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!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

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


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


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

Idea Champions
If you need a jolt
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:58 PM | Comments (4)

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


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.



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.


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?

Idea Champions
Micro-Learning for Innovators

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March 14, 2018

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

Idea Champions
Our creative thinking workshop
Brainstorm facilitation training



Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

Connect to Your Community!


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

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2018
The End of the Meeting Blues


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.


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
Idea Champions
How to facilitate good brainstorm sessions

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

Big thanks to Val Vadeboncoeur for the heads up.
Idea Champions

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

Idea Champions

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March 08, 2018
Sound Advice for Public Speakers


Inspired by Rebecka Forrester

A practical example
10 keys for giving a great keynote

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

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


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.

Wizard Storyteller.jpg

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

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

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


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.


Risk Taking
Humor and Play
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


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

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.
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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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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