brand book bites from 21 days to a big idea

– the book:  21 Days to a Big Idea!: Creating Breakthrough Business Concepts, a step-by-step guide to creating breakthrough business ideas21 days to a big idea

– the brainBryan Mattimore, the co-founder of  the Growth Engine Co., an innovation agency, is an expert in applied creativity, ideation facilitation, and innovation management

– the best bits:  21 Days to a Big Idea! is literally a 21-day program —  Bryan introduces one strategy, exercise, or method for each day.  The book is divided into 4 sections:

Section 1:  Discovering Your Inventive Passion lays the foundation for the remaining days, as it helps clarify and focus your work on the areas that are most inspiring and energetic. For example, you play a game called “success footprint” to identify the characteristics of the idea you want to end up with that would make it great.

Section 2: Generating Ideas:  Five Creative Thinking Strategies includes several useful strategies — “mental lenses or prisms through which your inventive mid can filter..the essential nuggets for creative inspiration.”  It starts with finding your problem, because, as Bryan explains, “Framing the creative challenge correctly may be the most important accomplishment of all.

Section 3:  Generating Ideas:  Seven Creative Techniques is like a creative technique boot camp, introducing methods such as “Benefit Word Mashing,” which involves forming randomly combined word pairs or triads — for example, if you were out to identify a new technology-enabled product, you might try combining the word “smart” with common household objects like “smart cup,” “smart lock,” and “smart beer.”

Section 4:  Choosing, Developing, and Creatively Selling Your Biggest Ideas includes my favorite creative development technique, “Billboarding,” which helps you develop your highest potential ideas into easily-communicated, testable propositions. (Listen to my interview with Bryan to learn how to Billboard — see below.)

The program is easy to follow but actually executing it surely not easy. Bryan writes, “It’s important to know that taking this 21-day program is a commitment…It’s work and there might well be a temptation to quit…But if you stick with it…then I think you will be rewarded in two ways.  One obvious ‘reward’ will be a broad spectrum of exciting new ideas…But as important, maybe even more so, is learning a toolkit of creative thinking strategies and techniques that can be used for solving a wide variety of both personal and professional challenges.

– the brand bit:  You might have thought I made up that reference to “smart beer” but Bryan describes an actual product that is indeed a “smart beer.”  It’s called The Problem Solver, and its makers claim that is has brewed a beer specifically designed to bring you as close to your creative peak as possible, by using the alcohol level that the researchers have found produces the most creative thinking.  It prints an indicator on the bottle that “makes it easy to find your creative peak” by drinking the amount that fits your weight to hit the percentage that produces peak creativity (0.075%). What a clever idea and fun brand name to boot!

– the bottom line:  21 Days to a Big Idea! is an excellent handbook — practical, easy-to-read, and chockfull of examples — for anyone who is responsible for developing new ideas or helping others do so.

Listen to my interview with Bryan to learn:

  • how is innovation different from invention
  • why the quantity of ideas you generate is important
  • what is Billboarding
  • and more…

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