January 30, 2012
The Art and Science of Losing Count

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
-- Albert Einstein

If you have even the slightest respect for the wild-haired father of modern physics, consider this: Your organization's fascination with metrics is often nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to quantify the unquantifiable -- a compulsive effort to validate that which you and everyone else already know to be true.

I'm not suggesting you abandon metrics (I track, daily, how may unique visitors make it to my website) -- all I'm saying is not everything needs to be measured, at least not all of the time.

The core of your company's "innovation process" is actually less about mind, and more about heart. (And if you're about to ask me how I know that, please read the Einstein quote one more time).

More from Albert

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2012
Creative Thinking Technique #3


There is a state of mind psychologists have dubbed the hypnopompic state that is a rich source of inspiration and fresh ideas.

In this state, most often associated with the first few minutes upon waking, the analytical mind is at bay and a fuzzier logic prevails.

It is as if a portal opens between worlds and we gain greater access to the subconscious part of mind where brilliance, insight, and expanded perception often reside.

Explained Victor Hugo, "There is visible labor, and there is an invisible labor."

In the hypnopompic state, invisible labor rules the day.


1. When you wake up, don't get out of bed.
2. Just lay there.
3. Don't speak. Don't think. Don't move.
4. Let dreams, images, and feelings come to you.
5. Surf them. Then write them down.

Idea Champions
Excerpted from Awake at the Wheel
More about the book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:02 AM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2012
Ten Simple Mindset Shifts for 2012

This is a marvelous, lucid, well-written blog post by Tom Asacker on ten of the fundamental mindset changes that you and your company will need to honor if you expect to thrive during these radically changing times.

HINT: Your marketing efforts need to be less about branding and more about bonding.

Who, on your team, do you need to meet with to explore Tom's key points? And when will you do it?

Idea Champions
Free the Genie

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

Creative Thinking Technique #2


Many great breakthroughs have come in dreams.

Rene Descartes got the concept for the Scientific Method in a dream. Elias Howe came up with the final design for the lock stitch sewing machine in a dream. August Kekule arrived at the formulation of the Benzene molecule in a dream.

In the dream state, our subconscious mind arrives at solutions that our conscious mind is unlikely to discover no matter much it obsesses.

That's why Thomas Edison and Salvadore Dali used to take naps during the day.

Click the link below for a simple technique you can use to help remember your dreams...

The Technique:
1. Before you go to sleep tonight, bring to mind a question, challenge or opportunity you've been struggling with

2. As you fall asleep, stay focused on it

3. When you awake, write down your dream even if the dream makes no sense to you

4. Reflect on each element of the dream and see if you can make any connections to the project you are noodling on.

Excerpted from Awake at the Wheel
Awake at the Wheel website
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2012
Creative Thinking Technique #1

This is the first in a series of 35 postings that describe simple techniques you can use to liberate your innate creativity.


Buddha, as the story goes, once said that human beings have 2,000 thoughts per second -- and that he had slowed his mind enough to be able to identify the last two.

Few of us are in Buddha's league. Our thoughts are often a blur, flying in under the radar -- great ideas mixed with odd bits about shoe sales, sex, and salad dressing.

Like unremembered dreams, our ideas come and go, having little or no effect on our lives. That's why you need a way to track and capture them. At the very least, the effort will give you the option of remembering them.

Cavemen recorded their ideas on the walls of their cave. You also need a way.

The Technique

1. Keep an idea notebook with you at all times

2. When an inspired idea comes to you, write it down

3. At the end of the day (or week), review your notebook, circling the ideas that sing to you

4. Look for connections between ideas and see if you can synthesize something new from their interplay.

Excerpted from Awake at the Wheel
Awake at the Wheel website
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2012
The Rock and a Hard Place Exercise

Here's a fun 5-minute exercise -- a good icebreaker or brainstorm session starter.

Make a list of every bad thing that will happen to you and your business if you don't figure out how to free yourself from being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Then take another five minutes and make a second list of everything you can do to prevent the stuff you just wrote down on your first list from happening. Go!

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2012
Everything Begins as an Idea

Know Time illustration.jpg

Everything begins as an idea.

Whether you're in business, school, jail, or debt, that's how it all gets rolling. First there's the idea, then there's the manifestation of the idea -- assuming, of course, that the person with the idea has their act together.

If you have any doubt, take a look around you.

Everything you see began as an idea: The microchip, the chocolate chip, the fishing net, the internet, the company you work for, and the company you keep. All of it. Everything. Even the Universe, some say, began as an idea in the mind of the Creator.

Well then, if it all begins with an idea, where in the world do ideas come from?

There are two schools of thought on this subject.

The first ascribes the origin of ideas to the efforts of inspired individuals who, through a series of spontaneously occurring or purposeful mental processes, arrive at a useful new possibility.

The second school ascribes the appearance of ideas to a transcendent force, a.k.a. the "Collective Unconscious," the "Platonic Realm," the "Muse," or the "Mind of God."

According to this perspective, ideas are not created, but already exist, becoming accessible to human beings who have tuned themselves enough to be able to receive them.

The first approach is usually considered Western, with a strong bias towards thinking. It is best summarized by Rene Descartes' "I think therefore I am" maxim.

Most business people subscribe to this approach, as it gives great weight to the power of the mind.

The second approach is usually considered Eastern, with a strong bias towards feeling. It is best summarized by the opposite of the Cartesian view: "I am therefore, I think."

Most artists and creative types are associated with this approach, with its focus on intuitive knowing -- a way of understanding that does not lend itself to analysis and quantification.

Both approaches are valid. Both are effective. And both are used at different times by all of us, depending on our mood, circumstances, and conditioning.

No matter what our preferred approach, however, the challenge remains the same for all of us: how to honor, develop and manifest our ideas.

This is a challenge made increasingly more difficult these days by the fact that, somehow, ideas have gotten a bad rap.

If you have one (and most of us do), chances are good you usually apologize before talking about it (if you talk about it at all) with some variation of "Uh... er... um... it's just an idea."

Most of us, in fact, have made a habit of discounting ideas -- in ourselves and in others. "A dime a dozen" is all we think they're worth.

And so the prophecy comes true.

Our ideas are diminished, not because they are worthless, but because we do not know how to elicit their value. We do not understand how to cultivate them.

Afraid we will be judged, or worse, fail -- we toss them out long before their time. Like Jack's mother, of Beanstalk fame, we throw our magic beans out the window, doubting they had any real value in the first place.

But they do. Jack's did. And so do yours. At least they might have value. That is, if you are willing to go on the journey to find out.

Which bring us to the moment of truth. The moment of choice. Now.

Ideas -- no matter how exalted they might be, almost always assume a need, desire or intention on the part of the originator.

A person must care enough about something in order to get an idea about it. The bigger one's need, desire, or intention, the greater the likelihood that ideas will make their appearance.

And so, aspiring innovator, I ask you this:

What is your need, desire, or intention?
What is moving you? What is calling you? What do you want to create?

What is your idea -- that 'thing' you want to manifest in this world -- even if seems like a long shot?

Excerpted from Awake at the Wheel

An idea greenhouse
An idea hothouse
An idea outhouse

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:44 PM | Comments (3)

The Wisdom of Bruce Lee


set patterns
of adaptability
or pliability.

-- Bruce Lee

What market change does your business need to adapt to?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

PREMier PREMotion Beach Boy Style

Turn up the volume! Go full screen! Here is a fun way that three inspired students of Prem Rawat are getting the word out about his upcoming presentation in Long Beach, CA on 1/29.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2012
How to Conduct a Virtual Meeting

If the number of the virtual meetings you're attending is going up, but the quality is going down, it's time to reconsider your approach.

Here's a useful article from Nick Morgan, of the Harvard Business Review, on how to maximize the effectiveness of virtual meetings.

Common sense? Yes. But common sense, these days, is uncommon. Nick's 5-point plan elaborates on the following:

1. Recognize virtual meetings are sub-optimal and plan accordingly
2. Plan the virtual meeting in 10-minute increments
3. Pause regularly for group input
4. Label your emotions and ask others to do the same
5. Don't neglect the small talk, but use video

The complete article

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2012
Want to Innovate? Start Here!

Failure is not what you think it is
Idea Champions
Thanks to Sarah Jacob for the heads up!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2012
Have Innovation Challenge Will Travel

Because I post a lot on this blog (and because I was recently voted the #1 innovation blogger in the world), many people think all I do is write.

Not true.

My day job is being the President and Chief Creativity Officer of Idea Champions, a highly regarded consulting and training company, founded in 1987.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Take a look at what our clients have to say about the value of our work.

Intrigued? Interested in raising the bar for innovation in your organization? Drink coffee? Eat cheese? Breathe? If so, click here to get the ball rolling.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2012
Get Out of the Box!

BOI illustration.jpg

What can you do, this week, to help your team get out of the box?

Idea Champions
Free the Genie
Awake at the Wheel

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2012
Go Beyond the Business Blues

FTM Logo Blue.jpg.2

For years I was trying to figure out what all my clients had in common. Opposable thumbs? Yes. The Isle of Langerhans. That, too. Big, fat opinions about everything. For sure.

But even more than the aforementioned stuff in the preceding paragraph which you just read and probably haven't yet forgotten even though your short-term memory is getting shorter by the nanosecond and you're probably wondering, by now, why I'm rambling on and on when most blog postings are supposed to be short and sweet, it dawned on me one fine day as I was scraping marinara sauce off my shirt that the main thing all my clients had in common was the blues.

Yes, indeed. The blues. The same blues Muddy Waters had. And Robert Johnson. And BB King. Those blues.

Unlike the blues greats, however, my clients didn't have a way to express their blues. And, in the absence of this opportunity, their God given right to get right was lost.

But no more, brothers and sisters! No more!

Now, even the most buttoned down, white collared, bow-tied creators of spreadsheets at midnight have a chance to get those business blues off their chest and move towards a better future -- not to mention have fun, collaborate, and learn what it takes to innovate on the fly.

Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, allow me to introduce you to the world's first business blues band -- Face the Music!.

PS: Should you decide to contact them, be sure to mention that it was Idea Champions who sent you. (We give 5% of our referral fees to TPRF, one of the most well-run and inspired humanitarian organizations in the world).

The Six Sigma Blues

My blues encounter at Pfizer
The Email Blues
The Gotta Have a Process Blues

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:33 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2012
Wrapper of the Year!

If you have to pee, pee now. Pee before watching this video. I take no responsibility for your wardrobe, dry cleaning bills, or anti-social behavior. Consider yourself forewarned.

Idea Champions
More Christmas cheer
Buy something already

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

January 04, 2012
The One For Whom You Create

Poets, lose your pens,
Painters, toss your brushes
in the sea,
Musicians, give your instruments
away, then go for a long walk.

When you're done, keep walking,
notice the beauty all around you.
Don't try to remember
a single thing, breathe.

This holy moment is your poetry,
your art, your song.
Do not concern yourself with giving it form.
The One for whom you create
deeply loves
what you just didn't do.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2012
Top Innovation Bloggers of 2011


Well, I've got good news and great news to share with you.

First the good news: I was just voted the #1 innovation blogger in the world in a contest sponsored by Innovation Excellence, the #1 innovation blog in the world.

Now the great news: 2012 is going to be an awesome year for you -- full of happiness, abundance, creativity, collaboration, community, fun, gratitude and, yes, innovation. That is, if you want it to be.

I'd like to take this moment to thank all of you who voted for me. (And by the way, for those of you who think that all I do is write about innovation, please know that this is just a sideline).

My real work is in the trenches...

I'd also like to acknowledge some amazing people who have inspired and encouraged me throughout the years.

These include Evelyne Pouget, Tim Gallwey, Prentiss Uchida, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel, Ben Zander, Roger van Oech, Guy Kawasaki, Erika Andersen, Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Morihei Ueshiba, the entire Idea Champions team, Joe and Eddie, Ron Brent, Phyllis Rosen, Joan Apter and, most of all, Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji).


I first heard about Prem Rawat when he was 13 (and I was 24). At that very young age, he came to America (from India) to bring a very powerful message of peace -- a message he doesn't just talk about, but helps people experience for themselves.

He is not the first to talk about this message. Nor will he be the last. But he is here and now -- helping thousands of people, from all walks of life, go beyond ideas to find their way to the source of peace within themselves.

His dedication, brilliance, love, and endless commitment to innovating is a great source of inspiration to me.

The Keys

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:11 PM | Comments (2)

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.
Authorized Reseller Logo – GoLeanSixSigma.com
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.
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.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN