August 22, 2019
The Innovation Burnout Syndrome

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Most newly launched organizational innovation initiatives have a dark side, a not-much-talked-about shadow side -- the metaphorical alcoholic-father-in-the-basement side. And it is this... fascinating new projects are conceived, senior leaders get excited, game plans are drawn up, but no one gives the "worker bees" any more time to devote to the newly launched projects. They are, in effect, expected to shoehorn their new efforts into their already overloaded schedules.

Bottom line, aspiring innovators' "day jobs" end up colliding with newly launched innovation initiatives and mayhem ensues. People either burn out, get cranky, triangulate to third parties, spend way too much time explaining the newly launched innovation project to others, or else go into martyrdom-mode -- all behaviors that do not bode well for the individual, the company, or its customers. And while every company DOES have a few superstar self-starters who dive in with both feet, this is not a formula for sustainable innovation.

The solution? Either redistribute workloads, offer "innovation project sabbaticals", or provide your front line innovators with enough support services to unclutter their minds, ease their way forward, and allow them the time to focus on the innovation job at hand without frying.

Oh, I almost forgot -- you can stagger the launch of new initiatives so not everything is happening at the same time.

If you don't, expect nothing but a whole lot of chaos, broken promises, unfulfilled expectations, and the kind of innovation backlash you wish you hadn't unleashed.

Three minute video on this phenomenon

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2019
76 Surprising Facts About Corporation Innovation

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Here are 76 fascinating facts on corporate innovation curated by Valuer in Denmark. And while it's true that Canadian researchers have determined that goldfish have a longer attention span (9 seconds) than human beings (8 seconds), I have great confidence in your ability to buck this trend and focus for the three minutes it will take to read Valuer's post (unless you are multi-tracking or feeding your goldfish).

Illustration: gapingvoid
56 reasons why most corporate innovation efforts fail
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2019
What Is School For?

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August 08, 2019
How to Foster a Sustainable Culture of Innovation

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Looking for inspiration and guidance on how to make your company more conducive to innovation? Here's some food for thought and action -- Idea Champions' ten most popular postings on the subject.

Continue reading "How to Foster a Sustainable Culture of Innovation "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2019
THE CURE FOR THE CREATIVE BLUES: Self-Acknowledgment

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If you're a creative person working on a project that is unlikely to get results overnight, here's a simple practice to save you from the all-too-familiar phenomenon of depressing yourself by focusing on the proverbial cup being half-empty.

Continue reading "THE CURE FOR THE CREATIVE BLUES: Self-Acknowledgment"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2019
What IS Innovation, Anyway?

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If you google "definitions of innovation," guess how many references you will get? 177,000,000! That's a whole lot of attempts at defining something most of us want, but can't quite agree on what it actually is. Obviously, there IS no single definition. Like reality, it all depends on the person and their point of view. Still, it's useful coming to terms with what you think it is -- especially if you are about to enter into some kind of "innovation sparking process" with others. So, here are 13 definitions of innovation to get the party started. Choose the one that best works for you and then contemplate it. If NONE of the choices below work for you, create your own. Then, enter into a dialogue with your colleagues or team about what innovation means to them.

"The act of introducing something new." -- The American Heritage Dictionary

"Change that creates a new dimension of performance." -- Peter Drucker

"The ability to deliver new value to a customer." -- Jose Campos

"The commercialization of creativity." -- Anonymous

"The conversion of knowledge and ideas into a benefit, which may be for commercial use or for the public good."-- Queensland (Australian) government

"The successful exploitation of new ideas." -- UK Department of Innovation and Skills

"Imaginative activity to produce outcomes that are both original and of commercial value." -- The Institute for Innovation and Information Productivity

"The transformation of idea to reality." -- Saul Shapiro

"The managed effort of an organization to develop new products, new services, or new uses for existing products or services." -- Ricky W. Griffin

"The ability to adapt, adjust, or alter that which already exists for the sake of meeting a need or adding value." -- Anonymous

"The creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness, or competitive advantage." -- Government of New Zealand

"The successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.-- Teresa Amabile

"Creating something new before people know they need it." -- Guy Kawasaki

Idea Champions
One way to spark innovation
Do you know what problem you are solving for?
Creating the Innovation Mindset

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2019
The Six Sides of the So-Called Box

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There's a lot of talk these days about the need for business people to "get out of the box", but very little talk about what the box actually is. Here's Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions, deconstructing the box in a 5-minute video.

One way to get out of the box

Another way
And a third way

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2019
15 Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question

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As a facilitator of the creative process, I continue to be astounded by how few organizations have any kind of process is place to PAUSE, reflect, and make sure they are coming up with the right questions. Apparently, I'm not alone.

1. "It's not that they can't see the solution. They can't see the problem." - G.K. Chesterton

2. "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin

3. "We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong." - Bono

4. "Ask the right questions if you're going to find the right answers." - Vanessa Redgrave

5. "Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers." - Robert Half

Continue reading "15 Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)

THE 2019 LISTENING POLL

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Most people say that listening is an important skill to have and that it is in woeful short supply today. Idea Champions is in the process of creating a new workshop on listening, but before doing so, we want to make sure we understand WHY people value listening. Towards that end, we are inviting you respond to our listening poll. Three minutes is all it will take. In a few weeks, we will post the results here.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2019
25 Quotes on the Power of Story

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Looking for some inspiring quotes on why storytelling is such a powerful way to communicate your message, cut through the clutter, and awaken people's need for meaning? Here you go...

Continue reading "25 Quotes on the Power of Story"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2019
HAPPY JULY 4th! Inspiring Quotes on Independence

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"Freedom is the will to be responsible to our selves." -- Friedrich Nietzche

"It's easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing -- that's the Lord's test." -- Mahalia Jackson

"We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence." -- Fred Rogers

"No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance." -- Henry Miller

"In the progress of personality, first comes a declaration of independence, then a recognition of interdependence." -- Henry Van Dyke

"The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud." -- Coco Chanel

"To find yourself, think for yourself." -- Socrates

"The first of earthly blessings: independence." -- Edward Gibbon

"Independence is essential to permanent, but fatal to immediate success." -- Samuel Butler

"Independence... is loyalty to one's best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes." -- Mark Twain

"The price for independence is often isolation and solitude." -- Steve Schmidt

"I am lord of myself, accountable to none." -- Benjamin Franklin

"You don't need a significant other to lead a significant life." -- Mandy Hale

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self." -- Ernest Hemingway

"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone for others. Unfold your own myth." -- Rumi

"The essence of independence is to do something for one's self." -- Maria Montessori

"Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth." -- George Bernard Shaw

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together." -- Malcolm Forbes

"I will not be 'famous' or 'great.' I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded." -- Virginia Woolf

"How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?" -- Anais Nin

"Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient become independent of it." -- John D. Rockefeller

"Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity." -- Thomas J. Watson

Other great quotes

Idea Champions
The curator of these quotes

Photo: the very independent Emilia Pouget Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2019
Culture Change in An Australian School in the Islamic Tradition

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Last year, I had the great good fortune to spend three wonderful months at Al Siraat College in Melbourne, Australia, working closely with the founders, leadership team, teachers, staff, and students. It was one of the most inspiring experiences in my 30-year career as an organizational change agent. What follows is a testimonial from Fazeel Arain, the Co-Founder and Principal of Al Siraat:

"I had a strong desire to introduce a culture of creativity and innovation to our humble school in Australia. Being cash strapped as a new school (and knowing consultants were not cheap), I started following Mitch Ditkoff's blog, The Heart Of Innovation.

After many years of reading his blog, I finally found an opportunity to invite Mitch to Al Siraat for a short visit to explore the possibilities of what our collaboration might look like. During that visit, Mitch opened my eyes to the fact that anything is possible. We then embarked on a wonderful, year-long journey of culture change, learning, innovation, transformation, and friendship.

Continue reading "Culture Change in An Australian School in the Islamic Tradition"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2019
What PR Firms Say About Our Brainstorm Facilitation Training

Idea Champions has trained quite a few PR and Marketing firms in the art and science of facilitating breakthrough brainstorming sessions. What follows is a sampling of the feedback we have received.

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"At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Idea Champions' ability to quickly and effectively teach my colleagues and me how to facilitate brainstorming sessions changed the future of our business. We went from being viewed by our clients as their agency to being respected as essential teammates that help them arrive at BIG IDEAS. I can't wait to learn more from Idea Champions. So many good things to come!" - Mandy Kalajian, Vice President, Mirrorball

"Our success as a firm depends on our ability to think about tough challenges in new and creative ways, often on short timelines. The Idea Champions Conducting Genius training gave us the tools to better unleash the full potential of our employees and clients. And we had fun while doing it! Thanks to Val and Mitch, we're challenging our assumptions, asking the right questions, and using creative thinking techniques to bring our best ideas forward." - Natalie Giordano, Director, Purple Strategies

Continue reading "What PR Firms Say About Our Brainstorm Facilitation Training"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

STEVEN COVEY on Listening

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June 27, 2019
Welcome to The Gold Standard of Brainstorm Facilitation

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Here's what Idea Champions' clients have to say about the value they've received from engaging our brainstorm facilitation services.

"Through your brainstorm facilitation, we gained more than 100 original ideas of high quality. The best of these will guide AT&T's development for years to come." - Robert Rubin, CCS Product Development, AT&T

"As a result of Idea Champions' efforts we have implemented more than 250 value-added Big Idea projects." -- Joe Belinsky, Professional Development Manager, Goodyear Rubber and Tire

"Several of the ideas we came up with in the Idea Champions session are being developed into concrete projects that are looking like very profitable opportunities." - Rudy Villa, VP, GE/RCA Licensing

Continue reading "Welcome to The Gold Standard of Brainstorm Facilitation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

The Paradox of Innovation

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My big insight about innovation these days would make Nobel Prize winner, Niels Bohr, proud.

"Now that we have met with paradox," explained Dr. Bohr, "we have some hope of making progress."

Innovation is full of it -- paradox, that is.

On one hand, organizations want structures, maps, models, guidelines, and systems. On the other hand, that's all too often the stuff that squelches innovation, driving it underground or out the door.

The noble search for a so-called "innovation process" can easily become a seduction, addiction, or distraction whereby innovation is marginalized, deferred, over-engineered, and worn like a badge.

Continue reading "The Paradox of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:24 AM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2019
How to Tell a Good Story

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Let's start with the basics: You already know how to tell a good story. You do. You've been telling stories your entire life. Today, you probably told at least a few. And later, tonight, you will probably tell some more -- whether they are merely accounts of your day, a memorable encounter you had at work, or a reminiscence from days gone by.

Story is the ocean we are swimming in. And because it is, we don't necessarily feel wet when we're in it, but we are.

Fish aren't taught to swim. And you aren't taught to tell stories. As a child, you didn't need to be taught. All you needed was to hear them and them tell them to others -- which you did -- everything from The Three Little Pigs to Jack and the Beanstalk to the excuses you laid on your teachers for not handing in your homework on time.

Continue reading "How to Tell a Good Story"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2019
50 Quotes on Risk Taking

Hand2Mountain.jpg1. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -- Goethe

2. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

3. "It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult." -- Seneca

4. "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go." -- T.S. Eliot

Continue reading "50 Quotes on Risk Taking"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:31 AM | Comments (2)

June 07, 2019
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)

May 29, 2019
How to Know If You Talk Too Much

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Do people sometimes stop listening when you talk to them? Do they start getting fidgety or look away? It may not be their ADD or inability to go deep with you. It may simply be -- you talk too much. OK. Enough said. Here is more about the phenomenon.

MitchDitkoff.com
Idea Champions
Storytelling for the Revolution

Thanks to Scott Cronin for the heads up

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:10 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.

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Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
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"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
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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.
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Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
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High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
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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.
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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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