your fact base:

  • For information and conclusions known to be true: What new insights are suggested by what we already know?
  • For what you only think to be true, ask: What will it take to prove each of these as true or false?
  • For those you hope to be true ask: What stands in the way of vetting this information? If it were true, what new insights might it help uncover?

You can use your answers to take the appropriate steps to solidify your fact base so it is more robust.

2. Assembling the Insight Puzzle

Generating insights in a business setting is akin to assembling puzzle pieces. Extending that comparison creates an actual puzzle-solving exercise.

We worked with a consultant who would print every major known fact supporting a potential strategy and on a separate piece of paper. Each business strategist received a set of facts to combine, rearrange, and “play” with as a child would play with building blocks. Some arrangements of the facts might be simple and others more complex. The overall goal was for each individual to separately identify interesting combinations to look for new potential insights.

While there are advantages to printing out and physically arranging the facts, there are many options to work with the facts in a collaborative online environment.

Regardless of how you do it, after the initial work, strategists compare their insights, looking for similarities, differences, and new ways the individual work can generate additional insights.

3. Different Perspectives on the Insights Puzzle

We also find value in consciously looking at facts from different perspectives to trigger new insights. You can accomplish this with creative thinking exercises.

Breakthrough-Pinnacle

For generating insights, one approach to looking at your information from alternative perspectives is by consciously using various “modifiers” to probe your fact base in multiple ways. This list of modifiers below is one we typically use. Simply insert the modifier into this question: What if we looked at this information (or situation) in a more ______ way?

  • Focused
  • Simplified
  • Integrated
  • Broad
  • Diversified
  • Sophisticated
  • Extreme
  • Contrary
  • Long-term
  • Immediate

Using these types of modifiers will point you in multiple productive directions as you attempt to develop new insights.

4. Invite More People to Look at the Puzzle

Each step to this point involved you or your immediate team. You can expand potential insights by inviting a broader, more diverse group to consider the available information. Including new minds creates an opportunity to identify additional insights, especially ones a group more familiar with a status quo understanding of the situation might struggle to imagine.

5. Get Away Briefly…or Longer

If your insight-generating efforts are unproductive, step away for a short period of time. You may even find it beneficial to stay away longer.

Taking a break agrees with the idea that your previous efforts to generate insights may simply have been foundation-setting that needs time for less structured and casual thinking. A pause can be beneficial in fully exploiting your foundation as a platform for new insights.

Is there a road to breakthrough thinking that works best for you?

The key to generating breakthrough thinking in our experience is that they sometimes come through using tested methods and sometimes through completely new approaches. That requires flexibility on your part. – Armada Executive Intelligence

 

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Customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle is back today taking another swipe at big data with help in thinking through how to monetize it (vs. just parking it in the cloud and praying for rain). Here’s Woody!

Strategic Insight – Monetization Is the Real Big Data Dilemma – Woody Bendle

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for several years, you’re aware Big Data is a big topic! Just look at this Google Trends graph depicting search volume for “Big Data” the past five years.

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That’s one incredible upward trajectory wouldn’t you say!

But have you ever wondered why this topic is so hot right now?

In my opinion, we’re hearing so much about Big Data because of several related factors:

However, I feel the primary reason we continue to hear more about Big Data is due to very few companies actually realizing the purported Big Data promise – or what I call the Big Data monetization dilemma.

If you were to listen all of the sensational Big Data spiel out there, you’d have to believe that by simply having Big Data, your organization would automatically (almost magically) be smarter, faster (agile), more competitive, and ultimately, more profitable. And that’s just not the case.

What many organizations are quickly realizing is not all data are created equal.  Having a lot of this digital Big Data stuff being captured and stored doesn’t mean you can readily access it, analyze it, or provide useful answers to meaningful questions.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for most Big Data out there in the cloud today – much of it simply is not configured in a manner that allows for analysis. And, there really are no magical short cuts; there is a tried and true (but not necessarily easy) approach that will help you to realize its promise, however.

Three Strategic Questions for Monetizing Big Data

Just because storing your Big Data is relatively inexpensive doesn’t mean your Big Data strategy should be “Fire, Ready, Aim!” Have you heard anyone say something like this? “Let’s keep pumping all of our Big Data into the cloud and we’ll figure it out as we go.” If this is your approach, you will find monetizing your Big Data to be very costly!

If you expect to monetize your Big Data asset, there are three fundamental questions to continually ask, answer and address:

  1. What questions do I want/need my Big Data to answer?
  2. What types of analysis will be needed to answer our questions?
  3. How do our data need to be structured in order to perform the required analysis?

These questions might feel like a blinding flash of the obvious, but you’d be surprised by how few organizations actually start here.

By first defining the questions you want your Big Data to answer, it will be easier to determine the most appropriate type(s) of analysis your organization will need to perform – and there is a wide range of analytical complexity that can be employed (see below).

Woody2

Once you know the types of analyses you need (or want) to perform, it will be easier to define how best to structure your Big Data.

When performing statistical analysis in particular, your data need to be (or need to become) numbers that represent meaning or measure (structure).  This frankly is one of the biggest challenges with Big Data – most of it is typically unstructured (e.g., text comments, videos, website browsing streams, etc.).  While nearly all unstructured data can be transformed into structured data (numbers), it is really important to understand that not all numbers are created equal either (see below).

Woody3

Numbers can have very different meaning depending upon the level of measure they represent. Different types of measures are also better suited for different types of analyses. Given this, you can see why it is important that your Big Data are transformed (structured) in a very thoughtful and purposeful manner.

Will you monetize your big data?

My intention with this discussion was not to provide a detailed playbook for monetizing your Big Data. Rather it is to acknowledge the real and increasing challenges many are currently dealing with and offer insight for addressing some of the more fundamental problems.

As you start/revamp/update/overhaul your Big Data strategy, remember to ask, answer and address these foundational questions:

  1. What questions do I want/need my Big Data to answer?
  2. What types of analysis will be needed to answer our questions?
  3. How do our data need to be structured in order to perform the required analysis?

If you do, you can be sure that you moving your Big Data strategy in the right direction.  If you don’t, just keep in mind what happens when you try to stand on quicksand! –  Woody Bendle

 

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There were many themes apparent in the Super Bowl advertising portfolio.

  • There was dad-dom (Nissan, Dove Men+Care).
  • There was overcoming-disability-dom (Microsoft, Nissan).
  • There was scantily-clad-dom (T-Mobile. Victoria’s Secret).
  • There was borrowing celebrity-dom. (Kia. Snickers. Wix).

Plenty of “doms” to go around.

The Crowd’s Creative Comes Out on Top in Super Bowl Advertising

Crash-The-Crowd-eBook

Download “Crash Course” at http://boomideanet.com/crash-the-crowd/

But the intriguing results from the night belong to Doritos and the creative crowd. According to Ace Metrix research “America voted for #WhenPigsFly from Doritos to be this year’s #TopSpot2015 #SB49 by scoring it higher than any of the other 2015 Doritos ads.”

Additionally, Doritos ranked in the top 5 a short time after the Super Bowl advertising wrapped up Sunday evening.

When all the Super Bowl advertising rankings are in, there may be another winner. The interesting thing here is that the spot crowdsourced by Doritos is in the running. Yes, it’s fan-based creative.

What Do You Know about Crowdsourcing Advertising?

While not every company is in a position to turn its brand over to its consumers, the Doritos fan crowd demonstrates there is bona fide creative power in the crowd.

In light of this, if your CEO is asking you, “Should we be doing this crowdsourcing thing?” you’ll want answers.

We can help you with answers.

We can help you decide if a crowd can work for your brand. And suggest how you can test the crowdsourcing waters.

Visit this link and download our free eBook about “Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing Before Your CEO Asks.”

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It might just come in handy!  – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

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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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