Author Archives: Mitch Ditkoff

Are you ready to innovate?

If someone from your company’s leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization establish a culture of innovation, STOP for a moment and, with all due respect, ask the requesting member of the leadership team to answer the following questions. If they answer “NO” to any of them, do not accept the assignment. Really. I mean it. If you’re afraid to decline the assignment, there’s no hope for you, your senior team, or your organization. Zero. If you say YES without understanding the current reality of the senior team, you will only be going on a wild goose chase — wasting your time, theirs, and the TBD consulting company’s who will be asked to generate a hefty proposal that none of your senior leaders will be ready, willing, or able to respond to. 10 Questions to Ask Senior Leaders Before Looking for an Outside Innovation … Continue reading

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15 Awesome Quotes on Collaboration

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller “If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, both are useless.” – Darryl F. Zanuck “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton “It takes two to speak the truth — one to speak, and another to hear.” – Henry David Thoreau “If you have an apple and I have an apple and … Continue reading

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Seeds of an Innovation Moment

Let’s cut to the chase: Innovation doesn’t begin with processes, structures, and protocols. It begins with inspiration. And where does inspiration come from? It comes from inside the impassioned mind and heart of each person who works in your organization. When people’s mind/mindset is in the right place (i.e. open, curious, imaginative, communicative), your organization is home to thousands of daily, spontaneous opportunities for innovation to take root. But all too often it doesn’t. And the reason it doesn’t is because the people who work in your organization don’t necessarily know how to maximize what I have come to call seed of innovation moments — those naturally occurring interactions where inspired people share their new ideas with each other. Idea seeds are being sown all the time, but all too often they are falling on hard ground. The people you work with are originating — and communicating — their ideas … Continue reading

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Blue Ocean Strategy Drowning

WC Fields was always an exceptionally gifted performer. But some of his most unforgettable performances took place off-camera. Like most actors in the start of their career, Fields found himself a little short of cash. A problem? Not for him. The non-traditional Mr. Fields simply created a “Blue Ocean” job for himself in Atlantic City, one summer, as a professional drowner. Here’s how it worked: Several times a day, Fields would swim out to sea, pretend to be drowning, and then be “rescued” by one of his accomplices, the lifeguard. Invariably, a large crowd would gather on the beach as the no longer struggling actor was “resuscitated.” Once it was clear that this poor fellow was going to live, the suddenly relieved crowd would turn to Field’s third accomplice, the hot dog vendor, (who just happened to be standing nearby) and treat themselves to an “I’m-so-glad-he’s-alive” snack. At the end … Continue reading

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20 Awesome Quotes on Humor, Play, and Creativity

“To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.” – Albert Einstein “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” – John Cleese “If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think.” – Clarence Darrow “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves.” – Carl Jung “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny!’” – Isaac Asimov “Serious play is not an oxymoron; it is the essence of innovation.” – Michael Schrage “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” – William James “Humor has bailed me … Continue reading

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Creating Time to Innovate

During the past few years I’ve noticed a curious paradox heading its ugly rear among business leaders tooting the horn for innovation. On one hand they want the rank and file to step up to the plate and own the effort to innovate. On the other hand, they are unwilling to grant the people they are exhorting any more TIME to innovate. Somehow, magically, they expect aspiring innovators to not only generate game-changing ideas in their spare time, but do all the research, data collection, business case building, piloting, project management, idea development, testing, report generation, and troubleshooting in between their other assignments. Tooth fairy alert! This is not the way it happens, folks! Not only is this approach unreasonable, it’s unfair, unbalanced, and unworkable. You cannot shoehorn game-changing innovation projects into the already overcommitted schedules of your overworked workforce. If you do, it won’t be innovation you’ll get, only … Continue reading

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50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi “The Wright brother flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.” – Charles Kettering “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll “In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” – Miguel de Cervantes “The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.” – Henry Moore “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!” – Walt Disney “I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.” – Whoopi Goldberg “What is now proved, was once only imagined.” – William Blake “Truth … Continue reading

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