Author Archives: Mike Brown

Creating High Performance Customers

The past few weeks, I’ve been schlepping around fabric stores since Cyndi wants to recover several pieces of furniture. This is unfamiliar territory for me, which usually means an opportunity to hunt for different takes on Brainzooming-related ideas. One can imagine the most asked question in a fabric store is, “How much material is it going to take to reupholster ...

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Musical Chairs

Not sure where I learned this originally, but it’s a great, simple tactic for meetings where you’re voicing a position contrary to someone else’s: never sit across from them. Try sitting next to, or at least on the same side of the table as, whoever might be an adversary. The arrangement makes it so much harder to employ confrontational body ...

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Unexpected Inspiration

Sometimes, try as you might, it’s impossible to focus on the task at hand. When you can’t focus, one alternative is to accept the mental roadblock and actively look for another time (perhaps an unconventional one) where you can shift the activity and your creative energy. At dinner recently, we had a very specific business topic (that had been hanging ...

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Innovation Perspectives – Yes, No, and Everything In Between

This is the third of several ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on The Importance of Innovation Strategy. Here is the next perspective in the series: by Mike Brown Does an organization need an innovation strategy? Let me say, unequivocally, “It depends.” Depending on its business situation, there are multiple strategic ...

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Staging Your Next Idea

by Mike Brown My wife told me about a home staging TV show where they have $500 to get a home ready to sell. In one episode, the homeowner had already moved their furniture, so the show’s designer created cardboard furniture before the open house. Since cardboard furniture obviously isn’t functional, why would they do that? When trying to sell ...

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Start Talking Nonsense

Though The Beatles “Abbey Road” album was recorded 40 years ago, I recently heard a program called “Pop Go the Beatles” about its creation. Told through stories and alternative takes of the album’s classic songs, it was so inspiring it spawned posts for today, Wednesday, and Friday this week. During an early recording of “Something,” George Harrison hadn’t finished the ...

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What are you passionate about?

Visiting Panera Bread recently, I noticed employees’ name tags now include the question, “What’s Your Passion?” and the employee’s personal answer. Love the question, but I’m not sure about this application. It forces an employee to disclose what might be very personal information or fudge, sharing something more generic and not really a passion at all. For instance, the person ...

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Strategic Creativity Isn't Expensive

Many conversations recently have addressed the misperception that creativity, by definition, takes time, money, and effort that can’t be afforded right now because of the economy. A couple of examples: Someone showed me a meeting announcement for an “ideation” session to which they’d been invited. It referenced the range of ideas under consideration as “creative and practical and everything in ...

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