February 2, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Finding the Next Steve Jobs

finding-the-next-steve-jobsFinding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
By Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

Head: 3 ( out of 5)
Heart: 4 ( out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: 4 ( out of 5)

Companies want to cultivate creative thinking in employees, believing that without it, they won’t survive. And it’s true: creativity sparks new ideas and when it permeates the culture, leads to competitive advantage.  Companies, therefore, need talent passionate about the present as much as about the future, and who don’t mind being considered different.  A diverse and inclusive workforce is a recipe for innovation in today’s business environment.

The author, Nolan Bushnell, is the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater. He knows a thing or two about finding and hiring creative talent. Drawing on his experience, each chapter offers insight and tips on how to do just that. While the focus of this book is on hiring creative talent, the innovative concepts could apply to recruitment of other talent. The ideas force us to rethink traditional recruiting and hiring practices, which many studies have shown to be flawed.

Some the ideas presented include:

  • Hiring for Passion and Integrity: Passion is a quality that is inherent; one can’t be trained to be passionate.
  • Ignore Credentials: Employers should stop using a college degree as a sole qualification for employment. Instead, ask unusual questions to test for curiosity and resourcefulness.
  • Look for Hobbies: Hobbies tell us about passions
  • Hire Under Your Nose: Observe people doing their jobs outside of your workplace. Talent can be found anywhere.
  • Comb Through Tweets:  Use Twitter to identify talent. Twitter is a means of expression for many and a lot can be learned by their tweets.

Leaders and human resource professionals interested in building an innovative culture that thrives in the future will want to read this book. Buy it now.


May 8, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

Ask Mariposa: A Design Thinking Approach Can Help Solve Problems

Michael asks:  We could use more creative thinking to solve a problem we’ve been working on. Could a design thinking approach help?

Sue Bethanis, CEO responds:

Thinking differently and coming up with new ideas for tough problems is at the core of design thinking.  Design thinking taps into imagination and practicality, which taken together form the backbone of creative problem-solving and innovation.

Our design thinking workshop is a working session for teams tasked with solving any product, service, or experience challenge.  The team is led through a clear design thinking process, which starts with empathy (something most groups skip) and includes brainstorming to generate and cull as many ideas as possible.  The ideas most likely to produce breakthrough solutions are prototyped using creative, 3-D methods utilizing right brain thinking.  Getting messy and creative cultivates new thinking!  The models can be used to test the ideas with others and refine with a more sophisticated prototype from there.

Once you grasp the principles of design thinking, you’ll see that they can be applied to any business problem.  To learn more, check out these resources:


May 2, 2013 / Book Reviews / Strategy

Article Review: Strategic Thinking – Exercises and Tools for Creative Thinking and Strategy

BZ-blogStrategic Thinking – Exercises and Tools for Creative Thinking and Strategy
By Mike Brown, The Brainzooming Group

Strategic thinking is not a one-time event.  It is an ongoing process, involving critical thinking skills, creativity and an overall perspective all organizations must cultivate and apply daily to successfully innovate and compete in business.  Defining and implementing a successful organizational strategy relies on a solid strategic thinking approach, and the online resource, Strategic Thinking – Exercises and Tools for Creative Thinking and Strategy, outlines the characteristics of strategic thinking and contains tips, tools and tactics to help readers think strategically and creatively on an ongoing basis.

The content of Strategic Thinking – Exercises and Tools for Creative Thinking and Strategy includes:

The 4 Characteristics of Solid Strategic Thinking

  • Strategic Thinkers Seek Perspectives from Multiple Sources
  • Strategic Thinking Goes Beyond Today’s Reality
  • Strategic Thinkers Question Both the Familiar and the New
  • Strategic Thinkers Display Both Patience and Impatience

Applying Strategic Thinking Daily

  • Using Rich Strategic Questions
  • Anticipating Future Issues
  • Finding Ideas with Intriguing Connections
  • Generating Many Ideas Quickly
  • Innovating Amid Constraints
  • New Thinking with Old Ideas
  • Addressing Unknowns
  • Focusing on Efficiency and Results
  • Envisioning Possibilities
  • Telling a Strategic Story
  • Working Across and Up an Organization
  • Managing Challenging People

The Brainzooming Group is a catalyst for business people needing to successfully identify and implement strategic, innovative ideas.  Mike Brown is the author of the extensive Brainzooming daily blog, including the Strategic Thinking article and the free eBook, Taking the NO Out of Innovation.