February 22, 2019
35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein

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Since 1986, every innovation workshop I've facilitated has included a poster of Albert Einstein.

Somehow, Einstein's smiling countenance inspires everyone in the room -- no matter what their social style, gender, or title.

The only thing I find more fascinating than this is the incredible amount of powerful quotes he left behind.

1. "The only real valuable thing is intuition."

2. "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

3. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

4. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

5. "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

6. "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."

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7. "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

8. "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

9. "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

10. "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."

11. "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

12. "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

13. "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

14. "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

15. "When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours. That's relativity."

16. "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

17. "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world."

18. "A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."

19. "A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?"

20. "A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?"

21. "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

22. "Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."

23. "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

24. "Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."

25. "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."

26. "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

27. "I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right."

28. "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."

29. "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."

30. "We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us."

31. "You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I've only ever had one."

32. "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

33. "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

34. "Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts."

35. "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:09 AM | Comments (9)

February 20, 2019
Creators on Creating

Inspiring quotes on creating by off-the-grid creators (and a voice over by Idea Champions Co-Founder, Mitch Ditkoff.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2019
Innovation as a Happy Accident

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A little known fact about innovation is that many breakthroughs have not been the result of genius, but "happy accidents" -- those surprise moments when an answer revealed itself for no particular reason.

The discovery of penicillin, for example, was the result of Alexander Fleming noting the formation of mold on the side of petri dish left uncleaned overnight.

Vulcanized Rubber was discovered in 1839 when Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a lump of the polymer substance he was experimenting with onto his wife's cook stove.

More recently, 3M's post-it was also the result of an accident in the lab. Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.

LEARN FROM YOUR HAPPY ACCIDENTS:

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1. Think about a recent project, pilot, or business of yours that did not turn out the way you expected.

2. Ask yourself if any of the unexpected results offer you a clue or insight about how you might proceed differently.

3. Instead of interpreting your results as "failure," consider the fact that the results are simply nature's way of getting you to see something new -- something that merits further exploration.

Excerpted from Awake at the Wheel
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:59 PM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2019
A Super Simple Way to Upgrade Your Brainstorming Sessions

Looking for a simple, low-cost way to upgrade the quality and impact of brainstorming sessions in your organization. Here it is!



Other ways to upgrade your ideation sessions

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2019
The Four Currents of a Culture of Innovation

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I've been doing a lot of thinking these days about "culture of innovation" -- trying to get down to the root of what the heck it's all about.

It's easy to wax poetic about the topic (and a lot of people do), but too much of the stuff I've been reading sounds like bad advertising copy for motherhood and apple pie.

So, at the risk of oversimplifying the whole thing, here's my blogospheric whack at boiling the mumbo jumbo down to the core.

If you want to create a sustainable culture of innovation, you will need to understand that there are always four forces at work -- four currents that are always interacting with each other:

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1. Top Down
2. Bottom Up
3. Outside In
4. Inside Out

1. TOP DOWN: It is essential that the leaders of your organization play a "culture-enhancing role" far more than they currently do. They may not think they have the time or the experience, but they've got to step up to the plate and really own the effort.

The people in the trenches need to know that the head honchos not only care about innovation, but are willing to do whatever it takes to establish a company culture conducive to it.

I'm not advocating phony pep talks from the C-Suite. I'm advocating that senior leaders actually lead the effort. I'm advocating that all those wonderful people with three letter acronyms after their name walk the innovation talk... stir the soup... shake and bake... and do everything they can do to martial company resources in whatever way is necessary to transform "business as usual" to "I love this place and I can't wait to get to work." Yes, it's possible.

2. BOTTOM UP:
If an organization wants to innovate, it will need to get everyone into the act. Not just senior leaders. Not just R&D. Everyone. Ideas -- the fuzzy front end of innovation -- can come from anywhere, anytime. When an organization really GETS this and finds new ways to tap the collective brainpower of the workforce, the culture starts changing for the better. People become more proactive. More energized. More passionate about their work.

Indeed, it could easily be said that the democratization of the workplace is one of the most important social movements of the 21st century. As power and decision-making trickle down, creative output ratchets up. People become self-organizing, self-directed and, on a really good day, selflessly committed to being a force for positive change.

3. OUTSIDE IN: Establishing a culture of innovation is only meaningful if the fruits of the effort yield the kind of results that are valued by your customers. Otherwise, the effort to "change the culture" will turn into some kind of weird, solipsistic ritual that will have no impact on the people you are serving.

Do you know who your customers are? Do you know what they want? Do you have any kind of process in place to track changing market conditions, demographics, and emerging trends? Have you figured out how to get real feedback and input from your customers -- how to include them in your ideation process?

4. INSIDE OUT: Ah... now we're really getting down to it. If you want a culture of innovation, you will need to find a way to unleash the passion, fascination, and inspiration of your workforce.

Not by dangling carrots and sticks (read Dan Pink's new book, Drive, if you doubt me), but by finding a way to activate the innate desire for meaning, enjoyment, and success that is buried deep within the bones of every single person who shows up for work day after day.

Organizations don't innovate. People do.

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If you can find a way to unlock the primal mojo of your workforce, you won't need to manage as much as you do. You won't need to rely so heavily on incentive plans, performance reviews, pep talks, frowns, and punishment.

That stuff only exists because your workforce is disengaged.

But when people are on fire with purpose, in touch with their own authentic desire to create, a culture of innovation will naturally evolve.

A big thank you to Val Vadeboncoeur, Tim Moore, Barry Gruenberg, Paul Roth, and Michael Pergola for their humongous collaboration, insight, creativity, and perseverance on this topic.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:27 PM | Comments (5)

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