June 27, 2022


"There are no right answers to wrong questions." -- Ursula Le Guin

Effective team leaders sometimes suffer from the "monkey on the back syndrome" -- taking on other people's problems when, in fact, they need to be helping those other people solve their own problems.

One way to do this can be as simple as asking the right question at the right time. This gives the "problem dumper" a chance to step back, reflect, and think differently about their challenge -- a creative pause that increases the likelihood of them solving their own problem or, at the very least, taking responsibility for it instead of expecting you to be the savior.

Knowing what kind of question to ask a person in distress is an art, but it can be easily learned. What follows is a menu of questions for you to consider selecting from whenever anyone approaches you with a problem, frustration, or complaint and the expectation that it is YOUR job to save the day.

-- "Can you tell me more about the situation?"
-- "What have you already done to address this problem?"
-- "How can you phrase your challenge as a How Can I question?"
-- "What have you already tried that's worked? What hasn't worked?"
-- "Sounds like you have some choices before you. Which feels right?"
-- "Who, on your team, might you invite to brainstorm this with you?"
-- "Imagine your problem gets solved. What does success look like?"
-- "What's the simplest way to proceed?"
-- "What obstacles are in your way and how can you resolve them?"
-- "Imagine you knew the answer to your question. What would it be?"
-- "What are your instincts telling you about how to proceed?"
-- "What support, if any, do you need from me?"
-- "What is your next step and when will you take it?"

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15 quotes on asking the right question
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2022
The Combo Mambo

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If you only had two minutes to live and wanted to know the secret of innovation, this is what I would tell you: "It's the elegant synthesis of two or more seemingly disparate elements that are perceived as useful by some cross section of humanity."

Translation? Every product, service, or process improvement is the combination of two or more elements that already exist.

What else was the invention of MTV but linking music and television in a new way? What else was the invention of drive-in banking but the novel (at that time) connection between "car" and "bank"?

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In fact, some people claim that all of life is simply the manifestation of endlessly varied combinations of DNA -- the nucleic acid, capable of self-replication, that carries all genetic information in our cells.

Here's another way to look at it: Big Blue, IBM's super-computer, back in the late 1980's, was able to beat Garry Kasparov, the Soviet Union grand chess master, because it could generate and evaluate two million moves per second.

Its database of possibilities (i.e. creative options) was huge.

Wouldn't it be useful, in your attempts to meet your many creative challenges, if there was a reliable way to make a significantly greater number of creative options available to you?

There is. And it already exists within you. Creativity researchers call is "Blind Variation, Selective Retention."

Inside your brain -- with its vast storehouse of thoughts, memories, images, perceptions, and words -- spontaneous mental connections are constantly being made. These linkages, like random ice particles joining together and becoming snowflakes as they fall, are what human beings have come to call "ideas" -- the mental seeds future possibility.

Why, then, if our internal, self-organizing, solution-finding process is always taking place, do so few of us originate breakthrough ideas?

Two reasons: First, the process is usually taking place on a subconscious level. In other words, we don't always remember the ideas that come to us. And second, the ecology of the social environments we inhabit is traditionally biased against human beings making extraordinary creative connections. Ruled by time, as we are, we default to what we already know. Boxed in by our cubicles, assumptions, conditioning, and social styles, we rarely think broadly or deeply enough for out-of-the-box connections to be made.

But what if there was a simple way to change the game -- an intentional way to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of bold new ideas available to us? Guess what? There is.

Interested? If so, simply click this link to get access to my online Idea Lottery technique. All you need to get the party started is a challenge, goal or opportunity you are willing to look at differently.

That, and at least 15 minutes to play my little game.

Illustration: GapingVoid
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2022
Idea Brahmacharaya


In India, spiritual adepts who give up sex to pursue God are known as "brahmacharyas." They believe that their vital power (i.e. kundalini) needs to be completely intact in order for them to have the ultimate experience.

What does this have to do with you, oh passionate seeker of creative breakthroughs? Plenty -- especially when you consider that one of the main reasons why many new ideas never see the light of day is because their originators have a tendency to "prematurely articulate."

Indeed, the act of talking about one's idea -- especially to people who are not necessarily supportive of it -- often has a negative effect. Sometimes, talking about what we're doing takes the place of actually doing it. Other times, the kind of doubt, suspicion, and negativity we receive in response to the verbal expression of our creative passions, throws a wet blanket on the whole thing. Ouch!

Common sense and self-care is all you really need to pay attention to in this regard, but if you are looking for some guidelines to help ensure that common sense and self-care rule the day, here you go:


1. In the beginning stages of the development of your big idea or creative project, be mindful of WHO you talk to about it. Be selective.

2. If you get the urge to talk about your idea to someone who is likely to respond with nothing but frowns and raised eyebrows, don't. Better to keep the idea or venture to yourself than "throwing your pearls before swine" (even if the "swine", in this case, is a family member, best friend, or a member of your tribe).

3. If someone asks you about your idea, check in with yourself, first, before talking. If it doesn't feel like the right time, thank the person for asking and let them know you will respond to their request "down the road" when you have something meaningful to share with them.

The Year of Living Creatively
Idea Champions
50 quotes on the power of ideas

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:54 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.

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