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Aug. 21, 2020

174: How to Rethink Innovation to Grow Your Business [Carla Johnson Interview]

174: How to Rethink Innovation to Grow Your Business [Carla Johnson Interview]

Description: 

What sets successful businesses and professionals apart? One might argue it is all about being able to innovate. Fortunately for our podcast listeners we have a very special guest, Carla Johnson, who has written a few compelling marketing books and will soon release her newest book, RE:Think Innovation. This podcast will be a sneak preview of that book, in which you will learn why:

1. People think innovation is only about the products and services they sell, and why they're wrong and missing a huge growth opportunity. 
2. There are things that iconic companies with big budgets do that you can learn from and apply right away for your business...if you know how.
3. You too can learn how to innovate through a simple, repeatable, scalable formula for how to take inspiration from any brand, experience or situation you have, and turn it into extraordinary outcomes for their business - startups, established Fortune 100 brands, and any organization in between. 

Links mentioned in the show:

Carla Johnson's Website: https://www.carlajohnson.co/

RE:Think Innovation by Carla Johnson: https://www.carlajohnson.co/author/

Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:

My Website: https://nealschaffer.com/

Learn more about this podcast: https://nealschaffer.com/maximize-your-social-influence-podcast/

The Age of Influence Free Preview: https://nealschaffer.com/age-of-influence-preview

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

What is the number one thing? That is the reason why businesses and professionals are successful? Well, there's not one right or wrong answer to that question. But I think you'd agree that innovation, and knowing how to innovate is a core skill that we'd love to all have for our business. In this episode of the maximize your social influence podcast, we are going to teach you a simple, repeatable, scalable formula for how to take inspiration and turn it into extraordinary outcomes. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, welcome to episode number 174 of the maximize your social influence podcast. This is Neal Schaffer coming at you from my home office in beautiful Irvine, Orange County, California. How are you all doing today? Well, we are in the midst of summer. But the good news is that school for the kiddos have started I know, one of my children started yesterday, the other starts tomorrow. So maybe I'll be a little bit more efficient with my work going forward. Because I don't know if I've mentioned this to you before work has only gotten busier and busier, as more and more businesses need to serve the digital first consumer by being more digital first themselves. But I digress because today we have a very special guest in Carla Johnson Carla. I first met many moons ago when I spoke at a event that was actually put on by Motorola, a corporate event. And after that I learned of Carla and her incredible content as a marketing author in customer experience marketing, content marketing. And in this podcast episode, you're are going to get a preview of the next book she is working on, which is all about rethinking innovation. I think whatever we do, I like to consider myself an innovator in what I do and what I teach companies. And ideally, you feel the same way after reading the age of influencer, listening to this podcast. But how does one become an innovator, it's going to be a great conversation that I absolutely loved. And I think you're going to get a ton out of. So without further ado, here is my interview with Carla Johnson. Hey, everybody. Today, I'd like to welcome a thought leader of her own a friend, someone that I've had the chance to know and meet in real life, which isn't always the case with everybody that I interview here. Her name is Carla Johnson, she is a best selling author, marketing thought leader. And she's actually coming out with a new book pretty soon that I think we're going to talk about, I think you're going to be really excited about but first of all, Carla, thank you for joining us. And please introduce yourself

Carla Johnson:

thinking, Neil, I'm just I'm really excited to be a part of your show, because I'm a big fan of it. And one of the things that I love to talk about is how people can start to look their work differently and rethink what it is that they do. Because we get caught in these habits of just defaulting to what we're used to and really look at what's the bigger impact that we can have and in the work that we do. And that's what I've spent essentially the last 20 years helping companies do and in teams, mostly through marketing, but also through sales. And now more through more strategy and a focus on innovation. And looking at how we can make innovation is really an ingrained part of an overall corporate culture by teaching individual employees individual contributors how to use an innovation technique that makes sense for them, and then help ello you know, bubble that up through the teams they contribute to and how that affects the bigger culture that we're in. Because we see a lot of groups who think that innovation is just something that a particular group of people in an organization should be allowed to do.

Neal Schaffer:

That's awesome. Carla, you know, when when Connor reached out to me with this topic of innovation, first it's like, is it really going to be relevant to my audience, but you know, it's funny, because I always say, you know, I want to work with tools, companies in marketing, that are truly innovators that are doing new things to help me do new things, but also in my own work. And I think that for the entrepreneurs and business owners and marketers that are listening, there's a few different steps of this pyramid have sort of influence and authority in your industry and in terms of market share, and I think we always begin and social media is just a really easy analogy here. You see a lot of people starting with social media marketing with a particular channels like Facebook, or Instagram or LinkedIn, but then they realize the platform is not where the innovation is it comes in using concepts. For instance, paid social Facebook ads, or influencer marketing or employee advocacy are are things that you know, often are content marketing, right. But there's still a whole upper layer above and beyond that of concepts, I think of, you know, David Meerman, Scott's new book, phenoxy, Jay Baer utility that bring in the platforms, and the concepts, but that raise our awareness to a new level, so that we can truly become those leaders to innovation. And in fact, I haven't told anyone this yet, but I'm working on a new intro for the podcast. And the new pitch for this is helping you know, businesses grow through innovative marketing techniques. So this role of and I've obviously tried to be innovative in what I do you not, I think just copying what everyone else are talking about what everyone else is talking about, has no meaning I don't share this with a lot of people. But when I'm writing a book, I don't read similar books on the subject, because I don't want to be influenced by them. Because I truly want to have unique, and hopefully innovative ideas that come from my own experiences in my own looking at industry trends and data and trying to find the insight from that. So that's why I think if you're listening, you're a marketer, entrepreneur, business owner, this topic is really relevant. And this is not about me and the way I look at innovation at all. I just wanted to set up with you're going to talk about Carla. So why don't we start with sort of how do you how do you go about like defining innovation to begin with

Carla Johnson:

one thing about innovation is that people tend to make it significantly more complicated and elitist, and out of touch than it needs to be. And at its very essence, I define what you know, and I think at the end, its very essence, innovation is about consistently coming up with new, great and reliable ideas. And each one of those words is very thoughtful in how I defined it. And each has a meaning. So consistently, if innovation isn't about doing something, one time, and you're done, you know, it's not a one hit wonder, when you look at the companies that you consider as true innovators, one of their characteristics is that they're able to be innovative for a sustained period of time, Netflix, and Amazon and even people you look at bands that have been relevant and innovative for a long period of time, you know, they're able to sustain it, they have a level of consistency about them. That's not boring. Now, when we look at the new, great and reliable a new idea is something that is new to your industry new and how it's applied, new in a way that we say, Wow, I haven't seen that before, then we get to great and greets a little bit subjective about an idea. But it's something that, you know, David Ogilvy talks about it a little bit in his book, you know, it's something that makes you say, Wow, I've never really thought of it about that way. And it's something that you know, I say it makes makes the hair stand up on your arms or in the back of your neck, like you have this visceral response to what a great idea is, and reliable is that it's going to have a bottom line impact of some sort. And that's, that's an important aspect of innovation is that it does impact the business at the end of the day. Now, that doesn't mean it has to result in a new product or new service, it just has to have an impact. And in order to do these things, you need to start out with innovation by clearly identifying what problem is it that you're going to solve? And that's that's a big aspect that we don't think of with innovation. A lot of times they say, wow, you know, it's something new, it's different. It's something that really catches our attention. But that's not at its essence what I believe innovation is about.

Neal Schaffer:

So there's there's consistency, but there's also consistency of regularly thinking about new exactly, really expanding the bell, you know, and if,

Carla Johnson:

yeah, it goes back to what you what you said about how you write your book, because I'm the same way I don't read other books in my own area of whatever, I'm ready to mount. Like I've written a lot of marketing in different industries. And now this book on innovation, I started some, I mean, it's taken me almost five years to write this book. And I did a lot of research on innovation approaches and things like that to start with. And what I see is that there's been so much about innovation and transformation that focused on people processes and technology technologies, where, you know, we have more processes and technologies than we'll ever know what to do with but it's really the people part and how we bring them into innovation. That's the part that we're missing. And I find that the people who are these really truly, you know, prolific perpetual innovators are the ones who spent a lot of time looking at the world outside of their industry. They're very curious, you know, they read a lot they travel a lot. They look at their whole world, their everyday life, very different from people who struggled to come up with with ideas at any time. level. And I think that's the most important aspect of looking at innovation is, how do we take something that works in a different situation? I mean, I know there's, there's designers that car companies who look at bugs and fish and you know, different animals like that. And they use that as their inspiration for how they become innovative in their design for their for their vehicles. You know, we can do that the same way as marketers, and entrepreneurs, look at what works in a different way and see how we can transplant the essence of what makes it successful into the work that we do.

Neal Schaffer:

So I'm just thinking of when all these companies when SAS, like Adobe used to have to buy the software, now it's a monthly subscription at the time, when I first started, I was right. And it could be scary. The VP of Marketing for Adobe, Japan at the time gave a speech about that experience, and how most of the people internally completely pushed back against it. Like why would we ever do that? We're gonna lose money, and what have you, there's probably a scary part about innovation as well right about that, because it does require change, and it will, if it's done right, it will impact change.

Carla Johnson:

Absolutely. And one of the things in the book that I've written, I talk about a process about how you actually take inspiration for the world around you understand what made that successful, and then transplant that idea into your own work in a way that relates to the work that you do. And when you're able to do that, and then start to generate ideas when you go to pitch it. And you tell the story of that idea, which is essentially what a pitches, what you do is you are able to help people feel that the idea is less risky, if you talk about how it worked in a different situation and why. And then you say what aspects of that idea made it successful? You know, was it about building a community was it about getting people to take action on their own, you know, there's all these different aspects that make an idea successful. So what are a couple that would work in your world, and then talk about how that's the foundation for the idea that you came up with. Because when you connect the dots for the idea for people in that way, they see that it's less risky, because in its own way it worked over here in a particular situation. Now you've explained the connection into your own business challenge into your own idea that you've come up with. And now you tell that story. So whatever you can do to start to de risk an idea is always to your benefit. But what a lot of people do is they say, you know, you take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for instance. I mean, it was a phenomenal success. And so there's other organizations who are saying, we need to make sure that we do something really crazy and you know, really out there. But that isn't what made it successful. What made it successful was that it was super easy to do. And it was super easy to share, and a built a community. So if you started to look at ideas, from the basis of those criteria, not how do we create a campaign that goes viral, it changes the whole dynamics of how you come up with ideas, what ideas you're willing to try. And it feels us less crazy than just trying to cut and paste something that is worked for somebody else in a different situation.

Neal Schaffer:

That's really interesting. So I want to I want to share a story that I want to ask you V's of innovation. So when I lived in Japan, I often came back the United States to see family and sometimes business trips. And there was a friend of a friend who worked at a leading Japanese pharmaceutical company. And every time I'd have a list of things to buy American, a lot of them were nutritional supplements, emergency type of products, or Theraflu, or, but I was buying these products, and she worked in r&d at this pharmaceutical company. And they were using what I brought back for their innovation. So I'm wondering if innovation is in when Facebook first added stickers in Facebook Messenger, oh, they copied this from line. And we know that WeChat has been the source of a lot of emulation in the social media world. So I'm just wondering, is innovation always tied to looking at the world around you for ideas? Is that a necessity? Is that just the most efficient way to do it the most common way to do it, or it's not necessarily, I believe that

Carla Johnson:

being able to slow down. And you and I've talked about this a little bit like start to disconnect from all of our digital devices. And really pay attention to the world around us is the foundation of extraordinary innovation, that you can get impatient with a little AI if all you did was continue to look inside your industry and things like that. But all you're doing is rehashing things that are already there. And when we see that there are some companies that may do really great to start out with but then you know they're not able to sustain that. So back to that definition of innovation is that consistency over a long period of time. So you there's lots of industries that copycat within each other, but it doesn't take very long for none of them. To be innovative show up as innovative or sound innovative. And to truly be innovative, I believe that's what you have to do is you, you have to look at what's going on in the world around you and I talked about like you, you collect all of these dots from the experiences that you have. And then as you are able to spend time and look at all these things you've observed in your mind actually naturally does this, if you give it the space and take the pressure off it, it starts to connect these dots in different ways. So all of a sudden, you have this massive group of dots that don't seem to make any sense. But because your mind naturally looks for patterns, that's when these little dots start to turn into constellations. Okay, you could have, you know, almost an infinite number of constellations. And depending on what your challenges at the time, what idea you need to solve what kind of problem, you can combine all of these dots in different ways that generates a different kind of have an idea, sometimes these ideas are ahead of their time, the market isn't ready, your company isn't ready, just you know, cultural things aren't ready, but other times it is exactly spot on. But when you do this, when you look at inspiration, from the world around you outside of where you work, that's really where you start to bring in those things that feel fresh, that feel new, but not too crazy, or too different, that you can't get internal support behind it, or you know, customer or consumer support to say yes to buy it, or you know, or engage with it.

Neal Schaffer:

I'm also assuming that the true innovation and success of that also comes from connecting those dots, but also continuing to connect the dots internally, so that you implement it in a way that's unique for your organization and for the needs of your

Carla Johnson:

Absolutely, because I mean back to those processes and technologies, how people connect, I mean, it's the people part of it, that really brings the innovation into it, because it's the aha moments when you bring somebody from, you know, finance and marketing and IT and product. And it's all these different ways that people look at the problem, and how they've all connected that. That's why you come up with these, why you start to come up with so many more ideas. And generally they tend to be better ideas, because you have diverse point of views, you have people who are more strategic, some that are more storytellers, some who are more empathetic, you get all of these different points of view and how you solve the problem and how you make the idea successful, that it does help it become much more innovative, but not too wacky. And out there.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, I'm just thinking of the the subscription. You know, model, I recently just changed. I've always had having lived in Japan, I always had like an Epson or Canon printer. And recently, we changed to an HP printer. And the HP printer smarting, right. So it's a subscription service for ink. And as I went through and analyze how much I was spending on ink with my Canon printer, I can actually even have the most expensive $20 a month level with hp. I'm still saving money. And I don't have to it's it's a complete paradigm shift. In my thinking of like printing, I'm telling my wife, no, they charge by pages you printing up by color versus black and white, we don't have to be Yeah. It's something that's been around, but they were able to apply it and apply it in a unique way. And I also think, you know, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think in the Instagram world, there's someone in Jasmine star and one of her friends is going to correct me on this probably. But I think she started out with like a 30 day subscription plan where all create 30 days of Instagram content for you for a low price based on sort of templates. But it's sort of like a subscription model to solve a problem in a unique way. It's like, I don't want you to teach me how to do this, just like do it for me. But I don't want to hire as an agency. Is there an MBA? So yeah, so there's room for innovation, like in any industry?

Carla Johnson:

Actually, you know, that's why we've seen such an influx of subscription boxes for you know, pet food, clothes, you know, shaving supplies, pretty much anything under the sun, you can think of, I think a lot of that probably started with that SAS model and how it

Neal Schaffer:

worked. Right. So you mentioned and I want to sort of, to some of the listeners that are used to like real, practical advice that we give on this podcast, I want to start to sort of bring it down from what what is possible to like, what are the things that they can do? So one of the things that you mentioned was that, you know, we can learn from the innovations of big brands, and potentially how to apply it to our own businesses, without having to spend the budgets that these big brands so so we're, as I like to say we get to stand on the shoulders of giants and leverage all the work they've done. So so what what does that process look like?

Carla Johnson:

If you think about a big brand that does a great job on social media, you know, I look at even companies like Gannis and I think one of the things that Guinness is fabulous at doing is serial storytelling, or you know, episodic storytelling. And I think that's something that any brands, you know, even me as an individual company, we can start to look at how do we take our social media strategy and start to make it episodes and so people want to tune into our social content on a regular basis just like somebody would to, you know, a Netflix show or an HBO show or or something like that. So it's really looking at what is it that makes it successful from a big brand? And starting to decipher? Is it about community? Is it about humor? Is it about always making sure it's a cliffhanger? Now, a cliffhanger for a Netflix show can be completely different than if you're trying to create a cliffhanger for an industrial engineering social media show, you know, but that doesn't cliffhanger according to what makes a cliffhanger for your audience. So it's always important to bring it back to your brand. And how do you make it relevant for that audience. And whenever you look at a big brand, social media strategy or how they're executing something, just stop and start to write down all of the little things that you observe about what it is that they're doing, you know, is it single images in, you know, in every single Instagram post, and a very emotional story, emotive copy that goes with it? Are they talking about, we're going to show you what happens, you know, in this situation, like, I know, GE did this one time on Instagram, with their wind farms to really give people a feel of let's you know, let's go inside it, they did it with drones inside a live volcano down in Mexico. So it's that ability to understand, you know, the techniques that they're using with storytelling, and how it's actually executed. Now you can do that it doesn't matter what industry you're in, what product or service that you sell, it's being able to say, Okay, this is my idea. And it's what I feel our audience wants to hear about or learn about, or I feel this would be a value to them. Now, how can I create that, you know, stay on the edge of their seat kind of content over a series of you know, how many different posts or whatever your channels are? And looking at? How do you get people excited? How do you get them to be talking about it? How do you get them to chime in and talk about their own experience in this way. And there's lots of opportunities, because I think there's brands that are doing great things. And I think there's a lot that small brands can take and use, and really stand out in ways that their other their competitors, either can't copy, or won't take the time to do the planning to actually copy.

Neal Schaffer:

And the mistake, correct me if I'm wrong, the mistake that probably a lot of people, a lot of marketers are probably already doing that. But the problem is they're probably staying within their own industry, only looking at their competitors. And what you're saying is you can get inspiration for innovation anywhere and you should, because if you stick within your own industry, it's it's its own selfish. Yeah,

Carla Johnson:

it is. It was funny, I had an architecture firm reached out to me one time to help them to do some things that were more innovative. And I asked them, like, who are your main competitors? And what is it that you say about yourself that makes you different and unique. And so I took that, and I started to look at their competitors. The interesting thing was, this company and all of their competitors said the exact same thing about what made them unique and different. So really, all they're doing is, you know, what is everybody else in the industry saying, and we want to say the same thing, so we don't look like we're not saying the right thing to look, you know, innovative and creative. So really, it is true, the more you can look out outside your industry, you know, look at companies that are completely different. If you're a very creative company, you know, go look at something that's very engineer driven and processing and focused and vice versa. And just think about your your every day. I mean, everybody's every day is a lot different now than it used to be. But you know, what is it that you're doing differently now than maybe you did before? And what is it that you can learn from that? Now, I mean, I have always worked well, for the last 20 years, I always have worked remotely and remote could be from my home office, a coffee shop and airport or wherever it is. But now that I am not traveling more like what am I learning here and observing that can help generate ideas for me, or you know what YouTube people can I watch that are completely different. And I tell you, when you're home with your kids all day, every day, and they're teenagers, you get exposed to a lot of different content that's really wacky. And so it's been fun to see that. And that makes a big difference because I work primarily with big b2b brands. And you start to look at some of these things that the you know, teenage YouTubers are doing and it's in. It's very different, but I'm learning things from that. But I can apply to the strategies that I'm doing for marketing with these bigger brands. And it doesn't start to feel so crazy, but it does feel fresh once they understand the underlying methods that work and how it relates to their own work. And I think that's that's the key is consistently looking for, how can we connect these dots in different ways? and make sense of something in the in the work that we do ourselves.

Neal Schaffer:

So Carl, I know that you're obviously about to publish the new book and you say that you've taken your 20 years of experience. And all this talk about innovation, the experience you've had working with big brands on helping them innovate, that there is actually a process that you can, there's actually a process that that anybody can follow. And if they follow these steps, it can help me to innovation in their own organization. So I don't want you to give away all your books. But it'd be great to have a teaser, so that those that are interested in learning more can obviously buy the book, but can you you know, share us what you can about? Yeah, and

Carla Johnson:

I'll just give you just this the skeleton framework. And what I do is, is I teach people how, first of all, how to observe the world around them. Because we are so caught up in this little thing that we carry in our hand that keeps us connected to the world, you know, all the time every day, that so much inspiration goes by us all the time. And we have blinders on. So really, it's it's relearning, how to observe the world, just like kids do. And if you've ever walked a block and a half with a three year old, it will take you forever, because of everything that they noticed, you know, the ants that are building the anthill, the worms, the birds, that everything that you just forget as an adult, because we're taught to just tune these things out, because they're not efficient, and they're not productive. And then the next step is to distill now that you've observed all of these things, let's distill it, and start to look for patterns. You know, are they things like their, their happy things? Are they inconvenient things? Is it about people? Is it about communication? You know, what are some of these bigger patterns, and then you start to relate that into your work. So if you're, if you're solving a problem, and in the book, I talk about how to define a problem, specifically that you want to serve, solve. So when you go to relate this into your work, you you have purpose. So now that you're looking to relate this into your work, you start to ask things like, you know, how could we? How could we have little surprises every day? You know, like the ants on the sidewalk? Or how can we make it easier for people to get a hold of people and you think about a lot in our digital transformation world? Sometimes we've taken out any ability to talk to a person, you know, how do we make people happy in ways that are unexpected, you know, you start to relate it just simply into your work like that, and then use that as the foundation for how you start to generate ideas based on the problem that you're trying to solve. And when you do that, what happens is that the next step is to actually pitch your idea, your ideas are completely different for two reasons. One is because traditionally, what happens is that people will observe something that another brand is doing, and they generate their idea as in oh, I want to do that maybe I want to copy that idea. And that's the idea that I'm pitching. And it doesn't have context, it doesn't make any sense. And the bosses say, No, the employees get frustrated, because they always get pushed back and never get approval. But when you add in these two extra steps of learning how to observe and make patterns out of it, and then relate that into the work that you do, it breaks this vicious generate and pitch cycle that we have, that makes people frustrated, you know, whether it's the employees pitching the ideas, or the bosses who are hearing them, it breaks that cycle, because it starts to help people understand. That worked over here, I now I understand why I understand how it relates to my work. And they've now been given a cohesive story that tells the journey of an idea. And so now there's a reason to pay attention, there's a reason to believe why something would work that's new and different and fresh. And it gives people confidence who are pitching the idea. And it teaches people who are giving feedback, okay, well, I, I can see what I like about the idea. And then I can see where it has potential and we can make this better. So it makes the whole presentation of an idea much better for both the people presenting the ideas and for the people getting feedback. And it's you know, it saves a lot of time for everybody because it teaches people don't try and share an idea before it's time. Like you have to think these things through first. And that saves everybody a lot of blood, sweat and tears all the way through because they understand that aspects of a pitch that they forgotten previously. And it helps build their own confidence. And when you're a boss and you see somebody come to you with confidence and passion about a new idea, you're going to you're going to pay attention and because of that you see their emotional engagement in it and how much they care about it. You're much more likely to help them make that idea better because you want to see it succeed,

Neal Schaffer:

or that was really great. Advice. I'm just thinking, you know, if you walk outside, all the inspiration for innovation that comes from what you consume, visually audio, the what you read what you see on social media, so as long as you train yourself to always be open for ideas that you can bring back and apply to your work. So I just think, you know, I see these pictures, especially when I'm going to Japan, you know, they're holding like the boba tea, or the Starbucks, it's always clear, and it's a colorful liquid. And everybody is taking selfies with these right, or just, you know, holding them up with portrait mode. It's like, well, if I'm a company that has a product that people take, I want to try to make it, I want to try to replicate that in some way to make it more of an Instagrammable experience, right? Just one idea, one example of just seeing something that sparks an idea. And it's like, Hmm, maybe this could be applied to our bit, I think, at the core, that sort of looking at a small scale, that's sort of,

Carla Johnson:

absolutely, and that's a great example, because you've seen it everywhere of people taking their selfies with their drinks, and whatever they have. And people think, oh, you know, that's, that's ridiculous, because that's a drink. It's consumers, it's, you know, whatever the excuses that they make. But if you go back and say, what the essence of this, like, what you distill it into, is that your product means so much, and it's so colorful, so fill in the blank, that the customers can't wait to take a picture and share it. How do you create that in your own world for what you do yourself. And that's where the innovation comes in. Because how you express that as your brand, is completely different from the drink company, or, or anybody else in your industry. And that's how you really can start to stand out as innovative. And really, in a short amount of time, this doesn't have to take years or, or even months. I mean, sometimes I see people come up with these ideas, and, you know, in a matter of days or a week, they've got the new ideas out, and it really makes a difference.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah. And I assume part of his mindset as well, not not letting yourself be blocked. By what exactly? And

Carla Johnson:

exactly, I mean, I know we've all heard that when you when you share an idea, and people say, Oh, that's not how we do it here, you know, well, you know, we haven't done it this way here, but how, you know, How well has that worked for us. And here's a way that we could try, you know, and I always use like to use the word, you know, let's test it, or let's pretend or things like that, because they don't feel as real and committed. And I think to start to get some of these little ideas off the ground when it comes to innovation, particularly in companies that tend to have a less open culture to change and train things differently. If you can put it into that test mentality, people are more likely to get on board and see what can happen. Because, you know, let's pretend or let's test, there's nothing serious or permanent about that. It really is just a, you know, a small trial and error. And let's just see what happens. You know, it starts to spark that curiosity. Rather than putting it in cement and saying, This is the way it's going to be from here. And that gives people a lot of mental and emotional leeway to try things. Yeah. And

Neal Schaffer:

I think the listeners this podcast, you know, the value of chess marketing, and PDCA, plan, do check action, experimenting is really, you know, the core of doing better and getting better results. If you're not experimenting, then you're really missed out on an opportunity. So that that feeds really nicely and everything. And, you know, Carla has given everyone here, the framework and you know, part of its mindset, part of it is just a new way of looking at things. But if you're only looking at your competitors, look at other industries, if we look at what people are doing an Instagram, look at tick tock, look at YouTube, look at LinkedIn, if you're only looking within your country, look at what's going on in other countries. So there's no lack of inspiration for your innovation that exists in the world. Right. Is there anything else we missed? I think

Carla Johnson:

the most important thing in particularly with the situation we're in now with a lot of uncertainty. I think the best thing that if you are an executive, a team, leader, and entrepreneur, the most important thing you need to think about is how can you connect individual people's ability to use innovation techniques to make their performance better, and understand that that truly does tie to corporate performance and outcome. And looking at me the reason I came up with this really simple process is one I realized it's a process I use myself whether you know whether I realized it or not. It was this is how I came up with ideas. And I studied these very innovative people. And it's something that you can use for the smallest of tasks, or the biggest business objectives and really looking at how can you make big change and start to create a culture that is more agile, flexible, willing to change by building an entire employee base that understands the importance of ideas because even if you Even if you limit innovation to just a specific group, those ideas still have to make their way through the organization before they ever see the light of day. And the more that you can teach individual employees about the importance of ideas and change in innovation, the faster ideas will go through your organization, see the light of day and start to serve your customers, which is what it's all about at the end of the day anyway.

Neal Schaffer:

So Carl, on a final note, for those that want to get started innovating, I know this is something I've heard a lot of people in my space do, which is don't reserve an hour, two hours, four hours, maybe a full day, like on a Friday. And that will be sort of their innovation day, or we call it internal r&d. There's other share, you can term it, would you recommend, that's a great way to start just set aside an hour a week to brainstorm obviously, ideally, this is something that's part of what you naturally do all the time. But until you get to that is that a way you recommend

Carla Johnson:

if people are really unfamiliar with innovation, or ideas or idea generation, or even if they tried brainstorming before, because I know a lot of people have had some less than ideal experiences with brainstorming sessions, I just suggest they spend 15 minutes a couple times a week and just truly, simply sit and watch the world around them. And the reason that this is so important is because you need to practice teaching your mind to slow down and observe and really, it's reteaching your mind to do this. Because when you stop and start to observe again, your mind will naturally start to go through this process. But even if you say, Okay, I'm going to spend four hours Friday morning, and all I'm going to do is brainstorm. You haven't fed your mind, enough different fuel for it to have what it needs to be productive in those brainstorming time. So you'll feel like you put out a tremendous amount of effort and you know, time but I'm not sure that you're going to see those results. And really, it's just the consistency of these very small steps that really do add up to huge change. So people say, you know, I'm going to dedicate an hour every morning or, you know, half a day a week or something like that. That's that's hard to maintain, and sustain if this is new to you. So I really do save 15 minutes. You know, if you go eat your lunch at a park, just take a notebook and write down every single thing you observe, you know, things such as the benches heart, is it cement? Or is it would you know, do you hear birds would be here squirrels? Do you hear nature? Do you hear kids playing or adults fighting? Or, you know, do you smell the hot dog vendor, you know, write down all of these things that you observe. And that starts to remind your brain to pay attention. And then when you do that, it really will start to connect the dots for you. And you'll have these you know, the eureka moments that you're like, I have no idea where this idea came from. But it's great. And it's because you've reawaken that part of your brain.

Neal Schaffer:

It's almost like you first have to build neurological muscle man, absolutely. You can't just go out of shape. And I'm just gonna go for two hours.

Carla Johnson:

You know, start out with a walk around the block before you try and bench 350 or something like that, you know, it is, it actually is the exact same thing with your mind, you have to remind your mind about what it does and knows Naturally How To Do.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. Carla, I think we've all been inspired here. Where can people find out more about you and more importantly, your

Carla Johnson:

new well, you can go to my website, Carla Johnson, Carla with a C johnson.co. There's no M. And you'll see there. There's an author page with some information about my book and some different workshops. And speaking I do around around that same topic, and they can sign up for my subscriber newsletter. And that comes out weekly. And I'm on social media as Carla johnson.co on Instagram, and just Carla Johnson on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. So we'll put all that in the show notes. Carter, thank you so much for being here and for teaching us how to innovate because it really does apply. And obviously it applies to business, but it can also apply to our personal lives equally. So thank you for all the advice. You know, I hope that you all check out Carla. And hopefully you'll if you work for a large organization, invite her to speak because she is well known travels the world doing workshops and speaking for big organizations on this topic of innovation is critical to your company. Definitely reach out there.

Carla Johnson:

Thanks so much for having me, Neil. I appreciate it.

Neal Schaffer:

Alright, I hope you enjoy the interview. And now perhaps you look at innovation a little bit differently. You look at inspiration a little bit differently and you learn to take time to appreciate the little things around you. That might lead to big results in whatever you do in marketing or for your business. As always, I appreciate all the reviews that so many of you have given my book THE AGE OF HIM fluence on Amazon and this podcast I want to give a shout out to colourise Gomez, who said awesome podcast Neal host of the maximize your social influence podcast highlights all aspects of marketing, social media sales and more. In this can't miss podcast, the hosts and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens. Thank you so much Cloris. I really hope that if you had a few seconds to spare, you can go into Apple podcasts Stitcher, wherever you listen to this podcast, leave a review, send me a screenshot, I would be forever grateful. And I also just want to say that just today I actually spoke on two different events. One about LinkedIn personal branding, and another one about influencer marketing for the e Commerce Industry. And if you're not on my email list, I have no way of letting you know about all these great free events that I regularly do on any given week. So make sure you go over to Neal Schaffer calm that's Neil is the real Neal any Al and there's a few of us Shaffers out there and sales and marketing that don't get us confused. It's s ch FF er, go out to Neal schaffer.com. You'll see on the very bottom, there is a way that you can opt in to my list or on the sidebar, or usually, somewhere in the content itself shouldn't be hard to find or fill out the contact form. And I'll make sure I am able to inform you of those free educational events going forward. Alright, everybody, well, we are halfway through q3. I have a very quarterly view of my business and I hope you do have yours as well. So let's keep reaching for those q3 goals. And let's do it. All right. So hey, as I like to say, wherever you're on the world, make it a great virtual social day. Sayonara, everybody