July 03, 2015
The Beauty of a Wandering Mind

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Do you have a tendency to zone out? Daydream? Follow the yellow brick road? Well, your day has come.

Instead of having to defend yourself from the army of people demanding you become more focused every second of the day, now you have some vital research, noted by the New York Times, to build a case for your wandering mind.

Explains, Dr. Jonathan Schooler, of UCLA:

"For creativity, you need your mind to wander, but you also need to be able to notice that your mind is wandering and catch the idea when you have it. If Archimedes had come up with a solution in the bathtub, but didn't notice he'd had the idea, what good would it have done him?"

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:47 AM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2015
The Selective Attention Test

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June 29, 2015
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Wonderful, touching, memorable movie. Go see it!

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June 24, 2015
Leave Your Title at the Door and Remove the Door From It's Hinges

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When I co-founded my company in 1986, I had two business cards made. One said "President." The other said "Archduke." Whenever I gave clients a choice, they always wanted the Archduke card.

In time, I gave all the Archduke cards away and never re-ordered them -- in a pitiful attempt, I think, to seem more professional.

Fortunately, everything comes full circle. Last night, while enjoying a wonderful concert in my hometown of Woodstock, my next title was suddenly revealed.

Director of Public Elations (and, no, I did not forget the "R".)

In a flash, not only did I get an insight into what my focus will be for the next few years, I also discovered an entirely new field.

Continue reading "Leave Your Title at the Door and Remove the Door From It's Hinges"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:30 AM | Comments (13)

June 22, 2015
Need to Train People to Facilitate Effective Brainstorm Sessions?

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June 19, 2015
The Cult of Monetization

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I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me if I make money from my blog -- and a dollar for every time one of these people used the "M" word, asking me if I've found a way to "monetize" the effort.

Well, before I answer their frequently asked question, let me begin with the basics. The word "monetize" completely repels me. If there is one word in the English language I could live without it would be that word.

Continue reading "The Cult of Monetization"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:02 AM | Comments (4)

June 15, 2015
The Peace Caravan at Opus 40

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Innovation happens in many ways on Planet Earth and in many industries. Indeed, the word "innovation" seems to be on the lips of just about every CEO the world over, as they continue to look for their organizations' "competitive edge" and "the next big thing."

For me, as an innovation consultant to a wide variety of large and mid-sized companies since 1987, the most exciting growth area for innovation has nothing to do with manufacturing, technology, or alternative energy sources. It has to do with peace -- the very human effort to explore new and intriguing ways for each and every individual, family, community, city, country, and corporation to find their way, in the world, in a lot more mindful, heart-centered, inspired, sustainable way.

Towards this end, the Peace Caravan is coming to Opus 40, in Saugerties, NY, on Saturday, June 20th -- a confluence of five insanely talented groups of musicians who will be doing a benefit concert for the Woodstock Festival of Peace.

Much love, hard work, generosity, and community spirit has gone into manifesting this event -- local peacemakers joining together to create an unforgettable evening of inspired music in celebration of the need for peace -- locally, globally, inner, and outer.

Advance tickets are available at www.WoodstockPeaceFestival.org for $20. Tickets will also be available, for $25, at the door on the day of the event.

Bring your family. Bring your friends. Doors opens at 3:30 pm. The music starts at 5:00 pm. Food trucks will be onsite in case you get hungry. And if you want to create an original peace flag that will be displayed at the Woodstock Festival of Peace in September, there will a peace flag table set up for your creative expression.

THE MUSICIANS

PulseField/Soundshifter

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Amy McTear and the One True Voice Choir

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Levanta

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Sri Kirtan

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Baird Hersey

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NOTE: Please check the Woodstock Peace Festival website, on June 19th, to get the update on the alternative venue for the Peace Caravan in case it rains on June 20th.

Want to volunteer at the Peace Caravan event? Contact Maria DeFranco: defrancodesigns@gmail.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 AM

June 09, 2015
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Jump Starting Creativity and Innovation

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If you are looking for a simple, inexpensive way to jump start innovation and creativity -- in yourself, your team, or your company, click here. Idea Champions' Innovation Kits are easy to use, easy to buy, and fully engage movers and shakers in the process of conjuring up (and manifesting) bold, new possibilities.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2015
Brainstorm or Shitstorm?

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Full disclosure: The title of this blog post is not original. I borrowed it from a new client of mine, Jess Seilheimer, Chief Strategy Officer of MWW -- a force of nature who recently invited my company, Idea Champions, to design and facilitate a 5-hour multi-agency brainstorm session. Jess' description of her experience and the impact of the session made my day. If you are looking for a better way to run your brainstorm sessions, Jess' blog post is for you.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2015
50 Awesome Quotes on Vision

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1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

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

3. "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

4. "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau

5. "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

6. "If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Continue reading "50 Awesome Quotes on Vision"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:34 PM | Comments (6)

June 01, 2015
The Incremental Improvement Trap

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In today's nano-second, downsized, caffeine-buzzed business world, corporations are increasingly demanding that "their people" redouble their efforts to find new and better ways of getting the job done.

If this were the 1950's, an efficiency expert might be called in, a bespectacled, uncharismatic gentleman with a fascination for predictability, order, and control. His motto? "A place for everything and everything in its place."

It wasn't a great leap of faith for upwardly mobile managers to buy into this trendy "consulting service" since it seemed like such a safe way to yield increased productivity and reduced costs.

And yes, sometimes it did...

Continue reading "The Incremental Improvement Trap"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:17 PM | Comments (1)

May 28, 2015
The Four Currents of a Culture of Innovation

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I've been doing a lot of thinking these days about "culture of innovation" -- trying to get down to the root of what the heck it's all about.

It's easy to wax poetic about the topic (and a lot of people do), but too much of the stuff I've been reading sounds like bad advertising copy for motherhood and apple pie.

So, at the risk of oversimplifying the whole thing, here's my blogospheric whack at boiling the mumbo jumbo down to the core.

If you want to create a sustainable culture of innovation, you will need to understand that there are always four forces at work -- four currents that are always interacting with each other:

Continue reading "The Four Currents of a Culture of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:27 PM | Comments (5)

May 26, 2015
100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes To Innovate

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1. "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs

2. "Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." - Alfred North Whitehead

3. "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk

4. "If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles Kettering

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

6. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

7. "You can't solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level." - Albert Einstein

8. "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." - Miles Davis

Continue reading "100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes To Innovate"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:48 PM | Comments (9)

May 20, 2015
What Kind of Stories Will You Tell?

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Here's a story you can probably relate to.

You are walking down the street when a friend, coming the other way, stops, looks you in the eye, and asks "Whassup?" It's a question you've heard a thousand times before -- the default, open-ended salutation. Your choices are many. You can answer any way you want, from the predictable "Fine, whassup with you?" to an elaborate monologue on any number of topics: the weather, your vacation plans, the economy, the latest terrorist attack, local politics, your job, and the latest viral video.

In that moment, there is no correct answer. You get to decide what story to tell. What you don't get to decide is the impact your story will have. That's up to the listener. But know this: your story will have impact. Everything you say, everything you do has impact, even a seemingly casual moment of passing a friend on the street.

Continue reading "What Kind of Stories Will You Tell?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2015
15 Awesome Quotes on Collaboration

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1. "It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin

2. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

3. "If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, both are useless." - Darryl F. Zanuck

4. "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." - Henry Ford

5. "Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Continue reading "15 Awesome Quotes on Collaboration"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:27 AM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2015
Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?

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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, non-profit, or 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.

Continue reading "Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?"

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May 04, 2015
Three Audacious Creativity Quotes to Awaken Your Inner Mojo

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May 01, 2015
The Four Lenses of Innovation

The Heart of Innovation is happy to present the following guest post from Rowan Gibson, author of the recently published The Four Lenses of Innovation. Enjoy!

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Ever wondered where big, breakthrough ideas come from? How do innovators manage to spot the opportunities for industry revolution that everyone else seems to miss?

Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not some mystical art that's forbidden to mere mortals. It can be just as systematic and methodical as anything else we do in business. And the great news is that we can all achieve it.

Continue reading "The Four Lenses of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

The Professor and the Jar

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A college professor stood before his philosophy class at the start of a new semester. Silently, he picked up a very large jar and filled it with golf balls. Then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, pebbles settling into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students again responded with a resounding "yes."

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured them into the jar, filling the empty spaces between the sand. The students laughed.

Continue reading "The Professor and the Jar"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2015
The Power of Tears

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Social media did not exist when I was 26. But social work did -- a profession dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals, groups, families, couples, and communities.

As the Golden Boy of an upper middle class Jewish family from New York, social work was not on my radar screen. The pay wasn't good enough. The status wasn't high enough. And the hours weren't short enough.

So when my neighbor, a University of Virginia Medical Center pediatrician, invited me to become the social worker for a new, federally-funded "early intervention" program I was only half listening. Yes, I was social and yes, I knew how to work, but counseling parents of multi-handicapped infants did not seem like a talent I possessed.

My neighbor, the pediatrician, saw it differently.

Continue reading "The Power of Tears"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

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