Strategic Planning | The Brainzooming Group - Part 30 – page 30
13

Do you have a false sense of your own creativity?

I see a lot of business people who do, and they can easily cripple themselves and their organizations because of it.

A false sense of creativity happens when you’re constantly trying new approaches (thus feeling all tingly and creative) when you’ve yet to answer the basic strategy question, “What matters?”

If you haven’t grounded yourself in your fundamental goal by answering this important strategy question, your willingness to constantly experiment isn’t a sign of a creative spirit. It’s a harbinger of significant strategy problems, if not now, then in the near future. Expect to waste a lot of resources (energy, time, money, goodwill…you name it) and never really achieve what you should.

Identifying what matters is typically a more analytical strategy exercise than a creative one.

After putting the time in toward really identifying what will have a material impact in your situation, you can begin creatively thinking about alternative ways to realize your objective. That’s where your willingness to experiment creatively becomes strategic and has the potential to yield real results.

Until you can credibly communicate “what matters,” don’t let your wild creativity out of the house. – Mike Brown

If you need to get grounded in what matters for your organization, your first call should be to the The Brainzooming Group. Contact us here or call 816-509-5320 so we can determine how to have your team working from the same strategic perspective.

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

7

Want to accurately forecast what will happen in your business to business marketplace in the coming years?

The Brainzooming Groups uses a really effective business to business market research strategy to peer three to five years into the future with a high degree of accuracy: conduct structured strategic conversations directly with the most demanding, far-sighted customers in your market.

We do this by polling the sales force and industry experts to identify significant companies and influencers dramatically pushing supplier expectations with their forward-looking strategies and business models. To understand where the overall market will be several years from now, we then reach out to these influencers and talk with them about what strategies they see as importantTODAY!

Talking with future-focused customers, their needs, issues, opportunities, and strategies are likely the ones which will be on the minds of the rest of the market in three to five years. Since they’re already working through many opportunities and challenges of the future, it takes the discussion out of pure speculation.

Abstract future issues for others in the marketplace are very real to these companies RIGHT NOW, giving you a lot better read than talking with someone who’s merely speculating about what might happen to their business in a few years.

We call these companies “lead users,” and as you think about your strategic planning process, The Brainzooming Group can help you get a sense of what they can teach you about your market five years from now! –  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.  To learn how we can structure a lead user study to help guide your strategy decisions email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

One of the best and most succinct arguments for good planning is one I first heard from my friend and colleague, Max Utsler: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

There is a corollary which is just as important (I’m sure Max would agree): If you know where you’re going, you have a much better chance of knowing a good alternative path when you encounter a roadblock along the way.

A young man I know recently made excellent use of that corollary. He recognized and took advantage of an alternative path because he had planned exactly where he wanted to end up.

For quite some time he has had his heart set on attending a major ACC university. He knew the school had strict entrance requirements, and his grades and test scores were not likely to get him admitted straight from high school. His original path called for him to go to a community college, get his grades up, earn an associates degree, and finally gain admission that way.

But that wasn’t working out. His roadblock consisted of several challenging courses which made it evident he was going to take considerably longer than planned to hit the necessary GPA and get an associates degree.

At the same time, some friends of his (female friends) were headed to cheerleader try outs at his dream university. They suggested he try out. And he did. And he got selected. And that means he is automatically admitted to the university he’d always wanted to attend.

Talk about an alternative path.

Because he had his destination in mind, he was able to see the possibilities of a new path even though it wasn’t the one he had set out on. It was also not a path that the tough football linebacker he was in high school would have easily seen. But because he recognized his goal and its importance, he adjusted his route when the original road wasn’t going to get him where he wanted as fast as he wanted.

In business or in life, good planning makes us more capable of reaching our goals, even if the path we plan turns out not to get us there. – Barrett Sydnor, Strategic Contributor

Continue Reading

8

The topic of last week’s #Innochat (a Twitter-based, innovation oriented chat each Thursday at 11 a.m. central time) was stealth innovation strategy, i.e. trying to develop innovative business ideas in relative quiet to get around an organization’s naysayers.  The topic is of great interest for those facing environments where an innovation-based strategy, in any of its various forms, isn’t supported. Spending a lot of effort trying to catalyze innovation in those environments serves as the premise for everything under the “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” banner (plus the occasional Brainzooming blog post, as I was surprised to find in the framing for the “stealth innovation” Innochat.)

The Innochat participants covered a variety of angles on stealth innovation strategy, often returning to strategic challenges within an organization as a fundamental factor in making it make sense to engage in underground innovation. You could say it comes down to a strategic risk trade-off: if you think the risk of a new idea being shot down is greater than the risk of a hand slap for not going through all the proper channels, stealth innovation can be a compelling business innovation strategy.

In an interesting variation on theme, Fared Adib, VP of Product Development and Operations at Sprint described what is essentially a “sanctioned” stealth innovation strategy at the previous day’s Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Innovation Conference. He recounted an instance where Sprint had set up two independent innovation teams working on the same technology development opportunity. The strategy and efforts of each innovation team were kept from the other so that the organization could reap the timing and diversity benefits of two separate streams of innovation activity.

The hour-long #Innochat tweetversation wrapped by agreeing that stealth innovation is fine as an occasional strategy, but if it’s an every time strategy, there are bigger strategic issues to be addressed.

What do you think about stealth innovation? Have you used a stealth innovation strategy? If you have, what were the reasons, what was your implementation strategy, and did you consider it successful? – 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. Contact us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.

 

Conquer Fears of Business Innovation!

FREE Download: “7 Strategies to Conquer Your Organization’s Innovation Fears”

3d-Cover-Innovation-FearsWhether spoken or unspoken, organizations can send strong messages saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t screw around with it” in a variety of ways. Such messages make it clear that good things do not await those pushing for innovation involving any significant level of risk.

This free Brainzooming innovation eBook identifies seven typical business innovation fears. For each fear, we highlight strategy options to mitigate the fears and push forward with innovative strategies. We tackle:

  • Whether facts or emotional appeals are ideal to challenge fear of innovation-driven change
  • When it is smart to call attention to even bigger fears to motivate progress
  • Situations where your best strategy is taking business innovation underground

Download your FREE copy of 7 Strategies to Conquer Your Organization’s Innovation Fears today!

Download Your FREE eBook! 7 Strategies to Conquer Your Organization's Innovation Fears

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

Here is another interview from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Innovation Conference, where The Brainzooming Group produced live event social media content.  One panelist on the manufacturing and transportation panel, Merlin Spencer, DBA, talks in this video about the concept of “master doers.”  He describes these individuals as the people inside an organization who specialize in getting the vital functions of a business moving forward and completed.

Merlin Spencer’s comments resonated strongly because of the link between the “master doers” concept and the 3 vital audiences for strategic thinking approach The Brainzooming Group uses in facilitating strategic planning and innovation sessions. We’ve repeatedly seen the best strategic thinking results when participants with front line experience, functional expertise, and creative orientations all participate in a facilitated strategy session.

“Master doers” are a subset of the front line experience group, and they are very often misused in strategic innovation work. They’re frequently either excluded (because they don’t fit a typical view of creativity) or they wind up dominating a strategy session (because of the false belief that those without comparable experience are unable to meaningfully contribute to strategic business issues). This fundamental misuse is why we expend concerted effort ensuring the right mix of people and introducing innovation exercises so the three groups, who view the world very differently, can work together constructively, innovatively, and successfully.

The strategic advice here is to examine the attendee list the next time you’re involved in a strategy, innovation, or planning discussion and make sure you have some, but not all, master doers participating. – 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.  To learn how we can bring out the best innovative thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

Want to manage meetings and group business discussions more effectively?

One effective strategy is to put a time limit on meeting discussions and use a timer to stick to the allotted time.

We do this in collaborative Brainzooming™ sessions all the time. While participants usually make fun of the beeping kitchen timer, invariably by the end of a strategy session, they appreciate that our facilitation approach allowed us to stay on time and accomplish what we intended.

Often I’ll hear, as I did in a recent instance, the management team we worked with suggesting it start using a timer in its own business conversations, even when Brainzooming isn’t around.

Just one caution to employing this time limiting strategy successfully: the entire Brainzooming process is built around techniques and exercises that are highly effective at rapidly generating and refining ideas from group discussions. So if a timer is bringing discussions to timely stop, but you’re not getting as much as you need from the conversation, let us know. We can help you by Brainzooming through the time much more efficiently and effectively. – 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

7

It’s always interesting to learn about what you do through someone else’s eyes. When there’s an opportunity for candid feedback, use it to refine your business strategy and look more innovatively at your performance.

The Brainzooming™ Group had a wonderful opportunity to get reactions to our strategic planning process last week from Nate Riggs. Nate started Social Business Strategies to help mid-sized & large organizations develop social media strategies and build internalized Human Business Teams.

Last Tuesday, The Brainzooming Group facilitated a large (35 person) social media strategic planning session for a four-year university. Nate Riggs was invaluable for his experience in working with other higher educational institutions on social media approaches.

We modified several Brainzooming strategy-building exercises to facilitate the large group and came away with great learnings. Nate’s first-time reactions to how we efficiently and effectively manage strategic conversations were also helpful in continuing to refine our process. You can get a quick sense of Nate’s views in this video and in his follow-up blog post on the strategic planning session.

Take a look, and let us know any questions you have on the approach, either for large groups or for developing social media strategy. – 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