May 27, 2017
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing

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If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.

In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.

There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.

Continue reading "One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2017
The Intersection of Innovation and Continuous Improvement

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What does creative thinking and innovation have to do with continuous improvement? A lot. Two sides of the same coin.

Interview with Idea Champions' President, Mitch Ditkoff, on GoLeanSixSigma.

Focuses on the intersection of innovation and continuous improvement. Both are needed. Both are complementary.


Indeed, the Managing Partner and Executive Advisor of GoLeanSixSigma, Elisabeth Swan, was an Idea Champions consultant at one point in her storied career.

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2017
Fail, Fail, the Gang's All Here

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Illustration: GapingVoid
Great quotes on failure
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2017
35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein

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Since 1986, every innovation workshop I've facilitated has included a poster of Albert Einstein.

Somehow, Einstein's smiling countenance inspires everyone in the room -- no matter what their social style, gender, or title.

The only thing I find more fascinating than this is the incredible amount of powerful quotes he left behind.

1. "The only real valuable thing is intuition."

2. "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

3. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

4. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

5. "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

Continue reading "35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:09 AM | Comments (9)

May 19, 2017
BIG IDEA: Enter Our Brainstorm Training Raffle Before June 1st

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Want to raise the bar for brainstorming in your organization? Looking for an online solution at a super-low fee? Enter Idea Champions quarterly raffle and win a 5-session, online Brainstorm Facilitation training at a 68% discount. Instead of paying our usual $7,500 fee, your cost is only $2,400. Max number of participants? 12.

Entering is easy. Simply send an email to info@ideachampions.com and write the words "Conducting Genius" in the subject line. In turn, we will enter your company's name in the raffle. Three winners will be announced on June 5th.

Our clients
What our clients say
The onsite version of the training

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2017
The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings

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Most people think that the ability to be innovative is a mystical state available only to the chosen few.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they don't have time and don't like hard work, they reason that innovation just isn't in the cards for them.

But innovation is not a mystical state. It's a natural state -- a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, already are innovative. The only thing is: their natural ability to be innovative is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

Continue reading "The DNA of Idea Champions Workshops and Trainings"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2017
The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator

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As a former student of the martial arts, I have noticed a curious phenomenon in corporate America that is becoming increasingly troubling to me -- especially among "creatives" who aspire to become masterful brainstorm facilitators. I call it the "Bruce Lee Syndrome" or perhaps more correctly, the "I-Took-a-Karate-Lesson-at-My-Local-Shopping-Mall- and-How-Come-I-Still-Can't-Break-a-Brick-Yet" syndrome?

Well-meaning business movers and shakers expect that learning a new creative thinking technique is all they need to spark brilliance in a roomful of people. Not true. Not even close to being true.

Continue reading "The Three Keys to Becoming a Masterful Brainstorm Facilitator"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2017
100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Post

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I know you have no time. YOU know you have no time. I know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. YOU know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. We both know you're not going to read this blog post. It's too long and you have more important things to do.

What follows are 100 other reasons why you won't read this blog post.

Continue reading "100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Post"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:06 PM | Comments (10)

On Building the Case for Storytelling

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One of the biggest challenges that internal change agents have when it comes to fostering a culture of storytelling in the workplace is building the business case -- why it matters and what the impact can be. The quote below, from John Kotter, author of Leading Change, will help. If you need help building your case, shoot me an email and I will send you some more "grist for the mill" -- links to compelling articles and videos on the topic.

Storytelling at Work: the blog

Storytelling at Work: the book
The author of both

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2017
A New Facebook Group for Aspiring Innovators and Cultural Creatives

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After 28 years of being an "innovation provocateur" for hundreds of forward thinking organizations around the world, one thing has become very clear to me: most people with BIG IDEAS usually end up derailed somewhere along the way.

Simply put, they lose steam, lose heart, and lose their way. The result? No result.

This is why I have launched "Being a Creator on Planet Earth" -- a new Facebook group designed to help aspiring innovators, from every walk of life, manifest their big, bold, beautiful ideas. The content? Inspired quotes by creative icons, innovation-sparking articles, mind-opening videos, stories, best practices, and a sprinkling of tips, tools, and techniques. Juicy. Engaging. Fun.

Three minutes a day is all it takes. Sometimes, less than 60 seconds.

The Facebook Group
The creator of the Facebook Group
50 quotes on possibility

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2017
If You Want to Innovate, Listen!

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If you're interested in raising the bar for innovation in your organization, start listening more. Listening, quite simply, is the most powerful form of influence.

Continue reading "If You Want to Innovate, Listen!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:45 AM | Comments (4)

May 09, 2017
THE CURE FOR THE CREATIVE BLUES: Self-Acknowledgment

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If you're a creative person regularly involved with starting new projects -- the kind unlikely to get results overnight -- here's a simple practice to save you from the all-too-familiar phenomenon of depressing yourself by focusing on the cup being half empty.

Continue reading "THE CURE FOR THE CREATIVE BLUES: Self-Acknowledgment"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2017
STORYTELLING WORKSHOP DESIGN: One Size Does Not Fit All

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If you are looking for a simple way to leverage the power of storytelling in your organization, but haven't found an "off the shelf" solution, I know why: it doesn't exist. And WHY it doesn't exist is because your organization's needs are unique. One size fits all does not fit all. That's why Idea Champions' storytelling workshops are all customized. We mix and match from a broad selection of modules to create the perfect fit for you. All we need to know is what topics you'd like to see us address and in what ratio. Simple. And we don't charge for customization.

THE MODULES
-- Building a business case for the benefits of storytelling
-- Improving listening and feedback skills
-- Activating the innovation mindset
-- Sharing in-house best practices
-- Communicating tacit knowledge (i.e. insight and wisdom)
-- Going beyond your organization's old story
-- Generating new ideas and solutions
-- Increasing trust and teamwork
-- Improving idea selling skills
-- Inspiring action and meaningful follow through
-- Fostering a culture of storytelling in the workplace

TWO EXAMPLES:
Creating the Innovation Mindset
Storytelling at Work

OTHER RESOURCES FOR YOU
We wrote the book
We also wrote the blog
The workshop is taught by this gent

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2017
The Creative Personality

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Here's an informative and inspiring article on the creative personality by the lifelong creativity researcher, renowned author of Flow (and the man with the hardest last name to pronounce in the world) -- Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi.

The aforementioned Professor C. offers deep insights into the complex and often polarized personality of creative people. Recognize yourself in any of his descriptions?

Awake at the Wheel
The Creative Mind Keynote
Illustration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2017
How to Go Beyond the Email Blues

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In 1999, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blues song about email.

My purpose was to poke fun at some of the email madness going on at that time. (If you want to give a listen, click the link above).

It's 18 years later now and the email scene has become even weirder.

If I was going to write a sequel, it wouldn't be the blues, it would be the black and blues -- because that's how bruised most of us are feeling these days about email. Bruised, abused, and beat up.

And so, in service to all of the loyal readers of The Heart of Innovation and all of Idea Champion's awesome clients, it is my privilege to share with you our own email survival strategies -- perhaps the most practical posting you will ever read on this blog.

Continue reading "How to Go Beyond the Email Blues"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2017
Need a Breakthough? Unplug for a Moment. Take a Break!

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True innovators rarely follow the straight and narrow path. Not only do they march to a different drummer, they're often not even on the same playing field as most people. Take Seymour Cray, for example, the legendary designer of high-speed computers.

According to John Rollwagen, ex-chairman of Cray research, Seymour used to divide his time between building the next generation super computer and digging an underground tunnel below his Chippewa Falls house.

Continue reading "Need a Breakthough? Unplug for a Moment. Take a Break!"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

ANONYMOUS Revealed

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I have a confession to make. Actually, it's more like a revelation than a confession. You know all those fabulous quotes and articles you've read over the years with no attribution other than "Anonymous"? It was me.

It's true. I have written thousands of things I've never signed my name to. I couldn't. I mean -- the writing just came through me. Like a storm. In fact, I was in such a state of presence as these pearls of wisdom appeared, there wasn't even a "me" involved, so how could I sign my name?

So I did the only thing I could do -- and that was to sign what I wrote with the now all-too-familiar word "Anonymous".

Continue reading "ANONYMOUS Revealed"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:37 PM | Comments (7)

The Gotta Have a Process Blues

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In 1999, I Co-Founded Face the Music (along with Paul Kwiecinski) -- an interactive business blues band that helps organizations get out of the box, improve communication, and build teams in a fun way.

One day, GE contacted us and asked if we would write and perform eight original blues songs that would poke fun at Six Sigma, as part of their upcoming Black Belt conference. We did. Here's one:


THE GOTTA HAVE A PROCESS BLUES

I woke up this morning,
Put both feet on the floor,
But I didn't have a process
To find the bathroom door,
So all I did was shuffle,
First the left foot, then the right,
Forgot to count the tiles
(Hey boss, I ain't too bright.)

We got green belts, black belts,
Corporate karate
And soon we'll need a process
For going to the potty.
Some charts and graphs would be real cool to help us choose
Just what to name this song 'bout the gotta have a process blues.

Back when we were kids
The only processed thing was cheese,
But now I need a process
Every single time I sneeze.
I say achoo, I blow my nose,
I try to get it right,
My green belt says my charts don't flow,
Not once a gesundheit.

I make no mistakes,
I do everything right,
To make sure nothing breaks
I stay up all night.
I'm a Six Sigma cowboy
With all my charts and graphs,
I measure every joke
And the way it makes me laugh.

We got green belts, black belts,
Corporate karate
And soon we'll need a process
For going to the potty.
A fishbone diagram would be cool to help us choose
Just what to name this song about the gotta have a process blues.

I barely make a boo boo, I rarely blow a deal,
You might call it voo doo, but that's just how I feel,
I'm one in a million
Though my defects number three,
I log on while I'm sleeping
And I've changed my name to "E."

We got green belts, black belts,
Corporate karate
And soon we'll need a process
For going to the potty.

- Blind Willy Nilly (that's me)
Six Sigma and breakthrough thinking
Face the Music on CNN

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2017
Why Use a Creative Thinking Technique?

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If you have ever jump started your car in the winter with a pair of jumper cables you already know why it makes sense to use a creative thinking technique: to spark your ability to arrive at your preferred destination.

Sometimes, to get you moving, a spark is needed -- a jolt -- and that's where creative thinking techniques come in.

All of us, no matter where we live and what we do for a living, are creative. We are. It's built in. The problem is, for many of us, our creativity peaked when we were five years old. Since then, it's been a slow and steady decline into conformity and conventionality. Our innate creativity has, all-too-often, gotten buried, neglected, and ignored. Like a car engine in winter, it sometimes goes cold. So cold, in fact, that we can't figure out how to get it started again.

Continue reading "Why Use a Creative Thinking Technique?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2017
Delivering the Unexpected!

Very inspiring 17-minute video. Howard Brodsky on going way beyond the call of duty to surprise and delight your customers. Included a cool anecdote about a pilot who bought pizza for all of his passengers.

The world's best collection of memorable quotes
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:45 PM | 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.

MitchDitkoff.com
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 at Work
Storytelling at Work is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling in business – why it matters and what you and your organization can do to leverage the impact of storytelling in the workplace.
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.
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.
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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.
Featured in Alltop Guy Kawasaki's Alltop "online magazine rack" has recognized Idea Champions' blog as one of the leading innovation blogs on the web. Check out The Heart of Innovation, and subscribe!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

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