October 30, 2018
MICRO-LEARNING DONE RIGHT

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Here's all you need to know: The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. The attention span of a human being is 8 seconds. Got that? Now, think about why most "Professional Development" programs in corporations under-perform. OK. time's up. Here's why:

quick coach.jpg The delivery platforms that most organizations use to "educate people" exceed most people's ability to concentrate. The content may be good, but participants' ability to stay engaged usually flames out in a few minutes.

Which is just one of the reasons why I love MyQuickCoach, the invention of Jon Peters -- one of the first multi-media savants into the Micro-Learning space.

Jon and his team have produced more than 2,700 quick hitting videos (usually 5 minutes or less), featuring thought leaders from a wide range of disciplines.

Here's one of yours truly on the power of appreciation and acknowledgment. I don't know if Jon has any goldfish for clients, but I'm sure he's thought about it.

Jon's email address: jpeters@athenastudios.com

MyQuickCoach
Innovation Starts with the Individual (1:38)
Idea Champions (that's us)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2018
25 Simple Ways to Free Up Your Innate Creativity

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Most people agree that creativity (and it's twin brother, innovation) is a good thing. Accordingly, they want to know how they can become more creative or more innovative. Makes sense, right? The question, however, is a tricky one, not unlike asking "How can I have a good marriage?" or "How can I become a better human being?" There are hundreds of answers and often different strokes for different folks.

Bottom line, there is no blueprint, no follow-the-dots instructions in this realm. That being said, there are time-tested guidelines and principles which, when honored, will increase your chances of increasing your creativity and innovation.

Below are 25 of these principles for your consideration. No doubt, you are already skillful in some of them. Congratulations! But there may be others that are not your strong suit. Those are the one you will need to pay more attention to. Ready? Here goes:

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1. Ask yourself WHY you want to become more creative: If you don't know the answer to this question, the rest of the guidelines that follow will be nothing more than fairy dust. In other words, what's in it for you? Why make the effort to become more creative? Why do you care about this topic?

2. Realize you already are creative: Most of us are subject to the myth that only some people are creative or in a "creative profession." Writers, artists, and filmmakers get lots of points for being creative, as opposed to accountants, tax auditors, and engineers. This is not true. Everyone is creative. The only thing is that sometimes our creativity gets obscured by years of funky habits, programming, and conditioning. Then, the thought "I am not creative" rules the day and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Psychologists tell us that a human being is most creative at the age of five. After that, it's a slow and steady decline into conventionality. From your perspective, what are the characteristics of a five-year old and how can you bring more of those to bear on the job?

3. Identify what blocks your creativity: When Michelangelo was asked how he made his iconic statue, The David, he explained, "I simply took away everything that wasn't." To him, the statue was already in the stone. All he needed to do was remove everythingin the way. This is a good question for you to ask in regard to your efforts to become more creative. What is in your way? What is blocking your creativity? And what can you do to remove or, at least, diminish these factors, on the job?

4. Remember a time when you were creative: All of us have had times in our life when our creativity was flowing. The conditions were ripe for us to do our best thinking/creating. What was that time in your life? What were the conditions that made the expression of your creativity easier than usual? And what can you do to bring more of these conditions to bear on the job?

5. Define what you mean by "creative": If you Google the phrase "Definitions of Creativity", you will find 53,900,000 entries. "Creativity" means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? What is your operational definition of creativity? (Click here for 14 definitions to spark your effort to come up with your own working definition).

6. Identify a project, goal, or vision you want to be creative about: If you don't have a project that inspires you enough to apply your creativity to, your effort to become more creative will be vague, at best. You need to have some skin in the game. What is the project you would most like to infuse with a renewed dose of creativity? (HINT: The most effective way to do this is to frame your challenge, problem, or opportunity in the form of a question that begins with the words "How can I?" or "How can we?")

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7. Immerse: Creative people, no matter what their field or expertise, have the ability to dive in and stay with a project for long periods of time. They don't just hit and run. Instead, they become completely absorbed in their effort and it is often their state of absorption that is their secret sauce. That's why Einstein said, "It's not that I'm so smart. It's just that I stay with problems longer." How can, you, in the next three months create the time to immerse in your hottest, new project?

8. Reframe failure: Creative people are less afraid of making mistakes than most people. They realize that creativity is a volume business -- that many experiments are needed and that trial and error comes with the territory. When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 800 times before coming up with tungsten as the filament for the light bulb, his reply said it all: "Fail? I didn't fail once. I learned 800 times, what didn't work." How can you and your team launch more experiments? How can you embrace failure more than you currently do?

9. Identify and go beyond your limiting assumptions: Often, the suppositions or conclusions that we make at the beginning of a project are completely fictitious, a function of our past experiences, false beliefs, and expertise. Creative people have a knack for being less bound by limiting assumptions than most people. This state of open-mindedness allows them to proceed in ways that open up vast new territories to explore. What might your biggest limiting assumptions be about your most exciting project? What can you do to go over, around, or through these assumptions?

10. Stay inspired and fascinated: I know of very few depressed or despondent people who are consistently creative. And while it's true, that creative people can sometimes get depressed or despondent, they don't dwell in that place for very long, realizing that their mindset is one of the keys to their success. What are three ways you can stay inspired and fascinated about your hottest, new venture?

11. Ask WHAT IF (and other powerful questions): Creative people have a unique ability to go beyond the status quo. One way they do that is by asking powerful questions -- questions that challenge the status quo and open up totally new horizons. The simplest question to ask in this regard is "What if?" What aspects of your work, these days, might benefit from asking "what if?"

12. Make connections between seemingly disparate elements: One of the qualities of a creative thinker is the ability to synthesize -- to see new kinds of connections between this, that and the other thing. What is MTV? Simply the connection between music and television. Drive-in banking? The connection between cars and banking. The Bloody Mary? Vodka and tomato juice. Most of us are so much "in our boxes" that we too infrequently connect A + B to get C. Tunnel vision has a hold of us. What intriguing new connections do you see in your life? How can you combine two seemingly unrelated variables to create a new product or service or better way of doing business?

13. See through others' eyes: One of the biggest obstacles to creativity is our odd little habit of viewing everything through our own eyes/lenses/filters. Addicted to our own point of view, we tend to be constrained by our habitual ways of perceiving the world. The simplest way to free yourself from this constraint is to look at your problem, project, or opportunity through the eyes of someone else. What if Willie Nelson was responsible with solving your problem? Stevie Wonder? Rosa Parks? Thomas Edison? How would any one of these people go about it? And what clues do you get from their approach?

14.Pay attention to your subconscious: Many brilliant ideas come to people off line, in dreams, or in surprise moments when they are not trying to figure things out. What happen is this: the conscious, problem-solving part of our mind hits a wall and gets stuck. That's when the problem gets turned over to the subconscious mind. (But only if we deeply committed to the project). That's how Elias Howe's invention of the lock stitch sewing machine happened. And that's how Rene Descartes came up with the Scientific Method. And that is what Seymour Cray, the inventor of the Cray Supercomputer attributed his success to -- the ability to walk away from a problem and let his subconscious mind do the work. Where and when do you get your best ideas away from work? And what can you do to be more mindful of ideas that come to you in those situations?

15. Suspend logic and linearity: Most of us think deeply. We like to problem solve And, more often than not, we are very rational beings -- so called "left-brainers." Not that there is anything wrong with that... but there are times, in the creative process, especially in the beginning, when too much logic and linearity get in the way. There is a right-brain, too, that need to be exercised -- the associative, playful, non-rational side of our mind. How can you suspend logic and linearity at the beginning of a new project? In what ways can you allow more time to consider the non-logical?

16. Trust your instincts, intuition, and hunches: Albert Einstein once said, "Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts." Indeed, he used to conduct what he called thought experiments, a fancy name for daydreaming, whenever he got stuck and needed a breakthrough. Simply put, he trusted the intuitive part of himself more than most of us. What are your instincts and intuitions telling you about a project you are currently working on? How can you trust these instincts and intuitions more than you normally do?

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17. Entertain the fantastic: Gary Kasparov, the former Soviet Union Grand Chess Master, had the ability to strategize 26 moves ahead. But when, in 1989, he was asked what enabled him to beat Big Blue, IBM's mainframe computer, in a two game chess match, he attributed his success to "the ability to fantasize" -- to be able to make a quantum leap of thought. Einstein, too, was a big proponent of fantasizing and is famous for having said "the ability to fantasize has meant more to me than my ability to absorb positive knowledge." How can you make more time to dream big?

18. Collaborate: Some people assume that creativity is the result of a lone wolf genius inhabiting some kind of ivory tower and returning to the "marketplace" with an extraordinary insight or breakthrough. And while this sometimes happens, it is mostly a myth. Often, creativity is informed by the so-called lone wolf genius being in relationship to people -- i.e. jamming, brainstorming, talking, and getting feedback. This kind of variable input has the potential to spark all kinds of insight and ahas. The challenge for most of us? To stay in dynamic relationship with each other, especially since the logical, left-brain, problem-solving part of us usually wants to be left along to "figure things out." How can you increase the amount of creative collaboration in your life? Who might you ask to join forces with you this week to develop a new idea or possibility?

19. Have fun: This just in! The words "aha" and "haha" are very much related. In the aha moment, the person with the epiphany ends up surprised, in some way, about a given outcome. He/she is dislocated from their assumptions, i.e. Archimedes in the bathtub and Newton under the apple tree. The "haha" moment is similar. Indeed, the reason why most of us laugh is because our expectations and assumptions have been disrupted by the storyteller or comedian. This surprise moment sparks an involuntary reaction called "laughter." Creativity and humor are joined at the hip. Get too serious and too sober and you diminish the odds of creativity flourishing. In what ways can you infuse your work environment with more humor and playfulness?

20. Look for happy accidents: Do you know what penicillin, vulcanized rubber, Post-It Notes, and Velcro have in common? They were all the results of "accidents in the lab." They were not planned. There were not the result of a brainstorming session or a strategic plan. They showed up unannounced. But instead of being dismissed as a mistake, the innovators associated with these discoveries, got curious. They paid attention. And they played around with this so-called mistake until they discovered its commercial value. Research indicates, in fact, that 75% of all product and service breakthroughs are the results of serendipity, surprise, and happy accidents. What have you been noticing in your life that others may have dismissed as a mistake or failure, when, in fact, it might be the clue you have been looking for?

21. Change environments: Sometimes, the simplest way to spark creativity when you are feeling stuck or stale is to get out of the office and change environments. Socrates knew this. That's why he invented his "Peripatetic School of Education" -- a way to "walk the talk." Indeed, that's why many people get their best ideas during or after exercising. Where can you go, to refresh and renew yourself, whenever you are feeling stuck, on the job?

22. Be comfortable with ambiguity: Creating something new is not a function of an algorithm or a sequential process. It often requires a lot of time spent not knowing or being confused or not having all the answers. This is why Tom Peters, innovation provocateur, likes to say that "innovation is a messy business." Yup. It is messy. And frustrating. And non-linear. And it often requires time in the chaos zone. It comes with the territory with creating something new. If you are not mindful of this phenomenon, you will likely grab onto the "first right idea" just to diminish your discomfort. This is not a good idea. In what ways can you stay with ambiguity longer than you usually do when working on a challenging project?

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23. Acknowledge your progress:
Creating something new is often a frustrating phenomenon. Results don't always come quickly. As a result, we sometimes get discouraged and enter into a curmudgeonly, skeptical, cranky mindset. We lose our inspiration. The simplest way to neutralize this phenomenon is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to pause and acknowledge whatever progress you have made that day, no matter how small. You can do this alone or you can do this with your team. Think of one project of yours that has been especially frustrating. What progress have you made on this project today?

24. Give and receive feedback: Sometimes, aspiring innovators are on the right track, but their addiction to "being right" gets in the way. What they need to do in order open up the floodgates of creativity is get feedback from their peers. All too often, however, we interpret feedback as "criticism", so we are not open to it. Ouch! In what ways can you get more feedback from your peers on the job?

25. Honor the Polarities: People aspiring to become more creative, especially those who are time-crunched, would love there to be some kind of blueprint or map. Guess what? There is none. It doesn't exist. And even if it did exist, it would most likely include contradictory directions. That's because the act of "being creative" is often a contradictory process. That's why Niels Bohr, the Nobel-prize winning physicist, once said: "Now that we have met with paradox, we have some hope of making progress." To the creative person, their process is not either/or. It's both. "Everything has its season" is their mantra. Below is a short list of some classic contradictions/paradoxes that creative people experience. Any of them familiar?

- Patience/impatience
- Solitude/collaboration
- Urgency/relaxation
- Seriousness/playfulness
- Divergence/convergence

What other contradictions/paradoxes do you experience in your own creative process? And what can you do to honor them more than you currently do?

Jump Start Creativity
Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2018
The Real Organizational Chart?

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One reason why there isn't more innovation in most of our lives is because too many of us are working on our own. Not a good idea. Pause for a moment and identify at least one person with whom you need to collaborate. Who is it? What role will they play? And when will you ask for their support?

Start your idea factory
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:54 PM | Comments (3)

October 25, 2018
Brainstorm Facilitation Training for Idiot Savants (and other wise ones)

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This just in! Brainstorming in most organizations sucks. Or, if "sucks" is the wrong word, how about "severely under-delivers"? The good folks of Idea Champions (that's us) have found a way to put an end to this madness. Yes, we have. And yes, we can. Click here for a taste of where we're coming from -- 13 brief videos of us laying it all on the line. Think brainstorming is a waste of time? Click here.

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

October 22, 2018
KEYNOTE SPEAKING DEMYSTIFIED: There Is More Than One Audience

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Recently, I gave a keynote presentation to 150 people in the health care industry. After being introduced, I decided, as I usually do, to leave the safe confines of the podium ("a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it"), dismount the stage, and "walk my talk" -- weaving my way in between the 20 round tables in the room, each with their own pitchers of water, tent cards, and little bowls of red and white mints.

For a keynote speaker, dismounting the stage and walking into the audience is always a risk -- the same kind of risk people take when they decide to get married, instead of just date. Or, why it's often easier to love humanity than just a single human being.

People, in theory, are interested in learning. People, in theory, are interested in listening to an outside speaker, especially when he's flown in from who knows where. But in reality, it's a completely different story. How do I know? By looking. By seeing. And by feeling what is really going on.

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To the AV guy in the back of the room, there were 150 health care professionals in attendance, but to me there were 12 different subgroups -- some large, some small. Twelve different mindsets. Twelve different tribes. And while they were all being paid by the same employer, they were all paying a very different kind of attention to what I was saying -- all thinking very different thoughts.

Mind you, I'm not claiming to be psychic or a mind reader, but after 25 years of doing this kind of work, a person develops a curious ability to sense what people are thinking.

GROUP 1: "Thank you! Thank you! Tell it like it is, my brother! Finally, somebody is speaking the truth! Hallelujah!"

GROUP 2: "Please do not come any closer to my table, sir. And, under no circumstances, approach me with a microphone. First of all, I have nothing to say and, second of all, even if I did, nobody in this room would be listening to me."

GROUP 3: "Excuse me. I... don't believe I've ever heard of you. Do you actually know anything about the nuances of our industry?"

GROUP 4: "It all sounds good to me. Makes perfect sense. But... um... er... how much extra work is this going to mean for me?"

GROUP 5: "I wonder what's for lunch. I sure hope it's not that awful chicken they served us last time. That wasn't chicken. That was shoe leather."

GROUP 6: "Flavor of the month alert! Last year it was Excellence. The year before that it was Lean Management. Now, it's Innovation. This too shall pass."

GROUP 7: "Hmm.. How can I seem to be interested when this guy gets close to my table so my boss won't think I don't really care."

GROUP 8: "Innovate! Yes! We totally need to innovate! Absolutely! Wait a minute! Isn't that why they pay our senior leaders the big bucks?"

GROUP 9: "Very cool. Good timing. How can I get my team on board?"

GROUP 10: "Earth to keynote speaker! It's all about priorities. I mean, if I had more time to innovate I would, but all I'm doing these days is running from one meeting to the other."

GROUP 11: "Theoretically speaking, I am with you 100%. Maybe 200%. But when push comes to shove around here, we are not in a business likely to innovate."

GROUP 12: "Innovate, schminnovate! We need more head count."

My point? Every keynote audience is a melting pot of varying perceptions, assumptions, and needs. In order for keynote presenters to be effective, they need to find their "golden mean" -- their own sweet spot between the inevitable extremes that will be represented by the audience. Any attempt to convert the "slackers" or align with the "early adopters" will create nothing but more separation, resistance, and duality. In the end, it all comes down to what Mark Twain said years ago: "When you speak the truth, you don't need to remember a thing."

MitchDitkoff.com
My clients
What my clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2018
The Awesome Power of Immersion

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"If I had an hour to solve a problem," explained Albert Einstein, "I'd spend the first 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and the last five solving it."

Translation? One of the secrets to having a big breakthrough is immersion -- "the state of being deeply engaged, involved, or absorbed."

Immersion is the ocean in which our fabulous insights, ideas, and illuminations are swimming. That's why Yogis seek out caves, embryos gestate, and writers go on retreat.

And that's why my business partner, Steven McHugh, and I rented a townhouse in Boulder, Colorado for 30 days and 30 nights when it was time for us to start up Idea Champions. We knew we had a great idea for a business, but we also knew that ideas were a dime a dozen and that unless we really immersed we'd end up with nothing much more than a charming story to tell at cocktail parties -- the idea for a business, but not the business itself.

Armed with little more than a flip chart, a few marking pens, and a burning desire to create something new, we unplugged from all our other commitments and jumped in with both feet.

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We talked. We walked. We walked our talk. We noodled. We conjured. We brainstormed, blue-skied, dialogued, role played, invented, read, sang, stretched, drank coffee, wine, the crisp Colorado air, and whatever else it took to free ourselves from the gravity of what we already knew. If this was Rocky 1, our townhouse was the Gym, Adrienne nowhere in sight.

And every night before we went to bed, blissed out of our trees, we'd remind each other to remember our dreams and speak them aloud the first thing in the morning.

CLUES. We were looking for clues, hints, perfumed handkerchiefs dropped by our muse while we slept and anything else that bubbled to the surface of the imaginal stew we found ourselves now swimming in.

Crackpots? No. More like crockpots, simmering in our own creative juices, unimpaired by the almost infinite amount of distractions we had grown accustomed to calling our life.

Immersed. We were completely immersed -- two eggs submerged in the boiling water of creation, heat turned up, lid on, timer off.

Our walls? The walls of our abode? Covered with paper, sketches, scribbles, post-its, quotes, pictures, lists, charts, diagrams, questions, and take out menus -- the barely decipherable hieroglyphics of our journey into who knows where.

The floors? Our mothers would have had a heart attack, littered as they were with anything we didn't have a place for. Rube Goldberg meets Fellini. Yin meets Yang meets Jung -- the flora and fauna of two aspiring entrepreneurs on fire with possibility.

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But our immersion went far beyond the four walls of our abode. It was a state of mind, not a geographical location. It didn't really matter where we were. Walking by the creek or sitting in a bar was all the same to us, ruled as we were by our shared fascination, random silken threads of conversation with complete strangers, and the increasingly apparent sense that we were on to something big.

And then, on the morning of the 19th day, very much at ease in our townhouse abode, there was a knock on the door -- a loud and insistent knock, a knock both of us found rather odd since nobody knew where we lived -- or so we thought.

"It's open," Steven shouted from across the room. "Go ahead and let yourself in."

And there, at the threshold, stood a woman neither of us knew, a woman boldly announcing that, for the past three days, she'd been hearing about "these two creativity guys" and she just had to meet us, her business now on the cusp of either breaking through or breaking down.

I don't remember a single thing of we said, but whatever it was hit the nail on the head.

The next day, there was another knock on the door. Apparently, someone else had heard about our whereabouts. This guy had a business, too, or was trying to have a business. He spoke. We listened. He spoke some more. We listened some more, occasionally asking a question or two and sharing some insight. He too, got what he needed.

On the third day, Jesus did not rise from the grave, but, yes, there was another knock on the door -- just enough proof to the logical part of our minds that the previous two visits were not random events, but part of some kind of emerging pattern -- what fans of Rupert Sheldrake might refer to as manifestations of the morphogenetic field, or what less metaphysical folks might describe as our very own "field of dreams."

Steven and I had done nothing at all to draw these people to us -- no ads in the paper, no posters on poles, no calls, no emails, no flyers, no social marketing campaigns. The only thing we'd done was immerse -- dig deeply into our own highly charged process of creating something new.

But this "nothing at all" wasn't nothing at all. It was something -- something grand and glorious. Something extraordinarily attractive.

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Is a mother hen sitting on her egg doing nothing at all? Is she slacking? Is her seeming disappearance from the poultry marketplace a sign of irresponsibility?

To the casual observer, maybe that's what it looks like, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sitting is exactly what the mother hen needs to do in order to bring new life into the world. Stillness, not action, is her path.

Did Steven and I accomplish what we set out to do during our 30 days of immersion? Yes, we did. In spades. Beyond the inspiration, collaboration, and good feelings we experienced, we emerged with the design of our first product -- a creative thinking training we ended up licensing to AT&T just two years later for a truck load of money.

Was our immersion time all fun and games? No way. Chaos and confusion were our housemates, but the rent they paid sparked a ton of learning, creativity, discovery, and a new found willingness to make friends with the unknown -- what Henry Miller was referring to when he defined confusion as "simply a word we've invented for an order that is not yet understood."

In today's business world, immersion is a very rare commodity. ADD rules the day. Time is sliced and diced. We don't have time. Time has us. We tweet, we delete, we tap our feet, but all too often nothing much beyond the status quo ever really happens. Downtime has become an anathema -- the province of "B list" players. Busy-ness and business have become synonymous.

The assumption? The more we do and the faster we do it, the more success we'll have. Boil an egg? Ha! We microwave it -- even if it tastes like shit. Dive in? No way. We hydroplane.

But it doesn't have to be that way. It really doesn't.

Slowing down and going deep trumps speeding up and going crazy. Immersion trumps diversion. It's possible. Yes, it is. I have proof. And so do YOU, if only you would pause long enough to remember those extraordinary times when you unplugged, tuned in, and dove into your own process of creating something new and wonderful.

A QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

What can you do, this week, month, or quarter, to unplug from the daily grind and give yourself the luxury of immersion? Where will you go? When? And who will you invite to accompany you, if anyone?

Excerpted from my forthcoming book: WISDOM AT WORK: How Moments of Truth on the Job Reveal the Real Business of Life.

Excerpted from Storytelling at Work
MitchDitkoff.com
IdeaChampions

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

October 19, 2018
The Return of Idea Champions Extraordinary Co-Founder!

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Idea Champions is thrilled to announce the full return of Co-Founder, Steven Raymond McHugh to our roster of innovation consultants, trainers, facilitators, and change agents.

Steven and I (Mitch Ditkoff) founded Idea Champions 30 years ago and have delivered services to a wide variety of forward-thinking organizations since then. Bottom line, Idea Champions would not have materialized without Steven's brilliance, wisdom, energy, humor, vision, soulfulness and love of coffee. As far as facilitators of group process goes, he is in the 99th percentile of WOW. Tuned in, totally engaging, awake, and skillful beyond the norm. I have learned a lot from him and continue to do so.

Ten years after Steven and I started Idea Champions we decided to go our separate ways for a variety of reasons that were not necessarily reasonable at the time, but needed to happen. In the interim, we have stayed in touch -- as friends, fellow change agents, and referring sources. Now the wheel has turned and we are back in the saddle again -- a phenomenon of possible great value to you and your organization.

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Phase One of Steven's return to Idea Champions includes the facilitation of two game-changing workshops and trainings for our clients: Seize the Future and Agile Leadership/Agile Teams.

If either of these interest you, feel free to call us at 845.679.1066 or email: info@ideachampions and Steven will get back to you within 24 hours to explore the possibilities. If you are looking to raise the bar for innovation, increase leadership capabilities, and get the collaboration juices flowing, this is for you.

Idea Champions
Our clients
What our clients say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2018
What You Can Learn About Innovation from 25 Amazing Artists

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If you are an aspiring innovator, there's a lot you can learn from some of planet Earth's most revered artists. These are the people who stare at a blank canvas or a lump of clay and end up making magic. This is your task as well. Your life is the blank canvas. The idea you are toying with is your first stroke. What will happen next (or not) is up to you. While some pundits have reduced innovation to a science, my experience has shown me that it is at least 50% art. Or maybe 90%.

Here is my invitation to you in order to get the most value from the 25 quotes that follow -- the distillation of a life's work from some of the most creative people on the planet:

1. Bring your most inspired project to mind. See it. Feel it.
2. Read quotes below
3. Choose the quote that most sings to you
4. Apply the message embedded in that quote to your life/project
5. Find someone you love and trust and tell them why

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1." If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." -- Edward Hopper

2. "The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel." -- Piet Mondrian

3. "The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." -- Francis Bacon

4. "Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing." - Georgia O'Keeffe

5. "The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity." - Alberto Giacometti

6. "Every good painter paints what he is." - Jackson Pollock

7. "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas

8. "I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality. - Frida Kahlo

9. "What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough." - Eugene Delacroix

10. "If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." - Marc Chagall

11. "A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." - Paul Cezanne

12. "Doubt tempers belief with sanity." -Barbara Krueger

13. "Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it." - Salvador Dali

14. "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo

15. "One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself." - Leonardo da Vinci

16. "Painting doesn't freeze time. It circulates and recycles time like a wheel that turns. Those who were first might well be last. Painting is a very slow art. It doesn't travel with the speed of light. That's why dead painters shine so bright." - Marlene Dumas

17. "An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it." - Paul Valery

18. "An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision." - James McNeill Whistler

19. "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." - Vincent Van Gogh

20. "An artist's failures are as valuable as his successes. By misjudging one thing he conforms something else, even if at the time he does not know what that something else is." - Bridget Riley

22. "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." - Pablo Picasso

23. "The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

24. "The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable." - Robert Henri

25. "I invent nothing, I rediscover." - Auguste Rodin

Photo: Andrian Valeanu, Unsplash
Digital Art: Evelyne Pouget

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com
Poetry is painting with words

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2018
An Invitation to Forward Thinking Readers of This Blog

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GREETINGS! Mitch Ditkoff here, author of this blog. I have just launched a GoFundMe campaign to create the support I need to write, edit, publish, and promote my next book on storytelling, tentatively entitled Storytelling for the Revelation. Click this link for more info and a simple way to contribute. Every little bit helps. Thanks for considering this and for being a Heart of Innovation reader.

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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2018
INNOVATION MICRO-LEARNING (in less than 15 minutes per week)

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This. Just. In. None of Idea Champions clients have any time. And because they don't, we have recently launched an exciting, new micro-learning service to help them stay on top of their innovation game. In less than 15 minutes per week. Virtually. At whatever time is convenient for them. Click here to take our micro-learning poll and see what micro-learning topics we are offering in 2018.

More about it here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2018
Want to Teach in a Wonderful Islamic School in Australia?

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The forward-thinking Islamic school, in Melbourne, Australia, that I have been consulting with for the past year (Al Siraat College) has some new job openings for teachers in their Primary and Elementary schools. This is a great opportunity for an open-minded, committed, adventurous educator to make a big difference and have an extraordinary experience at the same time.

Click here for more info. And here, as well.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:55 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 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
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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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