May 20, 2015
What Kind of Stories Will You Tell?

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Here's a story you can probably relate to.

You are walking down the street when a friend, coming the other way, stops, looks you in the eye, and asks "Whassup?" It's a question you've heard a thousand times before -- the default, open-ended salutation. Your choices are many. You can answer any way you want, from the predictable "Fine, whassup with you?" to an elaborate monologue on any number of topics: the weather, your vacation plans, the economy, the latest terrorist attack, local politics, your job, and the latest viral video.

In that moment, there is no correct answer. You get to decide what story to tell. What you don't get to decide is the impact your story will have. That's up to the listener. But know this: your story will have impact. Everything you say, everything you do has impact, even a seemingly casual moment of passing a friend on the street.

Continue reading "What Kind of Stories Will You Tell?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2015
15 Awesome Quotes on Collaboration

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1. "It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin

2. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

3. "If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, both are useless." - Darryl F. Zanuck

4. "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." - Henry Ford

5. "Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Continue reading "15 Awesome Quotes on Collaboration"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:27 AM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2015
Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?

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Unless you've been living in solitary confinement for the past few years, chances are good that you are a member of some kind of organization or community -- a gathering of people who have come together in service to a common goal. Whether it's a Fortune 500 company, non-profit, or softball team, we are all, whether we know it or not, involved in the process of creating organizational culture -- "a collective way of thinking, believing, behaving, and working."

How conducive the cultures we create are to the success of our missions is anyone's guess, but what is not a guess is the fact that high performing organizations exhibit the same kind of mission-enabling qualities: trust, shared vision, collaboration, clear communication, diversity of thought, commitment to learning, freedom of expression, and a sense of belonging.

Continue reading "Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2015
Three Audacious Creativity Quotes to Awaken Your Inner Mojo

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Idea Champions
Innovation Through Storytelling
Innovation Keynotes

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2015
The Four Lenses of Innovation

The Heart of Innovation is happy to present the following guest post from Rowan Gibson, author of the recently published The Four Lenses of Innovation. Enjoy!

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Ever wondered where big, breakthrough ideas come from? How do innovators manage to spot the opportunities for industry revolution that everyone else seems to miss?

Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not some mystical art that's forbidden to mere mortals. It can be just as systematic and methodical as anything else we do in business. And the great news is that we can all achieve it.

Continue reading "The Four Lenses of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

The Professor and the Jar

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A college professor stood before his philosophy class at the start of a new semester. Silently, he picked up a very large jar and filled it with golf balls. Then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, pebbles settling into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students again responded with a resounding "yes."

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured them into the jar, filling the empty spaces between the sand. The students laughed.

Continue reading "The Professor and the Jar"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2015
The Power of Tears

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Social media did not exist when I was 26. But social work did -- a profession dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals, groups, families, couples, and communities.

As the Golden Boy of an upper middle class Jewish family from New York, social work was not on my radar screen. The pay wasn't good enough. The status wasn't high enough. And the hours weren't short enough.

So when my neighbor, a University of Virginia Medical Center pediatrician, invited me to become the social worker for a new, federally-funded "early intervention" program I was only half listening. Yes, I was social and yes, I knew how to work, but counseling parents of multi-handicapped infants did not seem like a talent I possessed.

My neighbor, the pediatrician, saw it differently.

Continue reading "The Power of Tears"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2015
Deciphering the Secret Code of Tacit Knowledge

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What is it that all human beings share in common other than the need for air, water, and the undeniable fact that they will answer this question in a wide variety of ways? Well, at the risk of disturbing the people likely to answer this question in a wide variety of ways, I would venture to say a deeply ingrained need to know -- a search for the kind of knowledge needed to thrive in this world.

Continue reading "Deciphering the Secret Code of Tacit Knowledge"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2015
15 Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question

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As a facilitator of the creative process, I continue to be astounded by how few organizations have any kind of process is place to PAUSE, reflect, and make sure they are coming up with the right questions. Apparently, I'm not alone.

1. "It's not that they can't see the solution. They can't see the problem." - G.K. Chesterton

2. "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin

3. "We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong." - Bono

4. "Ask the right questions if you're going to find the right answers." - Vanessa Redgrave

5. "Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers." - Robert Half

Continue reading "15 Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

How to Tell a Good Story

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Let's start with the basics: You already know how to tell a good story. You do. You've been telling stories your entire life. Today, you probably told at least a few. And later, tonight, you will probably tell some more -- whether they are merely accounts of your day, a memorable encounter you had at work, or a reminiscence from days gone by.

Story is the ocean we are swimming in. And because it is, we don't necessarily feel wet when we're in it, but we are.

Fish aren't taught to swim. And you aren't taught to tell stories. As a child, you didn't need to be taught. All you needed was to hear them and them tell them to others -- which you did -- everything from The Three Little Pigs to Jack and the Beanstalk to the excuses you laid on your teachers for not handing in your homework on time.

Continue reading "How to Tell a Good Story"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2015
Thank You!

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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2015
10 Ways to Help Left Brainers Tap Into Their Creativity

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If your job requires you to lead meetings, brainstorming sessions, or problem solving gatherings of any kind, chances are good that most of the people you come in contact with are left-brain dominant: analytical, logical, linear folks with a passion for results and a huge fear that the meeting you are about to lead will end with a rousing chorus of kumbaya.

Not exactly the kind of mindset conducive to breakthrough thinking.

Do not lose heart, oh facilitators of the creative process. Even if you find yourself in a room full of 10,000 left brainers, there are tons of ways to work with this mindset in service to bringing out the very best of the group's collective genius:

Continue reading "10 Ways to Help Left Brainers Tap Into Their Creativity "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:43 PM | Comments (3)

April 20, 2015
An Airtight Case for Giving People More Time to Be Creative

The most common complaint I hear from my clients about WHY they can't be more creative on-the-job is the "lack of time". Check out what happens if you give kids 10 minutes instead of 10 seconds to be creative.

In what ways can you give yourself, your team, or your entire company more time to create?

Quotes on time
What Atlassian does
Our creative thinking training
Idea Champions

Thank to Chris Tardieu for the heads up!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2015
20 Things to Remember If You Love a Highly Creative Person

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Good list of reminders for you if you love a highly creative person

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2015
Why You Need to Ask Why

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Some years ago, there was a big problem at one of America's most treasured monuments -- the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

Simply put, birds -- in huge numbers -- were pooping all over it, which made visiting the place a very unpleasant experience.

Attempts to remedy the situation caused even bigger problems, since the harsh cleaning detergents being used were damaging the memorial.

Fortunately, some of the National Parks managers assigned to the case began asking WHY -- as in "Why was the Jefferson Memorial so much more of a target for birds than any of the other memorials?"

Continue reading "Why You Need to Ask Why"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:41 PM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2015
The Four Lenses of Innovation

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A wonderful new book on innovation, by Rowan Gibson, THE FOUR LENSES OF INNOVATION: A Power Tool for Creative Thinking, has recently been published by Wiley. Rowan Gibson is the real deal -- a lucid, passionate, creative thought leader in the field of innovation. If you are looking for a simple way to cut through a lot of the ho hum mumbo jumbo about innovation, this book is for you.

Wiley Press announcement
Available on Amazon

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2015
The 8 Dimensions of a Brainstorm Session

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Most people think brainstorming sessions are all about ideas -- much in the same way Wall Street bankers think life is all about money.

While ideas are certainly a big part of brainstorming, they are only a part.

People who rush into a brainstorming session starving for new ideas will miss the boat (and the train, car, and unicycle) completely unless they tune into the some other important dynamics that are also at play:

1. INVESTIGATION: If you want your brainstorming sessions to be effective, you'll need to do some investigating before hand. Get curious. Ask questions. Dig deeper. The more you find out what the real issues are, the greater your chances of framing powerful questions to brainstorm and choosing the best techniques to use.

Continue reading "The 8 Dimensions of a Brainstorm Session"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:17 AM | Comments (4)

April 08, 2015
100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Posting

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I know you have no time. YOU know you have no time. I know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. YOU know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. We both know you're not going to read this blog post. It's too long and you have more important things to do.

What follows are 100 other reasons why you won't read it.

Continue reading "100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Posting"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:06 PM | Comments (9)

April 06, 2015
35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein

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Since 1986, every innovation workshop I've facilitated has included a poster of Albert Einstein.

Somehow, Einstein's smiling countenance inspires everyone in the room -- no matter what their social style, gender, or title.

The only thing I find more fascinating than this is the incredible amount of powerful quotes he left behind.

1. "The only real valuable thing is intuition."

2. "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

3. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

4. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

5. "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

Continue reading "35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:09 AM | Comments (9)

April 03, 2015
What On-The-Job Wisdom Lessons Are Most Compelling to You?

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If you have four minutes and are interested in the topic of storytelling in business, I invite you to respond to my online poll -- your chance to tell me what themes about storytelling in the workplace are most meaningful to you. Thank you!

If you want to get an email alert when my book is published


Big thank you to Jesse Ditkoff for the graphics

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

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Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

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