January 26, 2021
The Battle of the Two Brains

Excellent TED presentation by Iain McGilchrist on the two sides of the brain, beautifully animated by the wizards at RSA Animate.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2021
The Heroic Imagination Project

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2021
Want to Improve Your RFP Process?

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Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mitch Ditkoff. I am the Co-Founder of Idea Champions, an innovation consulting and training company headquartered in Woodstock, NY. We've been in business since 1986 and, since that time, have responded to more than 1,200 RFPs.

Along the way, we've noticed a curious trend.

Time and again, we've seen RFP-requesting companies get stuck with a vendor or contract that did not fulfill their needs because their RFP process got in the way -- a process that could have been a lot more effective if only it had been more open, honest, and complete.

And so, as a public service to you and all our other prospective clients, here are 10 simple guidelines to increase the odds of your RFP process getting you the kind of results you are looking for:


1. Be Prepared: The odds of us delivering a meaningful proposal to you increase exponentially in response to the accuracy and thoroughness of the input you provide.

If the person you report to has asked you to "google innovation consultants" and put five proposals on his/her desk by next Friday, make sure you are sufficiently briefed so what we deliver to you will be fully aligned with what you really need.

2. Be Clear About Deadlines: Is the proposal you are requesting really due yesterday? The first thing tomorrow? Two weeks from now? Please be willing to give us the scoop on when you really need it and we'll be happy to deliver it by then -- or sooner.

When you give potential vendors a fake deadline, it doesn't bode well for your future working relationship -- one that needs to be rooted in mutual trust, respect, and integrity.

And besides, unnecessarily stressing potential vendors may end up working against you, significantly increasing the odds of you receiving flawed, incomplete, or incomprehensible proposals.

3. Be Transparent:
While your proposal process is your business, not ours, there is something to be said for letting us know how many other companies you've invited to respond. If you're asking another 25, our chances are 4% and we might decide not to throw our hat in the ring. Make sense?

If you already know you have only $2,500 to spend on your three-day event in Orlando, let us know that, too. This information will save us the time it takes to write a proposal you will never accept and you the time it will take to read it. Win/Win.

4. Be Ethical: If you are contacting us only to get some useful thought starters about your event or initiative and already know you will not be engaging our services, there's really no need to ask for a proposal.

Chances are good we'll be happy to talk with you about your event, anyway, just for the opportunity to spark a future business relationship with you.

We subscribe to the notion that the more you give, the more you get. But asking us for a proposal that has no chance of being accepted is really not playing fair.

Put yourself in our shoes. The Golden Rule applies.

5. Be Direct About What You're Asking For: If what you mean by "a proposal" is merely our fee, simply ask for it and we'll tell you. It will save us both a lot of time -- and more than a few trees.

If all you need is two pages' worth, mention that, too. If we give you ten and your threshold is two, both of us lose.

6. Be Honest: If you've already decided to engage the services of someone else, but need three competitive bids for "legal reasons," let us know. As part of our newly launched "Consulting Companies for a Proposal Savvy World" campaign, we'll send you -- within 24 hours -- our "They've Already Decided" proposal.

Much less work for us -- and no bad karma for you.

7.Keep Us Posted: At reasonable intervals, after we've submitted our proposal, please be willing to let us know where we stand.

If you haven't read our proposal yet, that's useful to know. If you can't find it, feel free to ask us to send another. If your conference has been canceled, we're just an email away. If you've decided to do it in-house, just holler. If budgets have been frozen... or your CEO has been indicted by the FTC... or you've decided that one of our competitors is the perfect fit, you know where to find us.

This information, delivered in a timely way, will allow us to release the dates we've been holding for you, significantly reducing the odds of you feeling guilty (or cranky) the next time we ask for an update.

8. Respond to Our (Infrequent) Emails: Often, when a prospective client asks us for a proposal, they ask us to "hold the date." This is perfectly understandable. It's common practice.

But sometimes another prospective client, the next day, will ask us for the same date. That's when we'll send you an email and ask for an update.

Since we will have given you the right of first refusal, all you need to do is let us know what's happening. Takes less than two minutes.

9. Provide Authentic Closure: Let's say you decide not to engage our services. Maybe you liked another consultant's approach better or decided to go with the low cost provider.

So be it. Your choice. No problem. Yes, we might be disappointed, but we'll get over it.

What's harder to get over is when there's no closure.

Of course, we realize you owe us nothing. You are not, by law, required to do anything after we submit our proposal. We also realize that your silence isn't synonymous with a lack of care. Indeed, sometimes it's the opposite -- since you may have grown to like us and don't want to be the bearer of bad news.

For us, bad news is better than none.

That's how we learn and, hopefully, get better at responding to your future requests.

And that's not all.

You get to maintain a positive relationship with a company (us) whose services you may want to engage in the future. You also avoid getting a bad rap among the other consulting companies with whom we are regularly in contact.

And we, of course, get the kind of feedback we need help us grow our business. How long does this closure effort take? Three minutes? Five? Ten at the most.

10. Consider Reinventing Your RFP Process:
The above nine suggestions, of course, are only from our perspective. We're guessing there are at least a few other improvements you can think of that will significantly raise the odds of your future RFP process being more effective, efficient, and humane.

If you're stuck for fresh ideas about how to improve your RFP process, click here and conjure up some new ways you can change the game for the better.

A big thank you to Paul Roth and Val Vadeboncoeur for their sage input on this topic.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:15 PM | Comments (4)

January 11, 2021
Eight Ways to Create Flow

Here's a very useful article by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -- the author of Flow on what it takes to cultivate flow -- sometimes referred to as "the zone"

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Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2021
WHO ACTUALLY CREATED "The Year of Living Creatively"?

Mitch Ditkoff 22.png I did. Mitch Ditkoff.

Well then, who am I?

73 years ago, two very different people got together and created a third person -- me. Neither my mother or father were particularly "creative", but they had whatever it took to spark new life and I was very glad they did.

They are long gone now, but I am still here -- and while I am, I am committed to doing everything humanly possible to not only keeping that creative spark of life alive in myself, but in others as well -- a noble aspiration, for sure, but what are my qualifications to deliver on my commitment? Why should YOU, a person with big ideas, but precious little time, spend any of your time with me -- or more specifically -- exploring my YEAR OF LIVING CREATIVELY service?

Here's the simple reason: I've been studying the creative process for more than 40 years and understand how it works, what gets in its way, and how to help people have the best possible chance of manifesting their own, innate brilliance. And I've done it with thousands of people all over the world -- including people in these organizations.

But I don't just teach about it -- I have practiced it, myself, in the process of co-founding Idea Champions, Brainstorm Champions, and Face the Music, as well as writing Storytelling for the Revolution (and five other books), creating Free the Genie online, Free the Genie cards, creating Wisdom Circles in Mexico, Australia, and the US, and facilitating more than 1,000 ideation sessions for some of the most powerful organizations in the world.

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I am not bragging, ladies and gentlemen -- simply setting some context for you -- my attempt to get on your radar screen long enough for you to consider the possibility of allowing me to be of service you.

Mine has not been a straight and narrow path.

While most of my clients assume I am a psychologist, my formal education is in poetry -- where I was a graduate student at Brown University. It didn't take long, in that academic environment, to realize I wanted to live the poetry of life, not just write about it -- and so I quit -- thus beginning a long and winding road of "professions" that taught me a lot about human nature and the heart's desire -- the kind of professions that left my mother somewhat baffled around the canasta table: dishwasher... waiter... house painter... gardener... cook... day care teacher... underground newspaper editor... community organizer... freelance writer... social worker... political speechwriter... subway musician... monk... co-Founder of a corporate consulting company... co-founder of a corporate blues band... winner of the best Innovation Blogger of the Year award... creator of Wisdom Circles... six-time author... learning consultant to an Islamic school in Australia... and now, creator of THE YEAR OF LIVING CREATIVELY.

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Bottom line, I know what it takes to originate, develop, and manifest bold new ideas -- and often against all odds.

Why am I offering The Year of Living Creatively now? Because the old world order is collapsing. So many of the out-dated systems and structures we have relied on are crumbling right before our eyes. In the face of this massive shift, I've noticed there are two basic kinds of human response: Some people get paralyzed. Others get animated -- fueled by the recognition that it is time to change.

Bottom line, my business model has radically changed since Covid-19 disrupted everything: from serving organizations to serving individuals. From delivering my services onsite to delivering them online.

At first I resisted this change, not wanting to "start all over again" after 33 years of building my own empire. But then, in a flash, in the middle of a quarantine, 10,000 miles from home, I got it. Or, as Charles Darwin said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change."

What does this have to do with you? Everything. Or nothing. You get to decide.


My offer is a simple one -- to provide you with an elegant way to radically increase the odds of manifesting your heart's desire -- to go over, around, and through whatever obstacles are in the way of working your magic in the world.

The service I provide is like type O blood. It's the universal donor. It applies to everyone, no matter what form their work takes. Like water, it takes the shape of any vessel it is poured into. Think of it, if you like as a kind of GPS for your heart's desire. I am talking about the process of discovering new and better ways of navigating your own creative process -- that deeply felt aspiration to make your contribution in the world, no matter your age, astrological sign, education, nationality, religion, or politics.

While it may seem inflated to say what I am about to say, I am going to say it anyway -- I have caught lightning in a bottle and I want to make it available to you. My hope? That you will open this bottle and it will help light your way forward.

And since I know that 95% of the people reading this are probably thinking "I don't have the time" and "I don't have the money", I have done my best to make THE YEAR OF LIVING CREATIVELY both time-efficient and affordable. Twenty minutes a week is all it will take. And the introductory price is less than $5.00 a week.


If you want me to let you know when it launches, simply email office@ideachampions.com with the phrase "The Year of Living Creatively" in the subject line. I will not sell your email address to anyone. I will not rent it or give it to anyone. I will not hustle you with "upselling" and other questionable practices. What I will do, is everything within my power to be of service to you in the most honorable way possible.

How Einstein would solve a problem if he only had an hour

Illustration: gapingvoid.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)

January 02, 2021
TWENTY IS PLENTY: Breakthrough Thinking for the Time-Crunched


THIS JUST IN! You don't have the time to read this. We know it. You know it. And all the marketing bots know it. Which is why I'm going to cut to the chase.

Your lack of time is really not a problem. For us, at Brainstorm Champions, it's simply the current reality. When in Rome...

Hey, if Twitter can become the preferred communication platform for 330 million people, we can figure out how to deliver our breakthrough thinking services in bite-sized pieces.

Which is precisely what we've done.

And while the "full monte" version of our Free the Genie service is a whopping 60-minutes long, we are now offering a 20-minute version -- TWENTY IS PLENTY: Breakthrough Thinking for the Time-Crunched.

That's it. You in? If so, here are your next steps:

1. Click this link and fill in the blanks
2. Select a day and time from our Calendly calendar
3. Pay $45 in advance, via PayPal.

Don't yet fully trust us?

Our clients
What they say
Free the Genie testimonials
More about Free the Genie

Questions? office@ideachampions.com

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2021
THE YEAR of LIVING CREATIVELY: Unleash Your Creative Mojo

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While it may be true that most "ideas are a dime a dozen," some ideas are actually priceless -- and that includes at least one of yours. You know... that idea for the new venture you want to launch... or the book you want to write... or the change you want to make -- that deeply felt possibility bubbling up from the core of your being.


And yet, at the same time, there also seems to be some forces, both internal and external, working against you that have had their way with you -- those metaphorical Big Bad Wolves on your way to Grandma's House.

But guess what? It doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't. You have the power, discernment, courage, and mojo to gracefully work your magic in the world. And that is, precisely, what The Year of Living Creatively is all about -- an engaging, provocative, online GPS to help you navigate your way through the often challenging creative process.

HOW IT WORKS: Once a week, you will receive an email with a link to a "fill-in-the-blanks" self-inquiry exercise designed to increase your odds of succeeding -- a simple, "chiropractic adjustment" of your own, innate creativity. Twenty minutes, per week, is all it will take. Or less. That and the willingness to pause, reflect, and respond.

Subscribers will also be invited to participate in a series of 12 monthly Zoom sessions, facilitated by the founder of The Year of Living Creatively -- an inspiring way to be part of an ever-growing community of creative thinkers and doers. Additionally, you will have the option of pairing up with one or two other subscribers for ongoing support, brainpower, encouragement, and accountability.


- Increase your odds of success
- Maintain positive momentum
- Clarify your vision
- Go deeper into your creative process
- Originate breakthrough ideas
- Stay energized and inspired
- Go beyond your limiting assumptions
- Take more risks
- Increase the odds of attracting alchemical collaborators

Subscriptions to The Year of Living Creatively will be available in 2-3 months (fee still-to-be-determined). If you want to be alerted when this service launches, send an email to office@ideachampions.com with the words "The Year of Living Creatively" in the subject line.

"If not YOU, who? If not NOW, when?"

The creator of the service
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)



"Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck. Your profession is what you're put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling." - Vincent van Gogh

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." - Gospel of Thomas

"Love your calling with passion. It is the meaning of your life." - Auguste Rodin

"Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be." - Thomas Merton

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you." - Maya Angelou

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud." - Emile Zola

"If God gives you something you can do, why in God's name wouldn't you do it?" - Stephen King

"I don't ask for the full ringing of the bell. I don't ask for a clap of thunder. A scrawny cry will do." - Wallace Stevens

"I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you." - Annie Dillard

"The only durable sense of success is if you've followed your calling." - Jim Harrison

"Those who have a WHY to live can bear with almost any HOW." - Viktor Frankl

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'" - Martin Luther King

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs

"The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it." - Steven Pressfield

"I believe there's a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call." - Oprah Winfrey

"When the flower opens, the bees will come." - Kabir

A simple way to follow your calling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:50 AM | 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.
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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