Social Media | The Brainzooming Group - Part 58 – page 58
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Creative Ideas for CreativityFiguring out how to be creative when your creativity is blocked can depend on simply choosing appropriate creative thinking techniques to boost your creative inspiration.

Here are 26 creative ideas you can use when you are struggling with how to be creative and boost your innovative  thinking.

Pick as many of these tested creative thinking techniques as you need to re-start your creative process, find creative inspiration, and overcome a creative block.

Try Simplifying Things

Start your Creative Process with Things You’ll Throw Away – Decide upfront you’ll discard anything you create in the next hour, then simply dive in and start doing something toward your creative goal right away. You’re willing to trash it, so don’t let any self-criticism block your creative inspiration.

Doodle and Eat – Many restaurants use white paper in place of cloth table coverings. Go to one nearby with pens, markers, or crayons and doodle your way through dinner. Write, draw, diagram, or do whatever else will trigger your creativity.

Try Trait Transformation – Write down 6 descriptors or characteristics of your creative challenge. For each descriptor, ask how it would help meet your creative objective if it were bigger, smaller, turned around, removed, customized, standardized, or simplified. Asking these questions to twist your situation leads to lots of new creative ideas.

Create an Artifact – Find a small something to create that’s more easily achievable than your whole project (it could be working on something you’ve already put in the creative trash heap). Create your small start and use it as a tangible first step to get to your next bigger creative ideas.

Change Your Creative Environment

Finish Something – Maybe an obligation completely unrelated to your creative challenge is hanging over your head. Drop your creative project and focus on other nagging deadlines which may be affecting you subconsciously. Getting pesky non-creative deadlines out of the way can free you for a new perspective on creativity.

Go Get Sweaty – Studies show it and so does any great workout – physical exercise is a wonderful way to shake your mental cobwebs loose. Pick your favorite exercise and participate in it aggressively, putting your creative block to the side. When you’re done, you’ll see your creative challenge with new clarity.

Embrace Mindless Activity – Perform an activity you’re able to do without thinking or using any creative thinking. Maybe it’s cleaning or lawn work or driving around. It has to be active with plenty of opportunity for your mind to wander creatively.

Change Scenery While Staying Where You Are – Alter as much as you can about your current environment – vary the lighting, rearrange the furniture (avoiding creativity constricting right angles), sit in a different chair, stand up or lay down, look out the window, step away from the computer. Whatever you’re doing where you are, do things completely differently to stimulate your creative process.

Change Scenery By Changing Where You Are – Get as far away as you can from your creative block’s “home field.” At the office? Go to a museum or a hotel lobby. Spent too much time inside? Get outside as quickly as you can. Bored with your hometown? Start traveling. Whatever it takes, force yourself to change your physical surroundings for a creativity boost.

Take advantage of “Crowdspiration” – Go where there’s a crowd of people and use the looks, conversations, and buzz of the crowd to catalyze your creativity. Remember: the crowd can be in real life or virtual, because wading into the Twitter pool is another great source of random crowdspiration too!

Switch to a Bare Wall – Completely change the “canvas” on which you’re trying to express your creativity by switching to a new, blank one. If you’re stuck on a computer, get a new notebook and start handwriting. When you’re not able to draw something with a pencil on paper, switch to painting on an oversized canvas.

Borrow Creative Inspiration

Return to the Familiar – Use the forms, styles, characters, and media that are old standbys for your creative expression. Take advantage of familiar forms to get your creativity re-started.

Revisit Your Creative Pinnacles – Go back to a past creative success and create a variation on the theme. When stuck while blogging, redo your favorite post from a different perspective or angle. If the music isn’t flowing, play a favorite piece in a different key or tempo.

Seek out Someone Else’s Creative Pinnacle – Pick some output from one of your creative inspirations and do a BIG (i.e. non-copyright infringing) variation on a successful theme they used.

Use “Real Simple” Magazine – Real Simple, in particular, is a great creative inspiration. Take your creative block and go page by page asking how the images and headlines you see could shape your creativity, writing down ideas as you go. If you prefer a different magazine, look for one with lots of images and big headlines.

Random Wikipedia – Random inputs help trigger innovative thinking, so here’s a quirky approach to try. Take a period of your life, pick a starting point (i.e. an actor or author you enjoyed then), and look it up on Wikipedia. Click on a random link in the first Wikipedia entry and keep surfing for semi-random inputs. You never know what cool creativity will be inspired via Wikiwaves.

Stop Trying So Hard to Be Creative

Stop Everything – Walk away from your creative process and take a 30 minute nap (or whatever length leaves you refreshed). Let your mind wander and imagine anything at all as you go to sleep. Come back to your creative process refreshed and ready with new creative inspiration.

Tend to Your Basic Needs – Drink some water. Take a shower. Eat your favorite meal. Eat something you’ve never eaten before.  Take care of the basic needs of life and then restart your creative efforts.

Laugh Like Crazy – Watch an incredibly funny TV show or movie and laugh like you never have before. If laughter isn’t your best medicine for creative inspiration, pick something else to watch that you know will tug on other emotions. The key is triggering your emotions to open yourself to new creativity.

Be Patient – You know what? Now might just not be the time you can muster your creativity to respond to the goal at hand. Put the project to the side (maybe for an extended period of time), apply your creativity to areas where it is readily flowing, with the faith (you may want to say a creativity prayer) that the spark you need will happen at the right time, even if you don’t know when that is!

Seek Out New Creative Inspiration

Find Some Fresh Eyes – Ask a creative friend who doesn’t have any background in the area of your creative block how they’d approach your challenge. With a new set of eyes and fresh thinking, chances are the other person will see a creative key you’re missing.

Put Your Kids in Charge – For little kids, the whole world is new and full of creativity. Get your kids (or borrow somebody else’s, but ask first) and see what kind of creative fun they’d like to have. Whether it’s playing in the yard or going to Chuck E. Cheese, throw yourself into creativity with childlike glee to uncover new inspiration for creativity.

Seek out People with Dramatic News to Share – For some people, angst leads to creativity. For others, happiness triggers creativity. When stuck creatively, find the people in your circle with compelling stories to share – whether of challenges or of successes – as new inspiration sources.

Find Someone Who Loves Something You Created – People who think you’re creative are great creative catalysts. Seek them out and ask what inspires them about creative work you’ve done. Use how you’ve inspired them in the past to inspire your creativity now.

Host a Creative Happy Hour – Invite a group of cool, creative people to join you for a happy hour. Have fun, share some stories, ask for some creative input from your companions, and get in a creative spirit once again.

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” – This Brainzooming Ebook highlights 8 perspectives for how to be creative to stimulate innovative thinking.

Are You Inspired Yet?

These 26 creative ideas should get you started in your discover of how to be creative when creativity is elusive for you.

What creative process tips or creative ideas can you add to this list of creative inspiration techniques? We’d love to include your ideas to overcome creative block as well. – 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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1

BP video, via AP (from Cleveland.com)

Last week, John King of CNN was covering the Gulf oil spill in front of what must have been 16 different live camera feeds of BP trying to get the spill capped.  Amid all the discussions about the impact of the Gulf oil spill in deteriorating the BP brand, this scene suggested another question to consider:

Is your brand ready to have 16 cameras covering your service recovery efforts?

That’s another scary thought from this whole fiasco that other companies need to be considering and planning for as a possibility. Because even if it isn’t 16 cameras, it’s very likely your lowest paid front line employee is on camera (or being tweeted about) as he or she is (hopefully) trying to satisfy a pissed off customer. And if the video isn’t available in real-time, then it’s probably going to be posted online shortly after the service recovery takes place.

So again, ask yourself: Does your organization have a service recovery strategy that’s prepared to be shown to the world?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.

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4

I presented a social media strategy discussion tonight for the KAIROS Analytics Group. It was a completely different type of presentation since the room size and configuration were designed for enjoying wine, not for viewing Powerpoint. As a result, it was on 6 social media strategy critical success factors done sans computer, using pre-drawn cartoon posters to help convey the points. The posters are featured below

The conversation was great with lots of participation from the attendees and additional discussion about social media in a heavily regulated environment, the social media conversation on the BP oil spill, and the key performance indicators we use for The Brainzooming Group social media presence. – 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.

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4

For a planning guy, it’s always time to be thinking about and planning for next year, and how it’s going to differ from this year. To help your business get started, here are five specific strategy questions you should be considering:

  • Are the same strategies going to be important for your business next year?
  • What external factors are surfacing to shape the rest of this year and next?
  • Which other developments may not be visible yet, but have the potential to impact our business?
  • What strategies will we want to continue doing?
  • What looks like it isn’t working and needs to be changed or dropped?

Beyond these five starter questions, here are eleven ways The Brainzooming Group can help you finish this year more successfully and pave the way for greater success next year:

  • If you’ve been repeatedly talking about starting a new initiative but can’t get it going, we’ll quickly create the plan to move you ahead.
  • If you need a quick strategic perspective and creative ideas, we’ll get on the phone with you for 60 minutes and figure out strategically sensible tactics.
  • If you suspect the market is moving away from your business model, we’ll challenge you and clarify where your organization’s future is.
  • If you don’t suspect the marketing is moving away from your business model, we’ll really challenge you and clarify where your organization’s future needs to be.
  • If you have lots of data that’s not leading to decisions, we’ll simplify and focus information into insights.
  • If the staff you have in place can’t keep up with expectations being placed on it, we’ll supply additional marketing horsepower.
  • If you don’t have time to think, we’ll dramatically shorten the time it takes to consider strategic options and do something about them.
  • If you have lots of ideas, but aren’t sure which ones are best to pursue, we’ll rapidly cut through wannabe concepts and zero in on clear winners.
  • If you’re budget is constrained, we’ll identify low and no-cost resources to ensure disproportionate positive market impact.
  • If you’re trying to get a handle on how social media really contributes to your business, we’ll identify which business objectives you can genuinely impact with a solid social media strategy.
  • If your growth and profits are stalled, we’ll help identify better plans to target growth in your major accounts.

Because of the innovative, interactive planning process The Brainzooming Group creates for your business, you get the benefits of solid planning in dramatically less time with the ability to anticipate market changes upfront.

That’s why smart organizations work with us to become more successful as we rapidly expand their strategic options and create innovative plans they can 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

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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21

When thinking about your social media strategy, you should be planning for 6 important metrics. What are the six? There are 3 different levels of social media participation and 2 different types of measures. Put them in a 3 x 2 matrix, and you get six.

Here’s the rundown on the 3 social media engagement aspects to measure:

  • Activity – Any metrics relating to actions your organization is taking on social media: blogging, tweeting, posting, promoting, etc.
  • Interaction – This category’s measures focus on how your audience is engaging with your social media presence: followers, comments, likes, sharing, user created content, etc.
  • Returns – This group accounts for where your social media activities directly or indirectly support measures driving successful organizations: revenue creation (and the activities that lead up to it), cost minimization (along with activities to help achieve it), and other critical financial performance metrics.

Relative to the two different types of measures, use the “whole-brain metrics” strategy we’ve recommended before: capture both quantitative (left brain) and qualitative (right brain) elements. Using this metrics dashboard strategy accounts for both the “hard” numbers and softer perspectives (stories, images, buzz-related feedback) to provide the most complete evaluative picture of your social media strategy.

There’s a clear advantage to considering the metrics strategy when devising your overall social media strategy. The earlier you think through what you should be tracking in these six categories, the better you’ll be able to shape your innovative social media strategy to be ROI-oriented. – 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.

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1

Last Friday, July 9 was “Cow Appreciation Day” at Chick-fil-A. Customers dressing up as the company’s signature cow icon were rewarded with free meals (for a head-to-toe cow costume) and sandwiches (for any part of a cow costume). While there was a microsite set up for the day to allow customers to find locations and a Facebook page to upload photos, the interactive brand strategy was clearly geared toward a real life visit to a nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant.

We headed out for dinner on Cow Appreciation day and saw many customers more than happy to turn themselves into Chick-fil-A brand icons for a reward valued at less than $5.

What a brilliant interactive brand strategy to get your customers to jump through a pretty easy “brand” hoop in exchange for what a restaurant might give away on a typical “buy one get one free” coupon requiring no customer brand interaction other than showing up at the restaurant.

In this case, turning couponing into an interactive brand strategy delivering a memorable brand experience creates all kinds of residual brand value in stories, pictures, videos, and likely, increased people per ticket as we witnessed large groups routinely entering the restaurant we visited.

And what about my Cow Appreciation Day participation? We’ll I love free Chick-fil-A as much or more than the next person. I put on my Ben & Jerry cow socks and a cow beanie and collected my free sandwich as well!  – 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.

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3

If you’re blogging, are you getting together with your readers in person?

If you’re reading a blog, are you reaching out to the author to share ideas?

If you’re on either side of these questions and answered “no,” here are five reasons why a strategy of bloggers and readers meeting in person makes sense:

  • You learn what messages have registered with people – I’ve often said I’m singularly unable to predict what material people will respond to most strongly. Talking with actual live blog readers helps better understand how they’ve reacted to material – even if it doesn’t help in predicting what they’ll like in the future!
  • New blog ideas get triggered by the conversation – Talking recently with a reader led to discussion about his job, his role and title, and business development strategies. All aspects of the conversation were rich with future topic possibilities, including the inspiration for this post! For readers, it’s a great opportunity to shape and participate in content creation.
  • You can find out how people are reading the blog – I’ll admit….I don’t always look at the Brainzooming email or RSS blog feeds; I go to the website directly. Not everyone does that though. Talking with readers helps develop a better idea of the varied ways people are taking in the material, including getting a sense of how current readers are sharing it with new readers.
  • Guest post opportunities get considered – I haven’t been soliciting guest posts as aggressively as in the past, but I should be. Guest posts add variety to the blog, provide additional visibility for cool strategic thinkers, and help to extend the blog’s reach. While Twitter has been a fairly effective means to reach out to potential guest bloggers, asking a reader for a guest post (or shooting a video post) in person has much more impact.
  • You re-think what you’ve written lately – I used to write weeks in advance. Now it’s usually a week ahead. Even so, between client work for The Brainzooming Group, articles for the Brainzooming blog, and guest posts at other websites, it’s challenging to remember what’s being published where. Answering questions and discussing current (and past) blog posts about strategy, creativity, and innovation makes it come alive for me as well as for the reader.

So if you’re a Brainzooming blog reader in KC, get in touch, and let’s meetup! – 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.

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