iGenius: 20 Techniques to Transform Your iPhone into an Astounding Idea Machine (book excerpt)


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Did you know that you can configure your iPhone to serve as your ultimate idea machine? You can, using the advice in my new book, iGenius: 20 Techniques to Transform Your iPhone into an Astounding Idea Machine.

This new book will expand your thinking about what's possible with Apple's ubiquitous smartphone. It will teach you everything you need to know to ideate, organize, evaluate and make the most of your ideas. This system will help you capitalize on more of your ideas, faster and more capably than ever before.

In this new book excerpt, I explain why the iPhone is the ultimate platform for managing your ideas. I also describe a fictional scenario that illustrates several of the techniques I cover in the book. It will give you a tantalizing idea of what is possible utilizing the applications and techniques that will be contained iGenius when it is published.

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iGenius: 20 Techniques to Transform Your iPhone into an Astounding Idea Machine (book excerpt)

  1. 1. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Your iPhone: The gateway to your creative future You hold in your hand not just an iPhone, but a doorway to new ideas and opportunities. Should you open it? Before you say yes, let me warn you: there's no turning back. I predict you’ll quickly become addicted to the idea of using Apple's groundbreaking all-in-one device to brainstorm, capture, improve, evaluate and take action on your valuable ideas. Because you've taken the time to download this book excerpt, I know you value ideas and creativity more than the average person. Like most people, your brain serves up valuable ideas from time to time. What’s missing are tools and techniques you can use to capture and cultivate them. In this book excerpt, I will explain why your iPhone is the perfect creative companion. I have also written a fictional scenario that paints a compelling picture of just a few of the many possibilities for iPhone-based creativity for business. It’s a tantalizing taste of the 20 techniques you can expect to learn about in my forthcoming book, iGenius: 20 Techniques to Transofmr 2
  2. 2. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Your iPhone into an Astounding Idea Machine. What will my new book contain?  All 20 techniques for brainstorming, capturing and nurturing ideas on your Apple smartphone.  Helpful tutorials on how to get the most out of these techniques  Resource lists  Reviews of the best brainstorming apps for the iPhone (and those which you should avoid!) How do YOU use your iPhone to be creative? If you use your iPhone in a uniquely creative way, I'd love to hear about it. If it's cool enough, I may include it in the book! Please send me the details at chuck@chuckfrey.com. 3
  3. 3. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Why is your iPhone the ideal creative companion? As brainstorming and idea capture tools go, the iPhone has several major advantages over traditional methods, such as carrying notebooks or index cards in your pocket: A true “go everywhere” tool: Most people and their smartphones are inseparable. According to surveys, many people even keep them within arm’s reach when they go to bed. We love to be connected, 24/7! In short, your smartphone is one of the few tools that you carry with you wherever you go. One of the keys to creative success is having a "closed loop" system for capturing ideas when they pop into your mind. The iPhone, with all of the apps it can contain and its always-connected status, is ideal for this role. Your iPhone enables you to capture ideas digitally. Why is this important? Ideas captured using "analog" tools like notebooks and index cards aren't easily searchable. In contrast, digital tools like Evernote enable you to search your personal database - which may contain thousands of records - and quickly retrieve entries that contain specific words and tags. That’s powerful! In addition, digital ideas are infinitely malleable. You can easily copy and 4
  4. 4. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com paste them, move them, edit and annotate them. In contrast, analog ideas remain stubbornly "anchored" within the medium in which you captured them - usually, paper. They are hard to move, edit or manipulate. Cloud-connected apps: Many iPhone apps have matured to the point where they are connected to the "cloud." In other words, your ideas are automatically synchronized with an online storage service that makes an immediate backup copy of your idea, where it can be synchronized with similar software on your other computing devices. Apps like Dropbox and Evernote do this automatically for you, without you even having to think about it! As I write this report in Evernote on my laptop, it's automatically saving my words online. Later, I will be able to open this note on my iPhone and continue editing it. This makes me immensely productive, and helps me to leverage more of my creative output. And it can do the same for you! Your iPhone lets you make brilliant use of downtime. For example, if you have a 20-minute wait in a doctor's office, you can pull out your iPhone and begin generating, building upon or evaluating your ideas. I often use times like these to outline and write blog posts and ideas for e-books, reports and other types of information products. This capability helps me to realize more value from my ideas. iPhones are "instant on" devices. They don't have a lengthy boot-up process like a desktop or laptop computer. Why is that important? Ideas are like slippery fish - they can easily get away if you don't "spear" them quickly. With your trusty iPhone by your side, you can be recording an idea within seconds of thinking of it. 5
  5. 5. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Brainstorming on the iPhone: A compelling scenario ACME Corporation is in trouble and everyone in the company knows it. According to the rumors circulating around the office, ACME's dealers are upset about the company's poor product quality and lack of new products to sell. Two key parts suppliers are threatening to terminate their contracts with ACME due to slow payment. Several top-level executives have defected to competing companies, like rats deserting a sinking ship. Something has got to change or the firm will either slide into bankruptcy or be sold at a fire sale price to another company. Both potential outcomes are likely to be career killers for mid-level executives like Bob, who is a product manager for widgets. As part of the company's open culture, it has scheduled a town hall meeting of all 350 employees. Everyone has been encouraged to bring ideas to help grow the company. Any and all ideas will be entertained, but they must be implementable without a big capital outlay. While many of Bob's coworkers have been moaning and groaning about spending a day in a companywide brainstorming meeting, he's excited about it. He realizes this is a golden opportunity to get noticed by ACME's top management team. 6
  6. 6. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com To succeed with this ambitious goal, Bob needs to brainstorm some out-ofthe-ordinary yet high-value ideas that will command the attention of ACME’s senior management team. There's only one problem with his plan: The town hall meeting is only two days from now. He has tried brute force brainstorming several times during the last week, but hasn't come up with any worthwhile ideas. If he's going to make this happen, it's time to get serious about generating some breakthrough ideas to save ACME. But where to get the inspiration? He pulls his iPhone out of his pocket as he often does throughout the day to check the time. Only this time he suddenly realizes that, with the right tools and apps on his trusty iPhone, he could generate some really remarkable ideas for ACME. At lunchtime, Bob takes a walk in downtown Milwaukee, to get away from all of the commotions and interruptions at work. He walks two blocks to his favorite thinking spot - O'Donnell Park, overlooking Lake Michigan. The view there always inspires him. He finds an empty park bench, pulls out his iPhone and gets to work. Do a brain dump of your existing ideas The first thing Bob does is clear out the ideas that have already started to percolate in his brain. So he taps on the green elephant icon of his iPhone's home screen to open Evernote, a powerful personal information manager. Its card-based interface makes it perfect for capturing a variety 7
  7. 7. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com of unstructured information, including ideas, online articles, photos and files. It's also cloud based, which means anything he enters into a note on his iPhone is automatically replicated on his desktop PC at work and his iPad at home. Bob has been reading a lot about Evernote lately. It appears to be ideal for capturing and cultivating ideas. He opens a new note and enters his first two ideas - expanding ACME's product line to other English-speaking countries with similar customer demographics, and developing a simpler product with fewer features - which should be attractive to price-sensitive buyers, whom the company currently doesn't serve. But his stubby fingers make it hard to "tap type" accurately. He needs to constantly correct his spelling and fight with the iPhone's autocorrect, and that's frustrating. It's also interfering with his creative "flow." So he switches to the Dragon Dictate app on his phone and dictates his next idea: A partnership with a company in ACME's industry that offers a complementary product. If the two are packaged together, they would add a lot of convenience and value to both firms' existing customers. Within seconds, the transcribed words appear on screen; Bob 8
  8. 8. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com copies and pastes them into an open note in Evernote. Much better, he muses. Expand your scope with lateral thinking After Bob finishes transcribing his existing ideas into Evernote, the next step is to engage in lateral thinking - moving beyond the obvious ideas, the "low-hanging fruit" that many of his colleagues and coworkers will present. He realizes that he needs to think in different ways, and that a variety of unique stimuli will do the trick to get him thinking in new directions. So Bob does a search on brainstorming apps for the iPhone, and quickly discovers and installs one called Improvi. This clever app enables you drag random words and images onto the screen, where they bounce around and move next to and through each other, helping you to forge free associations that are the key to lateral thinking. Bob swipes his finger to drag four random words and images onto the screen - underground lair, the girl scout, reverse, village and an orange, rotating cube. As they float across it, they bounce back from its edges, as if trapped in a virtual box, and slowly fade in and out of view. "How can I 9
  9. 9. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com use these stimuli?" he wonders. The first term, "underground lair," suggests superhero TV shows like Batman and Superman. Perhaps ACME could create a dedicated lab where it could invite university researchers to partner with its engineers to develop new ideas and concepts. Brilliant! Word association is so much fun! He switches back to Evernote and enters that idea. Next, Bob turns his attention to the phrase "girl scout." The first related concept that pops into his brain is trust - Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts always emphasize trust as one of their core values. What if ACME did some things differently to increase the trust of its dealers, who aren't happy about the company's recent financial problems and cutbacks? What if ACME formed a dealer council? That would be a great way to expand ACME's dialogue with them and build an atmosphere of trust. It could even serve as an opportunity for ACME and dealer officials to brainstorm new product and services ideas together! Bob switches to Evernote and captures that idea. 10
  10. 10. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Environmental creativity: Inspiration is all around us Bob is really starting to get excited now. He has always heard that random stimuli can be great catalysts for creativity, but this is the first time he tried it himself. He gazes out over Lake Michigan and watches a group of sailboats gracefully tacking against the wind, their sails billowing. It always amazes him how these boats can move into the wind. He then turns his attention to the stiff breeze coming off the lake, which causes the flags lining the drive in front of the nearby War Memorial Center to snap briskly. Suddenly, another idea pops into his head, inspired by the sound of the wind: What if ACME gathers its best customers on a quarterly basis for listening sessions to better understand their product needs? Bob recalls an article he recently read in a business magazine about John Deere's successes with a "voice of the customer" program. They even launched a major ad campaign that highlighted how its new products incorporated customer ideas gleaned from this program. The ads featured real customers and real innovations they inspired. This is definitely an idea that ACME can adapt to its needs! 11
  11. 11. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com Bob stands up with a satisfied grin on his face and starts to walk back to his office. As he waits to cross Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee's busy main street, a County Transit bus pulls up to the bus stop near him. He sees that it is one of a number of busses that have been "skinned" with unique art featuring Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one displays an abstract pattern. That gets Bob thinking about how unique each customer order at ACME is, and how much that must be costing the company. What if ACME did an analysis and determined what the most popular custom options are, and then creates a set of "packages" from which customers could order, instead of all of the current custom work? Toyota did this very successfully in the 1980s. That could definitely help ACME get its manufacturing costs under control! Bob pulls out his iPhone and snaps a photo of the side of the bus. He then opens it in Skitch, an image annotation and sketching tool, and uses his fingertip to jot a note to himself about this idea on top of the image. When he closes Skitch, it automatically stores this piece of visual inspiration in his Evernote database. A world of creative possibilities in a pocket-sized device On Bob's walk back to the office, he continues to think about all of the possible ways in which he could use his iPhone as a creative tool. He 12
  12. 12. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com realizes that the possibilities are only limited by his imagination. "I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface of what's possible," he concludes, and makes a mental commitment to learn more about brainstorming tools and techniques for the iPhone. What gratifies Bob the most is knowing that his ideas will be significantly different than anything his colleagues will be presenting at the town hall meeting. Different. Better. More impact - both for the future of ACME and for his own career. As he enters the lobby of ACME's building, a cool rush of air brushes his hair back. He feels refreshed, satisfied and energized - ready to take on the world. "I wonder what ELSE me and my iPhone can accomplish?" His mind buzzes with possibilities as he steps onto the elevator and pushes the button for the 19th floor. "On thing is for sure. With a tool like this, my career is definitely looking up!" About this scenario The purpose of this fictional scenario is to give you a taste of what’s possible when you rethink the role of your iPhone from merely a productivity tool to an immensely powerful creativity tool. This book excerpt feature 3 of the 20 principles covered in the book: 1. Use brainstorming apps 2. Shoot pictures of inspiring objects with your iPhone’s camera
  13. 13. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com 6. Use Dragon Dictate to transcribe your ideas The full book contains 20 techniques to help you get the most creative output from your pocket-sized smartphone wonder, plus detailed explanations of how to use them, examples and resource lists. It also contains reviews of the best brainstorming apps for the iPhone—plus I’ll also tell you which ones to avoid! I wish you great success in your creative endeavors! Chuck Frey chuck@chuckfrey.com Creativity Hacks Mind Mapping Software Blog Up Your Impact Power Tips & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software Social media: Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest If you have any questions or comments about this report or the upcoming iGenius e-book, please don’t hesitate to contact me at chuck@chuckfrey.com. I welcome your input! I’m especially interested in hearing the ways in which you’re using your iPhone to be more creative! 14
  14. 14. iGenius book excerpt — chuckfrey.com About the author I am a PR and online marketing expert with an extensive background in innovation, creativity, business strategy and visual thinking. I publish The Mind Mapping Software Blog, the leading website focused on visual thinking tools and strategies. It covers a variety of topics that are focused on the needs of users of mind mapping software, including news, trends, tips and techniques and product reviews. In addition, I have written Power Tips & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software, which is the definitive guide for business people who want to get the most out of their visual mapping tools. This popular e-book is now in its 3rd edition. In 2010, I authored Creativity Hacks: Shortcuts to Help You Crush Your Challenges & Live a Kick-Ass Life. It contains a comprehensive collection of creative problem solving techniques, tools and resources you can apply to cultivate a more creative life. Most recently, I combined my passions (creative thinking and selfdevelopment) in a new book, Up Your Impact: 52 Powerful Ideas to Get Noticed, Get Promoted & Become Indispensable at Work. I am the founder and publisher of InnovationTools.com, which was the largest innovation website until it was merged together with InnovationManagement.se in late 2012. I have written extensively on innovation strategy, brainstorming, creativity techniques and creativity software. 15