Monday, January 08, 2007

Planting Seeds of Synergy

I just participated in a reasonably unique event this past weekend, and thought it would be a very good one to share. In a word, it was and is all about chemistry.

Mitch Ditkoff, founder and fearless leader of Idea Champions, a New York-based corporate training company (who I occasionally do some writing and training for), decided to bring together all the different people who work for them, to see what untapped interactions might result.

He announced it as, “a gathering of great souls, mavericks, innovators, free electrons and other assorted gypsies who will be working with Idea Champions in 2007.” (That’s pure Mitch-ese; but it’s always offered with a wink.) “The purpose of this gathering is for us to get to know each other a little better. I know all of you, but all of you don't necessarily know each other. There are a lot of synergies, positive sparks, and collaborations just waiting to happen…”

And, boy, did they ever. The old saw, “the atmosphere was electric” found its full expression in that room. I thought I’d pass this wonderful idea along, for anyone who collaborates with physically disconnected knowledge-worker units. For all the unquestionable benefits of electronic communication, I've come to the conclusion that there's a level where it's still very much a face-to-face world.

(That great "out of the box" illustration above was done for I.C. by Kent Lew.)
Mitch and his team are also notable for developing Free The Genie, “a deck of 55 creative thinking cards that help aspiring innovators get unstuck, out of the box, and achieve extraordinary results.”

(Blogospherists: no less a luminary than Seth Godin said about Free The Genie, "This is really, really good stuff.")

Related, here:
The "(How-Not-To-Approach-An) Innovation Committee" skit

1 comment:

Mitch Ditkoff said...

Hey Bill! Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad the Idea Champions gathering worked for you. It's becoming increasingly clear to me how important it is for people with similar commitments (but different skill sets) to get together in a relaxed environment to connect in new ways. With the rise of "Knowledge Workers" and email and "Free Agent Nation," too many of us are separated from each other. The magic happens when we are in the same room, playing, trying out new ideas, looking at things from different angles. 1+1=11. It can all be supported on the net with virtual communities and all that jazz, but there's something.. shall we say "human" about actually showing up at the same place at the same time and jamming together. Rock on! Mitch