November 30, 2013
THE SECOND ANNUAL "Cartesian Spinoff Tagline" CONTEST


Rene Descartes, the famous 17th century philosopher, physicist, and mathematician, is best known for having distilled his world view down to five words: "I think, therefore I am." Very pithy of him.

And so, in honor of The Father of Western Philosophy, I am pleased to announce the launching of the Second Annual Cartesian Spinoff Tagline Contest -- one that YOU could easily win with just a few minutes of creative effort.


Read the list of taglines below and let us know WHO you think that tagline should be attributed to. If you want your contest replies to be private, email your submissions to Otherwise, just post a comment below.


1. "I sink therefore I am."

2. "I stink therefore I am."

3. "I drink, therefore I am."

4. "I wink, therefore I am."

5. "I link, therefore I am."

6. "I ink, therefore I am."

7. "I slink, therefore I am."

8. "I rink, therefore I am."

9. "I zinc, therefore I am."

10. "I blink, therefore I am."

11. "I kink, therefore I am."

12. "I clink, therefore I am."

13. "I pink, therefore I am."

14. "I tink, therefore I am."

15. "I plink, therefore I am."

16. "I shrink, therefore I am."

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

1. Most Obvious
2. Least Obvious
3. Hugely Creative
4. Funniest

Winners will receive absolutely nothing other than our virtual acknowledgment. No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Idea Champions
Our innovation keynotes
A Christmas gift for your best friend

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2013
What Are You Thankful For?

TY Green.jpg

TY purple.jpg

TY many.jpg

TY yellow.jpg

Thank YOu.jpg

TY Flowers.jpg

TY cracked.jpg

TY Zen.jpg

TY oneliner.jpg

Excerpted from Prem Rawat's 11/24/13 event in Boston

Flower Prayer Illustration: Tim Gainey
The Prem Rawat Foundation

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2013
Forget THINK TANKS. The Time Has Come for THANK TINKS!

Thanks sign.jpg

On this day of THANKSGIVING, I'm asking for your feedback on a new idea of mine which I have playfully named THANK TINKS.

The idea is for organizations to provide their workforce with a simple, dependable way to express their gratitude -- as a counter-balance to the all-too-common tendency many people have to focus on what's wrong.

In the same way that Quality Circles were a big hit in the 1980's, THANK TINKS ("Appreciation Circles"), might be just the right thing for these challenging times of ours.

Here's a wonderful article on the power of gratitude in business by Forbes writer, Erika Andersen.

21 quotes on appreciation
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2013
The Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving!


Ask just about anyone on planet earth what comes to mind when they hear the word "Woodstock" and they will most likely say one of three things: Peace, Love, or Music. Makes perfect sense -- especially since that's what the world-famous Woodstock Festival was all about back in '69.

Forget the fact that Woodstock never actually happened in Woodstock, but 43 miles southwest in Bethel, NY. Facts were never what Woodstock was about. Not 44 years ago, when Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin walked this earth. And not now.

Woodstock is about something else -- something less quantifiable than facts, but far more meaningful. Woodstock is about feeling -- a feeling rooted in the recognition that there is something more to experience, in life, than initially meets the eye.


Peace and love were the first visible expressions of this feeling back in the 60's, but these days peace and love are morphing into something equally as significant -- and that is gratitude -- the spontaneous feeling of appreciation that rises in recognition that life is a gift.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a mix of Woodstock's present day movers and shakers are getting together to create the next generation Woodstock Festival -- this one a bit smaller in attendance than the first (by about 399,700) but equally as inspired.

Enter the First Annual Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving.

The Brainchild of Evelyne Pouget and Marc Black, the November 30th gathering promises to be an extraordinary event -- a multimedia, intergenerational, non-denominational celebration of life taking place at the iconic Bearsville Theater.

Explains Marc Black, Chief Mover and Shaker of the event, "It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best way for us to deal with what's bothering us these days may be to pay attention to what's not bothering us. There's so much to be thankful for that we often ignore. If we simply train ourselves to notice and appreciate what we love, it just might grow."

And grow is the operational word for the Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving.

Thirty days ago, it was only an idea in the minds of Marc Black and One Voice Global Founder, Evelyne Pouget. Now? In the words of Otis Redding, "Like a snowball rolling down the side of a hill, it's growing..."

Headlining the celebration will be the ever growing Marc Black Band -- one of Woodstock's many local treasures -- a band that's been together since the 1970's in many different forms.

This incarnation includes the great pianist Warren Bernhardt (most recently with Simon & Garfunkel and Steely Dan), Happy Traum (world famous guitarist and folklorist), Amy Fradon (the chanteuse of the Hudson Valley and lead singer with Face the Music), Gary Kvistad (extraordinary percussionist and founder of Woodstock Chimes), Mike Esposito (original lead guitarist for America's first psychedelic band, the Blues Magoos), Don Davis (alto sax for the Microscopic Septet), and Eric Parker (drummer for Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield and Stevie Winwood).

Two local elementary schools will also be participating -- Woodstock Elementary and the Highwoods School -- the next generation of young movers and shakers who will be launching the world premiere of their Alphabet of Gratitude.

Their artwork will be on display at the Woodstock Library where Marc will present a free concert for the kids at the Library on the afternoon of November 30 at 3:00 pm. And in the evening, some children from the upper grades at the Highwoods school will perform a song at the Bearsville Theater celebration.

Additionally, there will be brief presentations from local luminaries and leaders in various faith traditions, an invocation from a Lama at the KTD Monastery, and lots of dancing, laughing, and other assorted expressions of gratitude.

Twenty percent of all proceeds from the $25 ticket price will be donated to Family of Woodstock, the town's longstanding social service organization -- an organization that was founded in 1970, just months after original Woodstock Festival in.

In case you're wondering, no mud is expected, though, word has it, a few surprises are in store.

This will not be the last Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving if Marc Black and Evelyne Pouget have anything to do with it. Their intention? For this to be the beginning of a long and glorious tradition -- both locally and around the world.

"We've just planted the seed," explains Marc. "This could easily take off in other cities. The time is right to celebrate the power of gratitude -- not just in our family gatherings, but in our communities via music, dance, and art.

Intrigued? Curious? Psyched? If you want to learn more about how to launch your own Festival of Thanksgiving, feel free to contact Marc Black -- Marc will be happy to share what he's learned about producing these kind of gratitude-infused events.

Buy tickets here
Event Facebook page

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2013
Creating Buzz for the Buzzworthy

This, I do believe, should be the National Anthem for coffee lovers. If you know any movers and shakers in the coffee world who are looking for a creative way to focus attention on their brand, leave a message here and I'll pass your info on to Marc Black, the writer and singer of the song.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Art of Capturing Attention

How can you or the company you work for use video more effectively to deliver a message, promote a product, or capture the attention of the people to whom you are trying to communicate?

Capture attention!
Capturing attention at GE
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2013
The #1 Online Training in the World

Two gear brains.jpg

Voted the #1 online brainstorm facilitation training in the world by an extremely biased selection of carefully selected people we've known for years.

Actual testimonials by real clients

Idea Champions

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

November 18, 2013
A Non-Traditional Proposal

Your business, organization, team, department, or community can learn a lot from this video. What, specifically, is for YOU to figure out. To increase the odds, ask yourself: "In what ways might we infuse a key project of ours with more fun, creativity, and collaboration?"

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2013
The Top 18 High Tech Excuses

A few months ago I asked readers of this blog to tell me what they thought the most common high tech excuses were -- the modern day, techno-centric equivalents to "The dog ate my homework." Here's what they told me:

1. "The server's down."
2. "You're breaking up."
3. "Your email ended up in my spam folder."
4. "I'm out of range."
5. "My laptop crashed."

6. "I can't find my Smart Phone."
7. "I forgot to recharge my battery."
8. "I couldn't open the attachment."
9. "I didn't get a calendar reminder from Outlook."
10. "I don't remember which password opens that application."

11. "I had a power surge and I'm using a dial up connection."
12. "The magnetic strip on my ID card is damaged."
13. "I couldn't find your fax number."
14. "The main fuse in the building burned out."
15. "My dog ate my mouse."

16. "I don't have an Orkut account anymore."
17. "I had trouble getting online."
18. "My cat urinated on my laptop."

Any more to add to the list?

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2013
One Reason Why Brainstorming Fails

Suit man and lightbulg.jpg
Advertising executive Alex Osborn, frustrated by his employees' inability to come up with novel and creative ideas, invented the concept of brainstorming in the late 1930's. His 1953 book, Applied Imagination, described how to apply the concept in very simple terms. Osborne put forth two basic principles: Defer Judgment and Focus on Quantity.

These days, people attempting to lead ideation sessions are often mindful of the first principle, but they almost never remember the second. And this, quite simply is a big reason why most brainstorm sessions fail to produce even mediocre results.

Two gear brains.jpg

At first glance, the quantity principle seems counter-intuitive. How can people come up with quality ideas, you might ask, by not striving for quality ideas?

But there's a method to this madness -- and it has to do with how our minds work and how we are trained to think.

If you are asked to come up with "good" and "novel" ideas in response to a problem, challenge or opportunity, whether you are working alone or with others, you will tend to aim for the best ideas possible. Makes sense, right?

However, in your striving for the best idea, you will tend to dismiss ideas you consider to be less-than-terrific.

When ideas pop into our minds, we tend to judge them immediately as too small, too big, too pedestrian, too unrealistic, too obvious, too goofy, too ordinary, too expensive, or too whatever.

It's as if the Red Queen is ensconced in our brains, shouting "off with his head!" at every idea that dares to speak up.

That's because human beings are conditioned to see what's wrong with an idea before seeing its possibilities.

It's like seeing a baby bird and judging it to be inadequate because it can't fly yet.

And this process is barely conscious. We dismiss our ideas so quickly that we often don't even notice they were thought of at all. "We've got nothing" becomes our mantra.

If you are generating ideas in a group and everyone is experiencing this phenomenon at the exact same time, the great silence will inevitably head its ugly rear. No one will be willing to share any of the ideas that have popped into their heads because their ideas will be self-censored -- deemed to be inadequate or flawed.

This is why "experts" are, usually, the worst brainstormers imaginable.


Educated, experienced, and cognizant of all the ins and outs of the topic being brainstormed, experts will immediately see the flaws -- not the possibilities -- killing promising new ideas with the effectiveness of a healthy immune system killing off a germ or virus.

This is why many forward thinking focus groups bring in children or non-experts to generate new ideas -- people whose idea immune systems are not yet fully developed.

Think about it for a moment. If "ordinary" ideas can be generated, articulated, announced, and captured then an interesting thing can happen. Other people can improve the ideas. One idea will lead to another and another and another, radically increasing the odds of something truly original manifesting.

This kind of magic, however, cannot happen if Osborn's principle of striving for quantity is ignored.

Think of Osborn's dual principles as two sides of the same coin.

Defer judgment postpones the act of criticizing ideas as they are generated. Focusing on quantity helps us defer our tendency to judge our ideas as they are conceived.

Not unlike the proverbial coin, if you don't have both sides, "you've got nothing."

-- Val Vadeboncoeur

Idea Champions
Virtual Brainstorm Training
High Velocity Brainstorming

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:00 PM | Comments (1)

November 13, 2013
Real Innovation in Prisons

Here's a look at some fabulous innovation going on in prisons -- the last place you would think innovation is on the rise. The PEACE EDUCATION PROGRAM (PEP), created by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), is getting some remarkable results -- and rapidly getting the attention of the prison community around the world.

More about PEP

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2013
Wake Up the Passion to Innovate


Innovation is a big fat generic concept in most corporations -- like life on other planets or trying to get teenagers to clean up their room.

Unless the individuals within an organization have a genuine sense of urgency, personal ownership, and an authentic passion for innovation, nothing much will happen.

Corporate initiatives that fail to awaken the human instinct to innovate are doomed, no matter how many pep talks, tote bags, or t-shirts proliferate.

For me, as an innovation consultant, it is clear that the short amount of time I have with my clients needs to be devoted to awakening the passion to innovate.

Tools, techniques, theory, data, models, bibliographies, business cases, best practices, and the fabulous muffins served on breaks are all fine, but it is the passion to innovate that is the real driver of success.

No passion, no innovation. Plain and simple.

Unfortunately, most organizations squash passion. That is why start-ups have a much easier time innovating than Fortune 500 companies. And that's why savvy Fortune 500 companies recreate the feeling of start-uppiness whenever they can.

The best thing any consultant can do when working with an organization is to hold up a mirror and ask their clients what they see.

Are they modeling what it means to be innovative? Or are they asking other people to do what they themselves have not done?

Idea Champions
Applied Innovation
Short videos of me

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2013
Let Go of Perfectionism!


Card from Free the Genie
Online version, too!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)

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 –
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