June 30, 2017 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On “Are People More Creative Alone or Together? Trick Question”

Do you think people are more creative alone or together? It’s an interesting question and one worth thinking about. It turns out that your brain doesn’t care because both are equally important.

In a recent Fast Company article, “Are People More Creative Alone or Together? Trick Question,” authors Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane look at the research and say the way to maximize creative potential is to flow between being alone and being in a group – in that order.

What are your thoughts on collaboration and brainstorming?

November 25, 2013 / Articles We Like

On: "15 Innovative Strategic Planning Questions to Prepare for 2014"

We share this article by Mike Brown, founder of The BrainzoomingTM Group, and author of its popular blog on strategy, creativity and innovation, because the executives we work with want to make a strategic impact in the year ahead.   Mike Brown delivers 15 unique strategic thinking questions executives can use to gain a fresh perspective on these thorny strategic planning topics:

  • fostering innovative, disruptive ideas
  • identifying innovative strategic opportunities
  • creating competitive advantage
  • prioritizing market strategy opportunities
  • addressing professional development

Read it now.

October 24, 2013 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On: "Productivity Improvement: It's Not What You Think"

In this article, author Dorie Clark sets out to challenge the traditional mindset on what it means to improve one’s productivity. Many executives try to increase productivity using times of intense focus without interruptions. Dorie contends that this “head’s down” approach isn’t the only route to increased productivity, and may hinder creativity and innovation.

In the article, Productivity Improvement: It’s Not What You Think, published in the National Center for the Middle Market, Dorie redefines productivity. She draws on the expertise of Mariposa CEO, Sue Bethanis, for tips on behaviors executives can adopt right away to positively harness the energy in office interruptions. Read it now.

What is your definition of improving productivity? How do you go about making the most of office interruptions?

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

August 1, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Mariposa Articles

Leader as Designer

Learn how to utilize Design Thinking in your role as a leader.  This essay, Leader as Designer, by Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis, opens up Design Thinking to different applications and audiences that goes beyond product development. She offers a clear 4 step process to easily move from idea-to-innovation. The results: successful services,  new experiences, and novel solutions to old problems.




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.


April 17, 2013 / Blog / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

Products Are Hard Conference Recap: Design Thinking Process and More!

IMG_1414b IMG_0292b





The 2013 Products are Hard Conference on April 1st proved to be rich with insights and fresh thinking on the product development process.  More than 200 product designers, developers, marketers, entrepreneurs and executives were treated to stimulating talks throughout the day by various thought leaders, including Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis.  Sue presented a design thinking model that leads to breakthrough thinking and therefore has value for leaders beyond product creation.  Attendees participated in a rapid prototyping exercise to get a taste of how a design thinking process can be applied to solve wicked customer or team problems, as our clients have done in our Design Thinking workshop.

We captured brilliant tidbits from the presenters. Here are a few of our favorites:

  •  “LEAN Startups: Learn. Measure. Build.” Janice Fraser, Founder/CEO, LUXr @clevergirl
  • “Hardest part of product management is creating order from chaos. Listen. Learn. Think (dream). Test.” Sarah Rose, VP Product, ModCloth @sarahfrose
  •   “Understand all your customers. Your product must produce value for all of them.” David Charron, Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business @d_charron
  •   “Few things lose investor confidence more than an inability to launch. Better to launch and learn.” Charles Hudson, Venture Partner, SoftTech VC @chudson
  •   “Product building challenge: knowing when working with opinion vs. fact. Turn opinion to hypothesis and test.” Hiten Shah, Co-Founder, KISSmetrics @hnshah
  •   “Using design thinking for services is equally important as using it for products.” Susan Bethanis, Ed.D., CEO and Founder, Mariposa Leadership @suebethanis
  • “If trying to design products for global users, think about similarities in shared social and psychological rewards.” Judd Antin, User Experience Researcher, Facebook @juddantin
  • “Empathy interviewing requires beginner’s mind, getting off your own agenda!” Indi Young, Consultant @indiyoung
  •   “The people who make the product need to fall in love with it first.” Chris Lindland, CEO & Founder, Betabrand @Betabrand

Products are Hard presentation slides are available for viewing.



December 27, 2012 / Blog / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Wise Talk

12/19 Wise Talk audio snippets on Networked Leadership with MJ Petroni

creatives introverts and networked leadership

Last week’s Wise Talk was an interesting conversation that developed ideas around networked leadership as it contrasts the traditional hierarchical model.

Check out these audio snippets where guest MJ Petroni expands on his article A Field Guide to Creating Cultures of Innovation.

In this first snippet, MJ talks about his extensive field of study, Cyborg Anthropology, and how it relates to emerging organizational structures:

Listen to MJ’s definition of networked structures:

In this last audio snip, MJ talks about the necessity of creating a space for introverts in the networked leadership model. This is where executive coaching comes in:

Click here to access Mariposa Leadership’s Wise Talk archives, and click on “Hierarchy to Networked Organizations” for the full audio of this session.

For more information on Networked Organizational Structures, please visit Causeit.org

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

October 25, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Wise Talk

Wise Talk Recap with Dave Gray on Gamestorming

Mariposa was very pleased to have author and visual thinker Dave Gray on Wise Talk this past Tuesday, discussing Gamestorming with Sue Bethanis, CEO. It was a very fun conversation!

So you might be wondering, what exactly is Gamestorming?

More than just a book or a website, Gamestorming is a set of practices for facilitating innovation in the business world. A facilitator leads a group towards some goal by way of a game, a structured activity that provides scope for thinking freely, even playfully.

A game may be thought of as an alternative to the standard business meeting, one that suspends some of the usual protocols and replaces them with a new set of rules for interaction. On the call with Sue, Dave said, “Playful structure actually helps orchestrate the process of creativity and how you structure group interaction matters a lot.”

During Wise Talk, Dave shared that the book he co-authored with Sunni Brown and James Macanufo, Gamestorming, was originally the internal handbook he used for training consultants. On the call, he also stated, “At the rate which things are changing we must take more of an iteration driven process as opposed to having the perfect plan.”

And we couldn’t agree more.

Peep this short video on Gamestorming and the innovation it can bring to your business:

Ready to play?

For more info and to sign up for future Wise Talks, please visit our website.

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

October 12, 2012 / Book Reviews / Coaching Skills / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Wise Talk

Gamestorming Game: Design Thinking Through Empathy Mapping

In his book, Gamestorming, Dave Gray along with co-authors Sunni Brown and James Macanufo share more than 80 games to help you break down barriers, communicate better, and generate new ideas, insights, and strategies. They have identified tools and techniques from some of the world’s most innovative professionals, whose teams collaborate and make great things happen. This book is the result: a unique collection of games that encourage engagement and creativity while bringing more structure and clarity to the workplace.

One of the very quick (20 minutes or less) and incredibly helpful games included in the book is creating an Empathy Map as a tool for Design Thinking.

The goal of the game is to gain a deeper level of understanding of a stakeholder in your business ecosystem, which may be a client, prospect, partner, etc., within a given context, such as a buying decision or an experience using a product or service.

Here’s how it can go:

1. Start by drawing a circle to represent the person and give the circle a name and some identifying information such as a job title. It helps if you can think of a real person who roughly fits the profile, so you can keep them in mind as you proceed. In keeping with the idea of a “profile” think of the circle as the profile of a person’s head and fill in some details. You might want to add eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and maybe glasses if appropriate or a hairstyle to differentiate the person from other profiles you might want to create. These simple details are not a frivolous addition — they will help you project yourself into the experience of that person, which is the point of the exercise.

2. Determine a question you have for that stakeholder. If you had a question you would want to ask them, or a situation in their life you want to understand, what would that be? You might want to understand a certain kind of buying decision, for example, in which case your question might be “Why should I buy X?”

3. Divide the circle into sections that represent aspects of that person’s sensory experience. What are they thinking, feeling, saying, doing, hearing? Label the appropriate sections on the image.

4. Now it’s time for you to practice the “empathy” portion of the exercise. As best you can, try to project yourself into that person’s experience and understand the context you want to explore. Then start to fill in the diagram with real, tangible, sensory experiences. If you are filling in the “hearing” section, for example, try to think of what the person might hear, and how they would hear it. In the “saying” section, try to write their thoughts as they would express them. Don’t put your words into their mouth — the point is to truly understand and empathize with their situation so you can design a better product, service or whatever.

5. Check yourself: Ask others to review your map, make suggestions, and add details or context. The more the person can identify with the actual stakeholder the better. Over time you will hone your ability to understand and empathize with others in your business ecosystem, which will help you improve your relationships and your results.

Mariposa Leadership is very excited to welcome Gamestorming author Dave Gray to this month’s Wise Talk where he and Sue Bethanis will discuss the innovative alternative to brainstorming – gamestorming! They will also have a chance to discuss Dave’s new book about how to keep your business on the leading edge, The Connected Company.

Sign up for Wise Talk and join the conversation on Tuesday, October 23rd from 2-3pm PT!

September 11, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Over-Communicate to Manage Change

Steven asked:

We want to incorporate more creative thinking into our company’s processes, but are concerned that upsetting the way our company has worked for years could have adverse consequences – what are some ways to make this a smoother transition?

Eric Nitzberg, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

The short answer: over-communicate. When you are managing change, it’s critical to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on, and that as far as possible, they have a voice in it. This means engaging people in helping craft the new direction, and giving them information repeatedly and through multiple channels. Also, don’t underestimate the power of talking one-on-one with key stakeholders who will be critical to the success of the change. Let them know about the new direction, and get their best ideas and personal investment. They will become evangelists within the company.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

Load More Posts