Mitch Ditkoff is the co-founder and President of Idea Champions, a highly acclaimed management consulting and training company, headquartered in Woodstock, NY. He specializes in helping forward thinking organizations go beyond business as usual, originate breakthrough products and services, and establish dynamic, sustainable cultures of innovation.
Educated at Lafayette College and Brown University, Mitch has worked with a wide variety of Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies who have realized the need to do something different in order to succeed in today′s rapidly changing marketplace. These clients include: GE, Merck, Allianz, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, NBC Universal, Goodyear, A&E Television Networks, General Mills, MTV Networks, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a host of others.
Mitch has been an adjunct faculty member for several esteemed leadership development programs, including GE’s Crotonville Management Development Center, Duke Corporate Education, Fuqua School of Business, University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, and Bell Atlantic’s Marketing Institute.
At the heart of his work lies the fundamental belief that a company′s most important capital asset is the collective brain power, creativity and commitment of its work force and that this asset can be significantly leveraged when people are provided with the appropriate setting, systems, tools and techniques to think (and act) out of the box.
Prior to his work with Idea Champions, Mitch was a principal in Ki Learning Systems and a Senior Consultant with the Inner Game Corporation — both organizational development firms dedicated to catalyzing superior performance in the workplace.
In addition to his consulting work, Mitch is also an accomplished keynote speaker and large group workshop facilitator. During the past 18 months, he has delivered a wide variety of keynote and workshops to a wide variety of forward thinking organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, Merck, Mitre, Chubb Insurance, Intertek, EXL, Dover Corporation, AtlantiCare, Reckitt Benckiser, Graceworks, Inpex, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and IdaVation.
In 2010, he was voted as the #1 innovation blogger in the world. His widely read blog, The Heart of Innovation, is a daily destination for a global audience of movers and shakers. Additionally, Mitch is the author of the award-winning book, Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Idea Rolling (in an uphill world) and the innovation-sparking card deck and online app, Free the Genie. Mitch was also acknowledged as one of the “40 Hottest Business Speakers on the Association Circuit” in Association Meetings Magazine.
Mitch is thrilled to announce that he is opening the virtual doors of his newest venture: the Online Innovation University! His one-hour webinars are engaging, refreshing, inspiring, and interactive. And they will make an immediate difference in your work life as we provide the tools you need to increase creative thinking and innovation for yourself and your company.
Mitch lives in Woodstock, New York, with his wife, Evelyne, and their two teenage children, Jesse and Mimi.
* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
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"Mitch Ditkoff should be a vital component when searching for innovative ways to motivate and harvest success in your business model. His expertise and knowledge are to be admired!"
Corporate Development Manager,
"Mitch Ditkoff offers pragmatic tools and insights that enable innovation. His approach is engaging, encouraging and creates an impetus for participants to apply the learning immediately."
Michael Serino, Senior Director, Merck
"Mitch Ditkoff′s Awake at the Wheel keynote presentation was both entertaining and informative. Over 1,030 Merck employees attended and rated the session a 4.8 out of 5.0. In just two hours, Mitch not only got participants out of the cave, he also helped us understand what it takes to establish a sustainable culture of innovation.”
Jim Aubele, Associate Director of Organizational Learning, Merck
"The best start to a sales meeting in 20 years."
Jeff Cohen, Global Training and Development, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer
"Your techniques and style left our people better with a better understanding and working knowledge of the most valuable tool we all possess - the creative mind."
Tom Gowan, VP Communications, Emmis Broadcasting
"Idea Champions is the firm I recommend for anything to do with innovation."
Melody Mahoney, Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence, GE Capital
"You helped transform our meeting into a truly dynamic and worthwhile experience."
Abbe Raven, CEO, A&E Television Networks
"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
"Mitch Ditkoff is creative in his approach, experienced, willing to share his expertise readily, easy to work with, and delivers exactly what he promises."
Peter Clist, Head of Management Institute, Allianz
"What a wonderful Innovation event Mitch Ditkoff put together for us! Talk about out of the box thinking, it was out of this world!
Eric Birnbaum, Sr. Packaging Engineer, Kraft Foods
"Idea Champions brings an infectious enthusiasm that will win over even the most cynical person in your organization!"
Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Universal
"Superb! Everyone was impressed with your ability to spark and harness the collective ingenuity of our group."
Craig Harden, Global Risk Manager, Scotia Capital
Partial Client List:
Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield
A&E Television Networks
- Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Ideas Rolling (in an Uphill World)
Awake at the Wheel is a book about ideas: what they are, where they come from, and what it takes to manifest them in a world not always ready for the new and the different. Simply put, it′s a book about possibility, about the wellspring of creation, about the strange and fascinating process we all go through whenever we have an idea and try to do something about it. And while it′s often said that "ideas are a dime a dozen," the fact is that your idea - the one you can′t get out of your head - is priceless. That is, IF you make the kind of effort required to turn that top of the line idea into a bottom line reality. Maybe it′s an idea for a new business. Maybe it′s an idea for a new product...or invention...or a book you want to write...or a school you want to open...or a move you want to make. Maybe it′s an idea for something that will change the world...or if not THE world, then YOUR world. Whatever it is, one thing is clear: it′s time for you to take the next step. Now!
Creating a Culture of Innovation
- Best innovation practices of leading organizations
- A robust business case for why innovation matters
- Hundreds of actionable culture of innovation ideas, sorted into eight categories
- Three culture-building tools and techniques
- A free, one-month license of Free the Genie
- Pre-session 20 Qualities of an Innovator poll
- Compelling business case for why creative thinking is important
- Creative thinking jump start in eight key domains:
- Balancing left brain analysis with right brain thinking
- How to recognize and go beyond limiting assumptions
- The art of framing powerful questions
- Seeing opportunities with fresh eyes
- Blue Sky Thinking (how to unleash the imagination)
- Synthesizing innovation: How to spark new product and service ideas
- How to nurture the "seed of innovation" moment
- Diffusing nay saying and idea killing behavior
- A sampling of best practices and inspiration from creative luminaries
- Free one month license of Free the Genie (online brainstorming tool)
- Foster a safe and open team environment
- Build awareness of how to become a high performing team
- Enhance feedback, communication, and meeting skills
- Increase synergy, trust, and commitment
- Spark creative solutions to pressing business challenges
- Clarify agreements, standards, and next steps
- Provide the positive momentum your team needs to succeed
When, Where, Who, Why and How
All business leaders want the same thing — and that is an organizational culture that is agile, adaptive, and conducive to sustainable innovation.
Easier said than done, however.
When you think of how difficult it is for just one person to lose five pounds or stop smoking, imagine how difficult it is to engage an entire workforce in the effort to innovate.
But just because it′s difficult, doesn′t mean it′s impossible. You′ve got to start somewhere. And Creating a Culture of Innovation is the best way to start — a highly engaging wake up call that demystifies innovation, sparks creative thinking, and provides an easy-to-adapt model that each participant can immediately apply on the job.
Face it. The days of depending on R&D to ensure your organization is innovating are over. The times have changed. Now, everyone needs to get into the act.
Humanizing the Workplace
How to Bring Out the Best of People on the Job
A recent national survey has revealed a disturbing fact: 62% of all Americans are dissatisfied with their work. And while the reasons for their dissatisfaction may vary from person to person, the resulting affect, on the job, tends to be the same – low morale, high complaint, and a general sense of disengagement.
People may be showing up for work on time, but not on fire.
Increasingly stressed with the challenge of having to do more with less, the work experience for millions of people is fast becoming depersonalized. Bottom line, people are feeling more like human doings, on the job, than human beings.
The cost to big business? Billions. In absenteeism. Low productivity. High turnover. And ultimately, the headache and high cost of recruiting, retraining, and attempting to reinvigorate the workforce.
Ask employees what they’d like to see change and they won’t tell you higher salary, bigger benefits, or faster computers. They will speak of the softer side of things – more trust, more respect, more listening, more appreciation for the effort they are making, more opportunities to learn and grow, and a feeling that the corporate culture in which they work is humane.
That’s what Mitch Ditkoff’s Humanizing the Workplace keynote is all about – what your organization can do, starting today for no cost – to infuse the workplace with the kind of meaning, mojo, and motivation that brings out the very best in people.
Each participant – regardless of their pay grade – walks away from this highly engaging keynote with the kind of insights, inspiration, and commitment they need to turn things around, including a practical game plan for what they can do – within their individual spheres of influence – to transform your company culture from the inside out.
See Mitch’s article on the Huffington Post for more on this topic.
Catalyzing the Creative Mind
There′s a lot of talk these days about the need to raise the bar for innovation and creativity. Understandably so. These are challenging times we find ourselves in. The game is changing, big time. Talk, however, is cheap. What your workforce needs is more than talk. What your workforce needs is a way to activate, accelerate, and apply their innate creativity on the job. So they can intelligently respond to changing times. So they can solve old problems in new ways. So they can generate new ideas — both incremental and breakthrough — that grow the business.
Your workforce doesn′t need to be taught how to be creative. (They already are.) What they need is a simple way to catalyze their creativity. Enter Catalyzing the Creative Mind — Mitch Ditkoff′s engaging interactive keynote that dramatically increases the odds of each member of workforce becoming proactive innovators on the job. Not next month. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Now.
(Best as a 1.5 to 3 hour interactive workshop / keynote)
Let′s cut to the chase: Your team is under the gun and stressed to the max. You want it to accomplish great things, but finding the time to reflect, innovate. or even plan seems like a pipe dream. Your team has all the talent and expertise to work smarter, but lacks the connectedness, vision, tools, and alignment to make the necessary shift.
Team Innovation — a highly engaging keynote or workshop — helps teams get their act together. A lively hybrid of reality check and all “hands on deck” pow wow, Team Innovation weaves together the very best of what Mitch Ditkoff does: open doors, open minds, and help people rally around a compelling, collaborative goal.
Team Innovation is not a magic pill, but it will work magic. How? By creating the kind of learning environment that allows real behavioral change to happen. If your team (or department) lacks an inspired vision, needs to tackle business challenges more creatively, or needs to explore better ways of working together, Team Innovation is for you.
HOW IT WORKS: Weeks before the session, we forward you a link to our online, Team Innovation poll, which you then forward to participants. The results of the poll will provide us with the input we need to customize your session accordingly – a session that will be blend of experiential problem solving, norm setting, awareness building, group discussion, and brainstorming. People connect. Fences are mended. Everyone gets on the same page. New ideas are generated. And all without participants feeling self-conscious, lectured to, or in the middle of some kind of kumbaya waste of time.
Team Innovation will:
Mitch Ditkoff Speech Excerpts
Interview Ethical Sourcing Forum
Here’s a useful tip for you the next time you find yourself standing in front of a group of people and about to facilitate a meeting of any kind. Before you begin, ask people to give you permission to facilitate. This may sound like a complete waste of time, especially if you’ve been brought in ... more
Here is a fantastic infographic on storytelling in business. ... more
Most people think that theability 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 ... more
Innovation, the endless effort to find a better way, cannot be achieved by robotically lining up best practices and imitating them. The real catalyzing agent for innovation is the ground from which these best practices spring — the confluence of purpose, people, and processes better known as culture. ... more
1. “I want to put a ding in the universe.” – Steve Jobs 2. “Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.” – Alfred North Whitehead 3. “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk 4. “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” – ... more
If you want to create a sustainable culture of innovation, you will need to understand that there are always four forces at work — four currents that are always interacting with each other: 6926478.jpg 1. Top Down 2. Bottom Up 3. Outside In 4. Inside Out ... more