March 27, 2017
The Best Way to Share the Best of Your Best Practices: STORYTELLING!

12 other short videos on storytelling
Storytelling at Work
Storytelling as a way to spark the innovation mindset

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2017
Storytelling is a Powerful Way to Transmit Tacit Knowledge

My book on storytelling
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2017
Free Online Innovation and Creativity Summit 2017

Here's Nick Skillicorn introducing the upcoming, online Innovation and Creativity Summit 2017. I am happy to announce that I will be one of the 45 presenters. My topic? The power of storytelling to spark innovation. Cost? Zero. Zippo. Zilch. Click here to register. Summit begins on April 2.

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2017
50 Awesome Quotes on Vision

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1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

2. "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, and magic and power in it. Begin it now." - Goethe

3. "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

4. "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau

5. "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

6. "If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

7. "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens." - Carl Jung

8. "The empires of the future are empires of the mind." - Winston Churchill

9. "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." - Jonathan Swift

10. "Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: 'Who do we intend to be?' Not 'What are we going to do?' but 'Who do we intend to be?' - Max DePree

11. "Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese Proverb

12. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Alan Kay

13."Where there is no vision the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18

14. "Vision without execution is hallucination." - Thomas Edison

15. "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis

16. "If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." - Robert Fritz

17. "Create your future from your future, not your past." - Werner Erhard

18. "To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind." - Seneca

19. "You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." - Alvin Toffler

20. "To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act.: - Anatole France

21. "A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it." - Soren Kierkegaard

22. "A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there." - David Gergen

23. "The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." - Theodore Hesburgh

24. "Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way." - Abraham Lincoln

25. "Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you can imagine it." -George Lucas

26. "Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." - Napoleon Hill

27. "Pain pushes until vision pulls." - Michael Beckwith

28. "Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action." - Warren Bennis

29. "The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both." - Buddha

30. "Rowing harder doesn't help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction." - Kenichi Ohmae

31. "It's not what the vision is, it's what the vision does." - Peter Senge

32. "In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield." - Warren Buffett

33. "A leader will find it difficult to articulate a coherent vision unless it expresses his core values, his basic identity. One must first embark on the formidable journey of self-discovery in order to create a vision with authentic soul." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

34. "The best vision is insight." - Malcolm Forbes

35. "You have to know what you want. And if it seems to take you off the track, don't hold back, because perhaps that is instinctively where you want to be. And if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry." - Gertrude Stein

36. "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein

37. "I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That's were the fun is." - Donald Trump

38. "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." - Arthur Schopenhauer

39. "People only see what they are prepared to see." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

40. "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision." - Helen Keller

41. "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Jack Welsh

42. "A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

43. "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton

44. "The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." - John Scully

45. "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

46. "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

47. "Looking up gives light, although at first it makes you dizzy." - Rumi

48. "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain

49. "In order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." - - David Ben-Gurion

50. "The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

Our new brainstorm website
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My vision a few years ago now a reality
A simple way to refine your vision

Contact us

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:34 PM | Comments (6)

March 19, 2017
The Launch of Mitch Ditkoff.com

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Greetings, oh faithful and semi-faithful Heart of Innovation readers. After a ridiculously long amount of procrastination, I have finally launched MitchDitkoff.com -- a simple way to better understand who I am, what I do, and how I do it. Yes, you can click around the Idea Champions website to learn more about my capabilities, but it is too difficult. So I've simplified things for you. The main focus of my new site? Keynotes, workshops, and ideation. Big shout out to Jesse Ditkoff for creating my new website.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2017
THE DNA OF BRAINSTORMING and The Power of Three

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Every brainstorm session you will ever facilitate or attend, like any good movie you will ever see, can be divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. No matter what the topic, who's in the room, or how stale the muffins, you will cycle through the same three phases again and again. How well you will cycle through these phases is another story.

Three. Not two. Not four. Not one. Three. The more attuned you are to threeness, the more likely it will be that the sessions you facilitate will be successful. Here's a quickie overview:

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1. THE BEGINNING: This is the "foreplay" stage of brainstorming -- the mood and context setting effort that will either make or break the session.

While the specific "look and feel" to the beginning may vary from session to session, the outcomes you are aiming for will not: 1) Establishing a sense of relaxation and rapport; 2) Agreeing on ground rules for participation; 3) Clarifying the history and current reality of the topic to be brainstormed; 4) Framing the challenge in the most powerful way; 5) Establishing yourself as the facilitator of the creative thinking process.

2. THE MIDDLE ("Divergence"): This is the heart of the matter -- why people were invited to the session in the first place -- to think outside the box and generate compelling ideas.

What you actually do in the middle phase of your brainstorming session is up to you. I recommend the right mix of "group geometry" (solo, dyad, triad, or full group), creative thinking triggers, and the skillful application of facilitation savvy.

Remember, the goal of this phase is an abundance of ideas -- not just discussion, debate, philosophizing, or long-form storytelling.

3. THE END ("Convergence"): Just like most people would prefer to plant a garden than weed it, the end game of a brainstorm session requires more "roll-up-the-sleeves" effort than most facilitators want to deal with -- the application of some left-brain mojo after the right brain has had its say.

The end game of creative thinking is all about jump starting the process of making order out of chaos and clearing the way forward.

Depending on the amount of time you have, this order making stage might include: idea review, idea evaluation, idea selection, identifying idea champions, clarifying next steps, and deciding who's going to generate a brainstorm report -- and by when.

There's no need to make people cranky by trying to do too much convergence during this closure phase, but it's definitely good to get things grounded as a prelude to whatever follow up effort will be made.

Three phases to a brainstorming session. Three.

Brainstorm Facilitation Training
Have Problem, Will Travel
The Innovation Accelerator
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2017
Anti-Complaining Medicine for Bummed Out, Cranky Innovators

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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2017
The Man Behind The Heart of Innovation and His Daughter

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A story about Emilia when she was 13
Storytelling and daughters
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2017
Making the Time to Be Creative

One of the biggest obstacles to creativity and, by extension, innovation, is the lack of time that is so prevalent in today's ADD culture. This two-minute video makes a very compelling case for you and all the people you work with to take some more time if you REALLY want to crank up the creativity.

25 quotes on creativity
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2017
Innovation Begins with Fascination

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I own a huge library of books on innovation. Mostly hardcover. The $27.95 variety with big indexes and forwards by people who make more money than I do.

Some of these books are actually good. Most of them bore me. (I must confess I have a secret desire, whenever I enter a bookstore, to put glue between pages 187 & 188 in all of the new releases just to see if the publishers get any complaints).

The books attempt to describe the origins of innovation. You know, stuff like "the innate human impulse to find a better way" and "the imperative to find a competitive edge." That sort of thing.

Corporate-speak, in other words.

In my experience, the origin of innovation is fascination -- the state of being intensely interested in something. Enchanted. Captivated. Spellbound. Absorbed.

What kids are naturally good at.

Kids and those mavericks at work who make everyone nervous and running for their spreadsheets at the drop of a hat.

A person who is fascinated does not need to be motivated... or managed... or "incentivized."

All that person needs is time, some resources, meaningful collaboration, and periodic reality checks from someone who understands what fascination is all about.

That's why Google gives its workforce 20% of their time to explore projects on their own. That's why 3M and W.L. Gore do something similar. They know that the root of innovation is fascination.

If you, or the people who report to you, are not currently in a state of fascination it's time to turn things around. That is, IF you want to spark some innovation.

How do you do this?

For starters, here's one way, excerpted from Awake at the Wheel.

THE SEED OF FASCINATION

1. On a piece of paper, create three parallel headlines -- "What Fascinates Me," "People I Admire," and "What I Would Do If I Knew I Couldn't Fail."

2. Jot down at least five responses beneath each headline.

3. Look for intriguing, new connections between your responses. Any insights? Ahas?

4. Jot down your new ideas.

5. Circle your favorite idea and brainstorm it with a friend. Then pitch anyone who's influence can help you launch your ideas for how to bring more fascinating projects into your work life.

Idea Champions
Creating the Innovation Mindset
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (7)

21 Awesome Quotes on Intuition

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"The only real valuable thing is intuition." - Albert Einstein

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." - Benjamin Spock

"Systems die; instincts remain." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover." - Henri Poincare

"Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data." - John Naisbitt

"A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something." - Frank Capra

"It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It's my partner." - Jonas Salk

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"All human knowledge thus begins with intuitions, proceeds thence to concepts, and ends with ideas." - Immanuel Kant

"Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's. - Billy Wilder

"Your time is limited, don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinion drown your own inner voice. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

"The more and more each is impelled by that which is intuitive, or the relying upon the soul force within, the greater, the farther, the deeper, the broader, the more constructive may be the result." - Edgar Cayce

"I feel there are two people inside me -- me and my intuition. If I go along against her, she'll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely." - Kim Basinger

"Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer." - Robert Graves

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift." - Albert Einstein

"You must train your intuition. You must trust the small voice inside which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide." - Ingrid Bergman

"The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days." - Lao Tzu

"People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind." - William Butler Yeats

"Conclusions arrived at through reasoning have very little or no influence in altering the course of our lives."- Carlos Casteneda

"Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk

"Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away
just below the conscious level." - Dr. Joyce Brothers

"Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself."
- Oprah Winfrey

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2017
FOSTERING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION: The Keynote

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Changing a corporate culture is about as easy as getting a teenage girl to clean up her room. Translation? It's not easy.

If your organization is committed to creating a culture of innovation, you'll need to begin by getting your head out of the OD clouds, come down to earth, and roll up your sleeves. The way gardeners do. Indeed, the process a gardener goes through to get a yield is the exact same process your organization will need to go through in order to establish a culture of innovation.

And I will show you how. But more than that, I will help everyone in the audience own their role, then generate their own ideas and game plan for HOW they can turn theory into practice. Seeds are what they need, not magic pills. Fertilizer, not bullshit. I've got the fertilizer and just enough tools to help everyone break new ground in a way that engages, empowers, and enlightens. Ripe tomatoes anyone?

Here's what my clients say

Interested? Contact Mike Frick, Speaking.com
My website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2017
Learn to Lead Breakthrough Brainstorming Sessions from the Leader in the Field

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If you need to radically upgrade your ability to facilitate kick-ass brainstorm sessions -- either internally, for your own company, or externally for clients looking to you to work some magic, look no further. Mitch Ditkoff (that's me), Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, is now offering customized, live, one-on-one, just-in-time online tutorials for committed catalysts of brilliance. Highly engaging. Affordable. Fun. And immediately applicable to real-time business needs. Curious? Intrigued? info@ideachampions.com

PS: Longer, onsite, small group trainings also available.

Shout out from the PR World
Brainstorm or Shitstorm?
Client list
Happy brainstorming clients
Happy innovation-seeking clients

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2017
20 Ways to Get Feedback on Your Coolest, Newest, Boldest Idea

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You've got a great idea. I know you do. But I also know it's just sitting there. In your head. Like a lump. Why? Because you haven't pitched it to anyone.

Everyone -- even your best friends -- all seem so busy, right? And even if they're not busy, you... um....er... uh... don't really know how to kick-start the conversation to get them to help you develop your idea. The hardest part? Beginning. And so, here's a way to start -- actually, 20 ways to start -- phrases you can use to increase the odds of someone giving you the feedback you need to develop your bold, new idea.

Go ahead. Get your idea out there. Invite someone to give you feedback. You can do this.

20 IDEA FEEDBACK STARTERS

1. "I wonder if you have a few minutes to give me some feedback on a new idea of mine. Is this a good time?"

2. "I'd love your opinion about a new idea that really excites me. Got five minutes to spare?"

3. "I just had a big breakthrough. Mind if I share it with you?"

4. "I need a second opinion on a new idea of mine. Available?"

5. "Can I book some time with you tomorrow to pitch you a bold, new idea of mine. I think you'll find it inspiring."

6. "I just figured out how to _________. Can I share it with you?"

7. "I'd love your sage counsel on a new project of mine."

8. "You're one of the smartest people I know around here. Mind if I share a new idea with you?"

9. "Who do you recommend I talk with around here to help me develop an exciting idea of mine?"

10. "I got a deal for you. I'll buy you breakfast tomorrow if you give me some feedback on a bold, new idea that came to me last night."

11. "I'd love you to play devil's advocate with me for a few minutes. Mind if I pitch you a new idea of mine?"

12. "When would be a good time for the two of us to get together and brainstorm an idea with the power to change our industry?"

13. "I need you help. I really do. Can you help me think through a new and untested idea of mine?"

14. "I've got a great idea that I'm really confused about. Can you help me sort it out?"

15. "Everyone I talk to tells me you're the resident genius around here. Mind if I pitch you a great idea that needs some polishing?"

16. "Would you be open to being my coach? I've got an awesome idea that's kind of flapping in the wind."

17. "If you've got five minutes, I'd love your help thinking through a great, new possibility."

18. "Can I take you to lunch today to help me refine a new idea?"

19. "Got 60 seconds to give me some feedback?"

20. "If you give me your feedback on my latest idea, I promise to name my tenth child after you. Ready?"

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:22 PM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2017
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HELPING ORPHANS: One Man's Journey

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There are 140 million orphans in the world. That's 14 million more than the entire population of Japan. And it's getting worse with every war, earthquake, and disaster. If you want to read the story of how one man is making a difference in this little understood arena and what YOU can do to begin getting involved, click here. And if you want to do something about it today, consider making a donation to the Himalayan Children's Charity -- a fantastic organization that is attempting to raise $10,000 to continue providing a wide range of services to orphans in Nepal.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:37 AM | 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.

MitchDitkoff.com
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.
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Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
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High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
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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.
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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.
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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.
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