January 30, 2013
Huff Post Blogging 'R Us


Just in case you haven't heard, Mitch is now a twice-a-week blogger for the HuffPost. Click here for easy access to his articles. If you like what you read, FAN him to receive email alerts.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2013
Why Train People to Become Masterful Brainstorm Facilitators

Idea Champions
What our clients say about us

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2013
Coffee, Creativity, and You

After you listen to Marc Black's love song to coffee, please leave a comment below and tell me how coffee impacts your creativity. Does it quicken access to your muse? Get you in the zone? Crank you up to create? Or not?

Download the song (from Pictures of the Highway)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2013
Getting Back Into Our Right Brains

The following is by Val Vadeboncoeur, Idea Champions' Director of Training.

"May God us keep from single vision & Newton's sleep." - William Blake

The prolific Chris Hedges has written a powerful, new piece for Truthdig entitled "We Need Free Thinkers or Society Will Shrivel Up and Die".

I'd like to expand on it.

We need prophets and, as my good friend Roberta, a devoted student of the Torah, remarked the other day -- a "prophet" is not someone who foretells the future -- a prophet is someone who speaks the Truth right here in the moment, saying what needs to be said, whether it's popular or not (and it usually isn't).

We have had some prophets in recent times: comedian George Carlin was a prophet, for example, and so was Bill Hicks.

They told us what needed to be said, but they made us laugh about it so we didn't stone them to death when they did. Maybe Chris Hedges is a prophet.

But, today, we lack people who can see the bigger picture and help us make sense of things because, in great part, we have cut ourselves off from an essential part of ourselves.

We have neglected half of our human inheritance. In fact, we have dismissed it, made it an orphan, and cast it into exile.

The human being is a creature of balance. That's why we get so elated when our child takes his/her first steps.

After being born, this is the most significant event in a human life. It means we are learning about the fundamental reality of being human. We are mastering balance.

With every step we take in our lives, there is a moment where we have to find our balance or fall down. Once mastered, we do this so elegantly that we don't even notice this remarkable skill, much like a cheetah doesn't know how breathtakingly fast it runs, or a bird doesn't know how beautifully it flies. It just does it.

Physical balance is only one small part of it.

We are always balancing some kind of duality -- a duality of left/right, good/bad, up/down, wet/dry, smooth/rough, fast/slow, rich/poor, light/dark, hot/cold, positive/negative, me/you, us/them, etc.

We are always dealing with the reality of opposites. We also have two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two vocal cords, and two brains -- and that's what I want to talk about here.

We don't have one brain. We have two. And they're supposed to work in tandem, like a team of horses.

But our society has lost a critical balance between our two brains. We are overworking one horse and ignoring the other, so it starves to death.

Or to put it another way, instead of using our hammer to do what it is designed to do and our screwdriver to do what it's designed to do, we are trying to do everything with the hammer alone.

It is not the hammer's fault that it can't deal with the application and removal of screws. It is ours for expecting the hammer to be able to do this at all.

In terms of our two brains, commonly referred to as the left brain and the right brain, we are a left-brained biased culture -- and that bias is, in the final analysis, killing us and everything else on the planet.

When our body gets out of balance in some way, that's commonly referred to as "illness". When our minds are out of balance, that should be understood as "mental illness". Our culture, being out of balance in the use of our brains, is, in some sense, mentally ill.

Our left brain is the brain that sees the individual, detects differences, categorizes, measures, experiences time, and follows a single line of thought.

It's the brain that tells us when to cross the street safely, which product is the better buy, and which clothes we should wear that will best suit the day's weather.

It's the brain that's created Science, Mathematics, Logic, Reason, and all manner of technology. It sees "things" and can count, measure, divide, multiply and categorize those things.

It's specialty is isolation and singularity. It's useful and convincing. So useful and convincing, that we have completely identified with it.

When you ask people who they are, they usually respond in a way that indicates that the sum collection of the workings of their left brain is their identity.

The left brain, however, cannot prophesy because it cannot see beyond the material, physical realm. It doesn't even know that anything else but the material realm exists.

It cannot see how the individual things it can see might be connected in unexpected, non-logical, non-spatial, non-temporal ways.

It can't even imagine such things. The left brain cannot empathize, since it sees others as separate entities -- as objects "out there". It cannot have hunches. It cannot create a metaphor. It cannot see the whole, just the parts.

If it wants to know more about a cat, it kills the cat, dissects the cat, takes out and measures all the parts of the cat, and then feels as if it understands what a cat is. It doesn't even entertain the idea that a better way to know what a cat is might be to live with a cat, watch the cat, and empathize with the cat -- an approach that has the additional benefit of still having a cat when all is said and done.

Those qualities of connectivity and wholeness and warmth all belong to the kingdom of the right brain.

The right brain has insights and can imagine what is not yet manifest. It can be inspired. It can connect with the heart so it can feel and experience joy or sadness and the entire range of emotion.

It can put this experience of connectivity and emotion into the language of music and form and movement. It can see possibility and the road not taken. It is somewhat magical, it is now (not burdened by a past or worried about a future), and it is what we often refer to as "love".

As a society, we have rejected the genius of the right brain and we are suffering this imbalance every single day in a myriad of ways.

We suffer with psychological isolation and drug addiction. We suffer when quantity trumps quality in our food, our sex lives, and our education. We suffer when we create extremes of wealth, health, and value that cause tensions in our society that explode into violence.

We suffer when we scapegoat people, and create fear-inducing enemies and bogeymen that we try to destroy -- creating war, injustice and chaos. We suffer when we exploit our planet, and our fellow living creatures, for profit, without realizing that we are destroying our own lifeline -- that we are cutting off the very branch we are sitting on.

It's way past the time when we have to recognize our full humanity and start paying a whole lot more attention to our ignored and belittled magical right brain.

We are suffering unnecessarily because we are not in balance with our own true nature.

We are the "thinking creature" only using half of our thinking ability, and it's not even the better half, in my opinion.

We are like the cheetah using only two of its four legs to run, or a bird trying to fly by flapping only one wing.

Is this prophecy? I don't know, but what I do know is that we need to find our balance in our thinking -- and soon -- or we will all fall down.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that we are designed to do exactly that.

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

January 17, 2013
Walt Disney Speaks!


Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2013
How to Go Beyond Self Improvement


In 2012, more than five million books were published worldwide.

Of these, a sizable percentage were of the "self-help" variety, a growing genre that promises to help people improve the quality of their lives -- to become happier, healthier, smarter, kinder, thinner, cooler, richer, less depressed, selfish, anxious and, generally speaking, better in countless ways society uses to define what it means to be successful human being.

At the core of the self-help book world is a fundamental assumption around which all of the writing revolves -- that there is a self to improve -- an essence at the core of a human being that is flawed and needs some tweaking.

And while this assumption certainly attracts a lot of book buyers, there is another kind of book, beyond self-improvement, that addresses an even more basic theme -- not improving the self, but knowing the self -- what sage Greek philosophers were referring to, centuries ago, when they distilled the purpose of life down into two simple words: know thyself.

This is the province of the newly published The Greatest Truth of All: You Are Alive! (21 excerpted talks of Prem Rawat) -- a 198-page book that awakens, inspires, and demystifies the so-called "search for self".

The message of the book is profoundly simple -- one that Prem Rawat has, primarily, been delivering orally for the past 40 years via live presentations -- that it is possible for all 7 billion people on planet Earth to experience peace -- no matter what their profession, social style, tax bracket, or education

Written in a highly engaging, breezy style, The Greatest Truth of All offers the reader easy access to a topic too often dismissed as esoteric, "spiritual", or woo woo.

Prem Rawat, very much a modern man with a well-developed sense of humor and a gift for story telling, has found a way to decode the essence of "self-knowledge" and delivers it, to the reader, like a tall, cool drink of water on a hot summer day.

So... if you're looking for a powerful "best practice" to help you connect with the core of who you truly are, this book might be for you.

Available on Amazon
, $16.00

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2013
Got the Business Blues? Sing It Out!

FTM Logo Blue.jpg.2
If you work in an organization where complaint rules the day, it's time to do something about it. Yes, it's possible. Bitching and moaning can actually give way to genius and engagement. A homeopathic dose of the blues is all you need.

I'm talking about Face the Music -- a very cool, interactive "business blues" simulation that gives people a chance to get things off their chest AND, at the same time, learn what it takes to get out of the box, take a risk, build a team, and have some fun for a change.

I co-founded this baby, with Paul Kwicienski, back in 1999. It's still cooking -- a great way to add life to any corporate conference, retreat, meeting, or awards ceremony.

Idea Champions

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

Why You Like Lists and Maybe Shouldn't

If you are a lover
of lists,
you will probably find
my most recent
Huffington Post list
right up your alley.
If you, like Newton's
Third Law of Motion,
are the equal and opposite
reaction to lists,
you will find
Val Vadeboncouer's following
anti-list rant
a refreshing breath of
unlisted air.


1. They exist in a vacuum with no context.

2. They over-simplify, sometimes dangerously so.

3. They promise instant knowledge and yet deliver usually nothing but an arbitrary and momentary series of the author's already-existing prejudices.

4. Lists seem to imply choices, however they are blind to the possibilities that didn't make the list -- usually unconsciously.

5. They give the illusion that the list maker KNOWS something, when all he/she might know is how to make a list.

6. Lists reinforce our ADD culture instead of fighting against it.

7. Lists appeal to the left brain need for order and linearity. They insist that the right brain not be engaged which tends to cut us off from feeling, intuition and life itself.

8. Lists are composed of sound bytes, otherwise known as unthinking chatter gathered from the chatter of those around us.

9. We grew up with lists (laundry lists, shopping lists, etc.) and, therefore, like bad habits, they represent a past and a self that does not exist any more.

10. Lists can be easily altered at any time -- updated, added to, subtracted from -- which should give us some indication as to their arbitrary nature and reveal to us that, instead of being finite, as they seem to be, they are, in reality, practically infinite.

11. Lists give us an instant opportunity to disagree. They take a stand somewhere and create an instant reaction. They create a push-pull, I-You dichotomy. If you want to pick a fight with someone, make a list and show it to them.

12. Lists give readers the hope that they are being given a "crash course" on a topic of great significance while all they are really being given is someone else's temporary illusions.

13. People feel no compunction about sharing lists, thereby spreading the infection virally.

14. Lists are numbered, which gives the items the seeming solidity of definition, order, and thought where none may exist.

15. Lists can be folded up, put in one's pocket, carried around, thrown away, and replaced by a new list -- part of the disposable nature of the consumer world.

16. Items on lists can be easily crossed off, giving the list maker an instant feeling of accomplishment when nothing of consequence has really been achieved.

17. Lists are great ways for list makers to plug their own books that, in the hyperlinked blogosphere, just adds to the clutter of narcissism that assaults us each and every minute.

18. Lists provide a sense of progression that, unless you are attempting to describe a step-by-step process (like a recipe), does not, most probably, exist outside of that particular list.

19. Lists add to the information overload of the world while providing little wisdom, which is in very short supply.

20. Lists are an example of how the left brain assumes command and tries to order the world so that the left brain can understand it, but this "order" is in piecemeal, disconnected fragments and gives us a truly sketchy, disjointed, and incomplete reality. In other words, lists can't be trusted.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2013
The Social Media Revolution Revelation

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2013
The First Annual eBook Poll


If you like this blog, you'll like our eBooks. But before we publish. we need your input. Click here to respond to our eBook poll.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:58 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.
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