May 31, 2016
The Syndrome Syndrome and the Rise of the New World Disorder(s)


Here's a fun test for you: If you can read the rest of this paragraph without logging onto Facebook, tweeting, or thinking about crop circles, there's a good chance you do not have ADD, ADHD, or any other recently-identified medical condition.

That's the good news. The not-so-good news? The overwhelming number of disorders, dysfunctions, and syndromes popping up daily make it almost impossible to understand exactly what condition you actually have.

As a concerned citizen, humanitarian, and Johnny Depp look-a-like, I've decided to go beyond my SAHS (Social Activist Hesitation Syndrome) and actually do something about it.

Below, you will find my guide to 14 of the most recently identified medical conditions. Study them carefully. If you have one of them, please check your health insurance policy immediately to see if it will cover the cost of the medicines you will soon feel compelled to buy.


1. FSGDD (Five Star General Distraction Disorder):
The involuntary tendency of high ranking military officials to throw away their careers and share classified information with well-dressed socialites looking for diplomatic immunity so they won't have to pay their parking tickets or wait on line at Wal-Mart.

2. CFSUD (Chronic Facebook Status Update Disorder): A debilitating disease that shuts down the immune system whenever a person's need to change their Facebook status update supersedes their need to change their underwear, breathe, or have a meaningful conversation with another human being.

3. RAQS (Reflexive Air Quote Syndrome):
The simultaneous extension of the index and middle finger, of both hands, to signal to anyone in one's visual field that the word or phrase about to be spoken is either inconsequential, hyper-inflated, or attributed to someone from an opposing political party.


4. TGRES (Teenage Girl Rolling Eye Syndrome): The upward, lateralized movement of eyeballs in the presence of parents, teachers, or guidance counselors in the still forming cerebral cortex of teenage girls. Or like, whatever.

5. CPD (Compulsive Photoshop Disorder): A distortion of the visual field in which people, objects, animals, or natural expressions of Mother Nature are perceived to be deficient, requiring immediate digital manipulation.

6. MPS (Marital Projection Syndrome):
A compensatory nervous system reaction triggered whenever a husband or wife believes so strongly in their own concepts of right and wrong that all they can do is criticize, judge, and wallow in self-righteousness for extended periods of time, resulting in high therapy bills, the sensation of walking on eggshells, and the cessation of sex for 30 days.

7. PID (Premature Intervention Disorder): The hallucinated belief by war-mongering American politicians that invading and occupying other countries for ridiculously long periods of time will increase national security, distract people from thinking about the economy, and lower gas prices.

8. (VCD) Virtual Connection Dysfunction: The involuntary flapping of opposable thumbs, accompanied by the sudden, compulsive search for the nearest Smart Phone during early or late stage lovemaking.


9. RCOD (Remote Control Overload Disorder): A state of bi-polar catatonia triggered by the inability to make sense of all those tiny, misplaced buttons on one or more remote control devices, none of which correlate to anything in the known universe.

10. ITILLJDD (I Think I Look Like Johnny Depp Disorder): The irrational belief by men over 40 that just because they have a wispy mustache, slick their hair back, and have seen Pirates of the Caribbean twice, women will want to have sex with them.

11. MGITOGD (My God Is the Only God Disorder): A fanatical mindset in which one's certainly about their own belief system can only be validated by making others wrong and, depending on the need for more oil, real estate, or power can lead to the death of thousands of innocent people.

12. FMYS (Four More Years Syndrome): The sudden, song-like repetition of the phrase "Four More Years, Four More Years" by straw hat-wearing, overweight, ridiculously optimistic followers of incumbent presidents at political rallies held in convention centers, state fairs, or parking lots.

13. CLS (Compulsive Like Disorder): The involuntary need to ask everyone you know to "like" your Facebook Page even if they don't like it, don't like you, or have already liked your page due to your incessant badgering and self-promotion.

14.BYHFSWAYTWSMLBBIAITHYSYACTHTLFSKOTOEWARLNEBATBOHND: (Blaming Your Husband For Snoring When Actually You, the Wife, Snore Much Louder, But Because It's Almost Impossible to Hear Yourself Snoring, You Are Constantly Telling Him to Look for Some Kind of Treatment Or Else Wear a Ridiculous Looking, Nostril-Expanding Bandaid Across the Bridge of His Nose Dysfunction.) Just what it sounds like.

Also published in the Huffington Post
My Keynote Presentations
Story Telling as an Innovation Catalyst
Idea Champions

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May 27, 2016
The Art of Evelyne Pouget

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Do You Have the Courage to Find Out Just How Good (or Not Good) Your Brainstorm Sessions Are?


Many of us wince when we hear the word "feedback", especially when it relates to our own performance. We tend to see feedback as criticism or a veiled personal attack. And for good reason. We've all been on the receiving end of feedback that was anything but complementary -- open season, you might say, on US! Not a pleasant experience.

But feedback, in its truest sense, is as much a part of our lives as breathing. The fact is -- we're giving and receiving feedback, in many forms, all the time.

For example, our spouses, friends, children, and even pets, are always giving us feedback. By word, body language, gesture, energy level, focus of attention, and feeling we're signaling others how we are experiencing what they're saying and doing -- and they are doing the same in return.


With "communication" being a tricky business, however, we sometimes miss the signals or misinterpret them. As a result, it becomes difficult for us to improve our performance because we simply don't know what to improve and why.

The antidote? Purposely seek out clear feedback.

That's why we, at Idea Champions, are constantly seeking out feedback from our clients. We want to know how we're doing, what we're doing well, and what we're not doing well. It's how we avoid disaster, take advantage of our strengths, and stay in business.

Over the years, we've developed a wide range of feedback polls that give our clients a simple way to rate our performance. And, now, we're offering one them to you, absolutely free -- the beginning a multi-year research project on the efficacy of brainstorm sessions in the business world.

If you have 50 or more people in your organization and want to get some insights into the state-of-the-art of your brainstorming sessions, get in touch with us ( In response, we'll send you a custom link to your very own brainstorm poll which you, in turn, can forward to anyone in your company who participates in brainstorming sessions. Less than two weeks later, we'll forward you the results, along with our observations and some food for thought.

-- Thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur, Idea Champions Director of Training, for this thought provoking piece

What our clients say
50 quotes on the power of ideas
Our most recent ecstatic client

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May 24, 2016
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing


If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.

In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.

There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.

You know, real life -- the normal ups and downs of any group of people attempting to join together to accomplish some kind of mutually agreed upon goal.

I have been fascinated by this phenomenon for years and, along the way, have had the good fortune of being a member of quite a few high performing teams, including, in high school, an undefeated, championship soccer team.


Curiously, some people think that just because they're working along side a bunch of other people they're on a team. This is not necessarily true.

What they are thinking of as a "team", may, in fact, merely be a group, club, association, assemblage, aggregation, congregation, gang, crowd, faction, posse, or loose confederation of highly opinionated individuals being paid by the same employer.

A team is different -- requiring a much higher standard of participation and commitment -- not unlike the difference between "dating" and "being married."

Since there are many fine books on this topic (here's my favorite) and I know you only have a few minutes to read this highly informative and action-oriented blog post, I'm going to cut to the chase and focus on just one small component of a high performing team -- one you and your team can do something about immediately.


Yes, agreements. As in operating principles. Norms. Rules of engagement. The collective, verifiable, interpersonal behaviors that you and your teammates can say YES to and abide by that will radically enhance collaboration, communication, and connection.

Most teams operate as if their agreements are in place, but usually they're not. They may be implied, but we all know where implications get us. The same place as good intentions.

So here we go -- a checklist of 25 Team Agreements for your consideration.

I am not suggesting you adopt all of them. What I'm suggesting is that you consider them, find the ones that work for you and, in collaboration with your teammates, create your own set of agreements.

Whatever I've omitted, add. Whatever I've added that's not your cup of tea, omit. Whatever wording is off-base, bothersome, or crude, change. And while some of what's on my list may seem too granular for your taste, know this: Sometimes it's the seemingly "small stuff" that screws everything up -- like the pea under the mattress or adding one too many teaspoons of salt to an already really good pot of soup.

NOTE: I have purposely excluded what I call "Fortune Cookie" statements -- those vague teamwork truisms (sometimes called "values") that can be very important to honor, but are not always translated into action. For example, I could say "be respectful" or "communicate well", but what does that really mean? These kinds of statements can be interpreted in a million different ways. If "respect" is an agreement you want your team to live by -- and a mighty fine one it is -- then frame it in a way that each team member will know what respect looks and sounds like, real time, and will be able to notice when that agreement is either broken or ignored.



1. Co-create and commit to a compelling vision.

2. Get completely clear about roles and responsibilities. Know who's doing what. And by when.

3. Honor thy commitments.

4. If you realize that you cannot honor a commitment, inform your teammates ASAP and then renegotiate a new commitment.

5. Assume positive intent.

6. Communicate emotionally charged issues on the phone or in person, not in an email.

7. When someone speaks, listen deeply before gearing up to convince them of what you already think.

8. Share your successes with each other

9. Clear the air as quickly as possible whenever there is a breakdown

10. No triangulation! (If someone complains to you about someone else, encourage that person to work it out with the person they are complaining about.)

11. Give and receive feedback.

12. If you need help, ask for it.

13. Show up to meetings on time (and be prepared).

14. Routinely acknowledge and appreciate each other.

15. Be co-responsible. OK, maybe your team has a "leader". Fine. But when the rest of team fails to speak up or act because "they are not the leader", you got problems in River City. Everyone is responsible.

16. Share information freely. (Since, "information is power", the withholding of information is a passive aggressive way in which people wield power over each other).

17. Speak your truth, without attacking or making anyone wrong.

18. Debrief "failures." Together, find the silver lining in every cloud. In other words, learn from mistakes.

Surprised lady.jpg

19. Create sacred time to have fun together.

20. Begin each day with a 5-minute "morning unity" meeting -- a simple way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

21. Return calls and emails within 24 hours. (If you know you can't return a call or email that quickly, let your teammates know by when you will be able to respond).

22. Share best practices and lessons learned.

23. Celebrate progress (small wins).

24. Be willing to say NO if there is something you are not willing to do (rather than seeming to agree and then, simply, not doing it).

25. Check for understanding before ending a meeting or phone call. Translation? Summarize what you think the agreement or action is -- and invite others to either confirm your understanding or modify it in some way -- so when you leave for points unknown you are all on the same page, not ruled by your assumptions or projections.

BIG THANKS to the following folks for their fine input, feedback, opinions, and insight: Robyn Botellho, Eve Baer, Sharon Jeffers, Matt Altman, Janice Wilson, Kimberly Scott, Sprice Drury, Pierre Boquie, Sharon Gilbert, Janice Silver, Kathy V.J. Miller, Isis Roygbiv, Allen Feld, Liana Turner, Charlie Vacchiano, Alaya Love, Terry Delaney, Yaron Yemini, Tara Liz Driscoll, Mike Regan, Simon Crosse, Michelle Cameron, Neil Frye, James Eartheart, Suzy Chase-Motzkin, Sushila Wood, Lucka Koscak, Katya Huber, Sharon Blatt, Capilcu Milivoi, Alex Shay, Mark Putnam, Susan Margaret Pascoe, David Goldbeck, Alan Roderick-Jones, Tony Cardo, Caridad B. Monroe, Jennifer Boire, Mark Peritz, and Leah Stickles.

Idea Champions
Team Innovation
Innovation Keynotes

PS: We are in the process of producing a deck of "TeamWork Cards". If you want us to let you know when they are ready to ship, contact us.

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May 20, 2016
The Typical Conference Call

Idea Champions

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May 14, 2016
The Amazon Reviews Are In!


In 2015, somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books were published. How many of them are YOU going to read? Probably less than ten. That's why I'm quoting the following people who have reviewed my book on Amazon. I want mine to be one of those ten.

"Storytelling at Work is funny, wise, relatable and most importantly, reminded me of how to be more courageous in every day life... both work life and personal. A must read." -- MaryJane Fahey

"Mitch Ditkoff's book about the value of storytelling at work is truly a gem. It has made me realize that a story can be a mnemonic device for complex, creative thoughts and insights. The stories made me think of how things work, how we create our identities and values and gave me a Val.jpgbetter understanding of my place in the world. Give yourself a gift and read this book and you will see the world with new eyes." -- Michael Michalko

"Here's a little gem about storytelling. First, 38 bite-sized stories from the author's own business and life experience, all told in a carefree, flawless style that belies the craft that made them. And, told with a kind of impish humor that sometimes reminds one of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. which is high praise, I know. Then, at the end, some advice and inspiration about telling your own stories. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying the ride here...or should I say "rides?" Five stars." -- Val Vadeboncoeur

"If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a good story is worth a million. Mitch Ditkoff understands how to communicate so that readers understand. In his long history in business and life, he has not only been innovative, but to the point. His stories will change the way you work. Congratulations to the author who writes for the improvement of excellence in the work place, but gives priority to improvement of excellence in the human being." -- Tim Gallwey

"I love this book! Each story inspires me. Each one is so personal. Every story is filled with wisdom, reflection, and great insight. They cause me to reflect, think, and take action of some kind. It's quite magical, actually -- a joy to read, and inspiration for living. I don't want the book to end, so Mr. Ditkoff, you need to get started on Volume 2." -- Sharon Jeffers

"This book will change your life, or at the very least the way you perceive your day-to-day experiences in your place of employment. The profound insight of the author has brought me to a new understanding of my busy work life and ways of actually enjoying what I do to earn my living." -- Debbie Leppla

"I am reading this book in a non-linear way, picking it up each day and letting the pages open to a story. It's too rich and full of insight to read straight through. This is a book that offers inner shifts through good humorous soulful storytelling, exploring the lively and fascinating landscape of work and life. It's a gem!" -- Barbara Bash

THOM.jpg "Mitch's collection of stories from his rich and varied career have everything I love: humor, wit, insight, and everyman sensibility combined. Whether he's writing about working as a night clerk in a seedy hotel and being challenged to an arm-wrestling match by a CIA agent, or interviewing homeless people on the streets of NYC, or leading creative thinking seminars for Fortune 500 companies, Mitch knows how to draw us in, then peer into the human beings he encounters, and finally arrive at some glimpse of wisdom." -- Thom Adorney

"This is an amazing book by one of my top three favorite authors. It is written with humility and humor, and is filled with heart-warming, wonderful stories. The refreshing flow and beauty of the author's words wash my mind with waves of consciousness that connect with my center, inspiring me to respect my dreams and to write and share my own stories. His generosity of spirit and loving heart encourage each of us to love the best of who we are, to risk growing and to write and share our bounty with one another." -- Ginger Haffey

"Having led rites of passage and The Council Process, I understand the importance of story. The importance of story is not only in the telling of our stories, but also in the transformative power of really being listened to. The author's premise is that we all have amazing wisdom within us, and that story telling is a direct route into meaning and purpose. This enthralling book starts out as a collection of wonderful personal stories and what meaning they can bring to the reader. It ends up more like universal truth, the big picture of how we humans on planet earth can transform and thrive. This is a book that touches the heart, the human being that knows much more by feeling than can ever be known by the mind." -- Joan Apter

"I just finished this wonderful and enlightening book! It was fun to read, full of amazing life stories, and ideas of how we might use them to improve our lives at work and play! Being open to POSSIBILITIES, the unexpected, and the benevolence of the universe is the very best way to live, and Mitch shows us this over and over again with his simple, child like wonder, and amazing experiences! I wish I had read this many years ago while running several businesses, and not really living to my true potential!" -- James Burns

SCOTT.jpg"We all have stories to tell. We tell them everyday, but seldom reflect on the experience and learn from them in a conscious way. Mitch Ditkoff shares his own stories in a way that allows the reader to slow down and capture the essence of the moment. He compels one to reflect and learn from what was so that what will be can a avoid a repeat of the past." -- Scott Cronin

"Mitch Ditkoff has once again produced a powerful platform -- story telling -- that allows the reader to become an integral part these stories. While they are stories about Ditkoff's life experiences, the stories are, in effect, universal in their powerful message to all that are fortunate enough to read them. I am greatly appreciative for this spiritual journey he shares with the reader." -- Steven Ornstein

"I liked how the book teaches the art of storytelling through the author's entertaining real life tales while making readers ask: what do my life stories mean? And the section on the art and science of storytelling provided some inspiring background and practical tips. Great read!" -- Chris Corbett

erika crop.png"Mitch Ditkoff is a marvelous storyteller. In this book, he draws you into his stories to take you backstage, if you will, where you can see the invisible wiring: how stories teach, connect and inspire, and how to find and tell your own stories. As Mitch points out, we are all storytellers. He speaks to us in our native tongue, and encourages us to reply." -- Erika Andersen

"I got my copy of Mitch Ditkoff's storytelling book a couple of weeks before the book was officially launched. Three days later, the world watched as mis-wired humans under the influence of ISIS killed 130 people in Paris. It had been a long day for me by the time I sat in bed to turn off the lights. I needed a story to digest the day and properly turn its page. By my bed, among a goodly herd of books, the Bible and Ditkoff were looking at me. I chose Ditkoff. I needed something new to match the news. And turning to the bookmark where I had left off two days earlier, I saw this arresting title: The Afghani Cab Driver. As you can sense. even from the title, this story was timed well, but you need to read the story itself to see how it was a perfect dressing for the wounds of that particular day." -- Theodore Phelps

"The meta-moral in this collection of engaging stories is that wisdom emerges unexpectedly out of real-life experience. And (I guess this is Meta-Moral #2): That wisdom can be applied effectively in the workplace. The book provides examples of how this happens in a style that makes the material fun and easily digestible. It's stimulating personally and will also be useful to anyone in business who's interested in how stories (the stories that happen to us AND the stories in our head!) feed and support creativity. Recommended!" -- Carl Frankel

"Mitch's delightful way of writing has shown to me how to start telling my own life experiences and, more importantly, reflect on what I've gained from them to become a better person. His lighthearted and thoughtful way will motivate and guide you how to do the same. Highly recommended." -- Darin Selby

"This book is wonderful. Mr. Ditkoff is a communicator whose wisdom, sense of humor, and overall humanity would not only be applicable in the boardroom, but also in any room in any home on the planet. His observations/life experiences are a unique combination of mind and heart which brings tears and laughter. Well done." -- Allen Feld

"This is a must-read book for invigorating your company's culture and creating real-life, meaningful stories which will help enhance customer-infatuation about your company (and yourself). This is one of the best down-to-earth books about what we take for granted but which creates significant differentiation about ourselves as real humans and the company-culture which makes us unique. You can learn the lessons and start your own story immediately!" -- Justin McCarthy

"A fantastic book which nails a number of topics which are being recognized as powerful tools to help cut through complexity and and reveal truly what is occurring in the workplace. Another winner from a top innovator himself." -- Ella Kaaz

Convinced? Buy the book on Amazon

Mitch Storytelling BackCover.jpg

VOICEAMERICA: Radio interview with Mitch Ditkoff

Review of the book on Innovation Excellence
The Storytelling at Work blog

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May 12, 2016


All business leaders worth their low-salt lunch, regardless of their industry, will agree on one thing -- that innovation a key driver of their company's success. What they don't agree on is how to ensure that innovation actually happens. Lots of time and resources are invested in sending out surveys, re-engineering processes, inventing new reward systems, and giving pep talks, but all-too-often nothing changes. Why not? Because most business leaders rarely get down to the root cause -- the innovation mindset of their workforce.

Bottom line, organizations don't innovate, people innovate -- inspired, curious, creative, and collaborative people. If you want more innovation, that's the place to focus on.


After 27 years of providing innovation services to some the world's most forward thinking organizations, Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder of Idea Champions. has discovered the holy grail of moving the "innovation needle". Storytelling. Yes, storytelling -- the skillful communication of personal narratives that change mindset, increase engagement, transfer knowledge, and spark commitment. Archimedes once said that if he had a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it he could move the world. In the realm of innovation, storytelling is the fulcrum.


-- Why storytelling is a powerful way to communicate on-the-job
-- How an organization's "old stories" constrain innovation
-- How to use storytelling to make meetings more effective
-- The 20 leading indicators of a corporate innovator
-- Using storytelling to increase employee engagement
-- How storytelling accelerates the sharing of insight and best practices
-- Identifying stories worth telling
-- How to communicate stories that spark innovation
-- The art and science of creating a culture of storytelling
-- Using storytelling to communicate bold, new ideas
-- Creating a new story of your organization's future
-- How to design and facilitate "Story Slams" in the workplace

Storytelling at Work
VoiceAmerica radio interview with Mitch
Storytelling podcasts, interviews, and articles

PHOTO: Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2016
The Martial Arts of the Mind


Ten years ago I was invited to teach a course on "Innovation and Business Growth" at GE's Crotonville Management Development Center for 75 high potential, business superstars of the future.

The GE executive who hired me was a very savvy guy with the unenviable task of orienting new adjunct faculty members to GE's high standards and often harsher reality.

My client's intelligence was exceeded only by his candor as he proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that GE gave "new instructors" two shots at making the grade -- explaining, with a wry smile, that most outside consultants were intimidated the first time they taught at GE and weren't necessarily at the top of their game.

I'm not sure how you say it in Esperanto, but in English what he said translates as "The heat is on, big time."

I knew I would have to raise my game if I expected to be invited back after my two-session audition was over.

And so I went about my business of getting ready, keeping in mind that I was going to be leading a 6-hour session for 75 of GE's "best and brightest" flown half way around the world -- high flying Type A personalities with a high regard for themselves and a very low threshold for anything they judged to be unworthy of their time.

I had five weeks to prepare, five weeks to get my act together, five weeks to dig in and front load my agenda with everything I needed to wow my audience: case studies, statistics, quotes, factoids, and more best practices than you could shake an iPhone at.

I was ready. Really ready. Like a rookie center fielder on designer steroids, I was ready.

Or so I thought.

The more I spoke, the less they listened. The less they listened, the more I spoke, trotting out "compelling" facts and truckloads of information to make my case as they blankly stared and checked their email under the table.

Psychologists, I believe, would characterize my approach as "compensatory behavior."

I talked faster. I talked louder. I worked harder -- attempting in various pitiful ways to pull imaginary rabbits out of imaginary hats.

Needless to say, GE's best and brightest -- for the entire 45 minutes of my opening act -- were not impressed.

Clearly, I was playing a losing game.

My attempt to out-GE the GE people was a no-win proposition. I didn't need new facts, new statistics, or new quotes. I needed a new approach -- a way to secure the attention of my audience and help them make the shift from left-brained skepticism to right-brained receptivity.

And I needed to do it five minutes, not 45.

The next few days were very uncomfortable for me, replaying in my head -- again and again -- my lame choice of an opening gambit and wondering what, in the world, I could do to get better results in much less time.

And then, like an unexpected IPO from Mars, it hit me. The martial arts!


As a student of Aikido, I knew how amazing the martial arts were and what a great metaphor they were for life.

Fast forward a few weeks...

My second session, at Crotonville, began exactly like the first -- with the Program Director reading my bio to the group in an heroic attempt to impress everyone. They weren't.

Taking my cue, I walked to center stage, scanned the audience and uttered nine words.

"Raise your hand if you're a bold risk taker."

Not a single hand went up. Not one.

I stood my ground and surveyed the room.

"Really?" I said. "You are GE's best and brightest and not one of you is a bold risk taker? I find that hard to believe."

Ten rows back, a hand went up. Slowly. Halfway. Like a kid in a high school math class, not wanting to offend the teacher.

"Great!" I bellowed, pointing to the semi-bold risk taker. "Stand up and join me in the front of the room!"

You could cut the air with a knife.

I welcomed my assistant to the stage and asked him if had any insurance -- explaining that I had called him forth to attack me from behind and was going to demonstrate a martial arts move shown to me by my first aikido instructor, a 110-pound woman who I once saw throw a 220-pound man through a wall.

Pin drop silence.

I asked our bold risk taker to stand behind me and grab both of my wrists and instructed him to hold on tight as I attempted to get away -- an effort that yielded no results.

I casually mentioned how the scenario being played out on stage is what a typical work day has become for most of us -- lots of tension, resistance, and struggle.

With the audience completely focused on the moment, I noted a few simple principles of Aikido -- and how anyone, with the right application of energy and the right amount of practice, could change the game.

As I demonstrated the move, my "attacker" was quickly neutralized and I was no longer victim, but in total control.

In three minutes, things had shifted. Not only for me and my attacker, but for everyone in the room.

That's when I mentioned that force was not the same thing as power -- and that martial artists know how to get maximum results with a minimum of effort -- and that, indeed, INNOVATION was all about the "martial arts of the mind" -- a way to get extraordinary results in an elegant way.

PS: I was invited back 26 times to deliver the course.


Every day, no matter what our profession, education, or astrological sign, we are all faced with the same challenge -- how to effectively communicate our message to others.

This challenge is particularly difficult these days, given the glut of information we all must contend with. The amount of information available to us is doubling every ten years! Yearly, more than one million books are published. Daily, we are bombarded with more 6,000 advertising messages and 150 emails. As a result, most of us find ourselves in a defensive posture, protecting ourselves from the onslaught of input.


What I've discovered in the past 25 years of working with some of the world's most powerful organizations is that if I really want to have get my message across, I've got to deliver it in a what that gets past the "guardians at the gate" -- the default condition of doubt, disengagement, and derision that comes with the territory of life in the 21st century business world.

My rite of passage at GE was a microcosm of this phenomenon.

Indeed, my presumptive effort to "win over my audience" by impressing them with data, case studies, and best practices was a losing game. Not only was I barking up the wrong tree, I was in the wrong forest.

The key to my breaking through the collective skepticism of GE's best and brightest wasn't a matter of information. It was a matter transformation.

They didn't need to analyze, they needed to engage -- and it was my job to make that easy to do. Or, as Mahatma Gandhi so deftly put it, I had to "be the change I wanted to see in the world."

I had to do something that invoked the curious, playful, and associative right brain, not the logical, linear, analytical left brain -- tricky business, indeed, especially when you consider that most business people, these days, have a very low threshold for anything they judge to be impractical

Which is why I chose the martial arts as the operational metaphor at GE, my attempt to move them from the Dow to the Tao.

Impractical? Not at all.

Bottom line, whether we know it or not, we have all entered the "experience economy" -- a time when being involved is at least as important as being informed.

Information is no longer sufficient to spark change. Data is no longer king. Thinking only takes us part of the way home. It's feeling that completes the journey -- the kind of feeling that leads to full on curiosity and the kind of engagement that opens the door to exciting new possibilities.

Which is exactly what happened at GE when I made the shift from marshaling my facts, to marshaling my energy -- and by extension, the energy of 75 of GE's best and brightest.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What message have you been trying to deliver (with too little impact) that might be communicated in a totally different way -- a way that more successfully engages people and leads to measurable results?

Excerpted from Storytelling at Work
Idea Champions
Applied Innovation
My Keynotes
It All Began With Balls
Big Blues from the Viagra People

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:58 PM | Comments (3)

May 06, 2016
A Very Cool Brainstorm Facilitation Training for People in the Fast Lane

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VIDEO: The eight dimensions of a brainstorming session

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2016

An inspiring video about the Founder of Five Hour Energy and how he is using is wealth to invite new energy, health, and water technologies to make a major difference on the planet. Yes!

50 awesome quotes on vision
50 awesome quotes on possibility
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:03 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.
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
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.

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