Ode to Rachel Maddow
Whatever your politics, take a minute check out this soulfully hip song of praise to Rachel Maddow by one of Woodstock's own, Marc Black. Marc is a treasure in my home town, but too few people know of him. Now you do.August 28, 2012
Mitch Ditkoff Now a Huffington Post Business and Innovation Blogger
Dear Heart of Innovation Readers:
I am happy to announce that the Huffington Post has invited me to become one of their business and innovation bloggers. Twice a week. How cool is that?
If you like it, LIKE IT -- and tweet it -- and anything else you care to do with it to share it with your friends, co-workers, boss, chiropractor, mother, ex-spouse, accountant, clients, or neighbors.August 27, 2012
Walt Disney Speaks!
What are YOU dreaming about doing?August 26, 2012
Savvy Book Agent Wanted
That's me, folks, the author of this blog. Any recommendations?August 24, 2012
Autistic Artistic Fantastic!
August 21, 2012
Insane or Brilliant? You Decide.
This is a marketing post,
our little effort
to let you know
who our clients are,
just in case
in our services,
but hesitant to call us.
All of these organizations,
at one point,
realized they needed to
do something different
to raise the bar
A Breakthrough in Higher Education
This is a very important video to watch. Huge implications. HUGE. Fast forward a year or two and imagine that Coursera has added another 500 courses to their online curriculum. Colleges will go the way of Blockbuster, unless they get their business model more together -- and make higher education way more affordable.The One Voice for Laos Documentary
Here is a remarkable 8-minute video produced by Garland Berenzy (16!), documenting the One Voice for Laos project -- an inspired humanitarian effort spearheaded by Hudson Valley teens, committed adults, and my amazing wife, Evelyne Pouget, to support 600 orphans in Luang Prabang, Laos. If you want to donate to the orphanage, send a check to the Windhorse Foundation (P.O. Box 26582, San Francisco, CA 94126) and write "Deak Kum Pa Orphanage" in the memo line.August 13, 2012
Flowers First! Business Second!
Today, in a sudden fit of love and appreciation, I bought a dozen roses and brought them home to my wife.
Usually, when I think of buying roses, I go through a predictable sequence of events. First, I surrender to a wonderful feeling of expansiveness that takes me over. Then I get curious and smell the flowers. Then I ask the shopkeeper how long she thinks the roses will last.
Then I ask the per stem price, do the math, and reach the pitifully male conclusion that $46.95 is way too much too spend on something that won't last out the week and is probably less expensive somewhere else and it's obviously indulgent of me to be buying so many roses when I've got two kids to put through college in a few years and besides, beauty is within.
All of this, of course, is my inner Woody Allen taking the low road in response to what is obviously a Johnny Depp moment.
So I dig deep and bring the roses home -- my entire living room taking shape around them.
I then become very aware that there are definitely not enough flowers in the room. In a curious way, the recent appearance of roses has made the rest of the room seem barren. Tabletops and shelves that only minutes ago were doing just fine, are now utterly flowerless.
So I do the only thing a man can do when faced with such a paradox -- I return to the flower shop.
But the shop is closed. Closed? Impossible! I need flowers!
So I get back in my car and speed my way to the other flower shop in town.
It, too, is closed -- or, should I say, closing. The owner is shutting the door and giving me the "too-bad-you-didn't-get-here a few-minutes-ago" look.
But I will not be denied. And he knows it.
"What do you want?" he asks.
"Flowers," I reply.
He signals me to enter and I buy way more flowers than makes sense. A ridiculous amount.
Let's put it this way: if I was in the federal witness protection program, my sudden flower buying behavior would have put my government handlers in a tizzy.
Fast forward ten minutes to my wife in our kitchen.
She is looking at me as if I am totally insane -- me, the guy who, only days ago was making an airtight case for a more modest household budget.
Here's my philosophy:
Flowers first. Business second. If money is tight, buy more flowers. The more flowers you buy, the more money will appear. And if not in this lifetime, then the next (or maybe the one after that).
OK. There you go -- my not very financially sound, flower-centric view of the universe. You, my friend, are a witness. If I forget, please remind me.
OK. Stop reading this blog. Go out and get some flowers, already.August 10, 2012
Web Workshops from Idea Champions
Here's a 3minute video overview of Idea Champions newest service -- Web Workshops -- highly engaging 60-minute tutorials to help your workforce raise the bar for innovation, collaboration, and communication.August 08, 2012
Shouldn't Hallmark Create an International Dancing Day?
August 05, 2012
Thanks to my sister, Phyllis Rosen, for this link.
The "L" Word in Business
Big thanks to Sarah Jacob, Idea Champions' Dutchess of Business Development for this fine post.
I recently had the delightful privilege of attending HSM's World Innovation Forum in New York City -- two days of luminous speakers on a broad spectrum of innovation-themed topics.
With tickets at $2,500 a pop, attendees were heavy-hitters at major corporations from around the globe -- a no-nonsense crowd.
Jean-Claude Biver was one of the first speakers.
Not many CEOs have helped their company grow revenues from $24 million to $100 million in two years. Biver did at Hublot Geneve, a Swiss watchmaker that sells ten thousand dollar watches -- a product which he admits are now "totally useless" since most people these days use their smartphones to check the time.
Gesturing to the glittery watch on his wrist with a slightly baffled look, he shrugged and laughed.
The silver-haired entrepreneur began his presentation by letting us in on a little known fact: he was a hippie in the 60s, shaped by the Beatles and his many visits to Woodstock.
"First, we have to share," he explained. "Giving employees a bonus at the end of the year is not sharing. It is justice. It is important to share experiences, knowledge, doubts, and the process of success."
And then he dropped the L-bomb.
"Sharing," he declared, "is an act of love."
I was intrigued that this man was brave enough to speak that depth of truth to an audience of businesspeople.
I looked around and noticed a few people shift in their seats.
Biver went on to pitch us Principle #2: Respect, making note that self-respect was primary.
"If you don't respect yourself," he asked, "how can you respect others, or your customers, suppliers, or the earth? A person who respects himself is guided by love."
There it was AGAIN, the word "love"!
I glanced sideways.
A man got up and awkwardly sidestepped his way to the aisle. Then a woman. I stayed put, captivated.
Principle #3: Forgiveness.
"We must forgive every mistake," he explained, "but only once. You cannot make the same mistake twice."
At Hublot Geneve, Monday was the day for sharing mistakes, and for every mistake shared, employees received a bonus. The result? People got used to sharing mistakes, and everyone got the benefit of the lesson.
"Forgiveness," he said, smiling, "is an act of love."
BOLD. This man was talking about LOVE at a global business conference of people who controlled billions of dollars! He was not talking about metrics or social media or ROI. Love!
And I was loving it.
In my experience, love is at the core of any kind, generous, authentic interaction.
A corporate culture that fosters the values of freedom, autonomy, purpose, mastery, integrity, and responsibility is a culture that is really about love -- a feeling that starts with inspired leaders who care. These leaders want to make the world a better place and deliver something great, while valuing the well-being of every person they employ.
I know this inside and out, having left a six-figure job in an investment firm three years ago to do what I loved: to travel the world dancing tango.
But did others in this sophisticated business crowd know this? Could they hear Biver's message? Business movers and shakers are often distracted by the depths of data, deadlines, and deliverables and miss the chance to be authentic.
I'm guessing the word love doesn't come up too often in their weekly staff meetings. But maybe it should.
"If people act from love," Biver explained, "then they are strong."
A company with this kind of culture, Bivre continued, is one where people are comfortable, ethical, enjoy themselves, and are happy to share. They help each other, and that support makes each person stronger and the organization great -- not to mention profitable -- even if they sell incredibly expensive, useless, luxury items in a soft economy.
Jean Claude Biver's closing comment?
"My biggest asset is that I was a hippie. Thank you Woodstock, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones."
Hallelujah! As the Director of Business Development for an innovation consultancy actually headquartered in Woodstock, I thank you, Mr. Biver, for unapologetically using a word that is taboo in American corporate culture.
Let's start a revolution.
Is Your Team in Sync? Or Sunk?
August 02, 2012
I Am Moving to a Blog Cabin
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.
Why all the blogging?
Because people want to connect. And WHY do people want to connect? Because there is a fundamental need inside each and every one of us to feel connected.
"Connected to WHAT?" is the question.
Most business leaders are likely to say something like "the marketplace," or "our customers" or "company values," but the real answer is far more fundamental -- your self.
Remember that? The part of you that doesn't have a title, a strategic plan, or a smart phone to keep it all together? That's where real communication begins -- from the inside out. And even more importantly, that's where the real experience of life begins.
Bottom line, for each of us to feel truly connected, we first need to connect with ourselves. Then, and only then, does it make sense to connect with others.
Otherwise, all our efforts to connect will be fundamentally flawed -- tinged with the slightly neurotic need for more approval, information, and virtual friends -- none of which are really necessary once we master the fine art of tapping into who we really are in the first place.
Sort of like putting the isness back in business.
And speaking of the future -- high rises are out. Blog cabins are in.
Illustration: Sara Shaffer