December 30, 2014
Vote for Mitch Ditkoff as Best Innovation Blogger of the Year

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If you have received any value, in 2014, from the postings in this blog, please consider casting your vote, today, for Mitch Ditkoff, the primary author of The Heart of Innovation -- now in the running for "Best Innovation Blogger of the Year." All you need to do is click this link, scroll down to the REPLY area and write his name in the comments box. Then click "Post Comment." Will take you two minutes or less. Voting ends 12/31.

All of us at Idea Champions extend a hearty HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours. May 2015 be filled with peace, joy, and prosperity for you.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2014
Cast Your Vote for the Top Innovation Blogger of 2014

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Click here. Then scroll down and enter your name and email address in the space provided. Then enter my name, MITCH DITKOFF, in the comments field. If you value another blogger's work more, enter THEIR name. Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:03 AM | Comments (2)

December 27, 2014
Storytelling and Business Podcast

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If you are interested in the relationship between storytelling and business, you might like this just released 34-minute podcast -- Innovation Engine interviewing Idea Champions' co-founder and President, Mitch Ditkoff.

Like the poet Muriel Rukyser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories."

Storytelling workshop
Power of storytelling in business

25 quotes on storytelling
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:50 PM | Comments (3)

December 26, 2014
Happy Morphing in 2015!

Idea Champions
Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)

December 23, 2014
The 25 Most Influential Innovation Blogs and Experts: 2014

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GOOD NEWS! Idea Champions' The Heart of Innovation blog was just chosen as one of the top 25 "innovation blogs and experts" of 2014 (just 86 years after the first American Yo Yo factory opened in California). Check it out here. To be more specific, The Heart of Innovation is listed as #20. So, it's officially official: You are not a loser for reading this blog. On the contrary, you are insightful, intelligent, adventurous, creative, and very good looking, if not just a wee bit twisted. PS: There are a number of other, fine innovation blogs noted on Nick Skillicorn's end-of-the-year-round-up. Worth a look.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 PM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2014
The Seed of Innovation Moment

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If you want to foster innovation in your company, stop obsessing about programs and initiatives for a moment and simply help your people learn how to tune into the seed of innovation moment. It's much less expensive, and much more likely to yield results.

A simple way to begin
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2014
BIG IDEA: Empowering the Homeless

What idea do you have to make a difference? What can YOU do to go beyond the obvious and really be of service to people in need? And if you work in an organization, how can you rally the troops to join you in the venture? Check out what 24-year old Veronika did. Genius!



Need to brainstorm it with others?

Just need a starter idea?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2014
The Awesome Power of Immersion

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"If I had an hour to solve a problem," explained Albert Einstein, "I'd spend the first 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and the last five solving it."

Translation? One of the secrets to having a big breakthrough is immersion -- "the state of being deeply engaged, involved, or absorbed."

Immersion is the ocean in which our fabulous insights, ideas, and illuminations are swimming. That's why Yogis seek out caves, embryos gestate, and writers go on retreat.

And that's why my business partner, Steven McHugh, and I rented a townhouse in Boulder, Colorado for 30 days and 30 nights when it was time for us to start up Idea Champions. We knew we had a great idea for a business, but we also knew that ideas were a dime a dozen and that unless we really immersed we'd end up with nothing much more than a charming story to tell at cocktail parties -- the idea for a business, but not the business itself.

Armed with little more than a flip chart, a few marking pens, and a burning desire to create something new, we unplugged from all our other commitments and jumped in with both feet.

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We talked. We walked. We walked our talk. We noodled. We conjured. We brainstormed, blue-skied, dialogued, role played, invented, read, sang, stretched, drank coffee, wine, the crisp Colorado air, and whatever else it took to free ourselves from the gravity of what we already knew. If this was Rocky 1, our townhouse was the Gym, Adrienne nowhere in sight.

And every night before we went to bed, blissed out of our trees, we'd remind each other to remember our dreams and speak them aloud the first thing in the morning.

CLUES. We were looking for clues, hints, perfumed handkerchiefs dropped by our muse while we slept and anything else that bubbled to the surface of the imaginal stew we found ourselves now swimming in.

Crackpots? No. More like crockpots, simmering in our own creative juices, unimpaired by the almost infinite amount of distractions we had grown accustomed to calling our life.

Immersed. We were completely immersed -- two eggs submerged in the boiling water of creation, heat turned up, lid on, timer off.

Our walls? The walls of our abode? Covered with paper, sketches, scribbles, post-its, quotes, pictures, lists, charts, diagrams, questions, and take out menus -- the barely decipherable hieroglyphics of our journey into who knows where.

The floors? Our mothers would have had a heart attack, littered as they were with anything we didn't have a place for. Rube Goldberg meets Fellini. Yin meets Yang meets Jung -- the flora and fauna of two aspiring entrepreneurs on fire with possibility.

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But our immersion went far beyond the four walls of our abode. It was a state of mind, not a geographical location. It didn't really matter where we were. Walking by the creek or sitting in a bar was all the same to us, ruled as we were by our shared fascination, random silken threads of conversation with complete strangers, and the increasingly apparent sense that we were on to something big.

And then, on the morning of the 19th day, very much at ease in our townhouse abode, there was a knock on the door -- a loud and insistent knock, a knock both of us found rather odd since nobody knew where we lived -- or so we thought.

"It's open," Steven shouted from across the room. "Go ahead and let yourself in."

And there, at the threshold, stood a woman neither of us knew, a woman boldly announcing that, for the past three days, she'd been hearing about "these two creativity guys" and she just had to meet us, her business now on the cusp of either breaking through or breaking down.

I don't remember a single thing of we said, but whatever it was hit the nail on the head.

The next day, there was another knock on the door. Apparently, someone else had heard about our whereabouts. This guy had a business, too, or was trying to have a business. He spoke. We listened. He spoke some more. We listened some more, occasionally asking a question or two and sharing some insight. He too, got what he needed.

On the third day, Jesus did not rise from the grave, but, yes, there was another knock on the door -- just enough proof to the logical part of our minds that the previous two visits were not random events, but part of some kind of emerging pattern -- what fans of Rupert Sheldrake might refer to as manifestations of the morphogenetic field, or what less metaphysical folks might describe as our very own "field of dreams."

Steven and I had done nothing at all to draw these people to us -- no ads in the paper, no posters on poles, no calls, no emails, no flyers, no social marketing campaigns. The only thing we'd done was immerse -- dig deeply into our own highly charged process of creating something new.

But this "nothing at all" wasn't nothing at all. It was something -- something grand and glorious. Something extraordinarily attractive.

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Is a mother hen sitting on her egg doing nothing at all? Is she slacking? Is her seeming disappearance from the poultry marketplace a sign of irresponsibility?

To the casual observer, maybe that's what it looks like, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sitting is exactly what the mother hen needs to do in order to bring new life into the world. Stillness, not action, is her path.

Did Steven and I accomplish what we set out to do during our 30 days of immersion? Yes, we did. In spades. Beyond the inspiration, collaboration, and good feelings we experienced, we emerged with the design of our first product -- a creative thinking training we ended up licensing to AT&T just two years later for a truck load of money.

Was our immersion time all fun and games? No way. Chaos and confusion were our housemates, but the rent they paid sparked a ton of learning, creativity, discovery, and a new found willingness to make friends with the unknown -- what Henry Miller was referring to when he defined confusion as "simply a word we've invented for an order that is not yet understood."

In today's business world, immersion is a very rare commodity. ADD rules the day. Time is sliced and diced. We don't have time. Time has us. We tweet, we delete, we tap our feet, but all too often nothing much beyond the status quo ever really happens. Downtime has become an anathema -- the province of "B list" players. Busy-ness and business have become synonymous.

The assumption? The more we do and the faster we do it, the more success we'll have. Boil an egg? Ha! We microwave it -- even if it tastes like shit. Dive in? No way. We hydroplane.

But it doesn't have to be that way. It really doesn't.

Slowing down and going deep trumps speeding up and going crazy. Immersion trumps diversion. It's possible. Yes, it is. I have proof. And so do YOU, if only you would pause long enough to remember those extraordinary times when you unplugged, tuned in, and dove into your own process of creating something new and wonderful.

A QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

What can you do, this week, month, or quarter, to unplug from the daily grind and give yourself the luxury of immersion? Where will you go? When? And who will you invite to accompany you, if anyone?

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

Idea Champions
Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2014
Win a Subscription to Free the Genie

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In an effort to ho, ho, ho the ground for innovation in 2015 (and in gratitude for YOU being a reader of Heart of Innovation), Idea Champions will be giving away five annual subscriptions to our Free the Genie creative thinking app. If you want to enter the raffle, simply send an email to info@ideachampions.com by 12/26 and include one New Year's resolution you are making for the coming year. If your name is selected, we'll send you the link to your free subscription on 12/31. Go for it! And happy holidays to you!

FreeTheGenie.com
Five ways to use Free the Genie
The non-virtual version

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2014
How to Jump Start Brilliance in 2015 in an Extremely Cost Effective Way

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The first company that says YES to Idea Champions' brainstorm facilitation training (and signs a contract by 12/31) receives a 20% discount. This ain't eBay folks, but it IS a good deal. Operators are NOT standing by. (We don't have any operators). But we will get back to you within 24 hours.)

Brainstorm Champions

What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2014
PEACE: The Ultimate Innovation

PEACE ON EARTH: The biggest innovation possible. (And it begins with YOU -- right here, right now).

Idea Champions
Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2014
Who We Are and What We Do

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When my mother was alive, she would ask me, at regular intervals, what I did for a living. I would do my best to explain it to her but, somehow, her explanations to her friends around the canasta table always ended up with some version of "my son is a motivational speaker." No matter how hard I tried to educate dear Sylvia about what I REALLY did, nothing stuck. It would have been easy if I was a doctor, lawyer, or dentist, but I wasn't. I was a....

Anyway, a few days ago, a new prospect of Idea Champions just asked me a similar question. This is what I told her:

Idea Champions is an innovation consulting and training company, headquartered in Woodstock, NY. Since 1987, we have been helping a wide variety of forward thinking organizations increase their employee's ability and commitment to think creativity, generate powerful new, business-growth ideas, collaborate, and develop the kind of organizational culture that is conducive to sustainable innovation.

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How we accomplish this noble goal depends on the current reality of each client, their level of commitment, and what their hoped-for outcomes are.

Services we provide include: innovation-sparking keynotes, leadership development sessions, creative thinking training, facilitated brainstorming sessions, culture of innovation workshops, brainstorm facilitation training, team building, executive coaching, and innovation-sparking materials.

Our clients have included: General Electric, AT&T, Merck, Lucent Technologies, NBC Universal, Pfizer, Kraft Foods, General Mills, MTV Networks, Chubb insurance, Goodyear Tire, Citibank, Wells Fargo, TV Guide, Hitachi, A&E Television, Genentech, Michelin, Con Edison, MBooth, Blue States Digital, Duke Corporate Education, Atlanticare, TIAA Cref, The National Institutes of Health, Champion International, Coca Cola, and a host of others. This is what they say about us.

Intrigued? Check out either or both of our websites:

Idea Champions
Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

"What Is There at This Moment That You Lack?" Said the Zen Master

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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2014
How Big Ideas Make Their Appearance at the Most Unexpected Times

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Just published in the Huffington Post
-- the story of how BIG IDEAS sometimes manifest in the most unexpected situations -- in this case, the idea for a business blues band that came to me late one night, as a young parent, while I was out on the town with my wife for "date night."

Where do YOU get your breakthrough ideas?

Face the Music
How to attract a big AHA!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:33 PM | 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.

Storytelling at Work
Storytelling at Work is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling in business – why it matters and what you and your organization can do to leverage the impact of storytelling in the workplace.
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.
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Webinars Powered by
Idea Champions University
Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.
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.
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!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN
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