Strategy | The Brainzooming Group - Part 229 – page 229
2

My wife has been putting together some very complex puzzles lately, with many pieces, odd shapes, and undifferentiated images from piece to piece. Completing them as quickly as she does requires intense concentration.

Along the way, there are times when she’ll get stuck; it will seem impossible to find the particular piece she needs next. Often when she’s in that situation, I’ll walk by, chat briefly, and she’ll find the piece (or I will) almost instantly.

She credits me with being good luck when that happens. While that certainly makes me feel good, it’s obviously not true. I suspect one of two things is going on when this happens and both tie directly to perspective, as so much of creative problem solving does.

If I happen to find the piece, it’s simply because I’m bringing no previous perspective to the problem. I’m seeing the patterns of shapes and images from a new and different angle than she is. And if our brief interaction is coincident with her finding the piece, it’s because the time we interacted is enough to break her concentration, allowing her if not a new, at least a fresher perspective as she reimmerses herself in the puzzle.

So next time you’re working alone, concentrating intensely on trying to solve a problem with the door closed and the phone on send, consider letting yourself be interrupted. The break in concentration may be just what you need to figure out the problem or to at least have the interrupter do it 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

2

Powerful comparisons are important to many creative thinking exercises. While the types of comparisons may vary, for the more than twenty-five “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises on the Brainzooming blog, delegating an opportunity or challenge to someone you wouldn’t typically think about selecting to do your work yields a wide variety of creative ideas.

Creative Ideas from an Unlikely Character?

The Change Your Character creative thinking exercises use someone in a completely different line of work to help you look at your own situation with a fresh perspective.

Here are the steps for Change Your Character:

  1. State the business challenge that you’re addressing – it could be an opportunity, a problem, a new process or approach, etc.
  2. Pick who you want to work on your situation. This could be a real person, a fictional or cartoon character, or even another business that faces an analogous situation.
  3. Once you’ve identified who you’ll put on the job, list 8 to 10 approaches that the person, character, or business uses to address opportunities or challenges.
  4. Using the 8 to 10 approaches, apply them to your situation to generate at least 3 new ideas each for solving it.

Each of the Change Your Character creative thinking exercises does steps 2 and 3 for you. This allows you to focus primarily on step 4 – creative idea generation.

25 “Change Your Character” Creative Thinking Exercises

Here’s a compilation of 25 of these creative thinking exercises you can bookmark for use in successfully addressing future opportunities. Within each category, the situations and characters covered are listed, along with a link to the original article.

Strategy

Relationship & Brand Building

Team Building

Management & Problem Solving

Professional Skills

Just a note – I used Bart Simpson recently, and it worked very well. Give it a try and have great success Changing Your Character! – Mike Brown

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about Mike Brown’s creative thinking and innovation presentations!

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

2

There’s a Peanuts cartoon I wrote about recently showing Snoopy sitting silently with Charlie Brown, a checker board between them, and Charlie wondering what Snoopy’s next move will be. He suspects Snoopy has a fancy strategy planned given how quiet and tricky he is; the more Charlie thinks about it, the more he wonders what Snoopy is thinking. In the last panel, Snoopy is silently trying to recall whether he’s playing red or black checkers!

I’ve used the cartoon many times because like Snoopy, I often think quietly, even if I’m actually “thinking” about something much more basic than people expect. That’s just one advantage of thinking quietly. If you don’t usually do it, you may want to consider using it more to your advantage because thinking quietly:

  • Can provide mystery and cover – Quiet time allows you to potentially mask when you don’t understand something or don’t have a good idea to contribute right at that moment. Quiet thinking can also create a sense of mystery, as in the Peanuts cartoon. Particularly in an adversarial situation, causing the other person to think about what you’re thinking (thereby losing focus on their own thoughts) can provide some advantage.
  • Creates a learning opportunity – I hardly ever learn while I’m talking, but there’s a lot to learn when others are sharing their perspectives. Shutting your mouth and listening is a great way to go to school on what others are thinking and expressing.
  • Is great if you don’t want to influence others’ opinions unnecessarily – One of my mentors uses a relatively unconventional approach – in a team meeting, he always expresses his views last. The most junior person on the team always comments first so that they can respond without influence from statements by their boss or other senior team members. People express their perspectives in order of increasing seniority until the most senior person speaks.
  • Allows you to build off of others’ ideas – Relative to the previous item about commenting in reverse order of seniority, it’s a great advantage to be thinking as you hear the perspectives that others are expressing. Having been one of the most senior people, I usually get to go next to last. There’s a tremendous advantage to be had in being able to listen to and vet your own thinking based on what others are thinking. Even if you’re not in a position to adopt this approach, gain the advantages by letting others get a word in before you do.
So what do you think? And don’t worry people who don’t think quietly; future posts will extol the virtues of thinking in other ways too.

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

0

Following up Tuesday’s article, I appeared Friday, June 20 on the “Eye on Small Business” radio program with Kelly Scanlon (KCTE Hot Talk 1510 AM). It’s an hour show, providing an opportunity to talk with Kelly, publisher of “Kansas City Small Business Monthly,” about ways to foster a more innovative approach in business and life. You can listen to the entire program by clicking on this link to her Talkshoe.com site.

We covered many topics during the show including those below:

Since there won’t be an article on July 4, here’s tip: If you have the opportunity, watch fireworks from the tallest building that you can. We typically watch from the 9th floor at work because we can see fireworks displays from all over Kansas City in one location! Hotels with restaurants at the top are another great option as well.

Be safe and check back July 7 for a “Creative Quickie,” the new every Monday feature to get your week started creatively.

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

2

There is always the potential for a business, a project, or even a personal situation to run into difficulties. In the business world, a frequent answer when something goes wrong is to call in a turnaround CEO to fix it. Using well-tested techniques, their goal is to quickly diagnose underlying problems, correct them, and return the business to solid performance.

This week, consider delegating a broken situation you have to a turnaround CEO and let them take a run at fixing it. Try to generate three new turnaround ideas for each item below as a turnaround CEO would:

  • Identify the most critical problems
  • Bring in unbiased consultants to help fix things
  • Make fact-based decisions
  • Look for smart & simple steps to take right away
  • Bring in their own people to run the company
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Cut costs in a dramatic fashion
  • Uncover hidden problems in the business
  • Secure needed resources
  • Write off bad operations

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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

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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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

0

Before and after the recent National Association of Women Business Owners session on DIY Strategic Thinking, I had the great opportunity to appear on radio programs on Kansas City’s KCTE Hot Talk 1510 AM. Strategic Thinking and Hot Talk – what a combination! Since both programs are available for listening online, you can be the judge.

In late May, I appeared with good friend Jay Liebenguth on his Thursday afternoon show, Live with Jay. Jay has been a great supporter, and beyond putting the radio show online, he wrote an incredibly kind post on his blog.

We covered a variety of strategic thinking topics, many of which have been highlighted here. Take a listen to the show, and for your quick reference, here are links to topics we covered.

After the NAWBO program, I met Kelly Scanlon, publisher of “Kansas City Small Business Monthly,” appearing on her June 20 Friday morning program. This Thursday there will be a link to that show and the innovation topics we covered.

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

0

Thanks to everyone responding with website comments. Based on your ideas and my objectives for it, look for:

  • “Creative Quickies” – brief creativity starters – running Mondays and “Brainzooms” appearing several times monthly as strategic thinking prompts. Shifting toward creativity-oriented material reflects my focus as  I work on a “Creative Instigation” book.
  • The “Change Your Character” exercise to stop appearing Wednesdays. Following this week’s exercise and next week’s summary, it will run once or twice monthly.
  • Shorter articles.
  • Guest authors and more variety in communicating content (including first-version looks with original sticky notes, cartoons, and concept sketches).
  • Experimenting with brief surveys and other ways to solicit your participation.
  • More personal perspectives where it makes sense.

Taking advantage of other ideas depends on your active participation:

  • Some suggested topics are outside my areas of expertise or personal passion. Consider this an open invitation to you to create guest articles for the website on these related areas. One suggestion was doing more on strategic games & puzzles, especially related to chess. I’ll follow up with Seth Chapin (who’s been posting great comments on Brainzooming) about some possibilities!
  • If you have blogs or other links you find interesting, please send them. Leslie Adams has been great at suggesting intriguing sites. Look for your ideas to appear in future “Surf’s Up” pieces.

 

 

  • If it’s convenient, sign up for an email of each day’s article (upper left on the page). Provided through Feedburner, you get a daily email, generally by 6:30 am central time. It’s a great way to forward articles to others who might find them of value.

 

 

  • Whether via email or other means, please suggest the website to others and link to it on sites you visit. This can help build the richness of the discussion for the benefit of you and other readers. Thanks to Amy Hoppenrath for suggesting the blog in answer to a LinkedIn question!

 

After all that, you’re probably still wondering – who won the book? I decided to give away two, with Seth Chapin and Bob Kizer winning “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide.” Congratulations!

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