December 22, 2013
Steve Jobs' Parents' Garage Now A Landmark

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The Los Altos, California, Historical Commission recently voted to designate 2066 Crist Drive -- the house where Steve Jobs grew up, with the legendary garage where Apple Computer was born -- as an "historic resource."

It's not the only famous garage of its kind in Silicon Valley, but between Jobs' astonishingly long line of successful breakthroughs and the fact that Apple has been bobbing in and out of the top spot of most valuable company in the world (jostling past Exxon Mobil and the stragglers, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and IBM), it'll do for the symbol of them all.

That garage, built in 1952, would 24 years later become the lab where he and co-founder Steve Wozniak assembled the first 100 Apple I computers.

"Woz," of course, was the engineer who imagined and created the working computer that put the stars in Jobs' eyes, and made them both stars in the process.

The garage's other historic function was office -- the space where Jobs met with their first investors.

The first 50 computers created by Jobs and Wozniak were sold to an electronics store in nearby Mountain View for $500 each. The rest were assembled for their friends in the Homebrew Computer Club, part of the tech ecosystem the two Steves were nurtured by.

Today, original Apple I's sell for tens of thousands. One was auctioned off a few years ago for more than $200,000.

That little garage simply reminds us that the power of a great idea -- put into effect with a committed team, solid planning, and persistent follow through -- can create the largest effect out of very humble beginnings.

- by Bill Ross

What BIG IDEA of yours will launch in 2014? And where will you develop it?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2013
The Fine Art of Blue Sky Thinking

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In 1989, Gary Kasparov, the Soviet Union Grand Chess Master, played a two game match against "Deep Blue," the reigning supercomputer of the time.

Kasparov won easily.

When asked by the media what his competitive advantage was, he cited two things: intuition and the ability to fantasize.

Einstein, too, was a big fan of fantasizing. "The ability to fantasize," he said, "is more important to me than my ability to absorb positive knowledge."

Few of us, in the workplace, are ever encouraged to fantasize -- a behavior most commonly associated with children, flakes, or perverts. And yet, fantasizing is exactly how many breakthrough ideas get their start -- a quantum leap of thought by some "dreamer" entertaining the seemingly impossible.

A SIMPLE BLUE SKY THINKING TECHNIQUE:

6492569.jpg1. Make a wish for the successful resolution of your most pressing business challenge. (i.e. "I wish it was easier... faster... cheaper.")

2. Extend this wish further by making a wild wish -- something less likely than your wish, but still in the realm of possibility.

3. Stretch your wild wish even further by thinking of a fantasy solution to your challenge -- a seemingly impossible way to get a result. (If your fantasy solution makes you laugh or whistle, you're on the right track).

4. Distill your fantasy solution down to it's core principle -- the essence or gist hidden within it.

5. Using this core principle as a catalyze, conjure up -- and write down -- at least five new ideas to help you meet your goal.

Excerpted from our Blue Sky Thinking guidebook
It helps people open up to new possibilities

And take intelligent risks
One way we do it real-time

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:40 PM | Comments (2)

When Oversleeping Before a Big Keynote Presentation is the Perfect Thing to Do

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One thing I do for a living is speak -- as in delivering keynote presentations to large groups of business people. Usually, I am very well-prepared -- but even when I'm well-prepared, part of my service includes waking up on time in order to deliver the keynote.

Here's a brief story, newly published in the Huffington Post, about the one time I overslept -- and what the silver lining of that experience was for me -- what I learned about the existential choice I have, every single second of the day -- the choice between fear and presence.

My innovation keynotes
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2013
15 Awesome Quotes on the Real Meaning of Work

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1. "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi

2. "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you." - Mother Teresa

3. "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Martin Luther King Jr.

4. "How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?" - Vincent Van Gogh

5. "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

6. "Selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping humanity in one's heart." - Sai Baba

7. "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy." - Rabindranath Tagore

8. "As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things. To do service, you don't have to be a doctor working in the slums for free, or become a social worker. Your position in life and what you do doesn't matter as much as how you do what you do." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

9. "Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment." - Anthony Robbins

10. "Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing." - Quincy Jones

11. "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." - Mother Teresa

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12. "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." - Mahatma Gandhi

13. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." - Edward Everett Hale

14. "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." - Edmund Burke

15. "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden

Big thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur for finding these quotes.

The Meaning of Engagement
The Meaning of Real Brainstorming
The Meaning of Innovation Keynotes

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2013
Ten Seconds of Your Time

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Got ten seconds? Value my contribution to the field of innovation and creativity? If so, please consider voting for me as TOP 5 SPEAKER in the field. A leading Speakers Bureau has just nominated me. It's a big honor and now it's time to get out the vote.

Willing? All you need to do is click this link, scroll to the INNOVATION & CREATIVITY section and check the box next to my name (MITCHELL DITKOFF). Then scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your name and email address and click the SUBMIT button. That's it.

Thanks! Merci! Gracias! Much appreciated! Click this link to vote.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2013
The Real Flowering of Innovation

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ED.NOTE: The following is dedicated to all the male readers of this blog -- especially those who are married, work too hard, and think about "innovation" just a little too much.

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.

"Cut 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. Logic 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.

Indeed, next time we meet, you have my permission to ask me how the flower thing is going.

Remember, flowers first. (OK. Stop reading this blog. Go out and get some flowers, already).

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If you want your company to flower
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

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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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