May 01, 2017
What Cortisol, Oxytocin, and Dopamine Have to Do With the Impact of Storytelling

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There's a quantifiable reason why the most successful Superbowl commericails are all structured like stories. Neuroscientists and neuroeconomists agree. And what they agree on is that it has a lot to do with the chemicals that stories trigger in the brain. Here's a well-written Harvard Review article on this fascinating phenomenon.

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How to change innovation mindset via storytelling
My award-winning book on storytelling in the workplace

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2017
The Only Risk is Not to Risk

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50 quotes on risktaking
Idea Champions
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

If You Want to Jump Start Innovation, This Meme Will Help

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For the past 27 years I have been working "in the belly of the beast" as Che Guevera once said -- corporate America. Along the way, I have met a ton of awesome people: visionary, creative, soulful, committed, and kind people. I have also met quite a few curmudgeons, naysayers, and skeptics. Such is life. No matter where YOU are on this spectrum, this blog post is dedicated to you. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Indeed that's where innovation begins -- in the mind. Your thoughts matter. As do your assumptions, intentions, self-talk, and mojo. Let go of doubt and hesitation. Lean into the possibilities before you! Let it rip!

50 quotes on possibility
Storytelling and the Innovation Mindset
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2017
FOLLOW YOUR MUSE: One-On-One Support for People with Big Ideas

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If you are in the process of conjuring up a new product, service, or business and want some help turning your big ideas into reality, I can help. For the past 28 years, I have been an innovation catalyst to some of the most forward-thinking organizations in the world -- helping thousands of people go beyond their assumptions, doubts, and obstacles in service to bringing something wonderful into existence. And now I am offering this service to individuals.

Continue reading "FOLLOW YOUR MUSE: One-On-One Support for People with Big Ideas"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2017
You CAN Tell a Book By It's Cover

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THIS JUST IN! Idea Champions is one of the few companies in the world that teaches people how to become masterful brainstorm facilitators. Since we couldn't agree on which image to use for the cover of the book, we made eight different covers -- and people get to choose the one they like the most. So far, the dog covers have been the most popular. Woof!

More about the training here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2017
Creativity Late in Life

Lots of people, over 50, think it's "too late" for them to be creative. Not true! You want proof? Check out the slide show above -- excerpts from a fabulous book by Gene Cohen: The Creative Age

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:39 PM | Comments (1)

The Art of Using Story as a Way to Communicate Big, Hairy Ideas

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A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar. The penguin orders a shot of Red Eye. The priest starts juggling three flaming chain saws. The newspaper reporter turns to the bartender, smiles and says: "I know there's a story here somewhere."

And yes, there is. There are stories everywhere. As the poet, Muriel Ruykeser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."

Almost everyone in business these days -- at least the people responsible for selling big, hairy ideas -- knows that the difference between success and failure often depends on what kind of story is told -- and how well. Content may be King. But it is Story that built the kingdom. Or as Steve Jobs once put it, "The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller."

Continue reading "The Art of Using Story as a Way to Communicate Big, Hairy Ideas"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)

April 25, 2017
Ten Simple Ways to Establish a User Friendly Ideation Process

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Let's assume for a moment that you and your company value BIG IDEAS -- the kind of ideas that have the potential to change the game, differentiate you from the competition, and spark some major business growth.

Let's also assume that you and your company are not at a loss for these BIG IDEAS -- that they regularly make their appearance via any number of ways: brainstorming sessions, early morning team meetings, or simply the spontaneous epiphanies of the wild and crazy people down the hall.

Continue reading "Ten Simple Ways to Establish a User Friendly Ideation Process"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2017
FREE ONLINE POLL: How to Improve Your Company's Ideation Process

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Here's the simplest way to figure out how to improve your company's ideation process: Enter Idea Champions' FREE IDEATION POLL CONTEST. Just send an email to office@ideachampions and write "Ideation Poll" in the subject line. We'll put your name in the proverbial hat on May 1st and, blindfolded, pick out three winners.

If YOU are one of the winners, we'll send you a link to our ideation poll which you, in turn, will forward to your workforce. A week after that we'll send you the results along with a some useful "food for thought". The value? You will better understand where the holes are in your company's idea generation bucket so you can patch them up or begin figuring out how to get a different bucket. Sneaky marketing shtick from us? None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2017
Be Frightened of Old Ideas

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About John Cage
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If you google "brainstorm training"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

NOT FINDING WHAT YOU'RE DIGGING FOR? Move the Hole!

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I like what Edward deBono once said about the phenomenon of creative people trying to get results, but coming up empty (and I paraphrase). "If you are digging for oil and don't find any, move the hole!"

Pretty simple, eh? Sometimes, it seems as if aspiring innovators get fixated on a particular approach and, no matter what happens (or doesn't), they just keep doing the same old thing over and over again even when experience reveals that their approach is not working.

Of course, it's always possible that other factors are at play:

1. Perhaps the hole you've dug is too shallow and success is only a few shovelfuls away. Digger deeper, then, makes sense. Always possible.

Continue reading "NOT FINDING WHAT YOU'RE DIGGING FOR? Move the Hole!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2017
The 18th Camel

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A father left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The will of the father stated that the eldest son should receive half of 17 camels while the middle son should receive one third and the youngest son one ninth.

Continue reading "The 18th Camel"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

Want to Innovate? Get Hungry!

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Illustration: gapingvoid
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Build the appetite with storytelling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2017
50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility

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1. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

2. "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll

3. "The Wright brother flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility." - Charles Kettering

4. "In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

5. "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do." - Henry Moore

Continue reading "50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:11 PM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2017
The Marriage of Zany and Practical

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Feedback from Charter Manufacturing in response to an Innovation workshop of ours with 27 of their high potential leaders of the future.

"Idea Champions has the unique quality of being able to combine zany out-of-box thinking with a pragmatic approach that appealed to every participant in the session. Even those who relish the status quo and the proven way of doing things couldn't help but relax, laugh. and lean into their untapped creativity. Participants left the session feeling hopeful and powerful about their individual ability to create and innovate."

- Maureen Toshner, Director, Organizational Development & Learning

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions About Storytelling at Work

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1. WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?
Anyone interested in the power of personal storytelling to awaken, inspire, and communicate a meaningful, memorable message -- especially around "moments of truth" on the job. It's also for forward-thinking business leaders who want to elevate the conversation in the workplace and radically increase the odds of peer-to-peer learning happening on a daily basis.

2. WHY IS THIS BOOK TIMELY?
Because the story being told, these days, is predominantly bad news. Terrorism, war, greed, corruption, political infighting, and corporate collapse rule the airways. But something else is also happening and that "something else" too often remains unspoken -- individual stories of insight, breakthrough, kindness, courage, innovation, learning, and wisdom. The more these stories are told, the faster the world's story will change. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."

Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions About Storytelling at Work"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:51 PM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2017
14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas

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There's a lot of talk these days about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now.

What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need -- whether expressed or unexpressed -- ideas with enough mojo to rally sustained support. Is there anything a person can do -- beyond caffeine, corporate pep talks, or astrology readings -- to quicken the appearance of breakthrough ideas?

Yes, there is. And what follows are 14 catalysts -- simple guidelines, principles, and approaches that will help you on your way.

Continue reading "14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:39 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2017
Winning the Fundraising Game

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If you are a mover and a shaker for a non-profit, arts organization, start up, or other capital-constrained enterprise, chances are good that you spend way too much time thinking about the "F" word -- fundraising. While the mission of your organization may be highly expansive, the money is takes to support that mission is, all too often, highly contracted -- especially these days, with government cut backs and an uncertain economy.

Enter Idea Champions' Winning the Fundraising Game, a thought provoking, custom designed, 4 - 8 hour creative thinking session that cuts through the "same old same old" syndrome and catalyzes bold, new, actionable possibilities.

Unlike most brainstorming sessions, Winning the Fundraising Game does not just focus on the generation of ideas -- or what some innovation mavens refer to as divergence. It also focuses on convergence -- what it takes to turn those bold, new ideas into measurable results.

HOW WE GET RESULTS

1. NEEDS ASSESSMENT: The first thing we do is learn about your organization's past and current fundraising efforts -- what's worked, what hasn't, and why. At the same time, we also learn about your organization's culture, so the design of our session is appropriate to the mood and mindset of participants. Our needs assessment process includes one-on-one phone interviews with a cross section of key stakeholders, as well as an online poll that gives all participants a chance to share their perspective.

2. CUSTOM DESIGN: Once we're clear about your hoped for outcomes, we design the session. Variables that impact the design include the number of attendees, length of session, meeting space, collective sense of urgency, goals, and the willingness of participants to go beyond the status quo.

3. FACILITATION: Idea Champions consultants are highly experienced facilitators of group process. Since 1987, we have been designing and leading dynamic creative thinking, teambuilding, visioning, and leadership development sessions for almost every industry on planet earth, including telecommunications, media, retail, pharmaceutical, health care, high tech, government, education, public relations, manufacturing, and non-profit.

4. FOLLOW-UP: Our support for your team of fundraising mavens does not necessarily end when the last person leaves the room. We offer all our clients a variety of simple ways to ensure that meaningful follow-up happens. This includes the generation of a post-session brainstorm report, reality check conference calls, and coaching.

As described on our website
Idea Champions

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2017
Listening is a Superpower

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As an innovation provocateur and storyteller, I am continually fascinated at how rare real listening is in most organizations. Everyone seems to be moving so fast or just WAITING for their turn to speak, that real listening rarely happens. Methinks, it goes all the way back to our childhood where we were deeply appreciated for speaking our first word, but never appreciated for the first time we listened.

24 quotes on good communication
Illustration: gapingvoid.com
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2017
The World Storytelling and Innovation Tour

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:39 AM | Comments (0)

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Who Are We?

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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Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling at Work
Storytelling at Work is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling in business – why it matters and what you and your organization can do to leverage the impact of storytelling in the workplace.
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Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
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Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
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Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
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Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
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Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
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