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)

June 23, 2016
GOT A BRAINSTORM SESSION TO FACILITATE? Remember Yourself!

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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.

Continue reading "GOT A BRAINSTORM SESSION TO FACILITATE? Remember Yourself!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2016
Unresolved Conflict at the Top Produces Chaos in the Middle and the Bottom

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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.

Continue reading "Unresolved Conflict at the Top Produces Chaos in the Middle and the Bottom"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2016
The DNA of Sparking Innovation in a Roomful of People, Some of Whom May Be Skeptical or Cranky

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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 Sparking Innovation in a Roomful of People, Some of Whom May Be Skeptical or Cranky"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2016
JUST SAY YES!

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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.

Continue reading "JUST SAY YES!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2016
20 Easy Ways to Spark Innovation

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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:

Continue reading "20 Easy Ways to Spark Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2016
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE YOUR COMPANY'S BRAINSTORM SESSIONS? Find Out in 10 Minutes

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Whenever I ask clients to describe the quality of their brainstorm sessions, they usually role their eyes, shake their head, and use words like "suck", "boring", or "pitiful." But when I ask them WHY, they don't really know. And they have very few clues about how to turn things around.

We aim to change all that -- at least for the first ten companies who respond to this blog post and request a FREE online Brainstorm Participant poll from Idea Champions -- the simplest way we could think of to help forward thinking organizations get a pulse check on the quality of their in-house brainstorm sessions.

Here's how it works:
1. Email info@ideachampions with "Brainstorm Poll" in the subject line.
2. We'll send you a custom link to our Brainstorm Poll
3. You forward the poll to anyone in your organization who has attended an in-house brainstorming session in the past year.
4. We'll send you the poll results, along with our observations.
5. If you want to find out how we can be of support, we'll talk.

Brainstorming game changer
Our training
Client testimonials

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2016
When a Best Practice Is a Worst Practice

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I'm a collector of best practices. I like to find out what forward thinking individuals and organizations have done to accomplish extraordinary results.

Sometimes I share these stories in my keynotes or workshops. Invariably, my stock rises when I tell these stories. People think I know stuff. They get giddy. They take notes. They think about how to adapt these best practices to their organization. But then things get weird.

People start becoming satisfied with emulating other people's lives. Instead of thinking up their own best practices, they imitate. Ouch!

Continue reading "When a Best Practice Is a Worst Practice"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2016
How I Won a Contract from AT&T By Teaching One Man to Juggle

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good story is worth a million. Here's a five-minute story about how the company I co-founded, Idea Champions, won a large contract from AT&T by teaching the Director of Training and Development how to juggle in five minutes.

Read the full story in this book
A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar
Me speaking about storytelling in business

Photo: Jesse Ditkoff

Continue reading "How I Won a Contract from AT&T By Teaching One Man to Juggle"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2016
HOW TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF THE BOX: A 5-Minute Tutorial

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Ever heard the expression "get out of the box?" Of course you have. Ever wonder what the six sides of that so-called box actually are? If not, here's your 5-minute tutorial of the day. Once you're clear about what the sides of the box are, you will be significantly more able to help people (and yourself) get out of it.

One way to get out of the box
Another way
My book on the subject
Boxes

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2016
The Syndrome Syndrome and the Rise of the New World Disorder(s)

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Here's a fun test for you: If you can read the rest of this paragraph without logging onto Facebook, tweeting, or thinking about crop circles, there's a good chance you do not have ADD, ADHD, or any other recently-identified medical condition.

Continue reading "The Syndrome Syndrome and the Rise of the New World Disorder(s) "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2016
The Art of Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Do You Have the Courage to Find Out Just How Good (or Not Good) Your Brainstorm Sessions Are?

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Many of us wince when we hear the word "feedback", especially when it relates to our own performance. We tend to see feedback as criticism or a veiled personal attack. And for good reason. We've all been on the receiving end of feedback that was anything but complementary -- open season, you might say, on US! Not a pleasant experience.

Continue reading "Do You Have the Courage to Find Out Just How Good (or Not Good) Your Brainstorm Sessions Are?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

WHEN CLIENTS GET ECSTATIC: Brainstorming Sessions Reinvented

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It's one thing to generate ideas on behalf of your clients. It's quite another to facilitate the process whereby your clients conceive their own ideas. That's what our Conducting Genius training is all about. Below are testimonials from three movers and shakers at Mirrorball (an innovative PR/Communications/Experiential Marketing firm in NYC) who attended a recent brainstorm facilitation training of ours:

Continue reading "WHEN CLIENTS GET ECSTATIC: Brainstorming Sessions Reinvented"

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

May 24, 2016
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing

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If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.

In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.

There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.

Continue reading "One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2016
The Typical Conference Call

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:30 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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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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