February 17, 2019
Innovation as a Happy Accident

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A little known fact about innovation is that many breakthroughs have not been the result of genius, but "happy accidents" -- those surprise moments when an answer revealed itself for no particular reason.

The discovery of penicillin, for example, was the result of Alexander Fleming noting the formation of mold on the side of petri dish left uncleaned overnight.

Vulcanized Rubber was discovered in 1839 when Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a lump of the polymer substance he was experimenting with onto his wife's cook stove.

More recently, 3M's post-it was also the result of an accident in the lab. Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.

Continue reading "Innovation as a Happy Accident"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2019
A Super Simple Way to Upgrade Your Brainstorming Sessions

Looking for a simple, low-cost way to upgrade the quality and impact of brainstorming sessions in your organization. Here it is!



Other ways to upgrade your ideation sessions

Our clients
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2019
27 Best Practices of High Performing Volunteer Organizations

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Unless you've been in a coma your entire life, chances are good that, at some time in your life (maybe now?) you've been a volunteer for a non-profit organization.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that many volunteer organizations, without even knowing it, sabotage the value their volunteers bring to the table and you, as a result, may have backed off, gone south, or found yourself grumbling to the other volunteers.

I've recently done some informal research on the subject and have identified 27 "best practices" high performing volunteer organizations abide by. Take a peek. Then, volunteer to share the list with the leaders of whatever volunteer organizations you would like to see succeed at a higher level. Can do?

Continue reading "27 Best Practices of High Performing Volunteer Organizations"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:01 PM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2019
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)

February 04, 2019
Why Tell Stories?

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In the last 60 seconds, here's what happened:

168 million emails were sent, 700,000 Google searches were launched, and 60 hours of YouTube videos were uploaded, not to mention all the spam, banner ads, phone calls, Facebook posts, tweets, texts, and telemarketing calls that found their way to your doorstep.

A whopping 90% of all data in the world has been generated in the past two years alone. Think about this: Before the dawn of civilization, approximately 5 exabytes of information had been created. Now, that much information is created every two days!

The common term for this head-spinning phenomenon is "information overload" -- the inability to absorb and process all of the information we are exposed to.

Continue reading "Why Tell Stories?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2019
The Art of REALLY Showing Up at a Brainstorm Session

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So... you've just been invited to participate in a brainstorm session. Congratulations!

SOMEBODY out there thinks you're smart. SOMEBODY out there thinks you're creative. SOMEBODY out there thinks you can help them with... whatever. So, Congratulations! You should feel complimented, honored.

Want a bit of advice from someone who's been facilitating brainstorming sessions since 1990? (Well, you're gonna get it, anyway!) Take advantage of the opportunity!

Show up ready to give 100% of your attention to the task. Show up as if the success of the session depends on YOU... because it kind of does.

Continue reading "The Art of REALLY Showing Up at a Brainstorm Session"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2019
The Innovator's Three Word Mantra

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OK. Here's the deal: There is something you want to create... begin... invent... change... complete... manifest... birth... or quicken. You've been thinking about it for a loooooong time. You may have even been working on it. But it still ain't happening. So, forget the past for a moment and contemplate the cool graphic above. Are you willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring your idea or project to fruition? If so, what does that look like to you? And what is your next step?

Idea Champions
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The coolest brainstorm facilitation training on the planet
Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2019
The Samurai Guide To Managing Difficult Clients (& having a life)

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You are smart. You are creative. You are committed. And you have an awesome grasp of social media. Of course you do, you are a mover and a shaker in a company trying to stay relevant, make some magic, and diffentiate itself from the competition. You are also going slightly insane.

Why? Because your clients routinely make insane demands on you, expecting miracles with very little notice. Part of you actually enjoys this phenomenon, given your fascination for big challenges and the ever-present potential to become heroic. Another part of you does not enjoy this phenomenon, often feeling like the deck is stacked against you. And guess what? It is -- not just because your client --internal or external, older, higher paid, or more experienced -- is constantly disregarding the fact that you have a life outside the workplace, but because this kind of client-driven behavior, unfortunately, has become the norm these days.

Continue reading "The Samurai Guide To Managing Difficult Clients (& having a life)"

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

January 21, 2019
BRAINSTORM TRAINING: OnSite, Online, and On-the-Fly

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Do the people in your organization treat invitations to brainstorming sessions like jury duty summons? Do the ideas generated all-too-often underwhelm? Does group think tend to take over? If so, Idea Champions can help.

Brainstorming, in most companies, is seriously flawed, an exercise in wheel spinning, futility, and lost potential -- not because brainstorming, as a method, is flawed, but because the people who lead brainstorm sessions don't fully understand the art and science of eliciting group genius.

Continue reading "BRAINSTORM TRAINING: OnSite, Online, and On-the-Fly"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2019
INTRODUCING: The Wisdom Circles of San Miguel de Allende

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San Miguel de Allende is famous for a lot of things -- its diverse culture, colonial architecture, hot springs, cobblestone streets, affordable living, great restaurants, town square, benevolent people, and Writer's Conference, just to name a few. One thing it is NOT famous for, at least not yet, is its Wisdom Circles.

If you have not heard of Wisdom Circles, you are in good company because they are a new phenomenon in San Miguel. Created by Mitch Ditkoff, organizational change agent, and author of Storytelling at Work, and Storytelling for the Revolution, Wisdom Circles are a fascinating, new way to build community, elevate the conversation, and transmit wisdom one story at a time.

Continue reading "INTRODUCING: The Wisdom Circles of San Miguel de Allende"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2019
When You Love What You Do

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We love what we do -- helping forward-thinking organizations go beyond the status quo and tap into the collective genius of their workforce. Here's one way we do it. And here are some others.

What our clients say
Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2019
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 (2)

January 09, 2019
INNOVATION MICRO-LEARNING (in less than 15 minutes per week)

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This. Just. In. None of Idea Champions clients have any time. And because they don't, we have recently launched an exciting, new micro-learning service to help them stay on top of their innovation game. In less than 15 minutes per week. Virtually. At whatever time is convenient for them. Click here to take our micro-learning poll and see what micro-learning topics we are offering in 2019.

More about it here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2019
Sun Tzu on Preparation

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"Every battle is won or lost before it is fought." - Sun Tzu

What challenge or opportunity is coming up for you that will require a higher level of preparation than you usually make? What extra effort are you willing to make in order to prepare? What might prevent you from making the kind of effort you know you need to make?

How can you create the support you need to ensure that your preparation efforts succeed?

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2018
The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings

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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 Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings"

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

December 21, 2018
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)

December 16, 2018
SPEED TO KNOWLEDGE: The Curious Roots of Micro-Learning

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Being the first to come up with a good idea does not always make the path to success easy. In fact, often, it's quite the opposite.

For example, the idea of micro-learning may be all the rage these days, but it wasn't always that way. In fact, the company that created the first micro learning programs, AthenaOnline, was kicked out of quite a few offices for even proposing the idea.

The idea of micro-learning -- bite-sized bits of knowledge that are easy to digest and understand -- has been around for ages. It encompasses everything from viewing a short video to reading an article to taking a short quiz. Micro-learning, however, was never a form of enterprise learning until the visionaries at AthenaOnline released its MyQuickCoach application in 1999.

Continue reading "SPEED TO KNOWLEDGE: The Curious Roots of Micro-Learning "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2018
Allow More Time to Be Creative!

It doesn't get any simpler than this, folks! You want to be more creative? You want to create the conditions that allow other people you work with to be more creative? Stop rushing them! Go beyond the nanosecond! Allow more time!

Carl Jung chimes in
Idea Champions
Allow more time for storytelling!
Play time at AT&T

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

December 11, 2018
10 Ways to Improve Your Company's Broken Ideation Process

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OK. You're busy. I get it. Which is why I just deleted the first four compelling, context-setting paragraphs to this blog post and will now simply cut to the chase: Your company's "ideation process" is either non-existent, seriously flawed, or a joke.

You know it. I know it. And 99% of the people you work with know it -- a longstanding phenomenon that spawns nothing but frustration, wheel spinning, and resignation. Few people want to deal with the Rube Goldberg-like natureof the beast. And so it continues. Does it always have to be this way? No it doesn't. But someone needs to step up and bell the proverbial cat. Like YOU, for example.

So read on. The following ten "ideation process best practices" are clues for you. It's not like you have to implement all ten of them. But even one or two, applied on the job, will make a huge difference. That is IF you want to increase the odds of new ideas actually making it out the door...

Continue reading "10 Ways to Improve Your Company's Broken Ideation Process"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2018
The Best Executive

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Al Siraat College
34 Quotes on Leadership
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:58 PM | 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.
Storytelling at Work
"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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