What Cortisol, Oxytocin, and Dopamine Have to Do With the Impact of Storytelling
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.April 30, 2017
The Only Risk is Not to Risk
If You Want to Jump Start Innovation, This Meme Will Help
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!April 29, 2017
FOLLOW YOUR MUSE: One-On-One Support for People with Big Ideas
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.April 27, 2017
You CAN Tell a Book By It's Cover
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!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 AgeThe Art of Using Story as a Way to Communicate Big, Hairy Ideas
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."April 25, 2017
Ten Simple Ways to Establish a User Friendly Ideation Process
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.April 22, 2017
FREE ONLINE POLL: How to Improve Your Company's Ideation Process
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.April 21, 2017
Be Frightened of Old Ideas
NOT FINDING WHAT YOU'RE DIGGING FOR? Move the Hole!
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.April 20, 2017
The 18th Camel
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.
April 19, 2017
50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility
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 MooreApril 18, 2017
The Marriage of Zany and Practical
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
Frequently Asked Questions About Storytelling at Work
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."
14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas
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.April 15, 2017
Winning the Fundraising Game
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.April 14, 2017
Listening is a Superpower
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.April 13, 2017
The World Storytelling and Innovation Tour
May 2017, April 2017, March 2017, February 2017, January 2017, December 2016, November 2016, October 2016, September 2016, August 2016, July 2016, June 2016, May 2016, April 2016, March 2016, February 2016, January 2016, December 2015, November 2015, October 2015, September 2015, August 2015, July 2015, June 2015, May 2015, April 2015, March 2015, February 2015, January 2015, December 2014, November 2014, October 2014, September 2014, August 2014, July 2014, June 2014, May 2014, April 2014, March 2014, February 2014, January 2014, December 2013, November 2013, October 2013, September 2013, May 2013, April 2013, March 2013, February 2013, January 2013, December 2012, November 2012, October 2012, September 2012, August 2012, July 2012, June 2012, May 2012, April 2012, March 2012, February 2012, January 2012, December 2011, November 2011, October 2011, September 2011, August 2011, July 2011, June 2011, May 2011, April 2011, March 2011, February 2011, January 2011, December 2010, November 2010, October 2010, September 2010, August 2010, July 2010, June 2010, May 2010, April 2010, March 2010, February 2010, January 2010, December 2009, November 2009, October 2009, September 2009, August 2009, July 2009, June 2009, May 2009, April 2009, March 2009, February 2009, January 2009, December 2008, November 2008, October 2008, September 2008, August 2008, July 2008, June 2008, May 2008, April 2008, January 2008, December 2007, September 2007, August 2007, July 2007,