July 13, 2019
25 Quotes on the Power of Story

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Looking for some inspiring quotes on why storytelling is such a powerful way to communicate your message, cut through the clutter, and awaken people's need for meaning? Here you go...

Continue reading "25 Quotes on the Power of Story"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2019
HAPPY JULY 4th! Inspiring Quotes on Independence

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"Freedom is the will to be responsible to our selves." -- Friedrich Nietzche

"It's easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing -- that's the Lord's test." -- Mahalia Jackson

"We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence." -- Fred Rogers

"No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance." -- Henry Miller

"In the progress of personality, first comes a declaration of independence, then a recognition of interdependence." -- Henry Van Dyke

"The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud." -- Coco Chanel

"To find yourself, think for yourself." -- Socrates

"The first of earthly blessings: independence." -- Edward Gibbon

"Independence is essential to permanent, but fatal to immediate success." -- Samuel Butler

"Independence... is loyalty to one's best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes." -- Mark Twain

"The price for independence is often isolation and solitude." -- Steve Schmidt

"I am lord of myself, accountable to none." -- Benjamin Franklin

"You don't need a significant other to lead a significant life." -- Mandy Hale

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self." -- Ernest Hemingway

"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone for others. Unfold your own myth." -- Rumi

"The essence of independence is to do something for one's self." -- Maria Montessori

"Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth." -- George Bernard Shaw

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together." -- Malcolm Forbes

"I will not be 'famous' or 'great.' I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded." -- Virginia Woolf

"How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?" -- Anais Nin

"Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient become independent of it." -- John D. Rockefeller

"Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity." -- Thomas J. Watson

Other great quotes

Idea Champions
The curator of these quotes

Photo: the very independent Emilia Pouget Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2019
Culture Change in An Australian School in the Islamic Tradition

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Last year, I had the great good fortune to spend three wonderful months at Al Siraat College in Melbourne, Australia, working closely with the founders, leadership team, teachers, staff, and students. It was one of the most inspiring experiences in my 30-year career as an organizational change agent. What follows is a testimonial from Fazeel Arain, the Co-Founder and Principal of Al Siraat:

"I had a strong desire to introduce a culture of creativity and innovation to our humble school in Australia. Being cash strapped as a new school (and knowing consultants were not cheap), I started following Mitch Ditkoff's blog, The Heart Of Innovation.

After many years of reading his blog, I finally found an opportunity to invite Mitch to Al Siraat for a short visit to explore the possibilities of what our collaboration might look like. During that visit, Mitch opened my eyes to the fact that anything is possible. We then embarked on a wonderful, year-long journey of culture change, learning, innovation, transformation, and friendship.

Continue reading "Culture Change in An Australian School in the Islamic Tradition"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2019
What PR Firms Say About Our Brainstorm Facilitation Training

Idea Champions has trained quite a few PR and Marketing firms in the art and science of facilitating breakthrough brainstorming sessions. What follows is a sampling of the feedback we have received.

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"At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Idea Champions' ability to quickly and effectively teach my colleagues and me how to facilitate brainstorming sessions changed the future of our business. We went from being viewed by our clients as their agency to being respected as essential teammates that help them arrive at BIG IDEAS. I can't wait to learn more from Idea Champions. So many good things to come!" - Mandy Kalajian, Vice President, Mirrorball

"Our success as a firm depends on our ability to think about tough challenges in new and creative ways, often on short timelines. The Idea Champions Conducting Genius training gave us the tools to better unleash the full potential of our employees and clients. And we had fun while doing it! Thanks to Val and Mitch, we're challenging our assumptions, asking the right questions, and using creative thinking techniques to bring our best ideas forward." - Natalie Giordano, Director, Purple Strategies

Continue reading "What PR Firms Say About Our Brainstorm Facilitation Training"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

STEVEN COVEY on Listening

Idea Champions

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June 27, 2019
Welcome to The Gold Standard of Brainstorm Facilitation

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Here's what Idea Champions' clients have to say about the value they've received from engaging our brainstorm facilitation services.

"Through your brainstorm facilitation, we gained more than 100 original ideas of high quality. The best of these will guide AT&T's development for years to come." - Robert Rubin, CCS Product Development, AT&T

"As a result of Idea Champions' efforts we have implemented more than 250 value-added Big Idea projects." -- Joe Belinsky, Professional Development Manager, Goodyear Rubber and Tire

"Several of the ideas we came up with in the Idea Champions session are being developed into concrete projects that are looking like very profitable opportunities." - Rudy Villa, VP, GE/RCA Licensing

Continue reading "Welcome to The Gold Standard of Brainstorm Facilitation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

The Paradox of Innovation

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My big insight about innovation these days would make Nobel Prize winner, Niels Bohr, proud.

"Now that we have met with paradox," explained Dr. Bohr, "we have some hope of making progress."

Innovation is full of it -- paradox, that is.

On one hand, organizations want structures, maps, models, guidelines, and systems. On the other hand, that's all too often the stuff that squelches innovation, driving it underground or out the door.

The noble search for a so-called "innovation process" can easily become a seduction, addiction, or distraction whereby innovation is marginalized, deferred, over-engineered, and worn like a badge.

Continue reading "The Paradox of Innovation"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:24 AM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2019
How to Tell a Good Story

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Let's start with the basics: You already know how to tell a good story. You do. You've been telling stories your entire life. Today, you probably told at least a few. And later, tonight, you will probably tell some more -- whether they are merely accounts of your day, a memorable encounter you had at work, or a reminiscence from days gone by.

Story is the ocean we are swimming in. And because it is, we don't necessarily feel wet when we're in it, but we are.

Fish aren't taught to swim. And you aren't taught to tell stories. As a child, you didn't need to be taught. All you needed was to hear them and them tell them to others -- which you did -- everything from The Three Little Pigs to Jack and the Beanstalk to the excuses you laid on your teachers for not handing in your homework on time.

Continue reading "How to Tell a Good Story"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2019
50 Quotes on Risk Taking

Hand2Mountain.jpg1. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -- Goethe

2. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

3. "It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult." -- Seneca

4. "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go." -- T.S. Eliot

Continue reading "50 Quotes on Risk Taking"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:31 AM | Comments (2)

June 07, 2019
30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate

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Do you have what it takes to innovate? I'm not talking IQ, degree, or job title.

I'm talking the curious confluence of behaviors that come with the territory of being someone who turns top of the line ideas into bottom line realities.


1. You come up with great ideas in the shower and car
2. You like to stay up late... or get up early... or both
3. You're comfortable with ambiguity and chaos
4. While your ducks are rarely in a row, they're happy most of the time
5. You're not worried about failing

6. You've invited at least one friend into your personal think tank
7. You test out your ideas on just about anyone who will listen
8. You know what you don't know, but can't always explain it
9. You like making connections between things that don't go together.
10. You're open to feedback and also don't care what anybody thinks

Continue reading "30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:58 PM | Comments (4)

May 29, 2019
How to Know If You Talk Too Much

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Do people sometimes stop listening when you talk to them? Do they start getting fidgety or look away? It may not be their ADD or inability to go deep with you. It may simply be -- you talk too much. OK. Enough said. Here is more about the phenomenon.

MitchDitkoff.com
Idea Champions
Storytelling for the Revolution

Thanks to Scott Cronin for the heads up

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:10 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2019
Kobe Bryant on Storytelling

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Why create a culture of storytelling?
How to tell a good story
Excerpt from Storytelling at Work
The slam dunk of storytelling books
A story not by Kobe Bryant and not in my book
FAQ about Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2019
Brainstorm Facilitation Training for PR and Marketing Companies

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Here's what three savvy PR professionals at Purple Strategies had to say about Idea Champions' highly engaging brainstorm facilitation training: Conducting Genius.

"Our success as a firm depends on our ability to think about tough challenges in new and creative ways, often on short timelines. The Idea Champions Conducting Genius training gave us the tools to better unleash the full potential of our employees and clients. And we had fun while doing it! Thanks to Val and Mitch, we're challenging our assumptions, asking the right questions, and using creative thinking techniques to bring our best ideas forward." -- Natalie Giordano, Director

Continue reading "Brainstorm Facilitation Training for PR and Marketing Companies"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2019
Millennials in the Workplace

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2019
WANT TO RUN BETTER MEETINGS? Ask For Permission to Facilitate

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Every day, around the world, there are millions of meetings. Maybe zillions. Many of these meetings suck. And if they don't suck, they underwhelm. One of the biggest reasons WHY is because many meeting participants, in various and sundry ways, undermine the facilitator. Unwilling to let go of control and have somebody else "run the show", meeting participants play out any number of passive/aggressive behaviors that erode the quality of the gathering. Maybe that's why so many of us resist going to meetings. Is there anything that you, as meeting facilitator, can do about this phenomenon? Yes there is -- and it only takes a few minutes as described in this 5-minute video by yours truly.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2019
The Case for Doing Nothing

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Fabulous article in the NY Times about the power and glory of doing nothing. Hooray! Thanks to Booth Dyess for the heads up.

Idea Champions (yes, we do too much)
Mitch Ditkoff (also does too much)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2019
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT MY NEW BOOK

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Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2019
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: An Innovative Pricing Model

EXISTENTIAL QUESTION #1: How much is anything worth?
EXISTENTIAL ANSWER #1: What people are willing to pay for it.

Which is precisely why Idea Champions has recently launched it's Pay What You Can pricing model for our Micro-Learning for Innovators service -- a year long, online curriculum of innovation-sparking videos, articles, tools, and techniques. It's our, out-of-the-box experiment. And so far, it's working.

The model is super simple. If your company wants to raise the bar for innovation, but is budget-constrained, YOU decide on the value of our Micro-Learning service and pay that amount. While I reserve the right to say NO to your offer, 98% of the time I will say YES.

Intrigued? Want more info? Contact info@ideachampions.com with the words "Micro-Learning for Innovators" in the subject line.

NOTE: For now, we are only offering this service to organizations. In time, we will offer this service to individuals. Stay tuned.

A Micro-Learning testimonial from a happy client
Other testimonials
Pay what you want restaurants
Panera Cares (their "pay what you can" experiment failed)
TED TALK: Panera Cares (pay what you can experiment)
The creator of Micro-Learning for Innovators

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2019
And a Child Shall Lead Them

Powerful TED Talk on climate change by a 16-year old girl from Sweden. Perhaps the best 11 minutes you will experience today. Worth watching -- and then doing something in response to her message.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2019
15 Common Missteps Entrepreneurs Make

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A good articles from Forbes -- practical advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Illustration: Gapingvoid
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

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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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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.
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