Thank You for Being Who You Are
Just a quick note from all of us at Idea Champions to thank you for being who you are and making your best efforts to open doors and minds in this world.
All of us are needed. Each, in our own small way, can make a difference.
Forget about the economy for a minute, or your cash flow, or the twitterfication of human communication. Trust yourself and your emerging vision. Don't give up! Follow your instincts. Make effort every day. You are being guided.
BTW, we are here to be of service. If your organization is looking for ways to raise the bar for innovation, creative thinking, collaboration, and communication, we're just a phone call or email away.November 28, 2012
Flowers First, Business Second
You work hard.
I know that.
You get things done.
I know that, too.
You plan for the future,
organize your day,
and think of bold new ways
to market your service,
product, or business.
I get it.
But what about flowers?
Do you bring them
to the people you love?
Do you show up with roses,
not just take out food?
Here's my latest rant
on the Huffington Post.
What Do You Want to Create?
Well, then, my friend, WHAT IS IT that YOU want to create?November 21, 2012
The Top Ten Reasons Why The Top Ten Reasons Don't Matter
I'm sure you are a reasonable person -- thoughtful, analytical, and rational. Nothing wrong with that now, is there? Indeed, these very popular mental faculties can come in handy. But there is something beyond them that needs more breathing space in your life. Reason, no matter how reasonable,
can only take you so far. Anyway, here's my fun list, on the Huffington Post, of why we need to go beyond reason.
Miles Davis on Mistakes
November 19, 2012
Layne Redmond's Kickstarter Project
Here is a link
to a very inspired Kickstarter project
originated by my good friend,
When the Women Were Drummers
and all around renaissance women.
Layne and her team
of talented musicians
and film makers
are making a documentary
celebrating the dance,
drumming, and chants
of traditional and sacred
Click here to donate.
ANNOUNCING: Full Moon at Sunrise
If you have enjoyed the writing on this blog, you will very likely enjoy the soon-to-be-published book of Idea Champions' Co-Founder and President, Mitch Ditkoff.
Full Moon at Sunrise is not a book about innovation. It's a book of poetry.
Is there a relationship between innovation and poetry? Yes, there is. Both push the envelope. Both are infused with deep feeling. And both open up new realms of human experience.
If you'd like to receive an email alert when the book is published, simply send an email to Mitch (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your request. If you'd like to read some early reviews, click below.
"In Full Moon at Sunrise, Mitch Ditkoff channels Rumi and Kabir in a 21st century voice. The best poems anchor elation and bliss in the physical world as the poet converses with the Divine like a rabbi from the 4th century writing Midrash. He stumbles closer to God, a modern-day ecstatic seeking to tongue the unspoken in words. Drop everything, read this book!" -- Jennifer Boire
"Compelling, uplifting, a heartwarming treat. More delicious than chocolate!" -- David Passes
"In the timeless tradition of Gibran, Rumi and Hafiz, Mitchell's words reveal that hidden in our ordinary lives, lives a place of extraordinary beauty. Known in silence by few, but available to all." -- Stuart Hoffman
"Mitch Ditkoff is a poet's poet. His deep love and appreciation for the written word is profoundly received through his poetry." -- Steven Ornstein
"You'll find, in Full Moon at Sunrise, the adventure in your heart. Wizards and magic, Sufis and Buddhas, drunken Dervishes, the Great Friend, and perhaps hear whispers of the endless dance between the Master and student. You'll greet old friends, Kabir, Rumi, Moses and Hafiz, touching illuminated hearts, long before speech existed, and catch the fire in children's eyes as they sled down a city hill in the soft rays of a setting winter sun, all speaking of the enchanting moment called Now: Enjoy!" -- Jonathan LloydNovember 17, 2012
How 13-Year Old Girls Can Wipe Out Terrrorism
This just in! World Peace is just around the corner -- or, at the very least, terrorism will soon be a thing of the past. It's official! And the Huffington Post has just validated my unique stance on this very important issue.
Click here to find out how 13-year old girls can help wipe out terrorism and restore this great planet of ours to a more peaceful way of life. I know my take on the matter may seem a bit radical, but it's likely to work a whole lot better than the TSA and all those goofy airport scanner machines.November 16, 2012
VOTE FOR ME (I will not raise taxes, start a war, or give a boring speech)
Good news! A leading Speaker's Bureau has just nominated me as a TOP FIVE SPEAKER in the field of innovation & creativity. To win, I need your vote.
So... if you believe I've added value to this field and am speaking about it in a way that inspires and educates, I humbly ask for your vote.
All you need to do is click this link , then scroll down to the fifth category and check the box next to my name (MITCHELL DITKOFF). Then scroll to the bottom and enter your name etc. The whole thing will take you less than three minutes.
My ten tips for giving a great keynote.November 15, 2012
Because I'm the Mom
This is so funny and so true -- I think I just peed in my pants. For all you moms out there, enjoy this 2:55 second paean to parenting.
Big thanks to Paul Alexander for the heads up.November 14, 2012
Getting Into the Webinar Business?
in your pajamas?
meaningful to communicate?
Want to compete with
a million other people
with the same aspiration?
Enter the fabulous world
But at your own risk.
It's simple, but success
doesn't necessarily come easy.
We are learning this,
having thrown our virtual hat
in the ring nine months ago.
Our top ten tips
now on Huffington Post.
Big thanks to Sarah Jacob for all her insight and savvy!
The Four Currents of a Culture of Innovation
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:
1. Top Down
2. Bottom Up
3. Outside In
4. Inside Out
1. TOP DOWN: It is essential that the leaders of your organization play a "culture-enhancing role" far more than they currently do. They may not think they have the time or the experience, but they've got to step up to the plate and really own the effort.
The people in the trenches need to know that the head honchos not only care about innovation, but are willing to do whatever it takes to establish a company culture conducive to it.
I'm not advocating phony pep talks from the C-Suite. I'm advocating that senior leaders actually lead the effort. I'm advocating that all those wonderful people with three letter acronyms after their name walk the innovation talk... stir the soup... shake and bake... and do everything they can do to martial company resources in whatever way is necessary to transform "business as usual" to "I love this place and I can't wait to get to work." Yes, it's possible.
2. BOTTOM UP: If an organization wants to innovate, it will need to get everyone into the act. Not just senior leaders. Not just R&D. Everyone. Ideas -- the fuzzy front end of innovation -- can come from anywhere, anytime. When an organization really GETS this and finds new ways to tap the collective brainpower of the workforce, the culture starts changing for the better. People become more proactive. More energized. More passionate about their work.
Indeed, it could easily be said that the democratization of the workplace is one of the most important social movements of the 21st century. As power and decision-making trickle down, creative output ratchets up. People become self-organizing, self-directed and, on a really good day, selflessly committed to being a force for positive change.
3. OUTSIDE IN: Establishing a culture of innovation is only meaningful if the fruits of the effort yield the kind of results that are valued by your customers. Otherwise, the effort to "change the culture" will turn into some kind of weird, solipsistic ritual that will have no impact on the people you are serving.
Do you know who your customers are? Do you know what they want? Do you have any kind of process in place to track changing market conditions, demographics, and emerging trends? Have you figured out how to get real feedback and input from your customers -- how to include them in your ideation process?
4. INSIDE OUT: Ah... now we're really getting down to it. If you want a culture of innovation, you will need to find a way to unleash the passion, fascination, and inspiration of your workforce.
Not by dangling carrots and sticks (read Dan Pink's new book, Drive, if you doubt me), but by finding a way to activate the innate desire for meaning, enjoyment, and success that is buried deep within the bones of every single person who shows up for work day after day.
Organizations don't innovate. People do.
If you can find a way to unlock the primal mojo of your workforce, you won't need to manage as much as you do. You won't need to rely so heavily on incentive plans, performance reviews, pep talks, frowns, and punishment.
That stuff only exists because your workforce is disengaged.
But when people are on fire with purpose, in touch with their own authentic desire to create, a culture of innovation will naturally evolve.
A big thank you to Val Vadeboncoeur, Tim Moore, Barry Gruenberg, Paul Roth, and Michael Pergola for their humongous collaboration, insight, creativity, and perseverance on this topic.
Great, New Kickstarter Project!
I am sure you have heard of Kickstarter, the very cool crowdsourcing site that has enabled so many underfunded creatives launch amazing new projects.
Here's a newly launched Kickstarter project I invite you to consider supporting -- originated by a very good friend of mine, David Nelsen-Epstein, a history and filmmaking teacher at Onteora High School in the Hudson Valley (where my daughter, Mimi, is currently a student).
Simply put, David is trying to raise $7,500 to help aspiring teen film makers follow their film making passion.
The kids are pumped. David is pumped. All they need is a little start up moolah to get their project off the ground. Click here to donate. Will take you less than two minutes. Thanks!50 Awesome Quotes on Risk Taking
Is it time
Get out of
your comfort zone?
Take a new step
a little queasy?
to go beyond
the status quo?
Here's the ticket.
50 quotes on risk taking,
my latest piece
on Huffington Post.
The Origins of the Stop Sign
I've been doing some fascinating research lately on the origins of common objects in our lives -- things we see daily, but often take for granted.
Like the Stop Sign, for example.
Most people think the Stop Sign was created to regulate traffic. Not true.
According to Dr. Ellison Burke of the Global Institute for Slowing Things Down Before You Hurt Yourself Badly, the origin of the Stop Sign has nothing to do with traffic -- and dates back several thousand years.
Historical references to the Stop Sign have been noted in more than 27 civilizations, most notably Babylonia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Crete, Rome, and the Han Dynasty.
According to social scientists, each of these civilizations experienced one or more periods of rapid growth now referred to in the literature as "Societal Acceleration Syndrome" -- the way in which daily transactions speed up in proportion to a civilization's escalating Gross National Product.
In other words, speed has become one of the most statistically predicable indicators of a civilization's development and, as I will get to later in this posting, eventual decline.
My research doesn't end here, however.
In each of the above-mentioned civilizations, there have always been a small, but vocal, group of citizens who -- concerned about the quickening pace of daily life -- have warned about this phenomenon.
Indeed, a joint longitudinal study conducted by the Yukon Archeological Institute and the Asian Society for Shorter Haiku, has revealed that this "small, but highly committed group of citizens" has made repeated efforts to diffuse their respective society's "escalating addiction to velocity."
In Sumeria, for example, a fringe group of philosophers and poets routinely posted "Styopsian" signs at strategic intersections throughout the country -- not to stop traffic, but to stop unnecessary "mind movement."
Their effort resonated with the citizenry and eventually led to the widespread appearance of what modern day sociologists now refer to as "stop signs" -- in urban centers, small villages, cattle crossings, universities, and even cornfields.
One of the most curious facts I've unearthed in my research is this: For the past 2,000 years, Stop Signs, regardless of the country of origin, have always been octagonal.
Apparently, each side of this iconic 8-sided, cross-cultural symbol of hoped-for stillness, has been imbued with a secret teaching of great import:
1. Slow down
2. Pay attention
3. Look around
5. Look within
6. Breathe deeply
8. Move consciously
And so... the next time you see a Stop Sign, you may want to remember that you are in the act of receiving a very ancient message -- one that preceded Starbucks, Twitter, YouTube, MTV, and email by thousands of years.
Next week... the YIELD SIGN.
ED NOTE: It has recently come to my attention that some readers of this blog have questioned my research methods and the veracity of my findings. A quick Google search of "Dr. Ellison Burke" and the "Global Institute for Cross-Cultural Studies," they claim, reveals not a single link. Frankly, I am baffled by their assertions and have assigned five of my brightest research assistants to get to the bottom of this immediately. In the meantime, you may want to contemplate the semi-ancient words of modern day social scientists, Simon and Garfunkel:
"Slow down, you're moving too fast. Ya gotta make the morning last..."November 05, 2012
What You Can Learn From W.C. Fields
Is it possible
that a youthful,
to help you
get a major
and on it's way
to a breakthrough?
Newest article of mine
on Huffington Post.
Einstein as Nostradamus
Thanks to Farrell Reynolds for the heads up.
Good News! Wisdom at Work!
I am thrilled to announce that a wonderful NYC literary agency, Levine/Greenberg, has just taken me on as a client and will be leading the charge to find just the right publisher for my next book, Wisdom at Work.
Wisdom at Work is a fresh look at the phenomenon of "moments of truth" on the job, like this one or this one-- extraordinary glimpses of "the real" that show up, unexpectedly, in the midst of ordinary circumstances.
The end game with my book is to launch "wisdom circles" in organizations -- engaging forums that allow employees to share their own wisdom with each other, via the telling of their own remarkable stories. If you want to know when the book will be available, simply enter your email address into the "Our New Book" box on the Idea Champions homepage.