November 18, 2017
Understand What Lean Six Sigma Is Without Getting a Huge Headache

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Ten years ago, my company was a vendor to a Fortune 100 company devoted to SixSigma. So devoted, in fact, that they required all of their vendors to take a two-day day Six Sigma training. While I never liked thinking of myself as a "vendor", I took the course. My experience of it? Like taking a geometry test while doing my taxes in a DMV office.

Yes, during those two days, I realized there were lots of useful tools to learn to make my business more effective. But I didn't learn them. Nor did I ever apply a single one of those tools on the job. The lunch buffet was memorable, but that was about it.

Fast forward to a few months ago. That's when I discovered a company who changed the way I thought about all this stuff. With a light touch, a deep understanding of how people learn, and a large dose of humanity, they have found a way to make the essence of SixSigma accessible, relatable, and enjoyable to learn. While they totally get that process is king, they also get that it is people who use processes and unless those people are actually learning process improvement methods in a memorable way, nothing much will change.

GoLeanSixSigma's online trainings draw on 25 years of success helping the world's leading organizations create happier customers and save millions of dollars. Click here if you are curious and want to kick their proverbial tires. For free. As in nada, zero, zippo, zilch.

Just for fun, here's the lyrics to a funny blues song I wrote about Six Sigma in an attempt to gain back my humanity after my first exposure to the SixSigma world.

The difference between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2017
On Being a Better Listener

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Good article from Fast Company on the emotional intelligence required to be a better listener.

If you want to innovate, listen more
24 quotes on good communication
Non-judgmental listening

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2017
Innovation and Indigenous Wisdom

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Here's a wonderfully, innovative project happening in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- a groundbreaking event being planned for the coming summer that celebrates the indigenous wisdom of the Americas. Click here for the just launched GoFundMe campaign by the Founder of the project, Evelyne Pouget. During the next nine months, the Heart of Innovation will post periodic updates about this most inspired event, including excerpts of interviews with tribal elders, Concheros dancers, project coordinators, and children.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

How to Manage Distractions

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Great article in Fast Company on how to manage distractions. Not that YOU ever get distracted, of course. Wait... I just got a text from my cousin... I'll..um...er... finish this blog post later...

MitchDitkoff.com
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About Brainstorm Facilitation

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Voila! Here are 13 of Idea Champion's brief, upbeat, entertaining videos on the art and science of brainstorm facilitation.

Our brainstorming website
What our clients say
A sampling of case studies

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

Storytelling Webinar, with Mitch Ditkoff, on November 22th

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Please join me (Mitch Ditkoff) for a 60-minute "Power of Storytelling in Business" webinar -- hosted by PatSnap -- on Wednesday, November 22nd. Click here to register. It's free.

If you are looking for simple ways to leverage the power of storytelling in the workplace, this will be a good use of your time. Upbeat. Authentic. And entertaining, too. "He that tells the stories, rules the world." - Hopi Indian Saying

My book on storytelling
My blog on storytelling
16 brief videos on storytelling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2017
A New Facebook Group for Aspiring Innovators and Cultural Creatives

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After 28 years of being an "innovation provocateur" for hundreds of forward thinking organizations around the world, one thing has become very clear to me: most people with BIG IDEAS usually end up derailed somewhere along the way.

Simply put, they lose steam, lose heart, and lose their way. The result? No result.

This is why I have launched "Being a Creator on Planet Earth" -- a new Facebook group designed to help aspiring innovators, from every walk of life, manifest their big, bold, beautiful ideas. The content? Inspired quotes by creative icons, innovation-sparking articles, mind-opening videos, stories, best practices, and a sprinkling of tips, tools, and techniques. Juicy. Engaging. Fun.

Three minutes a day is all it takes. Sometimes, less than 60 seconds.

The Facebook Group
The creator of the Facebook Group
50 quotes on possibility

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2017
WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!

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Since 1987, I have been facilitating a wide variety of high octave business meetings for just about every industry on planet earth. These meetings have been variably referred to as leadership development programs, creative thinking trainings, innovation workshops, team building off sites, brainstorming sessions, strategic planning pow wows, senior team retreats, annual conferences, and business simulations.

Along the way, as you might imagine, I've developed quite a repertoire of approaches, methods, processes, tools, techniques, and skills to help me get the job done. All of them have worked if delivered in the right way at the right time.

But when push comes to shove (as it often does), the single most effective meeting facilitation ability I've discovered is the most mysterious one of all: presence. Yes, presence, -- the ability to be totally in the moment, no matter what the collective mood, mindset, or drama is of the people in the room.

Continue reading "WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2017
VOICE AMERICA RADIO INTERVIEW with Mitch Ditkoff on Fostering a Culture of Innovation

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Here's everything you wanted to know about how to foster a culture of innovation in your organization -- a 56-minute VOICE AMERICA radio interview with Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the writer of this blog. OK. maybe it's not everything you wanted to know, but at least it's trending in that direction. (Please forgive me for using the word "trending". I don't like that word. It just kind of slipped out).

The main thing? Click the link above and listen to the interview. Good food for thought -- something you might want to forward to you manager or other senior leaders in your company -- especially if they are claiming some interest in the "innovation thing."

Idea Champions
Culture of Innovation workshop
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2017
Beyond Sage on the Stage Consulting

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To borrow a phrase from the radically changing world of healthcare -- the essence of organizational culture change can be boiled down to three words: "Physician heal thyself"-- as in companies restoring optimum health to their enterprise from the inside out.

While many patients, anxious about their well-being, simply want the doctor to tell them what to do, that is, ultimately, a prescription for failure. Sustainable change only happens when people take full responsibility for their own condition.

Being told to "take two aspirins and see me in the morning" by someone with a framed medical school degree above their desk may be comforting in the short-term, but it completely misses the point. It's a paradigm whose time has come and gone.

The long and disappointing history of "change initiatives" bears this out. The data is there. 70% of them fail. And the main reason why 70% of them fail is because most organizations who enter into the culture change process rely too much on outside "experts" who, invariably treat their "patients" as someone incapable or unwilling to heal themselves.

Continue reading "Beyond Sage on the Stage Consulting"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2017
The Growing Relationship Between Storytelling and Lean Six Sigma

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These two Lean Six Sigma practitioners walk into a bar. Wait... no... I mean three Lean Six Sigma practitioners walk into a bar. The first is wearing pink tights. The second is mumbling something about a fishbone diagram. The third is just back from a 10-day vacation in Croatia. Now that I have your attention, click here for a rousing 60-minute webinar on the relationship between storytelling, innovation, and Lean Six Sigma. The interviewer? The fabulous Elisabeth Swan, Managing Partner of GoLeanSixSigma. The interviewee? Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions and author of Storytelling at Work. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:16 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2017
A Crash Course on Leadership

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Here's pretty much everything you need to know about being a good leader -- whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the Director of a 5-person non-profit. Ready?

Connect: If you want to lead people, you will need to begin by connecting with them, as in develop some kind of trusting relationship. No one is going to follow a leader they haven't bonded with. You may get compliance. You may even get cooperation. But you won't get commitment. What can you do to more powerfully connect with the people you are working with?

Enable: The key to being a successful leader is finding a way to empower the people who have been attracted to your business or project. If people are intrinsically motivated and have room to move, they will create magic. If not, they will merely go through the motions. How can you enable the people you are working with to be self-starting and inspired to give their best?

Listen You might be the leader, but that does not mean that you know everything. Indeed, you will need to learn a lot if you expect to succeed in your leadership role. The simplest way to learn is to listen. Identify the people who know something you don't and listen to them. And, even if you think you know more than others, listen anyway. If people are going to give their best, they need to know that someone is listening. And that someone is you. What can you do, this week, to become a better listener?

Respect: No matter what role anyone in your organization or volunteer group is playing, they are a human being first. And human beings have a gigantic need to be respected. Not just for what they do, but for who they are... and how they feel... and what ideas they are bringing to the table. In what ways can you express your respect for the people you are leading? Cue Aretha Franklin.

Illustration: gapingvoid

Idea Champions
One of our leadership trainings
Our Innovation Reality Check service

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2017
The Best Definition of Creativity?

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If you google the phrase definitions of creativity, guess how many definitions show up? 135 million! That's right, 135 million. And so, if you are looking for THE definition, give up now. You won't find it. It doesn't exist. What does exist is mucho people's attempts to define creativity -- definitions, by the way, that are influenced by their particular world view, expertise, profession, assumptions, mindset, nationality, and language skills.

That being said, it is still a useful exercise to zero in on a definition that floats your boat -- especially if you are charged with the responsibility of helping your team, department, organization, or own lone-wolf self become more creative.

Towards that end, what follows are 15 definitions I have curated on your behalf. Some are culled from the work of people whose names you will recognize. Some are from complete unknowns. It doesn't matter in the least. What matters is your willingness to think more deeply than usual about this fascinating topic and that you find (or create) a working definition for yourself to get the party started. Ready?

Continue reading "The Best Definition of Creativity?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2017
Why Business Leaders Need to Pay More Attention to Storytelling

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Here's why -- spoken as clearly as possible in a 60-minute radio interview, hosted by Dr. Wanda Wallace, Founder of the Leadership Forum. In the interview, Wanda and I cover a lot of ground, including how storytelling can change team and corporate culture for the better. If you curious about how storytelling can be used, as a business tool to spark more teamwork, innovation, and engagement, this one's for you.


About me
My storytelling keynote
My book on storytelling
My innovation and storytelling workshop

"The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller." - Steve Jobs

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2017
Launching a Powerful Project in the World is a Team Sport

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For the moment, let's say you are on the cusp of launching a bold new project in the world -- one that not only inspires you, but is the first thing you talk about whenever people ask you what you're up to these days. You know: Your life's work. Your calling. What moves you.

Congratulations! I am super happy for you, especially since all of us need meaningful projects we can throw our whole selves into. Well done! Awesome! Rock on!

That being said, there is one thing I urge you to keep in mind as your project unfolds. Innovation is a team sport.

While the origination of a powerful new idea or initiative is often an individual experience, implementing that idea requires a truckload of collaboration. Maybe two truckloads. Or three. And that, unfortunately, is where a lot of wonderful, new projects break down -- especially projects that require committed, responsible volunteers.

Continue reading "Launching a Powerful Project in the World is a Team Sport"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Innovation from the Inside Out

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These days, almost all of Idea Champions' clients are talking about the need to establish a culture of innovation.

Some, I'm happy to report, are actually doing something about it. Hallelujah! They are taking bold steps forward to turn theory into action.

The challenge for them is the same as it's always been -- to find a simple, authentic way to address the challenge from the inside out -- to water the root of the tree, not just the branches.

External systems and protocols, no matter how seductive they are to create, are simply not sufficient to guarantee real innovation. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Systems die. Instinct remains."

Continue reading "Innovation from the Inside Out"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:58 AM | Comments (10)

October 27, 2017
MAKE BRAINSTORMING GREAT AGAIN! Enter Our Online Raffle

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Does your company need a fresh wave of big, bold ideas? Are you looking for a simple, inexpensive way to raise the bar for brainstorming and out of the box thinking? If so, all you need to do is enter Idea Champions monthly BIG IDEA raffle before November 10th and win a 5-session, online Brainstorm Facilitation training at a 75% discount. Instead of paying our usual $7,500 fee for online training, your cost will only be $1,995. Includes a pre-session poll to help you better understand your company's ideation landscape.

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 November 11th.

Our clients
What our clients say
The Power of Ideas
Our brainstorm website

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

October 24, 2017
How to Attract a Big AHA!

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What is it that allows some people to get creative breakthroughs while others get only creative breakdowns -- alternately blaming themselves, society, their company, and their increasingly suspect astrological configurations?

Is it true that people who experience breakthroughs are "gifted"? Or are there other factors at work -- factors that we (the people) have more control over than we might think?

While nobody can deny that some people seem to be blessed with "creative leanings" (i.e. Mozart at 4), research has shown that anyone can have the much sought after AHA! experience -- that is, IF they immerse themselves in the little understood process of creation.

Time and again, the literature bears this out: great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of intention, immersion, struggle -- even madness.

Continue reading "How to Attract a Big AHA!"

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

October 17, 2017
Bottom Up Innovation!

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If you are working with a team of any kind and are hoping for more innovation, know this: it's a function of "intrinsic motivation", not pep talks, carrots, sticks, or "new initiatives." Find out what people REALLY want to do and, assuming it is aligned with your organization's vision, give your blessings and get out the way. Will every bottom-up effort work? Of course not. But some will. Go ahead. Roll the dice. Empower people to make some magic!

Illustration: gapingvoid
Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2017
What Some Consultants See That Leads to Them Getting Fired Or Never Hired in the First Place

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"They are playing a game.
They are playing
at not playing a game.
If I show them
I see they are,
I shall break the rules
and they will punish me.
I must play their game,
of not seeing I see the game."

-- R.D. Laing

Idea Champions

Bridging the Gulf
Listening with Impact
Becoming an Adaptive Leader

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:12 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.

MitchDitkoff.com
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.
Top 5 Speaker
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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Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
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.
Our Blog Cabin
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.
Team Innovation
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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Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
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