March 30, 2018
THE FIRST RULE OF GOOD MEETING FACILITATION

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Let's face it. Most meetings under-deliver. The reasons are many -- everything from no agenda, wrong people, sterile meeting room, poor facilitation, monologues, lack of real listening, constant interruptions, late arrivals, and no real closure. But of all the reasons why most meetings disappoint, the biggest can be traced back to one, often over-looked phenomenon: the cluttered mind of the facilitator.

When meeting facilitators are scurrying from one meeting to another, multi-tracking, or just plain mentally overloaded with the flora and fauna of that day's activities, it is difficult for them to be fully present. And unless they are fully present, the odds are low that any of the people attending the meeting will be fully present, resulting in any number of funky meeting behaviors.

Sound familiar? If so, consider honoring the following guidelines for good meeting facilitation.

1. Create your meeting agenda at least 24 hours before your meeting.

2. Unplug from everything else you're doing at least 20 minutes before your meeting.

3. Get to the meeting room at least 15 minutes before your meeting.

4. On the way to your meeting, do not stop and talk to people who "only want a minute of your time." Ask them to email their request and explain that you are on your way to an important meeting.

5. If the meeting room is cluttered, unclutter it.

6. Do whatever you can do to relax, refresh, and focus. This might include meditating, listening to music, going for a walk, or reviewing your agenda. Whatever works.

7. Remember the words of Marshall McCluhan, "The medium is the message." And YOU, my friend, are the medium. The more relaxed, focused, and present you are, the better chances your meeting has of succeeding.

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Idea Champions
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March 29, 2018
WE'RE NUMBER SEVEN!

natalia-y-339470.jpgHow cool is this. I just stumbled on the Consultants500 website -- an online business advisors marketplace -- and discovered that Heart of Innovation (this blog) is rated the 7th best innovation blog out of 161 innovation blogs surveyed. Whoo! Whoo!

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March 28, 2018
50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility

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1. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

2. "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll

3. "I'm grateful for always this moment, the now, no matter what form it takes." - Eckart Tolle

4. "In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

5. "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do." - Henry Moore

6. "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!" - Walt Disney

7. "I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities." - Whoopi Goldberg

8. "What is now proved, was once only imagined." - William Blake

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9. "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." - Mark Twain

10. "The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke

11. "Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing." - John Andrew Holmes

12. "God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed. That is the meaning of evolution." - Graham Greene

13. "Whether you believe you can or not, you're right." - Henry Ford

14. "Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision." - V.S. Naipaul

15. "I don't regret a single excess of my responsive youth. I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace." - Henry James

16. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

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

18. "One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king." - Abraham Maslow

19. "The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react." - George Bernard Shaw

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20. "We all have possibilities we don't know about. We can do things we don't even dream we can do." - Dale Carnegie

21. "An optimist expects his dreams to come true; a pessimist expects his nightmares to." - Laurence J. Peter

22. "When nothing is sure, everything is possible." - Margaret Drabble

23. "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." - Albert Einstein

24. "I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist." - Max Lerner

25. "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!" - Soren Kierkegaard

26. "All things are possible until they are proved impossible. Even the impossible may only be so, as of now." - Pearl S. Buck

27. "Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great." - Cher

28. "This has always been a motto of mine: Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." - Bette Davis

29. "You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices." - Deepak Chopra

30. "Some people see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and say 'Why not?'" - George Bernard Shaw

31. "The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility." - John Lennon

32. "I love those who yearn for the impossible." - Goethe

33. "Every man is an impossibility until he is born." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

34. "If you can't, you must. If you must, you can." - Tony Robbins

35. "A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility." - Aristotle

36. "If someone says can't, that shows you what to do." - John Cage

37. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

38. "Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." - Mark Twain

39. "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." - Louis D. Brandeis

40. "The possible's slow fuse is lit by the imagination." - Emily Dickinson

41. "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

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42. "If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison

43. "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Les Brown

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

45. "Everything you can imagine in real." - Picasso

46. "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." - Martin Luther

47. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean

48. "I don't dream at night, I dream all day. I dream for a living."
- Steven Spielberg

49. "The shell must break before the bird can fly." - Alfred Tennyson

50. "If not you, who? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel

Illustration: Jesse Ditkoff

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March 24, 2018
Storytelling & the Creative Process

This is bleeping brilliant. Not only WHAT its says, but HOW it's presented. Two minutes on what it takes to really do creative work. Inspiring. Truthful. And in your face like a fresh arctic wind off a lake you've been waiting too long to sail on...

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

It took me four years to write this book
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March 23, 2018
The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings

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Most people think that the ability to be innovative is a mystical state available only to the chosen few.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they don't have time and don't like hard work, they reason that innovation just isn't in the cards for them.

But innovation is not a mystical state. It's a natural state -- a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, already are innovative. The only thing is: their natural ability to be innovative is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

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Their challenge is the same one as seeing the "hidden" arrow in the FedEx logo (look between the "E" and the "X").The arrow has always been there, but most people never notice it.

This is the work of Idea Champions. We help people see what they already have, but don't know how to access.

We help people make meaningful adjustments of vision, insight, and perception so they can acknowledge, embrace, and apply their innate ability to be more creative on the job -- and, for those clients who want to reinvent their "innovation process", we help them figure it out.

What follows is a brief summary of how we do this...

1. Know Thy Customer:
Long before we ever get into a room with participants, we do our due diligence -- learning about WHO we are serving, WHAT they expect, and HOW our time with them will be the most significant.

Sometimes this takes the form of phone interviews. Or online polls. Or studying key documents our clients send us in order to understand their current reality, industry, business challenges, organizational constraints, and hoped for outcomes.

2. Customization:
Based on our assessment of our client's needs, we put together a game plan to get the job done. Towards this end, we draw on more than 100 "innovation-sparking" modules we've been developing since 1986.

3. Co-Creation:
Early in the design process, we invite our clients to give us feedback about our approach. Their feedback stirs the creative soup and provides us with the input needed to transform a good session design into a great one.

4. Spacing In:
We make a great deal of effort to ensure that the space in which our sessions take place are as ideal as possible. Form may follow function, but function also follows form.

When participants walk into an Idea Champions session, they begin "mind shifting" even before the session begins. It is both our belief and experience that culture/environment is a huge X factor for creativity and innovation.

5. Drive Fear Out of the Workplace:
W. Edwards Deming, one of America's most revered management consultants, was a big proponent of removing fear from the workplace. So are we. Towards that end, each of our sessions begins with a norm-setting process that makes it easy for participants to establish a dynamic culture of innovation for the day.

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6. Mindset:
Organizations don't innovate, people do. But not just any "people." No. People who are energized, curious, confident, fascinated, creative, focused, adaptive, collaborative, and committed.

People who emerge from our sessions are significantly more in touch with these "innovation qualities" than when they began. Their minds have changed. They see opportunities when, previously, all they saw were problems.

They let go of perfectionism, old paradigms, and habitual ways of thinking. In their place? Open-mindedness, listening, idea generation, original thinking, full engagement, and the kind of commitment that drives meaningful change.

7. Balancing Polarities:
Human beings, by nature, are dualistic, (i.e. "us" vs. "them," "short-term" vs. "long-term," "incremental" vs. "breakthrough," "left brain" vs. "right brain".)

The contradictions that show up in a corporate environment (or workshop) can either be innovation depleters or innovation catalysts. It all depends how these seeming conflicting territories are navigated. Idea Champions is committed to whole-brain thinking -- not just right brain or left brain thinking.

Our work with organizations has shown us that one of the pre-conditions for innovation is a company's ability to strike the balance between these polarities.

Each workshop we lead and each consulting engagement we commit to is guided by our understanding of how to help our clients find the healthy balance between the above-noted polarities.

8. Expert Facilitation: "A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile when someone contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind," wrote St. Exupery.

This, quite simply, is what Idea Champions does. But we do far more than just contemplate. We also architect and build.

Since 1986, we've been facilitating innovation-sparking engagements for a wide variety of industries. We have mastered the art and science of turning lead (or leaders) into gold. And we can train your people to do the same thing we do.

9. Experiential Challenges: "What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand."

So said the great Chinese sage, Confucius. This 14-word quote describes the essence of our work. Simply put, we get people off their "ifs, ands or buts," and into the experience of what's possible.

While we value theory, research, models, data, best practices, business cases, and most of the other flora and fauna of business life, we've come to understand that the challenge of sparking insight, breakthrough, and change, is best accomplished by doing -- not talking.

That's why all of our sessions include experiential challenges that provide participants with visible ways of seeing innovation in action -- what supports it and what obscures it.

10. Emergent Design: Awakening the creativity of an organization's workforce is not a follow-the-dots exercise.

Although all of our interventions begin with carefully crafted project plans and agendas, our facilitators are fluent in the art and science of making the kind of real-time adjustments, refinements, and improvisations that are the difference between a good session and a great session.

Facilitators who attempt to imitate our approach find it difficult to succeed without first learning how to master the art of emergent design. The good news is that it can be learned -- and this is just one of the things we teach in our Train the Trainer programs.

11. Edutainment: Idea Champions sessions are a hybrid of two elements: education and entertainment. We know that when participants are enjoying themselves their chances of learning increase exponentially.

That's why we make all of our sessions a hybrid of education and entertainment. Participants do not get tired. They do not get bored. They do not sneak long looks at their smart phones.

12. Full Engagement:
Idea Champions sessions are highly participatory. Our facilitators are skilled at teasing out the brilliance of participants, regardless of their social style, job title, or astrological sign.

But perhaps more importantly, our facilitators know how to help participants tease out each others' brilliance. Eventually, everyone gets into the act. The shy people take center stage and the power players take a back seat. The collective wisdom in the room gets a much-needed chance to be accessed and expressed.

13. Convergence: Idea Champions is successful because what we do works. And one of the reasons WHY it works is because our sessions help participants translate ideas into action.

Ideas are powerful, but they are still only the fuzzy front end of the innovation process. Ultimately, they need to turn into results. Creativity needs to be commercialized. Our workshops, trainings, and consulting interventions help our clients do exactly that.

14. Tools, Techniques, and Takeaways: Ideas Champions closes the gap between rhetoric and reality. We don't just talk about innovation or teach about it -- we spark the experience of it. And we do that in very practical ways.

One way is by teaching people how to use specific, mind-opening techniques to access their innate creativity. Another way is by providing our clients with a variety of innovation-sparking guidelines, processes, and materials that can be immediately used on the job.

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DO SCHOOLS KILL CREATIVITY?

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March 22, 2018
A Big Clue for Meeting Facilitators

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If you facilitate meetings for your company, school, volunteer organization, or team, please know that your STATE OF MIND is going to very much impact the outcomes of the meeting. If your mind is cluttered, the quality of the meetings you facilitate will be severely compromised. If you want your meetings to be more enjoyable and productive, consider these simple guidelines:

1. Always create your meeting agenda at least one day before

2. Make sure your meeting room is set up, ahead of time

3. Unplug from whatever else you are doing at least 30 minutes before.

4. If, on the way to the meeting, someone asks for "just one minute of your time," explain that you are on your way to a meeting and ask them to email their request to you. Do not get distracted!

5. Use whatever techniques you like to "clear your head" before your meeting begins (i.e. go for walk, listen to music, meditate, etc.)

6. Arrive no less than 10 minutes before your meeting begins. Settle down. Center yourself. Make sure you are ready to receive people.

PHOTO: Marion Michele, Unsplash

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March 21, 2018
Micro-Learning for Storytellers

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Time-crunched as you are, I know you don't even have two-minutes to read this. So thanks for your 119 seconds.

I'm not going to sell you on the power of storytelling. You already know it's powerful. What you don't know is how to make it real in your organization. I know how to do that. That's what my Micro-Learning for Storytellers service is about. And all it takes is 15 minutes a week.

What you will get is 52 weeks of my content (i.e. videos, podcasts, stories, and articles) to distribute to your workforce one bite-sized piece of wisdom at a time. Mind openers. Thought starters. Tips. Tools. Techniques. Guidelines. And just enough inspiration for people to make the effort they need to become storytelling masters on the job. Or in the class. Or wherever.

WHO AM I?: Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions, author of the award-winning Storytelling at Work and the forthcoming Storytelling for the Revolution. My clients.

Intrigued? Email me today with the word STORYTELLING in the subject line: mitch@ideachampions.com and I will get back to you with more details.

Micro-Learning for Innovators
Photo: Sidney Perry, Unsplash

MY NEW BOOK ON STORYTELLING WILL BE PUBLISHED IN MAY, 2018

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March 20, 2018
A Clue About Navigating Change

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If your team, department, or organization is "going through changes" and your role is to facilitate the process, please understand that it is completely normal and healthy for people to experience doubt, worry, fear, resistance and every conceivable human emotion in response to these changes. Your job? Slow down. Listen. Have empathy. Create authentic forums for people to express their concerns so you can better understand their point of view and, together, get to higher ground.

Illustration: gapingvoid

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March 19, 2018
The Marriage of Zany and Practical

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Feedback from Charter Manufacturing in response to an Innovation workshop of ours with 27 of their high potential leaders of the future.

"Idea Champions has the unique quality of being able to combine zany out-of-box thinking with a pragmatic approach that appealed to every participant in the session. Even those who relish the status quo and the proven way of doing things couldn't help but relax, laugh. and lean into their untapped creativity. Participants left the session feeling hopeful and powerful about their individual ability to create and innovate."

- Maureen Toshner, Director, Organizational Development & Learning

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March 18, 2018
HOLY FOOLS DAY: March 25th!

Gail Larsen initiated Holy Fools Day in 2014, and in this fourth year of bringing a wonderful spark of madness to the world, you're invited to join Gail, Wisdom Healing Qigong Master Mingtong Gu, Sacred Activist Andrew Harvey and a fervent group of transformational speakers to take your own wild leap of faith. What one bold action are you ready to take toward the change you want to see in the world?

Register here. It's free!

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March 17, 2018
30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate

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Do you have what it takes to innovate? I'm not talking IQ, degree, or job title.

I'm talking the curious confluence of behaviors that come with the territory of being someone who turns top of the line ideas into bottom line realities.


1. You come up with great ideas in the shower and car
2. You like to stay up late... or get up early... or both
3. You're comfortable with ambiguity and chaos
4. While your ducks are rarely in a row, they're happy most of the time
5. You're not worried about failing

6. You've invited at least one friend into your personal think tank
7. You test out your ideas on just about anyone who will listen
8. You know what you don't know, but can't always explain it
9. You like making connections between things that don't go together.
10. You're open to feedback and also don't care what anybody thinks

11. Some of your friends think you're out of your mind
12. You find yourself laughing in the middle of the day for no reason
13. People get inspired around you
14. You've been known to wear two different socks
15. You feel like you're on the brink of a breakthrough a lot of the time

16. Sometimes you figure things out by talking, not thinking
17. You write notes in the margins of books
18. You like to conduct little experiments
19. You have a game plan, but it keeps changing
20. You love to immerse

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21. You find ways to "work in the cracks" even when your day job dominates
21. You wish there were more hours in the day
22. Your passion to make a difference exceeds your doubt
23. You find yourself getting clues about your project in odd places
24. You feel like you're having a spiritual experience
25. You are far more organized than anyone thinks

26. You know you need a collaborator, but are picky about who
27. You have a bold vision of what success looks like
28. Your project has little to do with what your college major was
29. You're looking for someone to head up marketing and sales
30. You can think of another ten items that should be on this list

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March 15, 2018
Why Don't More People Share Their Best Practices with Each Other?

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If you are a member of a team, business, school, or volunteer organization, there's a good chance you want whatever project you are working on to succeed. Yes? Towards that end, you work hard, think hard, generate ideas, go to meetings, fight fires, and (hopefully) learn from your mistakes. If you are like most people, you sometimes get together with your team and talk about ways to increase your odds of success.

Still, there's a good chance you may be overlooking one of the simplest, most effective ways to make progress -- and that is the sharing of best practices.

"Best practices", a much written about topic in the business literature, is really nothing more than a two-word euphemism for "what works" -- the efforts you and your colleagues make that are already contributing to your success. The good stuff.

Curiously, however, "best practices" are rarely shared in most organizations and, even when they are, they are not shared effectively. Why? There are ten main reasons.

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TEN REASONS WHY BEST PRACTICES ARE NOT SHARED

1.Command and Control: The leaders of most enterprises, even if they won't admit it, aren't really committed to people sharing their ideas with each other. It sounds strange, but it's true. Why does this phenomenon exist? Because ideas, freely shared, often end up "rocking the boat." Old ways of doing things get challenged. The status quo gets confronted. New possibilities need to be considered, evaluated, and funded. Or not funded. More emails abound. More opinions. More disagreements. More meetings. Cranky-inducing stuff.

2. No Clear, Compelling Vision of Success: If people, working on same project, aren't on the same page about WHY they are working together and WHY they get out of bed in the morning, it is unlikely that they will be motivated enough to go beyond the "same old, same old" syndrome. Without a clear, compelling vision to motivate them beyond the call of duty, many people end up just going through the motions. Rote takes precedence. Old habits rule. Mediocrity prevails.

3. No Sense of Interdependence:
People will not take the time to share their insights, ideas, and best practices with each other if there is no recognition of the need to collaborate. If teamwork is not a clearly articulated (and reinforced) organizational value, there will be very little chance that the people doing the work are going to make the effort to connect with each other.

4. Lack of Trust and Appreciation: People may recognize the need to collaborate with each other, but they may not like or trust each other. It takes effort to reach out to other people -- especially people who are different than you. Sometimes, it's a risk, especially for introverts. Plus, if people are working in remote locations, in different time zones, the degree of difficulty increases. Without trust and a genuine appreciation for the perspective of others, best practices will rarely, if ever, be shared.

5. No Clarity About What a Best Practice Is: If you ask me to bring a tuna fish sandwich to a meeting, I can do that. But if you ask me to bring a "best practice", who knows what you'll get. If you want best practices to be shared in your organization, be very clear about what you are asking people to communicate.

6. No Intention. No Agreement. No Buy-In: It's fine to generically request people to share their best practices, but unless your request is understood, honored, and owned. it's just fairy dust. People are busy. People are maxed. You asking them to do one more thing will likely be met with head nods at best. So, if you want to make this best practice sharing thing real, you will need to make the effort to build a case for it and give people a chance to commit to it from an authentic place.

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7. Fear of Judgment: Some people have a truckload of best practices to share, but they are sometimes concerned that other people may not think their best practices are so hot. Or, if they've done something they think is truly innovative, they may be concerned that others will judge them for not asking permission or going one bridge too far. The result? They clam up and keep things to themselves.

8. The Perception of Lack of Time:
Face it. We live in an ADD world. Even the fact that you have read this far is astounding. If a person thinks they have no time, there is very little chance they are going to say YES to a "best practice sharing process" that will take some time -- even if the process, itself, will yield ideas that will save them time and radically increase their odds of success.

9. Lame Listening: The sharing of best practices requires two things: someone to speak and someone to listen. Most of us, of course, would rather speak than listen. If you and your team are committed to sharing what you are learning with each other, make sure that listening -- real listening -- is baked into the process.

10. No Platform: Sharing best practices with other people requires some kind of communication method or platform. If your team does not have a reliable way to share what they are learning, it's doubtful they will. What platform might work best for your team? Group skype calls? One-on-one phone calls? Monthly meetings? Email? A Facebook Group? An end-of-the-year conference? A blog?

What other obstacles would you add to the above list? But more importantly, what can YOU do in the next seven days to jump start the process of the team you work most closely with sharing their best practices with each other?

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March 14, 2018
MICRO-LEARNING FOR INNOVATORS: A Testimonial

LightningBrain4.jpgTHIS JUST IN FROM from one of our forward-thinking clients who recently licensed our Micro-Learning for Innovators service.

"Idea Champions' Micro-Learning for Innovators service provides us with an the ideal mix of easy to digest, thought provoking content. We have engineering and marketing team members participating in monthly meetings to share insights. I am pleased at their enthusiasm and the depth of their discussions. The videos and articles give folks a shared starting point for talking about a topic that normally isn't on their radar. People have let me know they are taking away some new tools and new ways of thinking. The Micro-Learning format made it easy for us to initiate learning in an area that was getting crowded out by other development initiatives." - Angelo Marasco, Director of Corporate Discovery, ODL

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ANGELO ON A DAY OFF

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Connect to Your Community!

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On a scale of 1-10, how connected are YOU to your community? And if your reply is "8" or less, take a moment and ask yourself how you can become more connected. Speaking of which, here is a cool online creative thinking tool about the power of making connections.

Illustration: GapingVoid

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March 13, 2018
The End of the Meeting Blues

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Yesterday, I attended a meeting and witnessed a very curious phenomenon just when it was about to end -- a phenomenon that is very common and a big reason why many meetings leave people's heads spinning.

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At the end of the meeting, when it was time for closure, a few inspired participants took center stage and began pitching a bunch of new ideas.

Their enthusiasm was wonderful to see, but it was the wrong time to be entertaining a new wave of possibilities. The facilitator, not wanting to offend the participants, let them go on... and on.... and on.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking, and the other participants (who had been promised that the meeting would end on time) started getting restless. The meeting had been a good one up to this point, but now things started feeling dense and dizzying.

If this was a restaurant, we were just about to finish our last sip of the end-of-meal cappuccino and the waiter was suddenly bringing out a new entree -- organic, pecan-encrusted salmon with a side of mashed potatoes. Good food, for sure, but at the wrong time.

If YOU run meetings, be aware of this phenomenon.

When you're in the "dessert stage" of a meeting, stay with it. Allow closure to happen. If inspired participants start teeing up new topics, new questions, or new ideas acknowledge them for their contribution, but also remind them that the meeting is just about to end and that their new input can be addressed offline, after the meeting, or added to the agenda of the next meeting.

Done well, no one will feel offended, "overstuffed", or late for whatever is next on their schedule.

Photo: Stefan Cosma, Unsplash

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Idea Champions
How to facilitate good brainstorm sessions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2018
Group Mind, Propaganda, Selfhood, and the Need to Belong

Big thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur for the heads up.

MitchDitkoff.com
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2018
Deconstructing the Problems of Most Modern Day Schools

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2018
Sound Advice for Public Speakers

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Inspired by Rebecka Forrester

A practical example
10 keys for giving a great keynote
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2018
Why Make the Effort to Create a Culture of Storytelling?

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Unless you've been living in solitary confinement for the past few years, chances are good that you are a member of some kind of organization, or community -- a gathering of people who have come together in service to a common goal. Whether it's a Fortune 500 company, school, non-profit, or softball team, we are all, whether we know it or not, involved in the process of creating organizational culture -- "a collective way of thinking, believing, behaving, and working."

How conducive the cultures we create are to the success of our missions is anyone's guess, but what is not a guess is the fact that high-performing organizations exhibit the same kind of mission-enabling qualities: trust, shared vision, collaboration, clear communication, diversity of thought, commitment to learning, freedom of expression, and a sense of belonging.

While there are many ways to enhance these qualities, the most effective and least expensive way is through storytelling -- a culture-building phenomenon that's been going on since language first began. Simply put, in order for a group of people to accomplish extraordinary goals, they need to know each other at a level far beyond title, role, or resume.

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When people tell their stories to each other and are heard, magic happens. People bond. Barriers dissolve. Connections are made. Trust increases. Knowledge is transmitted. Wisdom is shared. A common language is birthed. And a deep sense of interdependence is felt. That's why, in days of old, our ancestors stood around the fire and shared their stories with each other. Survival depended on it and so did the emotional well-being of the tribe.

Times have changed since then, as have our methods of communication.
Where once story reigned supreme, now it's technology and all her attention-deficit offspring: texting, Twitter, Instagram, email, Facebook, and drive-by pep talks.

What we've gained in efficiency, we've lost in effectiveness. The spirit of the law has been replaced by the letter. People may be transmitting more, but they are receiving less. We share data, information, and opinions, but not much meaning. And it is meaning that people hunger for. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why employee engagement is down in so many organizations these days. It's because people feel isolated, disconnected, unseen, and unheard.

Idea Champions
Excerpted from Storytelling at Work
Our storytelling workshop
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2018
JEAN HOUSTON on the Need for Transformational Storytelling

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling at Work
My storytelling blog

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

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)

March 02, 2018
Storytelling for the Revolution

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Here is a possible cover of my forthcoming book on storytelling to be published in May. To pre-order and/or learn more about where I'm coming from, click here.

"The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories." - Muriel Ruykeser

"A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way." - Flannery O'Connor

"The most important question anyone can ask is: What myth am I living?" - Carl Jung

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:13 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.

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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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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