March 06, 2015
You Can Grow a Business, But Can You Grow a Tomato?

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Mostly everyone in business these days, from a Fortune 500 CEO to a 10-year old lemonade stand entrepreneur is interested in the same thing: growth. No matter what their title, education, or tax bracket, business types want to see their enterprise grow. It's how they measure success.

But there is another kind of growth that is also an indicator of success -- the kind of growth more related to seasons than quarters. And it is this kind of growth that the iconic Smithsonian Institute is now beginning to track via it's ground breaking (pun intended) Community of Gardens initiative -- a user-friendly digital home for stories about the history and meaning of gardens and the gardeners who make them grow.

If you are a gardener and want to share your stories about your experience -- going all the way back to your grandparents, you now have a wonderful forum on the Smithsonian website to do so. Click here for 56 stories already posted on the site. The seed it planted. Now it's your turn.

FAQ about the project
Cultivate a garden of innovation in the workplace
Idea Champions

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

March 04, 2015
Turn Your Ideas Into Digital Art!

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This just in from my 20-year old son, Jesse, a third year digital media student at Hampshire College:

Just recently, I was prompted by one of my art classes to create a social art project. No definition of "social" was provided. We were meant to interpret this as we wished and create art that involves society in some way.

I believe that art is viewed, by many people, as unapproachable. In other words, if you haven't declared yourself as an 'artist', how will you ever create a piece of art? This is the misconception I am working to dispel.

Continue reading "Turn Your Ideas Into Digital Art!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2015
If You Call a Meeting, Please Call It By the Right Name

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Maybe it's just me. Or maybe it's the business I'm in, but I can't help but notice how often people with a pressing need to call a meeting find a way to work the "Let's get together and brainstorm" phrase into their invitation even when their meeting has absolutely nothing to do with brainstorming.

Continue reading "If You Call a Meeting, Please Call It By the Right Name"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2015
How to Deliver a Meaningful, Memorable Message Quickly

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HINT: It has nothing to do with pep talks, powerpoint shows, case studies, statistics, data, performance reviews, carrots, or sticks. Give up?

Stories. That's right. Stories. Storytelling, done well, is the most effective way to deliver a meaningful, memorable message. It's been going on since the Stone Age. Why? Because it works.

Here's my 5-minute talking head video on the topic.

25 quotes on storytelling
As it applies to teenage girls
One of my stories
Our storytelling workshop

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2015
I Am Moving to a Blog Cabin

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I see the future.

Everyone will have a blog. Every blogger's pet will have a blog. Every blog will have a blog. Every blog's blog will have a blog. No one will be reading any of these blogs because everyone will be too busy writing blogs. (Those with ADD will be tweeting).

Bloggers will occasionally visit other blogs, but only for the purpose of leaving comments that will direct readers back to their own blog.

Letter writing will become popular once again, gaining a new lease on life after the internet crashes repeatedly because of the profusion of blogs, tweets, and youtube videos created by 5-year olds, holographic spammers, robots, and terrorist groups.

Continue reading "I Am Moving to a Blog Cabin "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2015
The Only Risk is Not to Risk

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50 quotes on risktaking
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

How to Keep Small Group Brainstorming On Track

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If you are planning to lead any kind of ideation or brainstorming session in the near future and will be dividing the group into sub-groups, here's one thing to keep in mind:

No matter how clear the instructions you give or how much you reinforce the ground rules of brainstorming, there is a 95% chance that the small groups will default to any of the following instead of brainstorming: conversation, debate, storytelling, schmoozing, philosophizing, venting, and question-asking. Bet on it.

WHY does this happen? Because there is precious little time, in most organizations, for people to simply get together and TALK about their issues, problems, and concerns in a meaningful way. Too many people work alone and don't have enough opportunities to get input, information, non-threatening feedback, and the perspective of others.

Continue reading "How to Keep Small Group Brainstorming On Track"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2015
GUY WIRE: The Art of Innovation

Here is a no BS, engaging, entertaining, honorable 21-minute talk on innovation, by the extremely refreshing Guy Kawasaki. Many pearls of wisdom in this and some good jokes.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2015
WANT TO RUN BETTER MEETINGS? Ask For Permission to Facilitate

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Every day, around the world, there are millions of meetings. Maybe zillions. Many of these meetings suck. And if they don't suck, they underwhelm. One of the biggest reasons WHY is because many meeting participants, in various and sundry ways, undermine the facilitator. Unwilling to let go of control and have somebody else "run the show", meeting participants play out any number of passive/aggressive behaviors that erode the quality of the gathering. Maybe that's why so many of us resist going to meetings. Is there anything that you, as meeting facilitator, can do about this phenomenon? Yes there is -- and it only takes a few minutes as described in this 5-minute video by yours truly.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2015
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Tapping the Brilliance of Your Workforce

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Here's a common scenario: An acquaintance passes you on the street, stops, and asks how you're doing. You begin responding with some meaningful updates about your life, but the person asking you the question seems quite distracted -- surprised you are actually answering their question.

Their opening question to you is what's known as a "social nicetie" -- a polite, automated greeting with very little depth to it.

Business leaders do something similar. They ask their workforce for ideas, but when people actually respond, the business leader or manager acts as if they're late for an important meeting.

Here's my six-minute rant on the phenomenon.

Idea Champions
More grist for the mill
This will help

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2015
On Being an Idea Champion

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There's a reason why the expression "ideas are a dime a dozen" is so popular. Because they are. It's easy to get ideas. What's not so easy is championing ideas. And by "championing", I am referring to the kind of heroic commitment required to actually manifest those ideas. Here's my six-minute video elaboration on this often neglected topic. It's great that you have a new idea you care about. Wonderful. Now, ask yourself "What is it going to take for me to press through all the inevitable obstacles and bring this idea to life?"

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2015
How to Foster a Culture of Innovation

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Want a culture of innovation? Choose a few of the following guidelines and make them happen. If not YOU, who? If not NOW, when?

1. Remember that innovation requires no fixed rules or templates -- only guiding principles. Creating a more innovative culture is an organic and creative act.

Continue reading "How to Foster a Culture of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:31 PM | Comments (17)

February 11, 2015
The History (and Present) of Valentine's Day

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Most people think Valentine's Day was invented by Hallmark Cards. It wasn't. Valentine's Day is actually a well-documented, historical phenomenon -- its tangled roots winding their way through centuries worth of Christian liturgy, pagan tradition, myth, and an occasional beheading.

The most popular account of its origins date back to a temple priest named, not surprisingly, Valentine, a later-to-be-canonized saint who was executed in 270 A.D. by Emperor Claudius II for performing illegal marriage ceremonies on the Roman battlefield. Back then, as the story goes, the military-minded Claudius believed connubial bliss was bad for war and made it illegal for soldiers to wed.

Continue reading "The History (and Present) of Valentine's Day"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:19 AM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2015
Innovation as a Happy Accident

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A little known fact about innovation is that many breakthroughs have not been the result of genius, but "happy accidents" -- those surprise moments when an answer revealed itself for no particular reason.

The discovery of penicillin, for example, was the result of Alexander Fleming noting the formation of mold on the side of petri dish left uncleaned overnight.

Vulcanized Rubber was discovered in 1839 when Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a lump of the polymer substance he was experimenting with onto his wife's cook stove.

More recently, 3M's post-it was also the result of an accident in the lab. Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.

Continue reading "Innovation as a Happy Accident"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:59 PM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2015
BE WHO YOU ARE (everyone else is already taken)

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My company, Idea Champions, is headquartered in a town that most people don't associate with corporate consulting -- Woodstock. Yes, THAT Woodstock -- the Woodstock the world has come to know and love as the geographical center of all things musical, alternative, holistic, and far out. It's been an interesting ride living here and then traveling, as I do, all over the world to do my corporate consulting thing.

Here's a 5-minute video of me telling a funny story about my little Woodstock secret coming out at a cocktail party in Munich, Germany. And here's the full story about it in the Huffington Post -- excerpted from my forthcoming book.

Idea Champions
More stuff I've written
The story workshop

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2015
An Early Valentine's Gift for You

Some people say creativity is the key to innovation. Others say perseverance, teamwork, risk taking or R&D. I say LOVE. Yup, love. Without love, innovation shrivels and dies. Mozart has something to say about this, too. Anyway, Valentine's Day is just 10 days away and, since we know you are working your little tushie off and may not make the time to buy the ones you love a gift -- we are giving you this show to give to them. And if you feel like giving to our favorite charity for whom we are dedicating this show, that would be fantastic.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2015
The Secret to a Good TED Talk

Idea Champions
Ten Tips for Giving a Kick Ass Keynote
When Oversleeping Before a Keynote is the Right Thing to Do

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

The Idiot's Guide to Managerial Success in the 21st Century

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Idea Champions
Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2015
CROSSING THE TEENAGE CHASM: The Power of Personal Storytelling

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There are 16,593,242 teenage girls living in America. One of them lives in my house. That would be my daughter, Mimi, an extraordinary 17-year old who, shall we say, has been quite an education for me.

If you have a teenage daughter, you know what I mean. If you've been a teenage daughter, you know what I mean. If you have a friend with a teenage daughter (and spent hours chanting "It's just a phase she's going through, it too shall pass") you know what I mean. Everyone else -- oh ye of no teenagers in your life -- please give me the benefit of the doubt for a moment while I shed some major light on the little understood emerging science of how to communicate to a teenage girl.

Continue reading "CROSSING THE TEENAGE CHASM: The Power of Personal Storytelling "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2015
Networks 'R Us

Human beings' classic, overarching metaphor to explain the underlying structure of what's going on here on planet Earth (and inside a human being, too) is shifting from "Tree of Knowledge" to "Networks." Has big time implications for how an individual, team, department, company, or society organizes itself -- regardless of it's product or service. Lot of ground is covered in this wonderful RSA Animate presentation.

QUESTION: How can your organization shift from top down hierarchical to a self-organizing interactive network? How can people connect in new and elegant ways to share information, expertise, insight, and new ideas?

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:08 AM | Comments (2)

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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.

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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Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.
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.
Featured in Alltop Guy Kawasaki's Alltop "online magazine rack" has recognized Idea Champions' blog as one of the leading innovation blogs on the web. Check out The Heart of Innovation, and subscribe!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

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