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 email@example.comJuly 19, 2016
Why Leaders Shouldn't Lead Brainstorming Sessions
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.July 17, 2016
The 60-Minute Brainstorm Training
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.July 15, 2016
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.
Out of the Box, In the Box
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.July 11, 2016
ENERGY and FOCUS: Two Keys to Great Brainstorming Sessions
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.July 08, 2016
30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate
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
Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?
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.July 06, 2016
Build Your Team
July 01, 2016
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.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.June 28, 2016
The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator
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.June 27, 2016
Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session
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.June 26, 2016
FASCINATION: The DNA of Innovation
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.June 25, 2016
What Some Consultants See That Leads to Them Getting Fired Or Never Hired in the First Place
"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."
GOT A BRAINSTORM SESSION TO FACILITATE? Remember Yourself!
Big thanks to Idea Champions' Director of Training, Val Vadeoncoeur, for this insightful post on the power of mindset.
One of the biggest blind spots we human beings have, and one of the most common, is forgetting to include ourselves in the calculation. It's almost as if we believe we don't matter or as if our intentions or the manner in which we do something won't play an important role in affecting the outcome. Not true. It does.June 20, 2016
Unresolved Conflict at the Top Produces Chaos in the Middle and the Bottom
A guest post by Idea Champions' newest leadership development consultant, Dr. Barry Gruenberg.
When those in senior leadership positions avoid conflict among themselves, the unresolved conflict ripples throughout the organization and paralyzes action at every level. Key issues go unresolved and the tension at the top pervades the organization. Followers of each of the powerful protagonists must constantly demonstrate their loyalty to their sponsors in their words and deeds; they must scrutinize all that they do to ensure that they are not seen as violating the party line.
Lower level employees are often enlisted to participate in task forces or committees to deal with the various by-products of the unresolved issues.June 18, 2016
The DNA of Sparking Innovation in a Roomful of People, Some of Whom May Be Skeptical or Cranky
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.June 17, 2016
JUST SAY YES!
Idea Champions is thrilled to welcome Dr. Barry Gruenberg to it's team of consultants, facilitators, and bloggers. Here is Barry's latest pearl of wisdom.
When somebody asks you if you can do something, just say YES. You can always figure out how later. Indeed there is a good chance that what you are being asked for is not what's really needed, anyway.
We often evaluate the value we can add to a situation by imagining that there is someone else who really has the required expertise. We interpret our uncertainty as a testimonial to our inadequacy as compared to the imagined expertise of the presumed, all-knowing other.
Actually, our uncertainty and humility are essential elements of what we bring to the party; they drive our curiosity about what is really going on and help us listen to multiple points of view on the problem without having preconceived ideas about solutions.June 16, 2016
20 Easy Ways to Spark Innovation
Many forward-thinking organizations, these days, are launching all kinds of initiatives to crank up innovation. Their intention is a good one, but their execution is often not. While there's nothing inherently wrong with "organizational initiatives", they often end up being overly complicated, vague, and painfully impersonal. They may look good on paper, but real innovation doesn't happen on paper -- it happens in another dimension -- the human dimension -- the realm of authentic interaction, not theoretical interfacing.
Towards that end, I invite you to consider another, more informal approach -- simple, no-cost ways of radically increasing the odds of the people you work with becoming proactive, inspired, and successful innovators on the job. Here goes:
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,