July 30, 2016
Why Your Organization Needs to Create a Culture of Storytelling

Why create a culture of storytelling?
Storytelling videos, interviews and articles
Sparking innovation via storytelling
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2016
FINDING JOE: The Hero's Journey

This is a wonderful movie about the Hero's Journey -- the one we are ALL on. Sets the context beautifully for the 5-day Hero's Journey Retreat I will be co-facilitating with Dr. Beverly Nelson at the LifePath Center in San Miguel de Allende on August 15-19. Feeling THE CALL? info@lifepathretreats.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2016
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, however, dismounting the stage and walking into the audience is always a risk -- the same kind of risk a person takes 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)

Storytelling is a Great Way to Transmit Tacit Knowledge

Deciphering the secret code of tacit knowledge
Why storytelling matters in business
STORYTELLING AT WORK: The Book
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2016
I'm From Woodstock, Yes I Am!

This story in the Huffington Post
The Munich workshop
Idea Champions
Excerpted from Storytelling at Work
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2016
Five-Day Hero's Journey Retreats in San Miguel de Allende

Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder of Idea Champions, is thrilled to announce that he will be co-facilitating a series of 5-day Hero's Journey Retreats in San Miguel del Allende, Mexico with Dr. Beverly Nelson, Founder of LifePath Retreats. The first session is scheduled for the week of August 15th. The second is scheduled for the week of October 30th. Click here for more or email info@lifepathretreats.com

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

July 19, 2016
Why Leaders Shouldn't Lead Brainstorming Sessions

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Here's one of the dirty little secrets of corporate brainstorm sessions:

When they are led by upper management, department heads, or project leaders, they usually get manipulated.

Because honchos and honchettes are so heavily invested in the topic being brainstormed, it is common for them to bend the collective genius of the group to their own particular point of view. Not a good idea.

Participants -- out of respect for the expertise (or position or parking space) of the facilitator -- will invariably moderate their input. The results? Same old same old.

Continue reading "Why Leaders Shouldn't Lead Brainstorming Sessions"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2016
The 60-Minute Brainstorm Training

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We are happy to announce our new strategic alliance with GenieCast, and the launch of our new 60-minute brainstorm facilitation training. Fast. Very fast. No caffeine required. Includes a custom set of self-study videos and articles. Like this.

Our GenieCast session
Our longer Brainstorm facilitation training
What our clients (briefly) say
What's next after Twitter

Continue reading "The 60-Minute Brainstorm Training"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2016
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)

July 14, 2016
Out of the Box, In the Box

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ED NOTE: I just checked the stats/hits on the last eight years of Heart of Innovation blog posts and was surprised to see that the following article about my father's death got the most attention (30% more views than anything else!). I've always assumed I was "supposed" to be writing about innovation and creativity, but maybe there's something else more essential I need to be writing about...

There is a time of life when the time of life is about to end -- the time of last breaths, the time of saying goodbye to everything you have ever known or loved, the time of letting go.

This is the time my father now finds himself in.

He is flat on his back in a hospital bed, but the hospital bed is in his bedroom in West Palm Beach which is where he has chosen to die -- and will.

Continue reading "Out of the Box, In the Box"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:32 PM | Comments (3)

July 11, 2016
ENERGY and FOCUS: Two Keys to Great Brainstorming Sessions

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A brainstorm session is a lot like trying to get from one place to another in a lighter-than-air balloon. With both of them, you have a destination, a vehicle, and the need to continuously make course corrections.

Fortunately, brainstorm facilitators have two dependable resources at their disposal to keep their "ideation balloon" aloft: Energy and focus.

Focus is the balloon itself. Energy is the helium that gets pumped into the balloon to provide it's lighter-than-air capability -- the element that gets it off the ground.

Continue reading "ENERGY and FOCUS: Two Keys to Great Brainstorming Sessions"

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

July 08, 2016
30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate

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Do you have what it takes to innovate? I'm not talking IQ, degree, or job title.

I'm talking the curious confluence of behaviors that come with the territory of being someone who turns top of the line ideas into bottom line realities.


1. You come up with great ideas in the shower and car
2. You like to stay up late... or get up early... or both
3. You're comfortable with ambiguity and chaos
4. While your ducks are rarely in a row, they're happy most of the time
5. You're not worried about failing

6. You've invited at least one friend into your personal think tank
7. You test out your ideas on just about anyone who will listen
8. You know what you don't know, but can't always explain it
9. You like making connections between things that don't go together.
10. You're open to feedback and also don't care what anybody thinks

Continue reading "30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:58 PM | Comments (4)

July 07, 2016
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, a non-profit, or a 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 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2016
Build Your Team

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Illustration: Gaping Void Art
Launching Project Teams
Team Innovation
Big Breakthroughs for Small Business
Drumming Up Teamwork

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2016
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 (0)

June 30, 2016
BETTER THAN THERAPY: What Stressed Business Partners Can Learn From the Police Reunion Tour

Making great music together isn't always easy, no matter how famous your band is. Nor is it easy being business partners, collaborators, teammates, or "significant others". If you want to make some serious music together, "creative dissonance" is inevitable. Count on it. The question isn't whether or not band mates or business partners will experience breakdowns. They will. The question is how committed are they to breaking through and coming out the other side.



Idea Champions

Bridging the Gulf
Becoming an Adaptive Leader
Our clients, past and present

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2016
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)

June 27, 2016
Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session

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Big thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur, Idea Champions' Director of Training, for this timely article on the importance of deferring evaluation during the ideation phase of a brainstorming session.

When Alex Osborn, co-founder of the advertising firm, BBD&O, first came up with the basic concept of brainstorming way back in the 1940's, he stressed that during idea generation "we should hold back criticism until the creative current has had every chance to flow." This principle of "deferring evaluation" of ideas until later has been a bedrock principle of brainstorming ever since. Osborn noted that human beings are of of two minds, what he called the "imaginative" or creative mind and the "judicial" or judging mind. These days, we tend to refer to these in the psych jargon of "right and left brains" today.

Continue reading "Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2016
FASCINATION: The DNA of Innovation

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I own a huge library of books on innovation. Mostly hardcover. The $27.95 variety with big indexes and forwards by people who make more money than I do.

Some of these books are actually good. Most of them bore me. (I must confess I have a secret desire, whenever I enter a bookstore, to put glue between pages 187 & 188 in all of the new releases just to see if the publishers get any complaints).

The books attempt to describe the origins of innovation. You know, stuff like "the innate human impulse to find a better way" and "the imperative to find a competitive edge." That sort of thing.

Corporate-speak, in other words.

In my experience, the origin of innovation is fascination -- the state of being intensely interested in something. Enchanted. Captivated. Spellbound. Absorbed.

Continue reading "FASCINATION: The DNA of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (7)

June 25, 2016
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.

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.
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.
What's the Problem
Einstein once said that if he had 60 minutes to solve a problem, he'd spend the first 55 thinking about the problem, and the next 5 solving it. This is the workshop he would have invented if time wasn't so relative.
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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