August 18, 2017
The Good Thing About Bad Ideas

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One of the inevitable things you will hear at a brainstorming session is "there are no bad ideas." Not true. There are plenty of bad ideas. Nazism, for instance. Arena football. Bow ties.

What well-meaning "keep hope alive" brainstorming lovers really mean is this: Even bad ideas can lead to good ideas if the idea originators are committed enough to extract the meaning from the "bad".

Do you think that War and Peace was written in one sitting? No way. There were plenty of earlier drafts that were horrid, but eventually led to the final outcome.

The key? Finding the value in what seems to be a "bad idea" and then using that extracted value as a clue or catalyst for further exploration. The following technique, excerpted from Awake at the Wheel, shows you how...

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August 16, 2017
Are You an Idea Addict?

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There are lots of things in this world people get addicted to: alcohol, nicotine, heroin, sex, and iPhones -- just to name a few. But perhaps the biggest addiction of them all is the addiction to our own ideas. Here's how it works:

We think something up. We feel a buzz. We tweak it, we name it, we pitch it, and POOF, the addiction begins.

At first, like most habits, it's a casual pursuit with a thousand positive side effects: increased energy, renewed focus, and a general feeling of well-being. Like wow, man. But then... We think about it in the shower. We think about it in the car. We think about it when people are asking us to think about other things. We even dream about it.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:20 PM | Comments (2)

August 13, 2017
The Samurai Guide To Managing Difficult Clients (and actually having a life)

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You are smart. You are creative. You are committed. And you have an awesome grasp of social media. Of course you do, you are a mover and a shaker in a hip, fast-moving, millennial-driven PR and Marketing firm. You are also going slightly insane.

Why? Because your clients routinely make insane demands on you, expecting miracles with very little notice. Part of you actually enjoys this phenomenon, given your fascination for big challenges and the ever-present potential to become heroic. Another part of you does not enjoy this phenomenon, often feeling like the deck is stacked against you. And guess what? It is -- not just because your client (older, higher paid, more experienced) is constantly disregarding the fact that you have a life outside the workplace, but because this kind of client-driven behavior, unfortunately, has become the norm these days.

Continue reading "The Samurai Guide To Managing Difficult Clients (and actually having a life)"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2017
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Emergency Ideation Under Ridiculous Time Constraints

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OK. Here's the deal. You are a PR, Marketing, or Communications firm and one of your clients has just asked for the impossible. Again. They need killer ideas from you within the next 48 hours. Maybe sooner. Your team is scattered to the four winds, you have no time to run a brainstorm session, and your anxiety level is through the roof.

What to do? Here's what to do:

1. Call your client immediately and get absolutely clear about their need. If they give you some kind of generic request, hold their feet to the fire and them to state their request in the form of a question, starting with the words "How can we?"

2. Find out if their so-called deadline is actually real or some kind of hallucination fueled by stress and too much caffeine.

3. Ask your client for the criteria by which they will evaluate the ideas you will be submitting.

4. Write a brief. Keep it brief.

5. Hand deliver the brief to each member of your team. If this is impossible, email it to them with the subject line reading: "STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND READ THIS NOW!" Tell them exactly what you need from them and by when.

6. Schedule a brainstorm session with anyone on your team within walking distance, even if it's just one person. Do this out of the office if possible.

7. Take 15 minutes to generate another wave of cool ideas by using Idea Champions' Free Genie tool.

8. In the next 10 minutes, jot down as many ideas as you can think of in response to your client's challenge. Do not censor yourself. Write everything down. Even the stupid ones. Especially the stupid ones.

9. Circle your favorite idea and "LCS" it. Note what you LIKE about it and what your CONCERNS are. For each concern, note SUGGESTIONS that will handle those concerns.

10. Pitch your favorite idea to one of your teammates. Ask them to LCS it. Then ask them to pitch you an IDEA and you LCS their idea.

Read this
And this
And this

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2017
The Perception of Ideas as Problems

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Here's something I've been noticing lately:

Business leaders and managers tend to respond to the introduction of a new idea not as an imminent solution to be nurtured, but as a new problem to deal with. Ideas, one would think, would be welcomed, especially by an organization's movers and shakers talking the talk about innovation.

But all too often a company's leaders, time-crunched and overloaded as they are, perceive the introduction of a new idea as simply "more work" for them to do, the early warning sign of too many emails to read, more meetings to attend, more requests for funding, and more conflicting opinions.

Perhaps this is why so many managers respond to the articulation of a new idea with knee jerk naysaying instead of heartfelt open-mindedness. And you wonder why innovation in your organization is so sluggish...

One way to turn this around
And another way
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2017
Brainstorm Training Reinvented

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We could tell you how awesome our brainstorm facilitation training is, but we're not sure you would believe us. So here's what one of our favorite clients has to say about it -- the fabulous folks from Mirrorball. And, if you don't believe them (since they are one of our favorite clients), how about these people?

02.jpg"At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Mitch Ditkoff's ability to quickly and effectively teach my colleagues and me how to facilitate brainstorming sessions changed the future of our business. We went from being viewed by our clients as their agency to being respected as essential teammates that help them arrive at BIG IDEAS. I can't wait to learn more from Idea Champions. So many good things to come!"-- Mandy Kalajian, Vice President

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2017
50 Awesome Quotes on Vision

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1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

2. "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, and magic and power in it. Begin it now." - Goethe

3. "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:34 PM | Comments (6)

August 01, 2017
Watch These Videos If You Want to Foster a Culture of Innovation

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If your organization (or any department, therein) is interested in establishing a culture of innovation, you may want to take a few minutes now to view the following brief (less than 8 minutes each) videos on the topic. The intention to raise the bar for innovation is, indeed, a noble one, and I applaud you for taking on the challenge. That being said, the effort required to achieve any kind of measurable results needs to be well-considered before jumping in with both feet.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation
Organization Do Not Innovate. People Innovate.
The Six Sides of the So-Called Box
The Seed of Innovation Moment
The Dark Side of Innovation Initiatives

Our website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2017
Service Beyond the Call of Duty

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Most companies trying to get a "competitive advantage" eventually realize that the key is customer service -- the ability to differentiate themselves from the competition by delivering their product or service in unforgettable ways. Here's a memorable example:

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 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 better way of doing 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.

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

July 26, 2017
Take Your Brainstorming Sessions to the Next Level of Wow

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If your company is like most companies we have worked with, its brainstorming sessions leave something to be desired. Yes, ideas are bandied about and, yes, coffee is consumed and jokes are made. And, yes, people incessantly check their email under the table. THIS JUST IN! Brainstorming sessions can be a lot more powerful than that.

To goose you on your way, here are four brief blog posts and a video of ours on the art and science of brainstorming. If you could use some more help in this arena, we are available. Our Conducting Genius training is top of the line. Click here if you want to get the ball rolling. Or leave a message for us: 845.679.1066

The DNA of Brainstorming and the Power of Three
Why Nothing Happens After a Brainstorming Session
Why Leaders Shouldn't Lead Brainstorming Sessions
The 10 Personas of an Effective Brainstorm Facilitator
VIDEO: Preparing the Ground

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2017
THE DNA OF BRAINSTORMING and The Power of Three

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Every brainstorm session you will ever facilitate or attend, like any good movie you will ever see, can be divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. No matter what the topic, who's in the room, or how stale the muffins, you will cycle through the same three phases again and again. How well you will cycle through these phases is another story.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2017
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 (2)

July 17, 2017
12 Ways to See What's Not Immediately Obvious

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The above image is a good metaphor for business. There's something hidden in it that most people don't see at first glance. Looking at it the same way you always look at things won't help. If you can't see what's hidden, you've got to find a way to adjust the way you look...

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July 16, 2017
A Simple Way to Get the Word Out

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My HuffPost articles

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:42 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2017
Happiness Is It's Own ROI

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Illustration: gapingvoid
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 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)

July 09, 2017
20 Awesome Quotes on Beginning

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1."Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2. "There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth -- not going all the way, and not starting." - Buddha

3. "Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." - Meister Eckhart

4. "All great ideas and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning." - Albert Camus

5. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

6. "Beginnings are always messy." - John Galsworthy

7. "When there is a start to be made, don't step over! Start where you are." - Edgar Cayce

Continue reading "20 Awesome Quotes on Beginning "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:26 AM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2017
Time to Let It Rip!

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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2017
The Martial Arts of the Mind

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Ten years ago I was invited to teach a course on "Innovation and Business Growth" at GE's Crotonville Management Development Center for 75 high potential, business superstars of the future.

The GE executive who hired me was a very savvy guy with the unenviable task of orienting new adjunct faculty members to GE's high standards and often harsher reality.

My client's intelligence was exceeded only by his candor as he proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that GE gave "new instructors" two shots at making the grade -- explaining, with a wry smile, that most outside consultants were intimidated the first time they taught at GE and weren't necessarily at the top of their game.

I'm not sure how you say it in Esperanto, but in English what he said translates as "The heat is on, big time."

Continue reading "The Martial Arts of the Mind"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:58 PM | Comments (3)

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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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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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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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