September 26, 2014
Derek Jeter Wins the Game!

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September 19, 2014
26 Inspired Quotes on the Innovation Most Needed on Planet Earth -- PEACE!

You've heard of product innovation, process innovation, business model innovation, and disruptive innovation. Now it's time for PEACE INNOVATION -- and that's what's happening on September 21st all around the world as millions of people in cities, towns, and hamlets gather together to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

Want to know more? See more? Feel more? Tune into PeaceCast, a 48-hour livestream broadcast to celebrate the International Day of Peace. Starts at 8:00 am (EDT) on 9/20 and ends at 6:00 am (EDT) on 9/22.

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September 15, 2014
Is Peace the Innovation We Need the Most?

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"Innovation" continues to be a hot topic in corporate circles these days -- a "competitive edge" organizations are increasingly attempting to hone so they can not only differentiate themselves from the competition, but survive in today's topsy turvy economy.

That being said, there are some forward thinking organizations out there who are going beyond the status quo and seriously asking themselves what they can do differently to not only be "socially responsible", but use their corporate clout to help various peace-themed global causes truly impact positive change.

If that describes your organization, please contact us. Idea Champions, in 2015, will be launching a new innovation-sparking service to help corporations, world wide, figure out HOW they can leverage their resources, bandwidth, and brainpower to foster peace and well-being in the world -- and still make a profit.

International Day of Peace in the Huffington Post
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September 13, 2014
JUST RELEASED -- Citizens of the Earth

Here's a powerful, 2-minute video, that supports the message of the International Day of Peace. If you would like to encourage your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and customers to pause for a moment and reflect on the need for peace, this is a good link to send them.

Idea Champions is proud to be one of Peace for People's partners.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2014
The Big, Hairy Moment of Truth

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There is a moment in everyone's life when all the cards are on the table, all the chips, too -- the moment of truth when the entire universe, it seems, is conspiring to call one's attention to the choice we have every single minute of the day to let go of our past and move towards what is truly calling us, even if we have no idea where it will lead.

One such moment happened for me in 1969, during my first and only semester as a graduate student at Brown University's prestigious MFA Creative Writing Program.

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Like most long-haired, sallow-cheeked, Vietnam-phobic seekers of truth whose depression-imprinted parents would have much preferred him to have chosen law, medicine, or teeth over poetry, I found myself, at the ripe old age of 22, majorly existentially challenged -- sleeping 12 hours a day, posting my newly minted poems on trees at midnight, and feverishly reading Rilke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams just in case the conversation turned thusly with any number of far more well-read poetry professors of mine engaging me in literary conversations at any number of ultra hip parties I kept getting invited to -- the kind of heady gatherings where Kurt Vonnegut and other traveling bards kept showing up, laugh lines around their eyes unable to mask a lifetime's worth of sadness, disappointment, and despair.

It was at one of these Ivy League literary soirees, emboldened by drinking and smoking more than I should have that I found myself consumed with a burning question rising from my loins -- the kind of question that, if unspoken, everything I ended up writing from that moment on would be nothing more than a clever overcompensation for my inability to speak my truth now.

Approaching my first professor, large glass of cheap red wine in my right hand, I let the question fly: "If you could be anywhere in the world, at this precise moment in time, where would you be?"

"Hmmm...", Professor #1 replied, dramatically pausing and looking to the ceiling just in case a beautiful co-ed or his editor was standing nearby, "excellent question, indeed! Let me see... if I could be anywhere in the world at this precise moment in time where would it be? Well... that would be Baja California. Definitely Baja Calfornia. I love it there."

Nodding and doing my bearded graduate student best not to bump into anyone as I made my way across the suddenly tilting-to-the-left room, I spotted my second professor, an unhappily married, hammock-bellied, minor poet of a man who, I knew, had been, for the past few weeks, hitting on the same unhappily married shopkeeper in town that I was.

"Guatemala," he blurted. "For sure, Guatemala, especially the small village whose name I can't, for the life of me, remember right now -- a village just 15 miles outside the capital city. Love that place!"

Fueled as I was by what was now emerging as a definable pattern of response from my professors, I quickly found my way to the bar where Professor #3 was holding court, a large hummous stain on his too small polyester shirt.

"Where would I be if I could be anywhere in the world?" he repeated. "That's easy! The Pacific Northwest. How I love the rain and the fog! What a great place to get away from it all. You should go there sometime."

As I walked away, 22-year-old-knowingly, to the last of the lot, it began dawning on me that none of my so called mentors wanted to be where they were. All of them wanted to be SOMEWHERE ELSE -- a better place, a warmer place, a more exotic place. And here I was, restless, semi-depressed, aspiring to be like them one day -- when 20 years later someone else would be standing in this exact same place asking ME where I wanted to be and my answer, like those of my professors, would very likely be SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Why not leave NOW while I could still get out of town? Why not follow my muse?

If I needed proof, I had all the proof I needed. Four professors. Four questions. Four of the same answers.

I slept very well that night and the next night, too. When my Monday morning class rolled around -- the class Professor #1 began by calling my name and noting with tenured gravitas that he wanted to SEE ME immediately after class, a request that indicated only one thing -- the jig was up, that I, Mr-Attempt-to-Outstare-My-Professors-So-They-Would-Think-I-Knew-More-Than-I-Did, was about to be summarily kicked out of school, underwhelmed as my teachers were by the spotty quality of my work and the insidious ways in which Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Dylan Thomas had leaked into my writing, not to mention the fact that I still had no clue why Wallace Stevens was such a big deal.

"Mr. Ditkoff," Professor #1 announced as the class emptied out, "the faculty and I... after much deliberation... have decided to give you a full teaching scholarship."

"That's interesting," I replied. "I quit."

"Quit?" he replied. "Quit? You can't quit. Do you realize what you're passing up here -- a totally free education."

"Like I said, sir. I quit. My education needs to happen somewhere else."

Which is exactly what happened.

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Two days later I was no longer a Brown University graduate student. Two weeks later I was living where I really wanted to live -- Cambridge, fucking Massachusetts, and doing what I really wanted to be doing -- being a night desk clerk at a second rate hotel -- plenty of time to read what I wanted, plenty of time to write -- and plenty of time to live the poetry of life -- out of which the books would later flow.


THE COMMENTARY

It doesn't take a genius or a Professor at an Ivy League university to figure out the moral of this little story. DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. LIVE WHERE YOU WANT TO LIVE. AND DO IT NOW, NOT LATER. Time is passing. Life is too short to be living someone else's concept of it, too short to be living even your concept of it. There is something, beyond logic, beyond reason, beyond your ability to understand, that is calling you. Listen to it. Honor it. Trust it. What others might call "quitting" isn't really quitting at all -- it's letting go of the past and moving into the moment called NOW.


Excerpted from Mitch Ditkoff's forthcoming book: WISDOM AT WORK: How Moments of Truth on the Job Reveal the Real Business of Life.

Black and white photo of me at 22: Gary Alter

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:17 PM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2014
REAL ROI: Return on Imagination!

If you're a champion of innovation, chances are good you've encountered the ROI beast more than a few times -- senior leaders looking at you cross-eyed and questioning the value of your efforts. Stop the madness! Change the game! Forward this slide show today!

First, get clear about your problem

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

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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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