September 29, 2017
The Best of My Huffington Post Articles on Storytelling

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You may not know this, but I have been a Huffington Post blogger for the past five years. During that time, I've published a number of well-received articles on storytelling, with a special focus on storytelling in the workplace. Below are links to some of them. Each one will take you less than four minutes to read unless you are multi-tracking, catotonic, or heavily sedated.

Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?
The Art of Using Story to Communicate Big Ideas
The Secret Code of Tacit Knowledge
Storytelling is the Trojan Horse of Wisdom
Why Tell Stories?
How to Tell a Good Story
What Kind of Stories Will You Tell Today?
The Power of Personal Storytelling

The book these are excerpted from

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2017
If You Plan on Asking an Outside Innovation Consultant for Help

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If someone from your company's leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization raise the bar for innovation, stop for a moment and ask the person asking you to locate an outside consultant to answer the following questions.

If they answer "NO" to any of them or look at you as if you are ungrateful, uppity, or "not a team player", do not accept the assignment.

Really. I mean it. DO NOT ACCEPT THE ASSIGNMENT.

If you're afraid to decline the assignment, not only is the project doomed, but you will soon end up experiencing the kind of low grade corporate virus that leads people to drink too much, feel depressed, or become overly judgmental of their colleagues.

If you say YES to the "go find me a consultant" request without understanding the current reality of your senior team, you will only be going on a wild goose chase -- wasting your time, theirs, and the TBD consulting company's who will be asked to quickly generate a hefty proposal that few, if any, of your senior leaders will be ready, willing, or able to respond to.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR SENIOR LEADERS BEFORE LOOKING FOR AN OUTSIDE INNOVATION CONSULTANT

1. Do you have a clear, compelling vision of our organization's future? If not, are you willing to create one?

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2. Are you personally committed to fostering a culture of innovation? Are other senior leaders on the same page with you? If not, are you and your colleagues willing to get on the same page within the next few weeks?

3. Are senior leaders willing to walk the talk -- modeling the kind of behaviors they want to see others manifesting on the job?

4. Are you willing to challenge the status quo?

5. Are you open to receiving new ideas from the workforce -- and are you willing to establish a process that will make it easy for them to do so?

6. Are you willing to listen more deeply to what employees are thinking and feeling?

7. Are you committed to establishing and supporting an Innovation Council that will drive the process to raise the bar for innovation?

8. Are you willing to invest in a long-term approach, rather than treating the effort as a flavor-of-the-year initiative?

9. Are you willing to go beyond "command and control", empower people, and push decision making further down the food chain?

10. Are you open to input, guidance, and coaching from an outside company who can support you and the senior team in all of the above?

If you are unable or unwilling to ask these kinds of questions, the only thing you will end up achieving is further enabling the "kick the can down the road" mentality of your organization's senior team. By asking you to find an outside consultant to "help", they will have paid their dues for the moment and maybe be better able to sleep that night, but the whole thing will be little more than a charade -- one that simulates the effort to foster organizational change, but in the end is merely a clever way to fiddle while Rome burns.

Beyond sage on the stage consulting
Idea Champions
Culture of Innovation Keynote
Storytelling as an innovation catalyst

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2017
The Innovator's Connundrum

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Illustration: gapingvoid
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2017
The World's Best Blog Collection of Awesome, Memorable Quotes

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If you're on the prowl for inspiring quotes you can use for work, your book, speech, website, news report, blog, proposal, kidnap letter, or time capsule, look no further. What follows are 21 universal topics -- everything from Possibility to Failure to Change.

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Change
Possibility
Beginning
Vision
Communication
Innovation
Intuition
Peace
Time
Risk Taking
Appreciation
Failure
Leadership
Creativity
Einstein
Humor and Play
Purpose/Work
Collaboration
Story
Ideas
Asking the Right Question

IDEA CHAMPIONS: The Quote Curator

My new book: Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:07 PM | Comments (4)

September 20, 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)

September 08, 2017
100 Lame Excuses for Not Innovating

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Do you have a great idea you want to manifest, but... er... uh... um... just can't seem to get things rolling? Chances are good your reasons why are on the list below. No problem. Join the club. Without making yourself wrong, simply note the ones that show up the most for you, then try the simple "go beyond excuses" exercise at the end of the list. Hey, it's time to get unstuck...

1. I don't have the time.
2. I can't get the funding.
3. My boss will never go for it.
4. We're not in the kind of business likely to innovate.
5. I've got too much on my plate right now.

6. I won't be able to get it past legal.
7. I'll be punished if I fail.
8. I'm just not not the creative type.
9. I'm juggling way too many projects.
10. I'm too new around here.

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11. I'm not good at presenting my ideas.
12. No one, besides me, cares about innovation.
13. There's too much bureaucracy here to get anything done.
14. Our customers aren't asking for it.
15. We're a risk averse culture.

16. We don't have an innovation process.
17. We don't have a culture of innovation.
18. They don't pay me enough to take on this kind of project.
19. My boss will get all the credit.
20. My career path will be jeopardized if this doesn't fly.

21. I've already got enough headaches.
22. I'm no good at office politics.
23. My home life will suffer.
24. I'm not disciplined enough.
25. It's an idea ahead of its time.

26. I won't be able to get enough resources.
27. I don't have enough information.
28. Someone will steal my idea.
29. It will take too long to get results.
30. We're in a down economy.

31. It will die in committee.
32. I'll be laughed out of town.
33. I won't be able to get the ear of senior leadership.
34. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
35. The concept is too disruptive.

36. I won't be able to get enough support.
37. I don't tolerate ambiguity all that well.
38. I'm not in a creative profession.
39. Now is not a good time to start a new project.
40. I don't have the right personality for this.

41. Our company is going through too many changes right now.
42. They won't give me any more time to work on the project.
43. If I succeed, too much will be expected of me.
44. Nothing ever changes around here.
45. Things are changing so fast, my head is spinning.

46. Whatever success I achieve will be undone by someone else.
47. I don't have enough clout to get things done.
48. It's just not worth the effort.
49. I'm getting close to retirement.
50. My other projects will suffer.

51. Been there, done that.
52. I don't want another thing to think about.
53. I won't have any time left for my family.
54. A more nimble competitor will beat us to the punch.
55. Teamwork is a joke around here.

56. I've never done anything like this before.
57. I won't be rewarded if the project succeeds.
58. We're not measured for innovation.
59. I don't have the right credentials.
60. I need more data.

61. It's not my job.
62. It will hard sustaining the motivation.
63. I've tried before and failed.
64. I'm not smart enough to pull this off.
65. I don't want to go to any more meetings.

66. It will take too long to get up to speed.
67. Our Stage Gate process will sabotage any hope of success.
68. I'm not skillful at building business cases.
69. Summer's coming.
70. The marketplace is too volatile.

71. This is a luxury we can't afford at this time.
72. I think we're about to be acquired.
73. I'm trying to simplify my life, not complicate it.
74. The dog ate my homework.
75. Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.

76. My company just wants to squeeze more blood from the stone.
77. My company isn't committed to innovation.
78. I don't have the patience.
79. I'm not sure how to begin.
80. I'm too left-brained for this sort of thing.

81. I won't be able to get the funding required.
82. I'm getting too old for this.
83. Everyone's on a different page.
84. Spring is coming.
85. I'm hypoglycemic.

86. That's Senior Leadership's job
87. I'm thinking of quitting.
88. Market conditions aren't right.
89. We need to focus on the short term for a while.
90. Innovation, schminnovation.

91. What we really need are some cost cutting initiatives.
92. Six Sigma is all that people care about.
93. Mercury is in retrograde.
94. IT won't go for it.
95. Maybe next year.

96. That's my boss's job.
97. That's R&D's job.
98. I would if I could, but I can't, so I won't.
99. First, we need to benchmark the competition.
100.It's against my religion.


HOW TO GO BEYOND THESE LAME EXCUSES

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1. Make a list of your three most bothersome ones.

2. Turn each excuse into a question, beginning with the words "How can I?" or "How can we?" (For example, if your excuse is "That's R&D's job," you might ask "How can I make innovation my job?" or "How can I help my team take more responsibility for innovating?"

3. Brainstorm each question -- alone and with your team.

4. DO something about it within the next 48 hours.

Frame the right problem

Spark innovation in others
Foster a culture of innovation
Tell more meaningful stories

Idea Champions
One way to go beyond excuses
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2017
A Brainstorm Training that Works

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What follows is some juicy feedback we received from Blue State Digital, a client of ours who participated in brainstorm facilitation training:

"The three-day Conducting Genius training was engaging, fun and informative. I feel empowered as a facilitator and confident in my skills and ability. Mitch and Val were fantastic teachers -- I was sad when it was over!"

"We did the three-day version of Conducting Genius, and I wish it could've been even longer! By far the most fun, useful, productive, and engaging training I've ever attended."

"It felt like summer camp for creative nerds."

"After the session, I felt energized and empowered -- ready to lead a brainstorm, boss a meeting, and infuse my work with more creativity and thought. Val and Mitch are magicians -- and they passed some of that magic on to us."

The website
What other clients say
About the training
Tell us about your need

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2017
The Six Sides of the So-Called Box

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There's a lot of talk these days about the need for business people to "get out of the box", but very little talk about what the box actually is. Here's Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions, deconstructing the box in a 5-minute video.

One way to get out of the box

Another way
And a third way

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

THE ULTIMATE INNOVATION: Going Beyond the Jungle of Ideas

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

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Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

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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.
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