June 27, 2017
When a Best Practice Isn't

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I'm a collector of best practices. I like to find out what forward thinking individuals and organizations have done to accomplish extraordinary results.

Sometimes I share these stories in my keynotes or workshops. Invariably, my stock rises when I tell these stories. People think I know stuff. They get giddy. They take notes. They think about how to adapt these best practices to their organization. But then things get weird.

People start becoming satisfied with emulating other people's lives. Instead of thinking up their own best practices, they imitate. Ouch!

Continue reading "When a Best Practice Isn't"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

June 25, 2017
Want to Vacation in Woodstock?

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If you are looking for a great place to rent in Woodstock, NY, consider renting my home -- just a 12 minute walk to town. Mountain views. Peaceful. Gorgeous. A great place to rest, renew, and rejuvenate. Short- term or long-term rentals available. Click here for the full monte. Or send me an email: mitch@ideachampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2017
25 Awesome Quotes on Creativity

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"The things we fear most in organizations -- fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances -- are the primary sources of creativity." - Alfred North Whitehead

"The chief enemy of creativity is 'good sense.'" - Pablo Picasso

"Everyone who's ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference." - Nolan Bushnell

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage

Continue reading "25 Awesome Quotes on Creativity"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:32 AM | Comments (4)

June 18, 2017
Confessions of a Keynote Speaker

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Recently, I gave a keynote presentation to 150 people in the health care industry. After being introduced, I decided, as I usually do, to leave the safe confines of the podium ("a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it"), dismount the stage, and "walk my talk" -- weaving my way in between the 20 round tables in the room, each with their own pitchers of water, tent cards, and little bowls of red and white mints.

For a keynote speaker, dismounting the stage and walking into the audience is always a risk -- the same kind of risk people take when they decide to get married, instead of just date. Or, why it's often easier to love humanity than just a single human being.

Continue reading "Confessions of a Keynote Speaker"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2017
Listen to Your Subconscious Mind

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If you study the lives of people who have had Eureka moments, you'll discover that their breakthroughs almost always came after extended periods of intense, conscious effort.

They worked. They struggled. They abandoned all hope. They recommitted -- and then the breakthrough came. And often at the most unexpected of moments.

They weren't buying lottery tickets at their local deli, hoping to win a breakthrough fortune. They were digging for treasure in their own back yard.

Continue reading "Listen to Your Subconscious Mind "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:48 PM | Comments (3)

June 15, 2017
The True Definition of Comedy

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"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." - Peter Ustinov

Clarence Darrow chimes in

Quotes on humor and playfulness
The Daily Show

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2017
The Most Important Ingredient to Ensure an Organization's Success

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In a recent survey of 246 CEOs from around the world, "having the right culture to foster and support innovation" was rated the most important ingredient to ensure a organization's success. In other words, if innovation is the big fish companies are trying to hook, culture is the ocean in which those fish are swimming.

Changing a company's culture, however, is not an easy thing to do. When you think about how difficult it is for just one person to lose five pounds or stop smoking, imagine the challenge of getting thousands of people to go beyond their old habits and outdated mental models. That being said, it IS possible.

The key to success? Beginning. And the key to beginning? Giving people a simple roadmap of what they can do, within their sphere of influence, to make a difference

Continue reading "The Most Important Ingredient to Ensure an Organization's Success"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2017
The Innovation Burnout Syndrome

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Most newly launched corporate innovation initiatives have a dark side, a not-much-talked-about shadow side -- the metaphorical alcoholic-father-in-the-basement side. And it is this... fascinating new projects are conceived, senior leaders get pumped, game plans are drawn up, but no one gives the "worker bees" any more time to devote to the newly launched projects. They are, in effect, expected to shoehorn their new efforts into their already overloaded schedules.

Bottom line, aspiring innovators' "day jobs" end up colliding with newly launched innovation initiatives and mayhem ensues. People either burn out, get cranky, triangulate to third parties, spend way too much time explaining the newly launched innovation project to their "day job" managers, or else go into martyrdom-mode -- all behaviors that do not bode well for the individual, the company, or its customers. And while every company DOES have a few superstar self-starters who dive in with both feet and a heigh ho silver, this is not a formula for sustainable innovation.

The solution? Either redistribute workloads, offer "innovation project sabbaticals", or provide your front line innovators with enough support services to unclutter their minds, ease their way forward, and allow them the time to focus on the innovation job at hand without frying.

If you don't, expect nothing but a whole lot of chaos, broken promises, unfulfilled expectations, and the kind of innovation backlash you wish you hadn't unleashed.

Three minute video on this phenomenon

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2017
Great Quotes on Customer Service

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The following quotes are dedicated to the good people of Nations Roof, a forward-thinking client of ours who continues to impress us with their commitment to providing extraordinary customer service.

"Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price." - Lauren Freedman

"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary." - Sam Walton

"Make a customer, not a sale." - Katherine Barchetti

Continue reading "Great Quotes on Customer Service"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2017
It's Really Very Simple

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Illustration: gapingvoid
MitchDitkoff.com
IdeaChampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2017
25 Reasons Why Brainstorming Sessions Fail in Your Company

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Whenever I ask my clients to tell me about the quality of their company's brainstorming sessions, they usually roll their eyes and grumble, noting several of the phenomena below.

Recognize any of them in your organization?

1. Lame facilitation
2. Wrong problem statement
3. Unmotivated participants
4. Hidden (or competing) agendas
5. Insufficient diversity of participants
6. Addiction to the status quo
7. Lack of clear ground rules
8. Sterile meeting space
9. No transition from "business as usual"
10. Lack of robust participation

Continue reading "25 Reasons Why Brainstorming Sessions Fail in Your Company"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:45 AM | Comments (5)

May 30, 2017
38 Awesome Quotes on Change

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1. "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

2. "Change before you have to." - Jack Welch

3. "People don't resist change. They resist being changed!" -- Peter Senge

4. "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - Leo Tolstoy

5. "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." - Albert Einstein

6. "Nothing endures but change." - Heraclitus

Continue reading "38 Awesome Quotes on Change"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 PM

May 27, 2017
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing

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If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.

In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.

There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.

Continue reading "One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

BIG IDEA: Enter Our Brainstorm Training Raffle Before June 10th

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Want to raise the bar for brainstorming in your organization? Looking for an online solution at a super-low fee? Enter Idea Champions quarterly raffle and win a 5-session, online Brainstorm Facilitation training at a 68% discount. Instead of paying our usual $7,500 fee, your cost is only $2,400. Max number of participants? 12.

Entering is easy. Simply send an email to info@ideachampions.com and write the words "Conducting Genius" in the subject line. In turn, we will enter your company's name in the raffle. Three winners will be announced on June 12th.

Our clients
What our clients say
The onsite version of the training

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2017
The Intersection of Innovation and Continuous Improvement

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What does creative thinking and innovation have to do with continuous improvement? A lot. Two sides of the same coin.

Interview with Idea Champions' President, Mitch Ditkoff, on GoLeanSixSigma.

Focuses on the intersection of innovation and continuous improvement. Both are needed. Both are complementary.


Indeed, the Managing Partner and Executive Advisor of GoLeanSixSigma, Elisabeth Swan, was an Idea Champions consultant at one point in her storied career.

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2017
Fail, Fail, the Gang's All Here

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Illustration: GapingVoid
Great quotes on failure
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2017
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)

May 18, 2017
The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings

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Most people think that the ability to be innovative is a mystical state available only to the chosen few.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they don't have time and don't like hard work, they reason that innovation just isn't in the cards for them.

But innovation is not a mystical state. It's a natural state -- a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, already are innovative. The only thing is: their natural ability to be innovative is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

Continue reading "The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2017
The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator

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As a former student of the martial arts, I have noticed a curious phenomenon in corporate America that is becoming increasingly troubling to me -- especially among "creatives" who aspire to become masterful brainstorm facilitators. I call it the "Bruce Lee Syndrome" or perhaps more correctly, the "I-Took-a-Karate-Lesson-at-My-Local-Shopping-Mall- and-How-Come-I-Still-Can't-Break-a-Brick-Yet" syndrome?

Well-meaning business movers and shakers expect that learning a new creative thinking technique is all they need to spark brilliance in a roomful of people. Not true. Not even close to being true.

Continue reading "The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2017
100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Post

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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 this blog post.

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

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:06 PM | Comments (10)

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