In this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I speak with Mike Brown. Mike Brown: Well, brainzooming, the name is probably about 10 years old. When I jumped out and started brainzooming eight, nine years ago, I realized I don’t have that person paired up to me anymore, and I had clients looking at me going, “Okay, we want the big ideas from you.” It was … what I did at that time, and I’ve described Idea Magnets almost as a presentation and then a book from the road, I went back and said, “These big creative leaders I’ve worked with over time, what did they do? You’re just more successful whether it’s a formal team in an organization, or even if you’re a solopreneur, who are those other business people that you’re surrounding yourself with who can give you a different kind of perspective than you have. Yeah, they have personal aspirations, they want to grow, they want to make money, but they realize they’ve got to work with other people and other people are going to help the team, or help the organization be more successful. You need to be around other people. Mike Brown: There’s questions throughout that book, John, that if you’re trying to come up with bigger ideas, there’s questions that you can use. John Jantsch: Speaking of questions, you’ve got an ebook for our listeners, why don’t you tell us about that? Tell people where they can find the book, Idea Magnets, and anything about Brainzooming. We’ve got, I don’t think I have as much writing as you, John, but about 2500 blog posts out there, not about how we do stuff, but tools, frameworks, the types of things that show up in Idea Magnets.
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John Jantsch: Everybody wants that next big idea for your business, but sitting down and thinking up big ideas is kind of a really great way to freeze your brain up. In this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I speak with Mike Brown. He is the author of Idea Magnets, and presents, really, a great framework for asking questions that lead to those big ideas, check it out.
This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Asana, a work management software tool that we use to run pretty much everything in our business. All of our meetings, all of our product launches, all of our tasks. I’m going to show you how you can try it for free a little later.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Mike Brown founder of The Brainzooming Group and author of a book we’re going to talk about today called Idea Magnets. So welcome, Mike.
Mike Brown: Thank you, John, I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and your listeners.
John Jantsch: I interview people all over the world, but today I’m interviewing somebody across town.
Mike Brown: Yeah, we’re close, not too far away.
John Jantsch: Which is always fun. So, let’s start…you know, brainzooming is not an everyday name, in fact you’ve trademarked it. So what does brainzooming actually mean and do?
Mike Brown: Well, brainzooming, the name is probably about 10 years old. Came out of some work I was doing in the corporate world of trying to help people who weren’t strategists be better strategists. And not marketers be better marketers. We’d surround them with exercises and tools, and we were actually doing a session for a class at Baker University, which is in the area. And the teacher wanted four or five exercises within the course of 50 minutes. I was sitting at my desk, and I didn’t really have a name for what we were doing. I was thinking about trying to get all that done, and I just thought, you know, at that point it’s not even brainstorming, it’s brainzooming.
I looked up and said, “Thank you, God. That may be a name.” And googled it, and it was available, I had the URL that night. Basically, it’s really from that start was how you provide structure for people so that when they look at strategic planning, or they look at trying to innovate, that can be a pretty daunting task, but when you give them structure, and frameworks, all of a sudden they can apply what they know about their product, or what they know about their customers, or their markets in a really productive way versus handing somebody a template or a form to fill out and they go, “I don’t know what to put in here.” Started it on the corporate side, and have just started to do it across industries and into nonprofits and educational organizations, community, cities as well.
John Jantsch: Do you sometimes find that it’s kind of hard to explain to people what it is you’re selling unless they’ve really experienced the problem?
Mike Brown: Every time, John. Every time. Particularly if they’re coming to us for strategic planning, so rarely have people ever experienced that where they felt good about it, it’s tough for them to wrap their head around, it could be fun and it could be engaging, and people beyond the senior management team could participate. So we do a lot of things whether that’s workshops or I’m out speaking, or we’ll do community events where people can experience it, and then they go, “Oh, I get it now.” It’s tough to describe for sure.
John Jantsch: Yeah, you’re in one of those categories of business where you’re solving a problem sometimes people don’t know they have.
Mike Brown: Yeah. It’s funny. A couple years ago, I was looking at traffic on our website, and we were getting a ton of hits for a post on fun strategic planning, and nobody is really out talking about fun strategic planning. I’ve discovered over time, if people are out looking for that, and one of our biggest clients, they did a google search for fun strategic planning, and found us. If somebody is looking for that, they’ve already made it way past, “I hate doing strategic planning. I want to get people in.” They know they want something different but typically can’t find anybody who can bring that to life for them. So it’s not only difficult to describe at times, there’s no common category of, “Oh, it’s this demography, and this size company.” It’s a lot more about the leader and their philosophy and what they’re looking to accomplish in the organization.
John Jantsch: So when the book title first came across my desk, Idea Magnet, I’m a marketer I’m thinking, “Oh, this is a way to attract more clients somehow.” Then the subtitle, of course, 7 Strategies for Cultivating and Attracting Creative Business Leaders, made me kind of pause and say, “Okay, so who is this book for then?”
Mike Brown: Yeah, good question. It’s really across almost any business leader, or any leader of an organization where the genesis of it came from, I had a long corporate career, so I was 18, 19 years on the corporate side. I tended to pair up with, particularly for a long stretch, a guy who was just a wildly creative person. He would come up with ideas that you’re just like, “I don’t know how you ever thought of that.” Then I was the person that said, “Okay, let me operationalize that. I’ll figure out how much we can deliver, how we’re going to do it, and carry some of that enthusiasm out to the team.” But I sort of took this role as I’m more the implementer of the big idea.
When I jumped out and started brainzooming eight, nine years ago, I realized I don’t have that person paired up to me anymore, and I had clients looking at me going, “Okay, we want the big ideas from you.” It was … what I did at that time, and I’ve described Idea Magnets almost as a presentation and then a book from the road, I went back and said, “These big creative leaders I’ve worked with over time, what did they do? How did they motivate themselves? How did they energize a team? How did they move this through to implementation?” And really just try to reverse engineer it and say, “That’s not exactly me, but I need to step into that role. What are frameworks? What are tools? What are exercises that can make that happen?” even if that’s not my natural bent.
So that’s where people who are wildly creative, it may not be the first pick for them in a book, because that just comes from them naturally, but I think maybe we all hit those creative dry spots, that could help them. But for somebody who feels like, “Wow, there’s a lot of pressure in business, and we’ve got to grow, we’ve got to do different things.” Ideally, it’s going to be targeted at them where it will be a resource to help them step up into that role and be more successful with it on a more predictable basis.
John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s certainly a lot of people out there, leaders of organizations or departments that probably suffer from that, “I’m just not very creative.” I think part of what you’re saying is that you just don’t have a creative process.
Mike Brown: Exactly. Often when somebody says they’re not creative, they’re thinking about, “I don’t draw, I don’t write, or I don’t make music.” But you say, “Well, what’s your favorite thing to do?”, it’s, “I love to fish.” “Tell me how you fish?” Then they have all kinds of ideas, and hacks, and ways that they’ve discovered. I always say, “There’s your creativity. Apply those same lessons to other things and all of a sudden you’re creative.”…