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The Creative Brief: 8.13.2012

The Creative Brief is a weekly creativity exercise shared with you by The Ohlmann Group. This week’s exercise is about grouping. Creating groups of items requires you to use pattern recognition skills to identify perceived similarities between things. This is a critical aspect of human creativity, and something that can be very helpful to any creative professional. The exercise is simple. Below are five randomly chosen words. Your job is to figure out which one of the five does not belong with the other four and explain why.

The five words are:

- Gym
- River
- Fireworks
- Chisel
- Sale

There is no “right” answer, so take a look, go with your gut, and choose the one of these things that’s not like the others.

For more fun, try doing it again with another word.
For even more of a challenge, try to do it with each one of them.

Enjoy, create, and good luck!

Ten ways to have fun in the office this summer

Welcome to the first day of summer, 2012! Now that we are all grown-ups, sometimes we forget to enjoy this season the way we used to. Just because we work 9-to-5 doesn’t mean that we can’t still have some fun this summer! Here are ten things you can do at work over the next 90 days to make you feel like a kid again.

  1. Throw a party at work. Here at The Ohlmann Group we have a party once a month to celebrate birthdays in that month. A cake is made by our controller and chief cake baker, Kim Gros, and we all gather for cake in the conference room. Not only is the cake delicious, but it also gives us a chance to socialize with one another.  Here are our own Gary Haschart and Mark Bianchi celebrating their recent June birthdays:
  2. Create a piece of art and let people change it. Hang a white board in the kitchen where people can draw, add to what is already there, and get creative.
  3. Casual dress. If you work in a professional setting that requires professional dress, let your hair down a bit in the summer. Of course you could always do casual Fridays, but why not a whole week of casual dress? If you have a short week (such as July 4th) when you’re less likely to meet with a lot of clients, why not let everyone dress casual that week?
  4. Group outing. Of course you could always put together a day to go out and play some golf, go bowling, etc. But that costs the company money. Group outings that won’t cost the boss a dime could be community-oriented. Here at The Ohlmann Group we occasionally get a bunch of us to head down to The Community Blood Center and donate blood together. The cookie/juice party afterwards can be a blast!  Here are our own Shelby Quinlivan and Courtney Stewart donating blood:
  5. Paper airplane contest. The person who made the plane that goes the farthest gets the rest of the day off.
  6. Lunchtime walk. Get a group of people to walk the neighborhood and enjoy the nice weather and fresh air.
  7. Humor bulletin board. Let people post funny comics, news clippings, pictures, etc. Change it out weekly to keep it fresh.
  8. Movie time. Use that projector for some fun, for a change! Maybe every Friday at 3pm, start a movie on the conference room TV or projector. Have popcorn, soda, candy, etc. Could also do for a major TV or sporting event.
  9. Two words: Nerf Basketball.
  10. Picnic lunch. Remember when getting out of the classroom for lunch outside was a big deal. You can do that at the office, too. Have everyone brown bag a lunch and meet together at picnic tables for lunch. Maybe play some games while you are there, too!

Enjoy this summer like you did when you were a kid!  Of course you can’t spend the summer at the pool or running the neighborhood with your friends like you used to, but you should still be able to let your hair down and have a little fun.

It’s important to have fun at work. It increases creativity and productivity. How does your office lighten the mood for summer?

The Creative Brief: 6.18.2012

This week’s exercise is a simple yet fun way to explore creative thinking – compare and contrast.

The following 2 words were randomly chosen:

  • chameleon
  • circus

The task for this week is to find 3 ways in which these words are alike (compare) and 3 ways in which they are different (contrast).  Defining and exploring the similarities and differences in things is a fundamental element of creative thinking, and can often help uncover new solutions to old problems.

Have fun, get creative, and share your answers with us in a comment.

The Creative Brief: 5.7.2012

Every Monday The Ohlmann Group helps you to get your creative juices flowing for the week by offering up an exercise in creativity known as The Creative Brief.  This week’s Creative Brief is going to challenge you to make a choice.  Below is a list of 5 randomly chosen words.  Your task is to review the list, choose the one word that you believe does not belong with the rest of the grouping, and explain why.

  • Tablet
  • Message
  • Thistle
  • Fad
  • Fireworks

Put your thinking cap on and decided which one of these things is not like the others.  We can feel your mind working.  Leave a comment and share your creative thinking with us.

The Creative Brief: 4.9.2012

Every Monday, The Ohlmann Group likes to help you get your creative wheels turning with a fun exercise in creativity.  This week’s creative exercise is about being useful.  Below are 6 randomly chosen words.  Your task is to choose the 3 words that you believe to be the most useful to you and then explain how each might be helpful to you.

The 6 words are:

  • Necklace
  • Piano
  • Carpenter
  • Donkey
  • Robot
  • Umbrella

Get creative.  Look at the list. pick the 3 words most useful to you, and explain how they would be helpful to you.  We encourage you to share your solution in the comments.  Have a creative week!

The Creative Brief: 3.12.2012

Creativity is important and it is something you can build. We, here at The Ohlmann Group, want to help you be more creative, so we present to you The Creative Brief – our weekly creative workout. Think of it as p90x for your brain. This week we are asking questions in an attempt to pull out your inner Socrates.

5 QUESTIONS

Below is a list of five random words. Your challenge: Review the list and develop the most interesting question you can for each of the five words.

- survey
- aluminum
- croissant
- picture
- graph

Put together you best who, what, where, when, why, and how’s and get to work on creating great questions.

Here is a final question: Why not share your questions with us by leaving a comment?

Have a creative week!

The OG Weekender: 3.9.2012

March marches on.  We are not quite mad yet, but basketball conference tournaments are winding down this weekend and the brackets are forthcoming.  In case you want something to check out during the endless fouls and commercial breaks at the end of each and every game, we’ve got you covered with another all star edition of The OG Weekender – our weekly collection of interweb goodness.

First Things First – The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament starts next week and it tips off right here in Dayton.  This weekend will be filled with celebration as Dayton welcomes the First Four to town with a huge party in the Oregon District on Sunday.  There is a run, games, events, bands, and more all in a run up to the christening of the 2012 brackets.  The festivities will be followed by some great basketball here in town next week.  Even the President and The British Prime Minister will be here.  For tickets to the game or info about Sunday’s party check out the event website or follow the event on twitter – @FirstFourDayton

Dead On Arrival – There is a difference between writing killer content and writing content that dies.  While nobody can be certain as to what kind of response a blog post will receive, this article from seomoz will give you a bunch of best practices to follow to avoid killing your content.

Back to Basics – So you don’t have time to read book after book and article upon article on the latest and greatest in social media.  You just want the basics.  Well, check out this short article from Harvard Business Review all about the basics of social media.  Reading this takes :30 seconds and will make you Harvard Educated – at least in a small capacity.

Totally AwesomeJeff Bullas is awesome.  LinkedIn is awesome.  Infographics are awesome.  Combine the 3 into one post and what you get is….. awesome.  Check out this great post about LinkedIn from Jeff that includes an amazing infographic about the platform from powerformula.net.

Shave & A Haircut – This video from Dollar Shave Club has been making its way around the net lately.  It is a very low-fi, high comedy commercial for a company that will send you razorblades in the mail every month for a dollar.  Simple business, simple video, simply awesome.

 

 

From everyone here at The Ohlmann Group, have a great weekend!

The OG Weekender: 9.23.2011

Ohlmann Group Pumpkin LogoA gorgeous, gray, rainy, first fall Friday here in Dayton.  The leaves are just starting to hint that they will no longer be green, nor be attached to the trees.  The air has the crisp feeling of autumn.  This is a great weekend to get out and go for a hike, carve a pumpkin, hit one of the many local the apple orchards, or better yet, head down to the Dayton Art Institute for Oktoberfest and enjoy beverages, food, friends, celebration, and conversation.  What can you talk about?  Fear not.  We have put together agreat collection of interesting articles, posts, and links to serve as conversational fodder for you on this fine fall weekend:

 

THE GREAT OUTDOOR - Check out this collection of remarkable billboards and outdoor ads put together by Sté Kerwer.  The article features great designs and creative marketing pieces from all around the world.  These are definitely conversation worthy pieces of advertising.


PANDORA REOPENS THE BOX – Popular music website Pandora announced this week that it was removing the 40 hour monthly listening limit attached to free accounts, and unveiled a slick new look.  This is great news if you are short on Polka mp3′s and are looking to get down to some pre-party Roll Out The Barrel & Chicken Dance with your crew.

 

WILD, WACKY, WEIRD STUFF - Marketing Superhero Seth Godin has a new book out called We Are All Weird.  The book is amazing and yet another must-read for marketing professionals in search of inspiration and wisdom.  Not sold?  Check out David Meerman Scott’s review of the book, which includes a discussion of Fat Tire (Dear New Belgium, Please come to Ohio! k thx bye)

 

FOCUS! – Focusing your attention on anything, let alone the right thing, can be challenging in today’s always on world.  Learning where to focus your brainpower in order to solve a problem is an extremely valuable skill.  Check out this article on Focus from Art Markman, PhD that appeared in The Harvard Business Review.  The article discusses when it is appropriate to focus on details and when the big picture is the more important to pay attention to.  Very helpful advice.

 

CH CH CH CH CHANGES – In the event that you slept through yesterday or just returned from a remote Amish village, Facebook made some big changes to their design and policies yesterday at F8.  To see people complaining about it, simply log into facebook and check out your newsfeed – as happens everytime they update things.  To see what the implications of these changes are to your business, check out this article from Fast Company.

 

BLOCKED! – Creative people sometimes encounter the dreaded Block to the creative process.  This can be extremely frustrating, particular for those whose livelihood depends on developing creative ideas and concepts.  Check out this free e-book from Mark McGuinness called 20 Creative Blocks and How to Break Through Them.  The book is a quick read and filled with suggestions on how to get the creative juices flowing when you feel like the well hath run dry.  As a bonus, check out Mark’s article What Daily Meditation Can Do for Your Creativity.

 

So, to recap we shared billboards, books, beer, business reviews, big changes, and breakthrough ideas to meditate on in between the fun you have planned for the first weekend of fall.   Enjoy your weekend!

 

The OG Weekender – 9.2.2011

A Collection of Goodness: 

It’s Friday.  As you head into the holiday weekend, you are probably getting geared up for cookouts, fireworks, and end of the summer fun.  Who knows, you may just be fortunate enough to have a little time to relax and read this weekend too.  The team here at The OG thought that it might be nice for us to save you some time by doing the legwork of finding some great content for you to check out.   The following is what we came up with for you:

  • Are You A Social Media Stats Junkie?  If you love interesting statistics, are curious about the growth of social media, or simply want a few facts to throw around so you sound smart at a Labor Day party this weekend, check out Thirteen Mind-Bending Social Media Marketing Statistics, from the good people at Hubspot.  ”13 just ain’t enough!” you say.  Well, just in case you want more check out Jeff Bullas’ list of 20 Stunning Social Media Statistics.
  • “Loved Those Stats, But I Am A Marketing Data Nerd Who Is Also Creative!”  The world of marketing is changing thanks to the advent of digital technology.  This has created a whole new breed of analytical marketing geek / creative uber genius.   Want to learn more about the rise of this Frankenstein of the modern marketing world?  Check out this fantastic article from Adage that details the rise of the whole brained marketer.
  • Interested in learning about QR Codes?  QR Codes are all the rage in the marketing world.  It turns out that more and more brands are using them. Why?  People are increasingly scanning them.  Check out how Victoria’s Secret and other brands are making use of the QR Code to enhance their marketing initiatives in this article from Fast Company.
  • Want To Read A Great Book?  Check Todd Henry’s new book The Accidental Creative. This is a must read for anyone who gets paid for creating big ideas.  Todd offers up a wealth of advice on how to avoid burnout, enjoy your work, and prepare your mind to be creative at a moment’s notice.
  • “My Brain Hurts From Thinking All Week.  No Reading! I Just Want Pretty Pictures!” – We understand.  Your cranium is over heated from a long week of work, and you are in desperate need of some cool creative inspiration to return you to sanity.   Check out Illustration Inspiration, a collection of beautiful illustrations from a variety of artists.

That ought to keep you busy for at least 10 minutes this weekend.  Rest up, read up, and have a great holiday weekend.

4 Things I’ve Learned At PON

1) Be patient with the process. I’ve learned that jobs can fly in and out of your hands very quickly and in most cases they do, but I’ve also learned that a project may take more time to develop. One of my traits by nature is working spontaneously and keeping momentum going and when a project stalls, this can be a challenge for me. I have learned to adjust and just take it as it comes and there are usually many other projects going on to fill-in the gaps anyways.

2) To become more organized. Although by nature I am not the tidy one in the family (my brother and sister got those traits), I have learned to keep most of my files in their appropriate places. I do end up with many stray files on my desktop but I attribute that to the spontaneity that I mentioned above. I just have to take more time to organize after the project is complete. I’ve also realized that I must keep things organized so my friends in the art department, that have to find something in my files, do not have to loose their hair (sorry Gary) looking for a file.

3) Working as a team is rewarding. I did not learn this at PON, but as I played sports growing up. But I have learned that being on a team in a work environment and seeing a big or small project come together and create meaningful success for our clients is just as rewarding as throwing someone out at second base or going undefeated for the entire season.

4) Have fun and don’t take things so seriously. I work with and have worked with some real characters that make coming to work a pleasure. Work should be fun and when it is, you are more productive and creative.