November 19, 2018
DOWN UNDER: Idea Champions Enters Into the Field of Education


Last year, I spent three months at Al Siraat College in Melbourne, Australia -- a K-12 school -- delivering a wide variety of consulting, training, teaching, and coaching services.

In between each of my month-long residencies, I worked, remotely, with Fazeel Arain, the Co-Founder and Principal of the school, diving deeper into what was possible.

Working with the great people of Al Siraat was a most remarkable experience -- one of the high points of my career. This was not only the first time I had worked with a school (my usual clients are corporations), it was also the first time I had worked with an Islamic organization. (The working title of my still-to-be-written book about the experience? 1,000 Muslims and a Jew).

If you had told me two years ago that I was going to be leading experiential learning activities in a field with 100 Muslim teachers... or teaching 26 second graders how to write and tell stories... or leading brainstorming sessions for 80 Muslim teenagers... or reinventing how meetings happen in an Islamic school, I would have thought you were hallucinating. But that's exactly what happened and a whole lot more -- way more than I can express in this brief blog post.

166881260.jpg I hope one day to write about my experience at Al Siraat and share just a little of the spirit, dedication, and potential of the school. Until then, here are the words of Fazeel, reflecting on our collaboration:

"I had a strong desire to introduce a culture of creativity and innovation to our humble school in Australia. Being cash strapped as a new school (and knowing consultants were not cheap), I started following Mitch's blog, The Heart of Innovation. After many years of reading his posts, I finally found an opportunity to invite Mitch to Al Siraat for a short visit to explore the possibilities of what our collaboration might look like. During that visit, Mitch opened my eyes to the fact that anything was possible. We then embarked on a wonderful, year-long journey of culture change, learning, innovation, transformation, and friendship.

The more we worked together, the more I realized that changing the culture of a school is not an easy task. There is no quick path. Culture change requires a long-term commitment and a large amount of visioning, planning, team development, role clarity, creative thinking, clear communication, community building, intrinsic motivation, risk taking, empowerment, perseverance, humor, and just the right touch.

Mitch has greatly assisted Al Siraat in our culture change ambitions which continue to be ongoing. I am very thankful for Mitch's coaching, guidance, inspiration, and support -- helping me and the entire staff of Al Siraat take this much-needed journey, which has only just begun."


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100 educational innovations from around the world

Idea Champions
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:10 PM | Comments (1)

Post-Fire Tips for Dealing with the Aftermath of the California Fires


I just came across the following content, on Facebook, from a woman in California who who been the victim of two fires in the past 11 months. Below, she writes about what she has learned from her experiences and offers very practical advice to anyone in California (or anywhere, for that matter), who is dealing with the aftermath of a major fire event. I cannot verify the accuracy of everything she says, but it certainly seems worthy of your consideration -- especially if you are one of the people dealing with the after affects of the fires. Here goes:

"They said you can move back? Listen to me IT'S NOT OVER!! My husband and I escaped and evacuated from two major fires and a deadly mudslide this year. Had we stayed in California Wolsey and Hill would have been our 3rd occurrence in 11 months. This is what I learned this past year and I hope it can be of service to you and your families or pass it along to others you know who may need this information:

1. If your house burned down, then you are obviously not going to return to it. If you house hasn't burned down and you are still under mandatory evacuation, make sure you retain every receipt of all out of pocket expenses including gas. From gas to food to lodging. All can be reimbursed. If you haven't done so yet, call your insurance company and see what the terms are for LOSS OF USE. You don't have to have lost your home to be entitled to reimbursement.

2. If the mandatory evacuation has been lifted in your area and they tell you it is safe to return PLEASE READ ON...

3. If you live up to five miles from burned structures, IT IS NOT SAFE TO RETURN. Extremely toxic material has burned, from chemicals in cleaning products to appliances to cars. The ashes are toxic and extremely harmful to your health (especially for little ones, the elderly, people with respiratory issues and compromised immune systems, and animals).

4. The ashes, once the fires have been put out, will stay on the ground for a long time. Any swift wind will lift them and make them travel all the way to your roof and window screens. THEY TRAVEL FOR MILES!

5. Do not clean up the ashes yourself. Call remediation specialists. Again, the ashes are really toxic.

6. Do not use leaf blowers. In fact, there will probably be a ban on leaf blows for weeks or months.

7. Do not let your kids or pets play in the yard or public parks -- even after the sky turns blue again.

8. It doesn't matter what they tell you, the quality of the water will be compromised for a while. You can buy a water quality test for $20 on Amazon. Test your water not only for heavy metals but for e.coli and coliform bacteria. Use bottled water. Buy water filters for the shower.

9. BEWARE OF THE RAIN: It never rains in California except after fires. Check your weather forecast if rain is coming. This rain will be toxic on many levels. It will bring down the fumes that are currently in the air and it will infiltrate streams, the produce of nearby farms, (Ventura is a farmland), the kettle will drink it, and last by not least, it could be cause of mudslides due to the unstable condition of the soil and the amount of loose debris on the ground. If you think I'm exaggerating, please look up what happened in Santa Barbara earlier this year after the Thomas fire. It created more casualties than the fires. And FYI, mudslides are not covered under insurance unless you can prove they were a direct consequence of the fire. Be prepared to be under mandatory evacuation every time it rains if you live in the affected areas.

10. Talk to your public health officials and demand a letter that says it is completely safe for children, elderly, and pets to play outside. They will never give it to you. They will give you something that basically says they don't take responsibility to assess that and will give you a standard procedure after any fire. Use it to demand that your insurance company continues to pay for loss of use, complete remediation of your home, and new clothes until the area has been cleared from toxic ashes.

11. Once the debris of the burned structures have been removed (not before), make sure to get your roof and windows/screens power washed (covered by insurance) or demand it from your landlord.

12. Change the filters in your ventilation system in your house and your car. Until then, DO NOT run your central heating or AC. Get an electric heater for the time being.

13. Depending on how close you were to the fires, the insulation system in your attic may need to be replaced.

14. Get your chimney serviced and keep the damper closed.

15. Buy an air purifier immediately to keep in your main living area. Move it to the bedroom at night.

16. Check for rodent infestation. During fires, rodents try to find refuge in abandoned homes,

17. This could be a good time to adopt a pet. Your local shelters will soon overflow with lost pets.

18. Practice self-care. You may not realize it yet, but this was a very traumatic experience. Talk to a therapist/counselor/coach, especially your children.

19. Be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency bag in your car with all the important things and keep your key documents closer to the door. The last thing you think right now is that it will happen again. IT WILL. Trust me. I know.

20. if you are thinking about selling your home, just wait. There will be a moratorium on all the home insurance for months. That means that even if you find a buyer nobody will insure your home, hence no sale. There will be moratorium on renters insurance as well. It will eventually lift, but some insurance companies who will lose a lot of money in the area will not want to insure for a while.

21. If you want to talk, vent, cry, I AM HERE. I have been there. I am still there. Even if I don't know you, I'd be happy to talk or video chat. Just text, become friends on FB -- whatever does it for you. I found in this last year that sometimes the best therapy to overcome trauma is to help others overcome theirs."



After the Fire

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2018
The Idea Champions Online Holiday Gift Store is Now Open


With Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa fast approaching, I'd like to take this blogospheric moment to be the bearer of some very good tidings -- especially if you are wondering what to get your significant other, friends, family, co-workers, boss, teammates, neighbors, clients, customers, or chiropractor.

Idea Champions
(that's us) has just opened its online store and is happy to announce that we are offering a wide variety of mind-opening products to spark creativity, innovation, collaboration, storytelling, and reflection.

Click here to see what your choices are. Prices range from $9.95 - $129.00. NOTE: We will be donating 10% of all profits, this holiday season, to our favorite humanitarian charity, TPRF.

Our team
Our values
Our clients
Our blog
A holiday story about giving

Photo: unsplash-logoOleg Sergeichik

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

November 17, 2018
A Humble Request for Your Vote


GOOD NEWS! The authors of this blog (Mitch Ditkoff and Val Vadeboncoeur) are finalists in the 2018 Business Innovation Brief MVP Awards.

Our blog post, The Ten Personas of an Effective Brainstorm Facilitator was one of seven articles chosen (out of thousands) in the category of Innovation Strategies. Whoo hoo! Now comes the fun part -- voting. That's where YOU come in. Ready?

1. Click this link.
2. Scroll to the Innovation Strategies button and click it.
3. Scroll to the sixth entry -- our "Ten Personas" article
4. Click the title if you want to read our article
5. Click the voting box (if you like the article, us, or ice cream)
6. Enter your email address on the pop-up screen.

(PS: If you don't want to be subscribed to the sponsoring website's email list, just uncheck those boxes when the pop-up window appears.)

The value to Val and I if we win this competition? Lots of recognition, free promotion, and the possibility of at least a few companies buying our book (from which the article is excerpted) or bringing us in to train their facilitators. Voting will take you less than two minutes. No hanging chads. No voter suppression. No recounts. Just Mitch and Val asking for your support.

Idea Champions
Our brainstorm website
In defense of brainstorming
Our innovation-sparking products


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2018
Bring on the Learning Revolution

100 inspiring educational innovations
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

Transforming K-12 Education

A 4-minute overview of the leading edge work being done by the George Lucas' Educational Foundation. Much needed. Lots to explore.

Their educational philosophy.
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2018
ANNOUNCING: Teamwork Cards!


If you are looking for a simple way to raise the bar for teamwork, communication and collaboration in your company, here's your ticket -- Idea Champions' newly launched deck of Teamwork Cards. These thought provoking cards help group become teams and teams becoming high performing teams. Easy to use. Clarifying. Behavior changing. A time-efficient way to spark the kind of conversations, insights and agreements that will get you and your team to the next level of excellence.

Idea Champions
Team Innovation
Launching Project Teams

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2018
Immersive Experiences in Education

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Babies Teaching Kindness and Empathy in Schools

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

Teach the Teacher!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

100 Inspiring, Global Innovations in the Field of Education, K-12

Click here to read about 100 innovations that are changing the face of K-12 education around the world.

This year's list provide an opportunity to learn about the most innovative, impactful, and scalable examples of forward-thinking educational practices from around the world. It shows how the future of education is heading towards a more holistic, facilitator-based model, one that focuses on well-being, social skills, and gender equity. If you are an educator, parent, student, or simply interested in the future progress of our planet, this post is for you.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2018
Oracy in the Classroom

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

CREATE A HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAM one conversation at a time


While it's true there is no "i" in "TEAM", there is definitely an "i" in INSIGHT, INTERDEPENDENCE, and COLLABORATION. Which is precisely what Idea Champions' now-available-for-the-first-time-on-the-internet Teamwork Cards are all about.


We created these cards for one simple reason -- to help our clients and the other 7.6 billion people on Planet Earth increase the odds of their collaborative endeavors actually bearing fruit.

Since 1987, when Idea Champions launched, we've heard the word "teamwork" bandied about thousands of times like some kind of medieval incantation. Inspired CEOs, Senior Leaders, and Human Resource Directors invoke the word religiously and God-knows-how-many hallways and conference rooms are plastered with cheesy posters of earnest looking people rowing a boat together. Help!


The actual amount of dependable, smooth-functioning, go-beyond-the-call-of teamwork in most organizations? That's a whole other story. We aim to change that. One Teamwork Card at a time.

We're not saying we've invented the magic pill. We haven't. But we have invented a way to invoke some magic -- especially when it comes to groups becoming teams and teams becoming high performing teams. Our Teamwork Cards spark reflection, insight, connection, clarity, meaningful conversation, and demystify a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo about what it really takes to raise the bar for teamwork.

No workshop is needed. No training. No webinar. No workbook. The cards are self-explanatory -- simple, engaging, conversation-starters for aspiring collaborators to identify exactly what they need to do differently, on the job, to make extraordinary teamwork a reality.



WORKSHOP: Team Innovation
WORKSHOP: Launching Project Teams
WORKSHOP: Agile Leadership/Agile Teams
Who We Are
Contact us for pricing and volume discounts

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2018
How to Spark Breakthrough Ideas in 10 Minutes or Less Online

genie2.gif Looking for a simple way to spark big ideas without having to go to a meeting, training, conference, retreat, therapist, hypnotist, shaman, college, or brainstorming session? Here it is. Idea Champion's user-friendly, online FreeTheGenie app.

All you need is a question starting with the words "HOW CAN I?" or "HOW CAN WE?", an open mind, and 10 minutes. That's it. Knowing how time-crunched most people are these days, we've made our online Free the Genie tool super easy to use.

If you find it intriguing, feel free to sign up for a free, two-week subscription. Then, if you think it's worth it, you can get a year's subscription for $9.95. That's like... um.. let me do the math here... hmmm... 2.7 cents a day.

Who we are
Our clients
The creator of Free the Genie
What you see when you google "ideas"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2018
A Simple Way to Spark Creativity, Big Ideas, Insights, and AHAS!

ftg-deck.jpg Given the fact that the human attention span (8 seconds) is now one second less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds), what better time is there to introduce you to our Free the Genie cards -- a creative thinking catalyst you can use faster than it took you to read this fabulous paragraph.

Works for individuals, groups, teams, and absolutely anyone looking to stir the creative soup. We know you're busy. We know you want results. We know you are open to new possibilities. Otherwise, you wouldn't be willing to read the last two word of today's blog post: Otis Redding.

Idea Champions
Our brainstorm workbooks
Free the Genie online

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2018
How Einstein Would Solve a Problem If He Only Had an Hour

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Other Einstein quotes
Our half-day workshop on this
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2018
We Need More Agile Leaders!

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Each and every day in corporate America, new technologies, new world markets, and new competitors arise at a faster pace than ever before. Forget about 5-year strategic plans. Those days are over. These days, organizations barely take the time to look 12-months into their future. And, as a result, senior teams end up rushing through their strategic planning process. Indeed, all-too-often, the so-called light at the end of the tunnel is nothing more than an oncoming train no one has a ticket for.

Rushing through your company's strategic planning process just to keep the business afloat is not a good idea. Not only does it stifle innovation and stress people out, it threatens next year's profitability. And then? It's only a matter of time before stagnation sets in, 11th hour troubleshooting heads its ugly rear, and the predicable blame game begins.


The alternative? Help your senior teams become agile. In the immortal words of Charles Darwin, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

Agile leaders are skillful at responding to the demands of accelerating change. They know how to deal with the inevitable uncertainty, ambiguity, and chaos that accompanies it. Dealing with change is not a problem for them. Nor is it a surprise or something to be avoided. Not only do agile leaders understand the phenomenon of change, they embrace it. And even more than that, they are able to help others navigate their way forward with clarity, insight, and a positive outlook.

Agile leadership is not a binary phenomenon. It is not an either/or phenomenon. Rather, it is a both/and phenomenon -- the ability proceed with clarity and power even when there is no path in sight.

Bottom line, agile leaders have the mindset, skills, and expertise to make wise choices on the fly. They know how to focus, empower, and inspire others. They are discerning, intentional, courageous, collaborative, and able to see the forest for the trees.

Simply put, agile leaders know how to balance the long-term with the short-term. And perhaps most importantly, they know how to create advantage in the marketplace by helping their teams bring their "A" game during times of transition, ambiguity, and change.

The Agile Leadership/Agile Teams workshop
The Seize the Future workshop
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2018
Learn How to Facilitate Breakthrough Brainstorming Sessions in 10 Minutes a Day

Once upon a time donut manufacturers just sold donuts and threw the donut holes away, considering them to be disposable. Then, some donut industry genius realized that donut holes were also a product and there was a market for this so-called "disposable." Voila! A new product line was born. Donut holes!

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Well, the good people at Idea Champions (that's us!) have just had our own donut hole moment. Historically, we have bundled our 142-page "How to Facilitate Breakthrough Brainstorming Sessions" workbook with our train-the-trainer program. In other words, you could only get the workbook if you bought the training. Those days are over. Now we are offering our Conducting Genius workbook as a standalone, "donut hole." You don't need to buy the whole donut to get the donut hole. D'oh!

And if you decide to buy five or more of our workbooks, we will be happy to discount our 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day training by 10%. Such a deal. Workbooks are $150 each, plus shipping. For more information, contact

PS: You get your choice of eight different workbook covers -- any combination of them you like. Scroll down to see (and up, too).

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Our brainstorm training

Client testimonials
Who we are
Our clients

THE IDEA FOR THIS? Val Vadeboncoeur, our Director of Training

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2018
HOW A SIMPLE STORY Can Elevate the Conversation

My storytelling blog
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling Workshop

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:49 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.
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
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Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
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Idea Champions University
Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

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