August 31, 2017
The Top 10 Reasons Why the Top 10 Reasons Don't Matter

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1. Reason is highly over-rated.

2. If you need more data to prove your point, you'll never have enough data to prove your point.

3. Analysis paralysis.

4. You're going to follow your gut, anyway.

5. By the time you put your business case together, the market has passed you by.

6. "Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein

7. The scientific method came to Rene Descartes in a dream!

8. Most reasons are collected to prove to others what you have already decided to do.

9. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - G.B. Shaw

10. I am, therefore I think.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 PM | Comments (2)

August 29, 2017
How I Won a Contract from AT&T By Teaching One Man to Juggle

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good story is worth a million. Here's a five-minute story about how the company I co-founded, Idea Champions, won a large contract from AT&T by teaching the Director of Training and Development how to juggle in five minutes.

Read the full story in this book
A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar
Me speaking about storytelling in business

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2017
The Challenge Creative People Face

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Here is one of the biggest challenges creative people face: finding the right balance between spontaneity and planning.

Spontaneity, while a huge part of the creative process, can also be a huge curse. The intoxicating nature of spontaneity -- and the likelihood that it will lead to more projects -- has a tendency to sidetrack. It's sparkly. It's fascinating. And it's fun. But it can also be a massive distraction.

The result? Many creative people have more projects "on the table" than they can execute. And while this often makes for good cocktail party conversation, it also makes for overwhelm, stress, and eventual self-loathing. Months go by (sometimes years) and the big, hairy, audacious goal remains just that -- a goal -- not a completion. The antidote? A renewed vision of what success looks like. Focus. Priorities. A game plan. A support team. And the day-by-day effort required to work the plan.

Bring your current, most fascinating project to mind? Now imagine that your efforts are totally successful. What does success look like? And how did you get there?

50 Awesome Quotes on Vision
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2017
A Great Brainstorming Technique

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Click here for a very lucid description of one of the most popular brainstorming techniques on planet Earth. Easy to remember. Easy to use. Easy to facilitate. A great way to spark creative thinking in your future ideation sessions. Brought to you by the extraordinary Chuck Frey -- long time aficionado of creative thinking, innovation, and business growth.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2017
The Good Thing About Bad Ideas

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One of the inevitable things you will hear at a brainstorming session is "there are no bad ideas." Not true. There are plenty of bad ideas. Nazism, for instance. Arena football. Bow ties.

What well-meaning "keep hope alive" brainstorming lovers really mean is this: Even bad ideas can lead to good ideas if the idea originators are committed enough to extract the meaning from the "bad".

Do you think that War and Peace was written in one sitting? No way. There were plenty of earlier drafts that were horrid, but eventually led to the final outcome.

The key? Finding the value in what seems to be a "bad idea" and then using that extracted value as a clue or catalyst for further exploration. The following technique, excerpted from Awake at the Wheel, shows you how...

HOW IT WORKS:

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1. Identify a challenge worth brainstorming.

2. Conjure up a bad idea in response to it.

3. Tell someone about your bad idea.

4. Ask the other person to express something redeemable about your bad idea -- an aspect of it that has merit.

5. Using this redeemable essence as a clue, brainstorm some new possibilities

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:59 AM | Comments (13)

August 16, 2017
Are You an Idea Addict?

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There are lots of things in this world people get addicted to: alcohol, nicotine, heroin, sex, and iPhones, just to name a few. But perhaps the biggest addiction of them all is the addiction to our own ideas. Here's how it works:

We think something up. We feel a buzz. We tweak it, we name it, we pitch it, and POOF, the addiction begins.

At first, like most habits, it's a casual pursuit with a thousand positive side effects: increased energy, renewed focus, and a general feeling of well-being. Like wow, man. But then... we think about it in the shower. We think about it in the car. We think about it when people are asking us to think about other things. We even dream about it.

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Soon we want everyone to know about it. We want them to feel the buzz. We want them to nod in agreement. We want them to recognize just how pure our fixation is.

If this is where it ended, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. I wouldn't be calling it an addiction. Maybe I'd be calling it an "inspiration," or a "commitment" or a "visitation from the Muse." But it doesn't end there. It goes on and on and on and on -- often to our own detriment.

If you are launching a new, creative venture, of course, you want to onjure up cool ideas. That's a good thing. But if you cling to ideas just because they're yours, or just because you've invested major time and energy into in them, then it's time to take a good look of what "intoxicating ideas" of yours it might be time to let go. Commitment is one thing. Addiction is quite another.

What hot, new idea of yours might you be just a little bit too addicted to?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:20 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2017
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Emergency Ideation Under Ridiculous Time Constraints

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OK. Here's the deal. You are a PR, Marketing, or Communications firm and one of your clients has just asked for the impossible. Again. They need killer ideas from you within the next 48 hours. Maybe sooner. Your team is scattered to the four winds, you have no time to run a brainstorm session, and your anxiety level is through the roof.

What to do? Here's what to do:

1. Call your client immediately and get absolutely clear about their need. If they give you some kind of generic request, hold their feet to the fire and them to state their request in the form of a question, starting with the words "How can we?"

2. Find out if their so-called deadline is actually real or some kind of hallucination fueled by stress and too much caffeine.

3. Ask your client for the criteria by which they will evaluate the ideas you will be submitting.

4. Write a brief. Keep it brief.

5. Hand deliver the brief to each member of your team. If this is impossible, email it to them with the subject line reading: "STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND READ THIS NOW!" Tell them exactly what you need from them and by when.

6. Schedule a brainstorm session with anyone on your team within walking distance, even if it's just one person. Do this out of the office if possible.

7. Take 15 minutes to generate another wave of cool ideas by using Idea Champions' Free Genie tool.

8. In the next 10 minutes, jot down as many ideas as you can think of in response to your client's challenge. Do not censor yourself. Write everything down. Even the stupid ones. Especially the stupid ones.

9. Circle your favorite idea and "LCS" it. Note what you LIKE about it and what your CONCERNS are. For each concern, note SUGGESTIONS that will handle those concerns.

10. Pitch your favorite idea to one of your teammates. Ask them to LCS it. Then ask them to pitch you an IDEA and you LCS their idea.

Read this
And this
And this

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2017
The Perception of Ideas as Problems

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Here's something I've been noticing lately:

Business leaders and managers tend to respond to the introduction of a new idea not as an imminent solution to be nurtured, but as a new problem to deal with. Ideas, one would think, would be welcomed, especially by an organization's movers and shakers talking the talk about innovation.

But all too often a company's leaders, time-crunched and overloaded as they are, perceive the introduction of a new idea as simply "more work" for them to do, the early warning sign of too many emails to read, more meetings to attend, more requests for funding, and more conflicting opinions.

Perhaps this is why so many managers respond to the articulation of a new idea with knee jerk naysaying instead of heartfelt open-mindedness. And you wonder why innovation in your organization is so sluggish...

What can you do to reframe the way you perceive ideas being pitched to you on the job -- from "problems" to "opportunities?"

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2017
Brainstorm Training Reinvented

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We could tell you how awesome our brainstorm facilitation training is, but we're not sure you would believe us. So here's what one of our favorite clients has to say about it -- the fabulous folks from Mirrorball. And, if you don't believe them (since they are one of our favorite clients), how about these people?

02.jpg"At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Mitch Ditkoff's ability to quickly and effectively teach my colleagues and me how to facilitate brainstorming sessions changed the future of our business. We went from being viewed by our clients as their agency to being respected as essential teammates that help them arrive at BIG IDEAS. I can't wait to learn more from Idea Champions. So many good things to come!"-- Mandy Kalajian, Vice President

stephen_papageorge.jpg "My coworkers and I spent exactly eight consecutive hours with Mitch Ditkoff of Idea Champions. The learnings from that session instantly changed the way we run our ideation sessions -- both internally and externally with our clients. The techniques and processes we learned from Mitch were beyond enlightening and have already garnered exponential returns. And speaking for a business that's fueled on creative thinking, I can think of no better investment of our time." -- Steve Papageorge, Creative Director

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"The skills that Mitch taught our group have been invaluable and have changed the way that we do business both externally and internally. Mitch strengthened our ability to lead brainstorm sessions, ensuring that we are asking the most valuable questions, creating the proper environment, and building an agenda of techniques that will best elicit our clients' insights and ideas. The techniques he taught us have also been built into our internal brainstorms. The LCS technique has single-handedly changed the way that we approach ideas that we may have had an initial negative reaction to. We are true believers in the power of effective brainstorming, and plan to continue investing in these skills as a company!" -- Hillary Daniel, Cultural Programs Director

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

August 01, 2017
Watch These Videos If You Want to Foster a Culture of Innovation

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If your organization (or any department, therein) is interested in establishing a culture of innovation, you may want to take a few minutes now to view the following brief (less than 8 minutes each) videos on the topic. The intention to raise the bar for innovation is, indeed, a noble one, and I applaud you for taking on the challenge. That being said, the effort required to achieve any kind of measurable results needs to be well-considered before jumping in with both feet.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation
Organization Do Not Innovate. People Innovate.
The Six Sides of the So-Called Box
The Seed of Innovation Moment
The Dark Side of Innovation Initiatives

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)

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 for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
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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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.
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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.
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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