There are many factors that go into productive strategic thinking exercises and efficient group strategy development sessions. Here is an A to Z recap of some of what goes into how Brainzooming approaches strategy development:


Appreciative Inquiry – Incorporate positive questions focused around when a group is at its strategic best.

Balance – The best strategic thinking emerges when you have people with a balance of different perspectives and strategic thinking exercises allowing them to work together productively.

Crowdsourcing – Include perspectives even from people not involved directly in strategic planning or setting strategy.

Design – Strategic thinking and conversations are more productive when they are anticipated ahead of time and you design a strategic session to lead the conversation where it needs to go.

EnergyFacilitators have to introduce energy into strategic conversations to spur them to be wider, deeper, and bolder than they might otherwise be.

Fun – Humor, toys, variety, and bright colors all make what can be the drudgery of strategic thinking into an enjoyable experience.

Group – Using small groups is typically a very efficient way to vary the working interactions within a strategic thinking session and maximize the number of people contributing ideas.

Homework – To maximize a group’s efficiency, use homework prior to the session to gather information and other inputs that don’t demand or benefit from creative group interaction.

Insights – Strategic thinking is most productive when based on robust insights about an organization’s markets, environment, and important objectives.

Jokes – There are very strong comparisons between the pattern for innovation and the pattern for something being funny, so using humor helps to get the innovation going.

Kudos – Throughout time a group spends on strategic thinking, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the group for its progress.

Limits – Setting time limits for how long a group spends on any one strategic thinking exercise before moving to another creates opportunities to look at situations from many different perspectives more efficiently.

Movement – One reason for recording ideas – whether on paper or electronically – is to allow you to make them portable and bring them closer to or further away from others ideas to create new concepts.

Numbers – Creativity and innovation are typically numbers games. The more ideas you generate, the greater the probability you’ll arrive at on-target answers to address your strategic opportunity.

Openness – An open conversation starts with having an open space for the conversation to take place so both people and ideas have an opportunity to move in and move away as needed.

Prioritization – While it may be confined to certain times or phases, it’s important to use the knowledge and expertise of the people imagining strategic possibilities to also provide input on the most attractive ones.

Questions – People genuinely try to answer robust questions tailored to their knowledge and expertise when they are asked them during a strategy session.

Rules – Establishing general rules for a strategic thinking session lets participants know upfront how the group will interact and the expectations for collaboration.

Serving – Facilitators have to have an attitude of serving the participants with a focus on helping them achieve their strategic objectives from a session.

Thinking – While taking action is the ultimate goal in developing strategy, the initial and ongoing time you spend thinking is critical to productive strategy formulation.

Unexpected – Strategic questions and exercises should take participants into new areas or help them see old areas in very new and different ways they hadn’t previously imagined.

Volume – The best thinking emerges from considering many different possible strategic situations, which leads to a much larger number of ideas to choose from when it’s appropriate to do so.

Waiting – As much as you may want strategic thinking to move ahead m ore quickly, it is important to be able to embrace waiting for new strategic ideas to emerge from a group’s interaction.

X-axis – Along with the y-axis, graphing strategic relationships helps participants imagine marketplace relationships and opportunities.

Yield – The best strategic thinking exercises are tried, tested, and tweaked to produce a sufficient number of new ideas and answers in an efficient fashion.

Zero – The value of having a very small, homogenous group as the only group to focus on strategy. – Mike Brown


Enjoy this article? 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.

Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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


  1. The A to Z of Productive Strategic Thinking Exe... - July 7, 2015

    […] There are many factors that go into productive strategic thinking exercises and efficient group strategy development sessions. Here is an A to Z recap of some of what goes into how Brainzooming approaches strategy development.  […]