Tools | The Brainzooming Group - Part 182 – page 182
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Muhammad Ali was famous for the “rope-a-dope,” a technique he used to beat defeat George Foreman and regain the heavyweight boxing title. What Ali did was stand on the ropes and let Foreman pound away for more than seven rounds. Foreman eventually wore down, and Ali went on the attack, knocking Foreman out in the eighth round. The strategy was effective because of his patience and ability to absorb as many punches as it required for Foreman to tire.

A business-version of this strategy can also be very effective.

Everyone works with people who like to talk first, talk second, and then talk some more. Maybe then they’re willing to let somebody else talk. While it’s tempting to dive in early on to interrupt and get your points across, doing so often makes them even more resolute about talking.

If you have the patience and the mental fortitude, consider letting them talk themselves out. The strategy provides an opportunity to more fully understand what’s on their mind, look for gaps and contradictions, even ask questions, and then go for the last word. It’s not applicable all the time, but it often can work to your advantage.

So go ahead and comment; it’s your turn. I promise I’m listening!

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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The November 2008 Inc. Magazine has a feature on hotelier Chip Conley. The article mentions in passing an intriguing creative inspiration combination he uses when designing hotels: he selects one magazine and five words that embody the overall hotel concept.

Give that approach a try next time you’re stuck for a creative start:

  • Get a magazine that’s brand new to you
  • Identify five words describing your intended creative destination
  • Put them all together in one room for the night and hang out the DO NOT DISTURB sign
  • See what new possibilities emerge the next morning!

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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Of anyone in society, celebrities readily attract the public’s attention, drawing fans to themselves. While it can be trying for celebrities, we’d probably all like to attract customers in business with the same type of fervor and interest.

So let’s take a look at why fans are attracted to celebrities and revisit the Change Your Character exercise. Apply each of these reasons fans are attracted to celebrities to a situation where you’re trying to draw customers to your brand.

Fans see celebrities as:

  • Having attractive characteristics that they want to be around
  • Being familiar because celebrities are seen all the time in the media
  • Approachable
  • Likeable
  • Friendly
  • Having the ability to change someone’s life if they knew each other
  • Getting lots of attention that others can bask in
  • Wielding lots of influence & power

The goal is to generate 3 new ideas for each of the items above. Click here for a refresher on using the Change Your Character exercise.

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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The standout presentation Tuesday at The Market Research Event was from W5, a market research company based in Durham, NC. The session was on “Design Driven Deliverables,” defined as “any method of communicating research findings that goes beyond the standard research report.”

This topic has been of great interest to me; it’s unfortunately often met with blank stares. As Steve Kulp and Lisa Broome from W5 discussed expanding the range of media used to communicate research results, my thought was, “Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought, or at least they’re crazy in the same way I am!”

W5 considers four types of design driven deliverables:

  • Graphic – Results depicted visually in posters, booklets, stickers, note cards, etc.
  • Sensory – Stimuli that engage the senses in various ways, including textures, audio, video, and smells.
  • Experiential – An interactive presentation of results in ideation sessions, dramatization, experiential tours, immersion rooms.
  • Installation – Physical environments that convey understanding, including displays, large scale murals, shadow boxes, and artifact installations.

They showed examples that demonstrated meaningful, story-based depictions of research data going beyond simply reporting statistical differences. Check out more information through W5 white papers on this and other topics at company’s website.

Follow-up note – here’s a recap video shot right after Monday’s strategic thinking session. It’s posted on YouTube!

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. Call whatever the closest equivalent to “time out” is for the situation.
  2. Pray.
  3. Determine if there’s real physical danger (since every other type of danger pales in comparison).
  4. Figure out how bad the worst thing that can happen really is.
  5. Take a moment to think.
  6. Ask, “What’s within my control to improve the situation?”
  7. Circle your best, most dependable confidants and solicit their input.
  8. Identify the most comparable situation that you’ve previously addressed successfully.
  9. Work through any contingency scenarios that you’ve developed.
  10. Develop a quick contingency plan if you don’t have one.

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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There are several posts here about looking at situations in different ways.

Another new way to look at things became evident while riding a backward roller coaster at Elitch Gardens. These coasters go out and then return you backwards along the same track. The Boomerang roller coaster provided a wonderful and surprising sensation since it was impossible to match up the forward and backward experiences as mere opposites. Going through the ride backward created completely different sensations.

We likely all have processes that we’ve run in a particular direction time after time. Take a cue from the new sensations created by the Boomerang and step through a familiar process backwards. Starting from the end and working your way to the beginning of a process can yield truly new insights to help make the forward process even stronger.

Valerie

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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Experts are everywhere so in unfamiliar situations look for them to help you perform better. How to spot them?

  • Focus on people displaying multi-dimensional talents or responsibilities
  • Observe who others go to with questions – irrespective of formal title or position
  • Watch for people who look as if they know what they’re doing
  • Pick out those who appear to informally take charge

Setting up wedding reception music the night before my niece’s wedding ceremony in Denver, Chris was clearly the expert. Though never sure of his official title, he was a wealth of information about the hotel sound system, the reception set up, and how long the event would last and wind down. He predicted that after 4 hours there would be 15 people left; the next day, 3 hours and 50 minutes into the reception, there 16 people remaining. Chris knew what he was talking about!

Another advantage of finding experts is that it’s fun to push them to tap their knowledge to devise innovative approaches.

The wedding was on the hotel’s patio, and that morning Nate (my nephew) and I were still determining how to get enough volume through our small speakers. There were, however, four speakers outside playing house music. While Chris wasn’t available, Warren, who had cleared our table at breakfast (see the bullet about multi-dimensional responsibilities), was. I explained what we hoped to accomplish, showed him a hidden audio jack on the wall, and within 15 minutes, we were playing the ceremony music through the speakers. The hotel had never done this before, but now plans to make this available for future events.

The key was being open, willing to learn, and allowing ourselves to be seen as knowledgeable but uncertain. That’s when an expert will almost always go out of his or her way to come up with an ingenious solution. So remember, look for telltale signs of expertise to help you get smarter when you need it most.

Valerie

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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