January 26, 2009
ONLINE POLL: Raising the Bar for Extraordinary Teamwork in 2009

If you are committed to accomplishing extraordinary results, chances are good that you will need to collaborate with others.

Your ideas and dedication, no matter how inspired they may be, will never be enough by themselves. It takes a village.

Most people's experience of being on a team -- especially those who work in large companies -- is less-than-ideal, filled with frustration, power struggles, and the belief that it's not worth the effort.

OK. Those days are over. No matter how disappointing your experience of teamwork may have been in the past, it's never too late to turn things around. And it all begins with AWARENESS -- tuning into what's actually going on with you and your team.

Intrigued? If so, click here and take Idea Champions' online TEAM REALITY CHECK poll. In a few weeks, we'll post the results here -- a way to help you and your team get into deep dialogue about what it will take to really collaborate in 2009.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2009
Humanizing the Workplace

It's really not my nature to be this effusive about other people's books, but Gary Hamel's newest offering, The Future of Management, is a 15 on a scale of 1-10. Lucid. Authentic. Compelling. And very well-written.

Gary and his co-author, Bill Breen, have built a very compelling case for WHY management needs to change its stripes if they expect their organizations to grow or, more specifically, establish the kind of corporate culture that is conducive to real innovation. Here's an example of Hamel's straight talk:

"As human beings, we are amazingly adaptable and creative, yet most of us work for companies that are not. In other words, we work for companies that aren't very human."

"There seems to be something in modern organizations that depletes the natural resilience and creativity of human beings, something that literally leaches these qualities out of employees during daylight hours.

"The culprit? Management principles and processes that foster discipline, punctuality, economy, rationality, and order, yet place very little value on artistry, non-conformity, originality, audacity, and elan.

"To put it simply, most companies are only fractionally human because they make room for only a fraction of the qualities and capabilities that make us human. Billions of people show up for work every day, but way too many of them are sleepwalking. The result: organizations that systematically underperform their potential."

Exactly.

Innovative organizations know how to elicit a creative response from their workforce, not a reactive response. They know how to establish the kind of conditions that nurture growth, instead of mechanically extracting it. They choose to water the root of the plant, not tug on the stalk or harangue the leaves.

And they choose this approach because somewhere, deep, down inside, they respect the innate creativity and integrity of each and every employee.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2009
The Beauty of What's in Front of You

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A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds -- then hurried to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year old boy...

His mother tried to rush him, but the boy stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The themes were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: How do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Want to be really innovative? Notice what's going on right in front of you and appreciate it.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:06 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2009
10 Reasons to Design a Better Corporate Culture

If your organization is committed to creating a corporate culture that is conducive to growth, innovation, and high employee morale, take a look at this insightful article from Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge Newsletter.

The article won't tell you how to create the ideal culture, but it does make a strong case for why it's important. Good ammunition for you in case you need to get the attention of senior leaders and other key stakeholders.

PS: If you're looking for guidelines to help you establish a culture of innovation, click here.

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

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.
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.
See Mitch's keynote address Enjoy a 7-minute interview with Mitch at the Ethical Sourcing Forum in NYC: 3/28/11
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!
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