April 02, 2015
STORYTELLING AT WORK: The Mailing List

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If you would like to receive an email alert when my forthcoming book is published in the Fall, just click this link and write your email address in the space provided. Takes 30 seconds.

Below are a few excerpts from the book, previously published in the Huffington Post. Click the link below for more about the DNA of my book.

I'm From Woodstock. Yes, I Am!
Arm Wrestling the CIA
The Afghani Cab Driver


Continue reading "STORYTELLING AT WORK: The Mailing List"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2015
SERVE A YEAR -- the PSA is AOK and LOL: Clinton & Kimmel

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:51 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2015
The 10 Personas of a Really Effective Brainstorm Facilitator

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Allow me to make a wild guess. You have participated in more than a few brainstorm sessions in your life. Yes?

Continue reading "The 10 Personas of a Really Effective Brainstorm Facilitator"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:11 AM | Comments (3)

March 20, 2015
WANT TO RAISE THE BAR FOR FOLLOW UP? Tell This Story

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One of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients, especially clients who have lead or participated in brainstorming sessions, is that follow-up is often underwhelming.

People who attend these kinds of meetings may generate a lot of ideas, but things tend to go south after after people leave the room. Action plans and "next steps" may have been dutifully done, but even so, those kinds of efforts don't always bear fruit.

If you want to raise the odds for real follow-up and completion actually happening, consider telling this story as a prelude to any action planning you do. It will cut through the rhetoric and help people have an emotional, memorable response to your request for meeting participants to actually complete their tasks in a mindful way.

Idea Champions

High Velocity Brainstorming
Our storytelling workshop

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2015
20 Awesome Quotes on Humor, Play, and Creativity

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1. "To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition." - Albert Einstein

2. "If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play." - John Cleese

3. "If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think." - Clarence Darrow

4. "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." - Carl Jung

Continue reading "20 Awesome Quotes on Humor, Play, and Creativity"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2015
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 thank
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)

March 08, 2015
Winning the Fundraising Game

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If you are a mover and a shaker for a non-profit, arts organization, start up, or other capital-constrained enterprise, chances are good that you spend way too much time thinking about the "F" word -- fundraising. While the mission of your organization may be highly expansive, the money is takes to support that mission is, all too often, highly contracted -- especially these days, with the economy being as sluggish as it is.

Enter Idea Champions' Winning the Fundraising Game, a thought provoking, custom designed, 4 - 8 hour creative thinking session that cuts through the "same old same old" syndrome and catalyzes bold, new possibilities.

Unlike most brainstorming sessions, Winning the Fundraising Game does not just focus on the generation of ideas -- or what some innovation mavens refer to as divergence. It also focuses on convergence -- what it takes to turn those bold, new ideas into measurable results.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2015
How Do You Bring Out Brillance from a Diverse Group of People?

Brainstorm facilitation training
The DNA of our training
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2015
How to Cultivate a Culture of Innovation

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Innovation, the endless effort to find a better way, cannot be achieved by robotically lining up best practices and imitating them. The real catalyzing agent for innovation is the ground from which these best practices spring -- the confluence of purpose, people, and processes better known as culture.

From where will the next wave of groundbreaking innovation come?

Not from organizations mechanically mimicking each other's best practices, but from organizations with the commitment to take their stand on ground that has been cultivated for breakthrough.

If you check the contents of the most popular books on innovation, the same topics show up again and again: strategy, systems, process, leadership, customer focus, risk, speed to market, prototyping, metrics, mass collaboration, market intelligence, technology, and creative thinking.

Continue reading "How to Cultivate a Culture of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:10 PM | Comments (10)

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 (1)

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)

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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.
Storytelling at Work
Click the link above to receive an email alert when our new book on the power of personal storytelling is published in the Fall.
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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