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Each year we share the top 10 new Brainzooming blog posts from the previous year based on your views. Reviewing the list is an intriguing exercise for me, especially when comparing it to tomorrow’s list – my favorite blog posts from the year.

The most striking thing about your most popular new Brainzooming blog posts is only five are numbered lists. This is in stark contrast to previous years where nearly all of them were numbered lists. One change could be that we published fewer list posts this year. In previous years, list posts were among the easiest content to write. This year, however, my worldview just has not produced list posts as readily as in previous years.

Two other take-aways from perusing Google Analytics for the year are:

  1. Evergreen content (i.e., blog posts from previous years) was more prevalent than previous years among the most-viewed posts.
  2. Woody Bendle’s great guest posts on innovation and branding ranked significantly among the most-viewed posts. (Woody’s most-viewed posts are featured at the end of the top 10 list.

Your Top 10 Most Viewed New Brainzooming Blog Posts this Year

Love-Ideas

Here is your top ten most-viewed new Brainzooming content for 2014:

1. 10 Meeting Spaces for Work at Home Professionals, Other than Starbucks

While billed as being for work at home professionals, these ideas are also valuable for anyone who works in an office but needs a change in meeting venue.

2. Creative Thinking Skills: 29 Phrases Blocking Innovative Ideas

These twenty-nine phrases blocking innovative ideas were easy to write. I simply tried to remember all the challenges to new ideas I have encountered during my career.

3. Strategic Thinking Skills: Dilbert on Taking Credit vs. Making Innovation Happen

This Dilbert hits on one of the keys to getting things done that many people overlook: if you really believe in an idea that’s struggling, and you’re willing to surrender credit, it may be enough to get the idea implemented. It’s not a strategy for every ego, but it can definitely be very effective.

4. New Product Development – Brainstorming Ideas Grounded in Business Strategy

Start with a strategic target, and you’ll find yourself brainstorming ideas that make sense for your organization’s business strategy. Don’t and you won’t.

5. Social Media Strategy: 7 Lessons for Fantastic, Creative Content Marketing

This post is a one-stop for great tools to turn a brand’s aspirations for fantastic, creative content marketing into a reality.

6. Creative Thinking Skills: 9 Ways to Present a Business Strategy with Panache

These are all tried and tested, although some are much easier to make happen than others are. And in case you’re wondering, it’s the first use of the word “panache” in the Brainzooming blog.

7. Social Media Strategy: Explaining Social Networks to Executives Who Don’t Get It

This is one of the most popular parts of my social media and content marketing presentations. Its popularity prompted sharing these valuable analogies for social networks that had only been shared in live presentations.

8. Creative Thinking Exercises – Would you like S, M, L, or XL Creative Ideas?

This is a compilation post that really SHOULD be a numbered post. See what I mean about not seeing the world as an endless source of list posts this year?

9. Strategic Thinking: Asking a Different Type of Question

I hate to say it, but this post now seems to me to be a pre-cursor to number 8 on the list. Sorry about that! ; )

10. 5 Ways to Help a Speaker Deliver a Successful Presentation at Your Event

This is the latest post on the list, appearing on April 1. It’s a nice example of being able to go to school on a client’s very beneficial help and feature them, even if I can’t mention who the client is.

And What about the Woody Bendle Posts?

And as promised earlier, there are the most popular Brainzooming guest posts from Woody Bendle this year:

1. Creative Thinking Exercise for Extreme Innovation by Woody Bendle

2. Visual Thinking: Better Ways to Think about Calorie Data by Woody Bendle

3. New Product Innovation Strategy – Go Opposite by Woody Bendle

The fact that Woody’s guest post on “Go Opposite” is from November is testament to both how strongly Woody works his network to get eyeballs on the his posts and the value of getting a post picked up by a major content aggregator (which happens with many of Woody’s posts).

Tomorrow’s List

You will see a very different list tomorrow with my favorite posts. I guess I love the underdogs, the posts that have a story behind them, but maybe do not get the same attention!

 

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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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Offering ways to boost your creative thinking skills is one of the important topic areas on the Brainzooming blog. This is a recap of 38 articles from the past year on creative process, creative leadership, and various techniques and creative inspirations. There is some overlap the recent look back at innovation articles, but we tried to keep the two lists as distinct as possible.

Enjoy perusing the list and diving in wherever and whenever you are looking for a creative thinking boost!

Creative Process

creativity-boost

Creative Thinking Skills and Leadership

Idea-Cartoon-Balloon

Real-Life Creativity Stories

Creative Thinking Questions

Creative-Thinking-Questions

Creative Inspiration

 

Enjoy this article on creative thinking skills? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

 

Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

 

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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We ran a post recently on the “official sponsorship” relationship between Disney and American Tourister, suggesting ten strategic thinking questions you could use to develop a sponsorship strategy and identify new and unusual partners for your organization.

Strategic Thinking Questions . . . and Answers

Jim from Massachusetts followed up the post with a request to provide some context for how a brand might answer the ten strategic thinking questions. His suggestion was if readers were able to see how we’d answer the strategic thinking questions for Disney, they’d have a better sense of whether their answers for their own brands are on target.

While I mentioned to Jim that amid all the content we share, we try to stay away from ANSWERING strategic thinking questions, which is something we are paid to do for clients.

In this case, though, I said we’d make an exception.

10 Answers for Sponsorship Strategy

Here are the ten original strategic thinking questions from the blog post for identifying sponsors and partners, along with responses we brainstormed if we were answering for the Disney brand.

Official-Luggage-Disney

We didn’t dive into specific partner brands, simply categories of potential partners. We also didn’t remove duplicates from the list since a category showing up multiple times could suggest something about how attractive or viable a partnership might be.

1. What do users do before they experience our brand?

Buy flights / hotel / car rentals, research what to do at the destination, schedule vacation days, prepare to leave, board their animals, stop the mail, pack and get ready

2. What do users need to know before they interact with our brand, and how do they learn it?

Best ticket packages, park hours, ways to get better deals, ways to get their kids into the things and experiences they want to do. They learn it via the web, books, asking friends.

3. What products or services do users buy or secure before they approach our brand?

All the necessary travel, luggage, new phones (to get photos, video), cabs, long-term parking, airlines, car rentals, hotels, restaurants

4. What products or services do users bring with them as they approach our brand?

Purses, backpacks, phones, sunglasses, sunscreen, vacation / casual clothes, hats, water, luggage, stuffed animals / mementos

5. What other brands help make a user’s interaction with our brand more successful, productive, beneficial, or pleasant?

Raincoats, energy drinks, snacks for the kids, a good night’s sleep, sun glasses, sun screen, small / light weight backpack or purse

6. What other products or services do users use when interacting with our brand, even if there are no current direct connections?

Casual clothes, logoed clothes, mobile phones, buses, public transportation, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, food, soft drinks, water

7. What do users do after they experience our brand?

Shower, soap, shampoo, lotion, beds, restaurants, places to nap, social media, mobile phones

8. How or where will users apply the benefits of the experience with our brand afterward?

Stories they tell their friends, social media networks, Christmas letters, Kids’ rooms (for animals, keepsakes, etc.)

9. What products or services do users use after they experience our brand?

Storage devices / cloud for photos and videos, social networks, all the travel brands they used on the way there, restaurants, retail stores

10. What products or services will help sustain the experience users have with our brand even after it’s “officially” ended?

Photos, video, social media networks, stories, mementos, logoed items of all types, eBooks, television shows and movies

What new sponsors and partners fit your brand’s sponsorship strategy?

Whenever The Brainzooming Group develops new strategic thinking questions, we go through a comparable exercise to make sure the questions yield the right kinds of answers.

We hope seeing how we’d use these strategic thinking questions with a client (although Disney isn’t a client) is helpful for you in thinking about what new sponsors and partners might fit with your brand. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


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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Our friends at Armada Corporate Intelligence featured an article in their weekly “Inside the Executive Suite” feature recently about creating a path toward organizational humility.

AEIB-GraphicThis Inside the Executive Suite edition used a comment in a Wall Street Journal story about how Cirque du Soleil, the well-known entertainment company, had a big dose of humility thrust upon it. This was as a result of both business setbacks and, more specifically, a performer’s death on-stage during a 2013 performance.

A Path toward Organizational Humility

Armada Corporate Intelligence used a four-step strategy for cultivating personal humility as the basis of its strategic thinking.

They extended the personal strategy to business situations, recommending businesses pursue these steps on a path toward organizational humility:

  1. Don’t Allow Extraordinary or Phony Measures to Mask Challenges
  2. Create a Culture that Prizes Honest Exploration and Evaluation
  3. Learn from Small Mistakes Before They Become Tragedies
  4. Become Adept and Agile at Change

What struck me about the topic was a famous quote on humility attributed to both C.S. Lewis and Pastor Rick Warren (although as I shared on Facebook, I’m guessing C.S. Lewis said it first!): “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Strategic Thinking on Humility and Strategy

Service-Sign

If you consider organizational humility relative to the C.S. Lewis quote, it implies placing something other than organizational self-interest and success as the sole focus of its values and corporate strategy.

Two natural alternative areas on which to focus that came to mind right away are employees and customers.

If an organization were to focus first on making sure its employees are satisfied and loyal, one might assume they will be more inclined to deliver greater quality and value to customers. That, in turn, should lead to more satisfied and loyal customers. And a greater degree of customer continuity should result in superior business results.

As you may recognize, this sequence of events is a generalized description of the ideas of the Service-Profit chain, popularly-articulated at Harvard.

So maybe a business which is on the path toward organizational humility really CAN wind up ensuring it is focused on its own success, but it does so by focusing on others first. – Mike Brown

 

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

If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


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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Next time someone tells you how crazy busy they are or you tell someone how crazy busy you are, remember that crazy busy isn’t necessarily:

  • Productive
  • Profitable
  • Cash flow positive
  • Strategically smart
  • Smart in any way at all
  • Truthful
  • Organized
  • Intentional
  • Leading to growth
  • Anything more than excuse
  • A good idea
  • Creative
  • The real objective

Yes, crazy busy may be a ploy to avoid layoffs in a corporate environment . . .

080816 A Personal Strategy for Avoiding Layoffs

But being crazy busy for the sake of being able to say you’re crazy busy is bad strategy. – Mike Brown

 

 

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Learn all about what Mike Brown’s creativity, strategic thinking and innovation presentations can add to your business meeting!

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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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Here is a look back on the last year and 46 articles on innovation strategy, whether it’s crafting strategy for your own brand, looking to the market for innovation opportunities, using structured innovative thinking to drive change, or contending with internal barriers to innovation strategy. All that, plus a few articles via innovation strategy expert, Woody Bendle.

Get out there and change things for the better!

Innovation Strategy

Innovation-Strategy

Marketing and Competitive Strategy

Rules-of-brainstorming

Structure, Exercises, Roles, and Rules

Barriers to Innovation and Change

We-Create-Innovative-Ideas-Brainzooming

Innovation Strategy via Woody Bendle

 

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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 received a question asking for more details on the recent post about how a Zoomference enables an organization to streamline strategic planning exercises and deliver a plan more quickly through using our online collaboration platform.

In response, here’s a case study from a Zoomference we facilitated last week. If you need to remove time from your organization’s strategic planning process (either for an imminent planning deadline before year end or for planning you do throughout the year), here’s how a Zoomference from Brainzooming makes it happen.

The Zoomference Case Study – Ideas to a Plan in 6 Hours

Our client is an industry association management team deployed in multiple locations. With forty potential initiatives identified as possibilities for the next year, our objective was to help narrow the initiatives to a manageable number and develop strategic plans for the top priorities.

The pressing deadline was the need to deliver the strategic plan to its board members a mere eight days after we started our work.

Based on a preliminary conversation with the client, we designed a planning schedule and four online collaboration sessions for the week. The first three Zoomference online collaboration sessions included an orientation and two working sessions to gather input on priorities and implementation; these sessions were MondayTuesday, and Wednesday. The final session, last Friday morning, was to review the plan based on the week’s work.

2015-strategic-plan

Zooming through Strategic Planning Exercises

Within the first three online collaborative strategic planning sessions (less than six hours of the client’s time), we:

  • Gathered input to develop a prioritization model for the organization going forward
  • Identified the list of forty potential priorities
  • Used a rough version of the prioritization tool to narrow the forty initiatives to six
  • Ranked the six initiatives and identified the top five
  • Gathered input from the group about their objectives and potential approaches with each of the five initiatives

After completing the third session on Wednesday, The Brainzooming Group team developed the input into five initiative plans, complete with strategy statements, metrics, critical success factors, and implementation steps to make the plan a reality in 2015. We reviewed the twenty-plus page strategic plan with the team on Friday morning, making final edits to prepare this week’s board presentation.

Yes, you read that right.

The start-to-finish client time investment for a prioritized, five-initiative strategic plan ready to share with the board was about seven hours.

In fact, at one point, I let the team know they’d done 4 weeks of work in 45 minutes.

And the client’s reaction? It’s “amazing.”

That’s the power of combining Brainzooming strategic planning exercises with our online collaboration platform to create a Zoomference.

Want to take advantage of the power of a Zoomference?

If you’d like to spend less time planning and more time doing, a Zoomference is what you need.

Email (info@brainzooming.com) or call us at 816-509-5320 to schedule time to learn how The Brainzooming Group can create a Zoomference to help you address your strategic planning questions and complete your plan for next year while there’s still time! – Mike Brown

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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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