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4 Pocket-Sized Tools to Help You Generate Killer Ideas Any Time, Anywhere

4 Pocket-Sized Tools to Help You Generate Killer Ideas Any Time, Anywhere

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    The ability to generate creative, profitable, problem-solving ideas is growing in importance, especially with the global economy stuck in the doldrums. But how can you be creative on demand? Here are four pocket-sized card decks that you can take anywhere – to your next team meeting or to a quiet park where you can brainstorm free from distractions – to help you generate your next breakthrough idea:

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      KnowBrainer: If you are looking for a creativity tool that is powerful, portable, and low tech, then you ought to check out the KnowBrainer. This tool does an excellent job of leveraging the mind’s capabilities of association to a major advantage. Developer Gerald Haman has spent years amassing and assessing key words and questions that are the most effective at generating ideas, and he has incorporated them (along with evocative images and quotes) into this colorful, fun-to-use flip card deck. It contains sections that are designed to help you to:
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      • Clearly define your challenge and investigate your needs,
      • Create ideas,
      • Evaluate them using a number of criteria, and
      • Put them into action

      The KnowBrainer is built around Haman’s four-phase Accelerated Innovation process. It incorporates keywords, questions and concepts from the world’s leading new product design firms, Six Sigma quality tools, new books on marketing and the latest research on innovation process tools, is now in its third version. When you first see it, you may be tempted to dismiss the KnowBrainer as a simple card deck, but don’t let its low-tech “interface” fool you. This is one powerful and easy to use idea-generation tool!

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        Free the Genie: Free the Genie is a new deck of 55 creative thinking cards that you can think of as your “personal genie” — a powerful brainstorming assistant that is available to you anytime, anywhere to help you unstick your thinking. This ideation tool is the brainchild of Mitch Ditkoff, founder of the Idea Champions innovation consulting firm. Free the Genie is designed to provide a spark or catalyst to help its users to find their great ideas. Each card contains a principle of breakthrough thinking (examples include “take some risks,” “suspend logic,” and “leverage your strengths”) and some questions or challenges related to each principle.
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          Innovative Whack Pack: The Innovative Whack Pack takes the principles from Roger von Oech’s book Expect the Unexpected or You Won’t Find It, which explores some of the provocative epigrams of Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher who the author calls the world’s first creativity teacher. He uses these enigmatic sayings as springboards to fuel your imagination and help you to break out of old, limiting ways of thinking. This card deck contains 60 cards. Each one contains a thought-provoking insight about innovation from Heraclitus on one side, along with a whimsical illustration designed to help “whack” your thinking out of its well-worn grooves. The other side of the card contains a creativity strategy inspired by the insight or principle. At the end of these provoking vignettes, von Oech poses several questions to stimulate your creative thinking. This tool and its predecessor, the Creative Whack Pack, are among the best-selling creativity tools ever invented.

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            Inner Vision Deck: The Inner Vision Deck is a card deck of 69 keywords and phrases that can be used for creative problem solving. Designed by Rory O’Connor, a creativity and creative problem-solving trainer, this new brainstorming tool arose out of his need to teach his clients a “gentle” (non-intimidating) approach to developing ideas and solutions.
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            Why invest in brainstorming tools like these? They serve as catalysts, jump-starting your brain’s creative juices. Some brainstorming tools ask you questions, while others rely on a variety of proven associative or lateral thinking techniques. The bottom line is that these diminutive tools get results, and because of their compact size, you can use them just about anywhere. What’s more, their learning curve is quite low; in other words, you can begin generating profitable ideas with them almost immediately.

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            Last Updated on November 19, 2019

            7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

            7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

            “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

            “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

            As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

            Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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            The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

            To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

            1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

            Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

            “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

            2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

            Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

            3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

            If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

            It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

            4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

            One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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            If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

            5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

            It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

            If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

            Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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            6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

            If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

            7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

            If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

            So, How To Get out of Busyness?

            Take a look at these articles to help you get unstuck:

            Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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