September 02, 2015
HOW TO SPARK INNOVATION IN OTHERS: A 5-Minute Video Tutorial

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Here's a little known secret: Organizations don't innovate. People innovate. Inspired, creative, committed, collaborative, self-motivated people. What can YOU do to help people innovate? A lot. This 5-minute video tutorial tells you how.

Ingenious Leadership
Applied Innovation
Brainstorm facilitation training
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2015
34 Awesome Quotes on Leadership

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1. "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." - Peter F. Drucker

2. "If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny." - Dee Hock

3. "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say 'we did it ourselves.'" - Lao Tzu

4. "The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader." - Albert Einstein

5. "The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why." - Warren Bennis

6. "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you." - Max DePree

Continue reading "34 Awesome Quotes on Leadership"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:06 AM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2015
If You Plan on Asking an Outside Innovation Consultant for Help

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If someone from your company's leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization raise the bar for innovation, stop for a moment and ask the person asking you to locate an outside consultant to answer the following questions.

If they answer "NO" to any of them or look at you as if you are ungrateful, uppity, or "not a team player", do not accept the assignment.

Really. I mean it. DO NOT ACCEPT THE ASSIGNMENT.

If you're afraid to decline the assignment, not only is the project doomed, but you will soon end up experiencing the kind of low grade corporate virus that leads people to drink too much, feel depressed, or become overly judgmental of their colleagues.

Continue reading "If You Plan on Asking an Outside Innovation Consultant for Help"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

The Art of Self-Acknowledgment

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If you're a creative person regularly involved with starting new projects -- the kind unlikely to get results overnight -- here is a simple practice that will keep you in a positive frame of mind and save you from the all-too-familiar phenomenon of depressing yourself by focusing on the cup (or your life) being half empty.

At the end of each work day, acknowledge yourself for all of your accomplishments, small, medium, and large. But not just silently, in your head, verbally -- aloud.

Most cultural creatives, no matter how inspired they are at the beginning of a project, eventually end up feeling down in the dumps. They start focusing on everything they haven't done and everything that hasn't happened instead of focusing on their progress and the fact that they are actually getting closer to their goal.

Continue reading "The Art of Self-Acknowledgment"

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

August 24, 2015
The Power of Pause

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Who
can
wait
quietly
while
the
mud
settles?

- Lao Tzu

Illustration
Idea Champions
My forthcoming book
My HuffPost articles

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2015
The Martial Arts of the Mind

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Ten years ago I was invited to teach a course on "Innovation and Business Growth" at GE's Crotonville Management Development Center for 75 high potential, business superstars of the future.

The GE executive who hired me was a very savvy guy with the unenviable task of orienting new adjunct faculty members to GE's high standards and often harsher reality.

My client's intelligence was exceeded only by his candor as he proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that GE gave "new instructors" two shots at making the grade -- explaining, with a wry smile, that most outside consultants were intimidated the first time they taught at GE and weren't necessarily at the top of their game.

I'm not sure how you say it in Esperanto, but in English what he said translates as "The heat is on, big time."

Continue reading "The Martial Arts of the Mind"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:58 PM | Comments (3)

August 19, 2015
Don't Just Take Our Word For It

Many of you who read this blog, know us only from our writing. But we do way more than write a blog. We help organizations raise the bar for innovation in a wide variety of ways. And we've been doing it since 1987. Click through the slide show above to get the perspective from the folks who know -- our clients.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2015
Wide-Eyed, Wide-Angled

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If you are a regular (or irregular) reader of this blog, you now (as of this moment) have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support the work of a gifted photographer and digital media maven, my son, Jesse, who will be traveling to eight countries for his next semester abroad. My blog is free. His wide angle lens is not. Anything you can contribute will be very much appreciated.

Jesse's crowdfunding campaign
Jesse's website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2015
Big Blues From the Viagra People

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In 1999, I conceived and co-founded (with Paul Kwicienski) the world's first interactive business blues band, Face the Music.

The concept was a simple one: help organizations increase teamwork and decrease complaint by getting employees to write and perform original blues songs.

The concept resonated with a lot of industries, especially Big Pharma.

Oh yeah, they had the blues, lots of blues, like the "Now We Gotta Compete with Generic Drugs from Canada Blues," and the "No One Trusts the Drug Companies Anymore Blues," and the always popular, "Our Pipeline Is Empty, But Our Inbox is Full Blues."

So we weren't all that surprised when Pfizer came calling...

Continue reading "Big Blues From the Viagra People"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2015
Creativity Late in Life

A lot of people who assume they are "over the hill", may not be aware of the fact that there have been a ton of people, late in life, who have been extremely creative. The above slide show, adapted from Gene Cohen's The Creative Age, highlights this inspiring phenomenon. Watch full screen for most impact.

Idea Champions
One way to jump start creativity
Start now!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2015
Frequently Asked Questions About My Forthcoming Book on Storytelling

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1. WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?
Anyone interested in the power of personal storytelling to awaken, inspire, and communicate a meaningful, memorable message -- especially around "moments of truth" on the job. It's also for forward-thinking business leaders who want to elevate the conversation in the workplace and radically increase the odds of peer-to-peer learning happening on a daily basis.

2. WHY IS THIS BOOK TIMELY?
Because the story being told, these days, is predominantly bad news. Terrorism, war, greed, corruption, political infighting, and corporate collapse rule the airways. But something else is also happening and that "something else" too often remains unspoken -- individual stories of insight, breakthrough, kindness, courage, innovation, learning, and wisdom. The more these stories are told, the faster the world's story will change. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."

Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions About My Forthcoming Book on Storytelling"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2015
Innovation & Poetry Are Connected

PS: There is something poetic about innovation. And there is something innovative about poetry. When I'm not working with organizations to spark innovation, I'm writing poetry. Click here to order my book.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2015
The World's Best Blog Collection of Awesome, Memorable Quotes

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If you're on the prowl for inspiring quotes you can use for work, your book, speech, website, news report, blog, proposal, kidnap letter, or time capsule, look no further. What follows are 21 universal topics -- everything from Possibility to Failure to Change.

Continue reading "The World's Best Blog Collection of Awesome, Memorable Quotes"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2015
How to Attract a Big AHA!

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What is it that allows some people to get creative breakthroughs while others get only creative breakdowns -- alternately blaming themselves, society, their company, and their increasingly suspect astrological configurations?

Is it true that people who experience breakthroughs are "gifted"? Or are there other factors at work -- factors that we (the people) have more control over than we might think?

While nobody can deny that some people seem to be blessed with "creative leanings" (i.e. Mozart at 4), research has shown that anyone can have the much sought after AHA! experience -- that is, IF they immerse themselves in the little understood process of creation.

Time and again, the literature bears this out: great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of intention, immersion, struggle -- even madness.

Continue reading "How to Attract a Big AHA!"

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

July 30, 2015
50 Quotes on the Power of Ideas

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1. "If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein

2. "If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May

3. "An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde

4. "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck

5. "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." - Linus Pauling

Continue reading "50 Quotes on the Power of Ideas"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2015
WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!

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Since 1987, I have been facilitating a wide variety of high octave business meetings for just about every industry on planet earth. These meetings have been variably referred to as leadership development programs, creative thinking trainings, innovation workshops, team building off sites, brainstorming sessions, strategic planning pow wows, senior team retreats, annual conferences, and business simulations.

Along the way, as you might imagine, I've developed quite a repertoire of approaches, methods, processes, tools, techniques, and skills to help me get the job done. All of them have worked if delivered in the right way at the right time.

But when push comes to shove (as it often does), the single most effective meeting facilitation ability I've discovered is the most mysterious one of all: presence. Yes, presence, -- the ability to be totally in the moment, no matter what the collective mood, mindset, or drama is of the people in the room.

Continue reading "WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2015
How to Foster a Creative and 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 Creative and Sustainable Culture of Innovation "

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

July 23, 2015
The Top 10 Reasons Why the Top 10 Reasons Don't Matter

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1. Reason is highly over-rated.

2. If you need more data to prove your point, you'll never have enough data to prove your point.

3. Analysis paralysis.

4. You're going to follow your gut, anyway.

5. By the time you put your business case together, the market has passed you by.

6. "Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein

7. The scientific method came to Rene Descartes in a dream!

Continue reading "The Top 10 Reasons Why the Top 10 Reasons Don't Matter"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 PM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2015
Why You Need to Ask Why

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Some years ago, there was a big problem at one of America's most treasured monuments -- the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

Simply put, birds -- in huge numbers -- were pooping all over it, which made visiting the place a very unpleasant experience.

Attempts to remedy the situation caused even bigger problems, since the harsh cleaning detergents being used were damaging the memorial.

Fortunately, some of the National Parks managers assigned to the case began asking WHY -- as in "Why was the Jefferson Memorial so much more of a target for birds than any of the other memorials?"

Continue reading "Why You Need to Ask Why"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:41 PM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2015
Brainstorming vs. Braincalming

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If you work in a big organization, small business, freelance, or eat cheese, there's a good chance you've participated in at least a few brainstorming sessions in your life. You've noodled, conjured, envisioned, ideated, piggybacked, and endured overly enthusiastic facilitators doing their facilitator thing. You may have even gotten some results. Hallelujah!

Continue reading "Brainstorming vs. Braincalming"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:23 PM | Comments (5)

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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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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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