If you have a big conference coming up and want to make sure it is has major impact, Idea Champions can help.
We design and facilitate conferences that make a big difference — memorable events that are totally engaging, enjoyable, and radically increase the odds of your conference outcomes sustaining over time.
Here's how we do it:
- VISION CLARIFICATION: First things first. If you are going to invest a bunch of time and money into a company offsite, it makes sense to get completely clear about your hoped for outcomes — and how you will measure success. Which is why our conference services begin with an in-depth conversation with you. You share your vision with us. You share your concerns, too — along with the pros and cons of past conferences. We listen, address your concerns, and explain how we can help you turn your vision into reality.
- NEEDS ASSESSMENT: After we get your input, we'll connect with a cross-section of conference attendees. Yes, we want to know what you think, but we also want to know what they think — especially since they are the majority. Towards that end, we'll interview and poll selected attendees (and customers, too) — providing you with a crystal clear picture of the forces at work and how they are likely to impact your conference design.
- LEARNING PLANS: Will there be chicken at your conference? Muffins? Nametags? Yes, there will be. But there will also be too many people just taking up space, assuming their role is to be spoon fed by presenters. Not a good idea. If you want your offsite to really make a difference, you've got to change the game and create a learner-directed approach. Towards that end, long before your conference begins, attendees will commit to three things they want to learn at your event, three people they want to learn it from, and three things they can teach. All of this will be summarized in a Conference Playbook that everyone will receive — a simple way to ensure meaningful, real-time, peer-to-peer learning.
- AGENDA DESIGN: Most corporate conferences are like American cities. Sprawl rules the day. Someone speaks too long. Then someone else speaks too long. Slides are shown. Maybe there's a cheesy icebreaker. And then people enter into a trance state. No matter what the particulars of your event, there's one thing you can definitely count on — people will be sneaking peeks at their smart phones under the table and wondering what's for lunch. The missing piece? A well-crafted conference design that ensures maximum engagement, teamwork, creativity, networking, commitment, fun, and follow-up. Hint: We know how to do this.
- STORYTELLING: We know there's a lot of bright spots in your company — best practices, lessons learned, and past successes. That's the good news. The not-so-good news? Too few of these bright spots are known. That's why the conferences we design include a healthy dose of storytelling — not just from our presenters to your attendees, but from your attendees to each other. Months before your event, we'll identify a mix of in-house successes and coach selected attendees how to present these successes, in story form, from the main stage.
- PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Every conference has a lot of moving parts. Usually, your conference planner is responsible for these moving parts. But when Idea Champions gets into the mix, there will be other moving parts your conference planner will not be familiar with — conference elements that will need to be managed by someone, and that someone is us. Our Project Manager will work closely with your conference team to make sure that all of the puzzle pieces fit together and that nothing falls through the cracks. And if a crack opens up, we'll fill it fast.
- COPYWRITING: Let's assume, for the moment, that you are totally clear about the purpose and process of your conference. Congratulations. But even if you are clear, there's a good chance that the rest of your organization is not. Why? Because, historically, your pre-conference communications have been an odd mix of unclear, uninteresting, and unread. That's why our conference services include our world-class copywriting and editorial services. We can help you — oh over-committed future client of ours — get the word out in a painless, elegant way.
- FACILITATION: You know the old expression "If a tree falls in a forest and there's no one around to hear, did it make a sound?" Well, there's a modern day correlative to that: "If a conference happens and no one is listening, was your money well spent?" The answer is a resounding NO, but we can fix that. On site, the Idea Champions team will do everything possible to ensure that participant engagement is at an all-time high. Based on your need and budget, we can do any or all of the following: MC, facilitate icebreakers, deliver keynote presentations, lead teambuilding challenges, get people out of the box, spark idea generation, facilitate breakout sessions, stage manage, create slide shows on the fly, and work closely with your team to adapt the agenda, as needed.
- TAKEAWAYS: When attendees leave your conference, you want them to leave with more than a t-shirt, hat, and water bottle. You want them to leave with the kind of takeaways that will help them continue to live the spirit of your event. Guess what? That's what we provide – decks of innovation-sparking cards, decks of teambuilding cards, books that foster a culture of innovation, booklets that spark idea generation, and a selection of more than 50 handouts on innovation, change, leadership. storytelling, and creative thinking. Plus, we create a private page for your organization on our website with links to more than 20 videos and articles that will keep your people on top of their game long after your event is over.
- FOLLOW-UP PLANNING: One of the biggest complaints we hear from our clients is that, no matter how good their conferences may be, meaningful follow-up rarely happens. Sound familiar? This is why we will work closely with you and your design team, on the front end, to strategize an easy-to-implement follow-up plan that will significantly increase the odds of conference outcomes sustaining over time. You're not the only one who wants results. We do, too.
What Our Clients Say
"Idea Champions made our annual conference on innovation a huge success. They not only expertly facilitated the process, but ensured that our company developed a culture that will foster innovation from here on in."
Rick Yockelson, SVP of People and Administration, Hudson Group
"Idea Champions brings an infectious enthusiasm that will win over even the most cynical person in your organization!"
Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Universal
"We were looking for a miracle — and then we found Idea Champions."
Paulette Esposito, Manager, Training and Development, Champion International
"What a wonderful Innovation event Idea Champions put together for us! Talk about out of the box thinking, it was out of this world!
Eric Birnbaum, Sr. Packaging Engineer, Kraft Foods
"I never saw our people so engaged. They get it now and feel not only a greater commitment to the company, but to each other."
Rich Nugent, CEO, Nations Roof
"You were able to elegantly design and facilitate diverse large group sessions in a way that made our employees feel special and heard. You got the results we wanted while doing it in an effortless, enjoyable way."
Nada Vanous, Director, Health and Welfare Plans, Catholic Health Initiative
Comments from participants at a March, 2017 conference in Costa Rica.
Top News & Offerings
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.
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.
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences
that increase each participant's ability to
become a creative force for positive change
High impact certification training that teaches
committed change agents how to lead
groundbreaking ideation sessions
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.
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.
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.