0

A client made a comment recently, that falls into the, “I know that, but forget about it all the time” category.

While discussing how we’d approach strategy development and creating strategic impact for the organization, the client said, “You guys think about strategic planning very differently.”

That’s true, but it’s easy for us to overlook it.

I often tell participants in our strategic thinking workshops the Brainzooming approach for strategic planning, thinking, and implementation is different because it was designed on the client side, not the agency side. The Brainzooming approach accounts for the fact WE had to live with the plan, its implementation, and the results. We couldn’t simply walk out the door with little concern whether it worked or not.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The client comment prompted me to include a new section in our strategic thinking workshops on ten fundamentals of creating strategic impact. In this way, participants understand the context for the Brainzooming approach. Since you’re reading our content, it’s valuable to share the ten fundamentals with you here.

10 Fundamentals of Creating Strategic Impact

  1. Strategic thinking involves addressing what matters with insight and innovation.
  2. What’s considered strategic or not shouldn’t involve how far in the future it is.
  3. Use the most important strategic thinking question frequently: What are we trying to achieve?
  4. The greater the range of diverse perspectives you incorporate into strategic thinking, the richer the thinking can be.
  5. Strategic thinking needs to include both quantitative/analytical people and creative people.
  6. The best strategic thinking comes from three strategic perspectives working together: people with direct experience, functional expertise, and creative energy.
  7. Strategy happens at all levels of an organization, so strategic thinking needs to happen at all levels also.
  8. Strong strategic thinking involves both using structure AND actively exploring multiple scenarios.
  9. When it comes to innovation, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” – Linus Pauling
  10. Using non-traditional questions creates strategic detours around conventional thinking.

With that foundation, our strategic thinking workshop attendees (and you) are much better prepared to see how the Brainzooming approach helps you realize incredible advantages in new insights, innovation, efficiency, and results!  – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming 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 brand’s innovation strategy and implementation success.

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

Idea-Magnets-TitleI think this is a first today. It’s an excerpt from another publication about Brainzooming creative thinking content.

Specifically, this recap of Monday’s “Idea Magnets – Creative Business Leadership” webcast I presented for the American Marketing Association is from “Inside the Executive Suite.” This newsletter is a weekly feature within the Armada Executive Intelligence Briefing System. We worked with Keith Prather, the publisher of the Armada Executive Intelligence Brief, for many years in the corporate world. Additionally, when we have a client engagement requiring a larger group of facilitators, Keith is my first call. He was at ground zero when we developed the techniques that later became the Brainzooming strategy methodology.

Beyond this Idea Magnets recap, you should sign up for a free 30-day trial of the Executive Intelligence Briefing System. It’s designed to keep executives current with both what’s going on in the world and what it’s going to mean for their businesses. Additionally, since Keith won’t listen to my pricing strategy advice, you can subscribe to the entire array of multi times per week publications for less than $100 a year. It SHOULD be a four or five-figure subscription, so like I said, subscribe now before I convince Keith to raise the prices!

Without delay, here’s the Armada take on the seven creative thinking characteristics of Idea Magnets. – Mike Brown

 

 7 Keys to How “Idea Magnets” Boost Creativity from “Inside the Executive Suite”

Know someone incredibly strong at generating new ideas and attracting team members who also excel at imagining creative ideas?

If so, you know an “idea magnet.”

Here is our recap and the take-aways from each (idea magnet) characteristic discussed.

Idea Magnets are . . .

1. Inspiring

Idea magnets generate interest and passion for the big objectives and dramatic visions they are trying to accomplish within their organizations. Unlike creative geniuses who may work in a more solitary basis, they want strong creative leaders surrounding them. The bigger team’s creativity helps identify the details behind making the vision a reality.

In sharing a big vision for an organization, whether it’s stated as a core purpose, vision, or mission statement isn’t critical. What’s important is the statement boldly challenges and stretches the organization.

Our take-away: Idea magnets ground creative ideas in strategies and objectives. They are NOT pursuing creativity for creativity’s sake.

2. Serving

Idea magnets are servant leaders. They participate in the challenging tasks they ask their teams to address. They also grow their team members into idea magnets themselves through strategic mentorship, sharing personal lessons with their teams, challenging the status quo, and cultivating team diversity.

Idea magnets surround themselves with smarter, more talented people and display patience while team members do their own explorations to imagine ways to turn the idea magnet’s vision into reality.

Our take-away: Idea magnets aren’t standoffish. They are in the middle of imagining ideas AND accomplishing results.

3. Attracting

Just as magnets attract metal, idea magnets attract great creative leaders and their big ideas. What makes idea magnets so attractive? They bring excitement to the workplace. They also display “abundance thinking. ” What others would consider as constraints, they see as opportunities to pursue more abundant resources and possibilities. They also provide what other leaders need to be abundantly creative, including physical space, time, resources, tools, and interactions with new (and new types of ) people.

Our take-away: The intangibles in business often support abundance thinking. Ideas, energy, passion, and learning aren’t limited, so identify ways to take greater advantage of them.

4. Connecting

Idea magnets connect people and situations to fuel creativity. They are great “and” thinkers. This means they embrace and easily work with both ends of what others might see as opposite perspectives. Idea magnets are strong at:

  • Generating and prioritizing ideas
  • Thinking creatively and implementing ideas
  • Exploiting tested ideas and unknown possibilities

Using creative formulas, idea magnets combine possibilities others would typically miss to create many more new ideas.

Our take-away: Idea magnets we’ve known in business are all strong at spotting relationships between apparently disconnected things. These connections help fuel ideas and anticipate future opportunities.

5. Encouraging

Idea magnets use multiple tools in multiple ways to motivate team members. For example, they might use time in contrasting ways. Sometimes idea magnets negotiate for MORE time so team members can finish necessary creative thinking and implementation. Other times, they may be maxing out the team’s capacity with more projects than they can handle. This LESSENS times for unnecessary creative thinking and encourages rapid progress.

Idea magnets routinely facilitate unique creative experiences, maximize fresh perspectives from new team members, and celebrate successes and the learnings from new ideas that fall short of intended impacts.

Our take-away: By adding one new or unusual variable, idea magnets facilitate once-in-a-lifetime creative experiences. This concept extends to personal relationships, so all you long-time married folks take note!

6. Deciding

Idea magnets imagine and attract many ideas. Processing those ideas so their teams aren’t overwhelmed is imperative. That’s why being strong at “deciding” is vital.

When a project or initiative launches, idea magnets identify upfront how decisions will be made as completion draws near. Sometimes the idea magnet makes the decision; other times, team members will be deciding how the team proceeds. Knowing upfront the freedom team members have in exploring ideas and the approach to setting priorities signals how much autonomy others have to shape strategies to move forward.

Our take-away: While they say in brainstorming sessions there are no bad ideas, there are. It’s vital to pick the right time to decide on good and bad ideas to sustain creative thinking.

7. Replenishing

Applying creative thinking to business issues is mentally stimulating. There’s still the need, however, for idea magnets to replenish creative energy along for the team. Idea magnets understand what encourages their creative passions and what will prepare team members to hit their creative peaks. Idea magnets have to know the people, places, situations, times, and techniques that most readily maximize creativity.

Our take-away: Managing a business team’s creativity is like a basketball coach managing the varied talents and personalities on the team. The idea magnet may have to try a variety of “player” combinations before the team scores creatively.

Is creative thinking and creative business leadership for everyone?

A question at the webcast’s conclusion asked whether creative business leadership is important if you don’t work in a creative field or company. The answer was it’s even more important then to bring fresh ideas to how an organization delivers customer value. – “Inside the Executive Suite”

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

We’ve all been to a professional development conference that turned out to be a stinker.

And by “stinker,” I mean the conference presentations are weak, too many people are selling stuff vs. being there to learn, and the conference producers seem to have not put meaningful thought into creating a productive conference experience.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell upfront if a professional development conference is going to be a stinker so you can avoid it?

Keynote-Presenter

8 Warning Signs

Here are eight warning signs to look for to better understand upfront whether a pending conference could turn out to be a stinker:

  1. Are details sketchy on speakers and sessions?
  2. Every time you go to the website, does it look like there have been lots of changes in conference speakers, with some conference speakers being swapped out with others?
  3. Are topics listed without any mention of specific speakers?
  4. Is there tremendous overlap between the named sponsors and the companies of the conference speakers?
  5. Is it difficult to find specific information about the speakers other than on the conference website?
  6. Does there appear to be minimal diversity among speakers, especially with respect to demographics and relevant experience histories?
  7. Are there limited choices attendees can make among content (i.e., not enough separate tracks upon which to customize an attendee’s program)?
  8. Is there a heavy reliance on panel discussions that appear hastily thrown together?

If you answer, “Yes,” to most of those questions, it’s probably going to be a stinker of a conference.

How do you decide a professional development conference could be a stinker?

That’s my list.

What do you look for to spot a professional development conference that seems like it is going to be a stinker? – Mike Brown

Subscribe for Free to the Brainzooming blog email updates.

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these innovation benefits 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

I’m a believer in the idea that variety and trying new things can stimulate creative thinking and improve your performance, even if it is not right away. When you are doing, using, learning, teaching, trying, conquering, and even fumbling your way through something new, you will have do things differently than you have previously.

If you’re paying attention, that newness can be the source of creative thinking inspiration to achieve greater things than you’ve previously accomplished.

This phenomenon isn’t universally smart though.

speed-bump-edit

That hit home talking with someone semi-seriously hoping the “newness will lead to stronger creativity” phenomenon would prove itself out in a “what matters” area. By a “what matters” area, I mean a core belief, relationship, or commitment people generally hold incredibly important.

During our conversation, the other individual was talking about implementing changes to something I (and many people) consider a “what matters” area.

While the thought of making changes for the sake of improving performance makes sense on the surface, the changes under consideration would be so dramatic that the “what matters” area could never hope to remain intact. In this case, what was perceived as tinkering around the periphery would be tantamount to blowing up a core principle.

So be careful out there, kids.

Do you really know “what matters” for you?

Have you explored (and do you revisit) what goes on the short list of the most important things in your life? And do you guard those things as if they truly are the most precious things in the world for you?

If so, then be very, very reluctant to make changes to THOSE things in the interests of newness, variety, and a potentially illusory improvement in performance.

Because that may be exactly what you get.

And what you thought mattered for you, will never be the same again. – Mike Brown

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

Idea-Magnet-Ad

 

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

Strategic agility (affiliate link) has come up multiple times recently.

One time was through an audience question during the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association closing keynote I presented on Creating Strategic Impact. Another instance was while curating Brainzooming content on strategic agility for an all-day Creating Strategic Impact workshop we’re delivering for a new client today.

We’ve never formally defined “strategic agility” within the Brainzooming methodology. That may be because my one-word answer to what strategic agility is would be “Brainzooming.” Within our thinking, strategic agility implies knowing and remaining grounded in what matters for an organization (the “brain” part) while moving briskly and flexibly to address it in ways that make sense (the “zooming” part).

In creating a deeper resource on “strategic agility” for our session participants today, however, it’s not all that helpful to say, “Read everything on the blog because it all relates to strategic ability.”

15 Resources on Strategic Agility

Instead, here’s a narrower list of topics we’ve covered to help our Creating Strategic Impact workshop session participants get a handle on strategic agility. And if you’d like to learn more “strategic agility,” it’s fashioned with all of our readers in mind.

Idea-Magnet-Ad

Remaining Grounded in What Matters for an Organization

Anticipating What Lies Ahead

Making Quick Decisions

Including People with Strategic Agility

A Quick List for Creating Strategic Impact

Compiling this list suggests both that there’s a lot here, and there’s more to be covered on strategic agility. We’ll add that to the blog topics list, and get back to you on it! In the interim, if you’d really like to go deep on how strategic agility (or what we call Brainzooming) could benefit your team and organization, let us know, and we can talk through ways we’ve helped other organizations on these very topics. – Mike Brown

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

 

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!

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

If you start anything important without an objective and a strategy, you’ll wind up SSA.

And you know what SSA means. Or if you don’t know what SSA means, download The Brainzooming Group “Don’t Wind Up SSA” strategic thinking mini-poster.

Keep it nearby whenever you are starting the strategic thinking for something important.

Dont-Wind-Up-SSA

Do Not Wind Up SSA – The Brainzooming Group Strategic Thinking Mini-Poster

 

 

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

Idea-Magnet-Ad

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

Yesterday’s Brainzooming article discussed strategic analogs. These are organizations that perform comparable functions to your own brand, even if they are in far-removed industries. Strategic analogs are great sources of ideas and learnings to shape your organization’s strategic moves.

Here is a strategic thinking exercise we’ll be incorporating in an upcoming Creating Strategic Impact workshop to help a client identify strategic analogs. It is a two-step process. The first step involves describing what the organization does in a general fashion; the second connects those descriptions to other organizations.

Brainzooming Makes More and Faster Strategic ConnectionsStrategic Thinking Questions to Generalize What Your Organization Does

These questions for step one help generalize what you do to pave the way for identifying possible strategic analogs:.

  • What are the big drivers/buckets of cost in our organization? What are the big revenue sources for us?
  • List the major activities we do as an organization. How would we translate each of them into simple words a grandparent or parent unfamiliar with our company could easily understand?
  • What are the processes associated with why customers actually buy from us?
  • What are the titles of employees who interact directly with customers? What words in their titles provide a more general sense of what we do?
  • If we could see what we do from a low-flying airplane or a car driving by a building, what would be the big processes we’d be able to see and describe?

After using these strategic thinking questions to generalize an organization’s business functions, you’re ready to find other companies who perform one or more of the same activities.

Strategic Thinking Questions to Identify Strategic Analog Companies

Step two involves listing companies you can look at now and in the future for strategic ideas, cautions, and lessons. Simply by looking through functions you’ve identified in step one, companies you could be tracking for ideas may come to mind quickly. If not, these additional questions can spur new ideas:

  • If we were going to school about the important functions in our business, who (outside our own company) would we want teaching the course?
  • If we had to recreate what we do or completely outsource our operation, who would we ask to handle the most important parts?

Another approach is to use the “What’s It Like?” strategic thinking exercise, a standard in the Brainzooming repertoire. It integrates generalizing what you do with finding other comparable examples in one strategic thinking exercise.

Force Yourself to Identify Strategic Analogs

The important thing is not letting yourself off the hook with the old “we are unique, no one does what we do” excuse.

A set of strategic analogs can help you track is tremendously valuable, especially if they are in industries  developing ahead of your industry’s pace.

For example, within the portion of the transportation industry that moved goods, we looked at airlines and phone companies as examples of “formerly regulated, network dependent, yield-management oriented businesses” whose pace was faster. It was helpful to track what was happening because the same developments would come to our industry a few years later.

So get started now creating your own set of strategic analogs. – Mike Brown

 

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

Idea-Magnet-Ad

 

 

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