S. 3 Ep. 48 – Turning Creativity Into Money: How To Foster Sales Through Innovation

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 3 Ep 48 - Turning Creativity Into Money How To Foster Sales Through Innovation with SpeakerFlow and Bill Stainton

Everyone wants to be known for doing something great, for making their mark, and, as a thought leader, that mark can also be what takes you from “getting by” to “making a decent living” in the industry.

So how do you find your big idea? How do you build a mindset that keeps you innovating and continually generating ideas for your audience?

Here to talk about that with us is keynote speaker, author, and innovation expert Bill Stainton.

Bill is a 29-time Emmy Award winner who produced Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show “Almost Live!” the longest-running, highest-rated, and most award-winning regional comedy TV show in the United States.

Additionally, as a speaker and advisor on the topics of innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking, Bill has coached hundreds of organizations – like Microsoft, Boeing, and Nike – to tap into their creativity and, in doing so, generate their next breakthrough idea.

Let’s dive into the details and find out how all of us can do the same!

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✅ Learn more about Bill and his speaking and coaching programs: https://billstainton.com/

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🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

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Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing onstage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip-by? This is called The Flow State. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.

Taylorr: We did it. We are Live. Bill, you’re a glutton for punishment, man. Welcome to Technically Speaking.

Bill: Well, I’ve heard of you guys before. You seem to know what you’re doing, but maybe they’ve all been a fluke up until now. We’ll find out, won’t we?

Taylorr: Seem is the key word here. Yeah, it’s all about perception over here.

Austin: Absolutely, it is for sure a series of flukes.

Taylorr: Yes.

Bill: That’s right. That’s right. This thing has to crash sometime. Might as well be this, might as well be me.

Austin: I agree.

Taylorr: It’s an honor, really. Yeah. If there’s any point in time to do it.

Austin: It is right? I know, of all the people to be with for it. Let’s do it.

Taylorr: Yeah, right. Yeah. Watching it burn. Let’s go.

Bill: Well, I’ve closed down more than one bar in my lifetime, might as well close down this one too.

Taylorr: Yeah. Do another notch on the board. Yeah, for sure. Well, we’ve been really looking forward to this. It’s going to be an awesome episode. I think your take on innovation and creativity is just really interesting. So, we’re definitely going to be getting into those weeds, but I have to just call something out that I have many questions about, I’m sure other people who have been in your pool has, 29 Emmy awards.

Bill: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s that. I have a lot.

Taylorr: That’s how you start your bio. One, holy crap. Two, how? I have so many questions.

Bill: Yeah. When I first started using bios, so I first got into the speaking business where you have to self-promote.

Taylorr: Yeah, right.

Bill: Friends of mine don’t believe this, but it’s uncomfortable for me and I didn’t want to talk about them at all. But I was talking with a friend of mine who was another speaker. He said, are you an idiot? You have to lead with that. For 15 years, I produced the longest-running, highest rated and most award-winning regional comedy TV show in the United States. It was called Almost Live. We did really well for 15 years, number one in our time slot for the last 10 years. Primarily a Seattle-based show, that’s where I am now. But we were also syndicated on Comedy Central for two and a half years and some other syndication deals. So, yeah, we had quite a following. And some of your fans may know the name Joel McHale. He used to be my intern. Bill Nye used to be my lowest paid writer before he became Bill Nye the Science Guy, which happened on our show because a guest canceled at the last minute. And we thought.

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: Whoa.

Bill: It was a cool run. It was a really cool run. And we won a bunch of Emmys. My team, altogether, overall, my team won over a hundred Emmys and yeah, I was lucky to win 29 myself. For those people watching who have the experience of the video also, there are a few of them back, back there.

Taylorr: Yeah, look at that.

Austin: It’s so epic.

Bill: And the rest are downstairs and 10 of them broke in an earthquake. Because they’re a really poorly designed statue.

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: I know.

Bill: An Oscar will last through anything.

Taylorr: Sure.

Bill: The Emmy, if you look, she has, the ankles are weak, the wings are weak, and the globe is weak. So, you just topple one of those over and they shatter. So, in my garage, I literally have a bag of broken Emmys in my garage. If I ever write my memoirs, that has to be the title. Don’t you think?

Austin: The bag of broken Emmys.

Taylorr: There’s a whole through line there, I’m sure.

Austin: That’s hilarious. Wow. It’s such a large number. And Emmy, it just has this grandiosity, if that’s a word about it. It’s just a really cool way to lead with a bio. I see why that friend of yours gave you that advice.

Bill: Yeah. I was up for a 30th because we did an anniversary show and didn’t win and it still ticks me off because we should have, but twenty-nine’s a better number, I think. It’s a more memorable number. It’s like Heinz 57. They didn’t say Heinz 60, even though actually that was the actual number, but the guy said Heinz, oof. No, 57 is a more, it’s a more unique number. It’s like, oh, that’s interesting.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: Yeah, well, 30 people might think, ah, he rounded up. 29, no one’s making that assumption.

Bill: Yeah. You know what? It’s so weird, because I’ve been in the speaking business for about 20 years, so I’ve been using that 29 Emmys for. Nobody’s ever questioned, except one time the guy who was going to be introducing me from the stage was the CEO. It was a corporate gig. The CEO was going to be introducing me and he got ahold of me beforehand and said, I’m not comfortable saying this without proof, send me the list. It’s like, what?

Taylorr: Wow.

Bill: So, I had to go look at each individual Emmy. Okay, what did I win this one for? What’s this for? I made the list, so.

Austin: Wow.

Bill: Yeah. Except now people are just like, Emmy awards. I was like, well, I should put a PhD up there.

Taylorr: Yeah, right. Yeah. No one guesses it.

Bill: As long as nobody’s going to be questioning any of this stuff.

Taylorr: Yeah. Can I buy a couple of those off you, Bill? Can I just buy five and say five-time Emmy award winner?

Bill: Sure, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know how it works.

Taylorr: Five-time Emmy award buyer, Taylorr Payne.

Bill: Five-time Emmy award buyer.

Austin: Just in superscript underneath it. Nobody needs to notice that little detail. That’s right. Yeah. So, Taylorr and I were talking about the show and Taylorr got on an interesting diatribe about how of course, innovation and creativity plays a huge role in entertainment. And he even brought up a few things that I was even questioning. Like the fact that Hollywood is kind of on the leading edge of technology, typically; and are doing things that, I mean obviously require huge budgets, but they’re constantly doing things. So, both of us have an intuition about how the creativity, innovation angle that your business has at this point sort of evolved from that history. But can you help us kind of tie the dots together a little closer?

Taylorr: Connect the dots.

Bill: Yeah. Oh, I’m glad you said tie the dots together, because that’s kind of my thing. I see what you did there, Austin. Because the whole thing is connecting dots because that’s what innovation is. Now, creativity, which we’ll get to, creativity is a part of innovation. They’re not the same. Innovation starts with creativity and then you have to do evaluation and implementation to bring something. I say that innovation is turning creativity into money. So, basically taking the creative ideas and turning them into something of value. 

Now, that can be money, that can be time savings, whatever. But the reasons people don’t do it is because they think it’s this magic gift that only the gifted few had. If your name is Steve Jobs, great. You have the creativity gene; you have the innovation gene. Good for you. The rest of us don’t have it. And that’s ridiculous because it does come down to connecting dots. It’s not a magic lightning bolt. It’s about connecting dots. And that’s just seeing things a little differently. And that’s a skill that can be learned and practiced and that sort of thing. To bring it back to what you were asking. 

Yeah, that’s something I definitely learned when I was doing the TV show; again, for 15 years. Our job was to be creative every week. Because it’s a sketch comedy show. It’s like doing Saturday Night Live. That’s basically what we were doing here in Seattle was SNL every week. Just like with SNL, you’re inventing a new show every week. And if creativity and innovation is all about a magic lightning bolt that only strikes the gifted few, if your job is to be creative, innovative every week on demand, whether you feel like it or not, and it’s all about some magic lightning bolt, man, you’re going to have a tough time of it.

But it turns out, no, there are techniques. There are tricks, there are gimmicks. It’s a skill. It’s not a magic, it’s not like, oh, look how tall you are. You could play basketball or you’re Mozart. That’s what people think it is. It’s not, it’s a skill, we all have it. We all have it. It’s just learning to look at things a little bit differently. That’s what we had to do. And it gets easier with practice. I’ll give you an example. So, I also wrote monologue jokes for the Tonight Show, when Jay Leno was hosting the Tonight Show. I was a writer for that. And what I would do, I would literally, occasionally I’d go to LA and be in-person with them, but most of the time I would fax the jokes in. Now for you younger listeners, faxing was a, anyhow.

Taylorr: Carrier pigeons, if I understand.

Bill: Yeah. I’d get into work a little early. I’d read the newspapers real actual paper newspapers. This is a long time ago. I would fax Jay 20 jokes every morning. And for the first week or so, even though I knew how to write jokes, it was like, that would take me about an hour, hour and a half to come up with the 20 jokes. After a month or two. I could write the jokes as fast as I could read the paper. I could write 20 jokes, 20 monologue jokes in a half an hour.

Taylorr: Wow.

Bill: And get those facts in. It’s any other skill. We can all do it. It’s easier than people think.

Austin: Which is so funny because people so often label themselves as somebody that’s not a creative. You hear that all of the time. I’m not a creative person, or I am a creative person, obviously is the ancillary to that. But it implies that it’s this inherent quality that some people have, and some people don’t. And what you’re saying is basically an exact contradiction to that assumption that I think that we have.

Bill: Yeah.

Austin: Which should be empowering.

Bill: My next speaking engagement coming up next week is for a huge association of accounting businesses. So, these are accounting firms and they’re all part of this association. So, basically, it’s going to be a thousand or so accountants in the audience. And it’s always fun when you ask them about when you think of creative types, what do you think of singers, dancers, musicians, poets, writers, whatever. And when you think of non-creative types, what do you think of? The first answer is always accountants. I’m sure I’ll get it next week too. Even when I’m speaking to groups of accountants, they’re always like, it’s us. We’re just not creative. Yeah. Yeah, you are. Or you can be.

Austin: Right.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Wow.

Bill: I think you really nailed it there because what holds people back from being creative and being innovative is the feeling that it’s a closed club, it’s a private club, and they’re not a member. And it’s not a private club, it’s an open playground is what it is. If you have that mindset that you’re not creative, well, you’re going to go through life like that. There was a study done some years ago about this to see what it is that separates the creative people from the non-creative people. And it turns out there are a number of factors, but chief among them was that the creative people believed that they were creative. That was the biggest difference. But can you see how that difference makes all of the difference? 

If you go through life believing that you’re creative, just like if you go through life believing that you’re good looking or talented or popular or whatever, you’ll create that universe for yourself. We all do it already. We basically create our own universe based on what we choose. and I’m using that term intentionally, what we choose to believe about ourselves. I’m too young, I’m too old, I’m too rich, I’m too poor, I’m too, whatever. Those are all choices that we make. I’m not creative, therefore that’s not open to me. Not with that attitude. It’s not.

Taylorr: Sounds like the starting point really. You have to start with thing. I can be creative. It’s like some affirmations to get the ball rolling, seems like the foundation for everything we’re about to dive into here. So, I’m glad you’re touching on that. Because it definitely feels like when people are talking about creativity and innovation that it’s a closed club and some people are a part of it and some people aren’t. So, to Austin’s point, that should feel empowering. Now, I have a question though. How in the world does the show and your work on TV and producing, segue into this, how did you come and land to the point where you’re like, this is something people need to hear about. Was it always about creativity and innovation? Can you build a bridge for me between these two chapters of your life?

Bill: Yeah, and the bridge actually exemplifies it a little bit. What happened was, so we were on the air for 15 years. And year 15 we’re still doing great. The show’s number one in its time slot, it’s doing well. We have advertisers; it’s making money for the station. I figured 15 years, when we started doing the show, we thought maybe three years, maybe five years. Come on a local comedy show.

Taylorr: 15 is a marathon.

Bill: Yeah. 15 years. Toward the end of year 15, we’re doing phenomenally, and I got cocky. So, I bought a new house and a new car and a month later they canceled the show. So, yeah, talk about the mother of invention. I had to do something and for a while I was looking at it through a really narrow lens. I had blinders. I talk about wearing blinders a lot, because a lot of us go through life wearing these blinders that limit our possibilities. And with my blinders, I thought, okay, I have to do something. And through the limited lens of my blinders, I thought, I’m a comedy writer and I’m a TV producer and that’s it. I thought, well, TV producing, there’s not really much I want to do. I don’t really feel like moving to New York or LA. 

And so, there’s really nothing out there. And as a comedy writer, when I was selling jokes to Jay Leno, he was paying 50 bucks a joke. Well, that’s not going to pay the mortgage. Especially on the new house I just bought. So, that’s not going to work. But again, I was limiting my thinking of what I could do. And eventually I started thinking, wait a minute, I actually do have some other skills here. First of all, I know how to lead a team. I’ve led this team and not just any team, but a highly creative team, and that’s a whole different subsection of leadership.

Leading a creative team, that’s a particular skillset. And if anybody knows that, I do, I led an incredibly creative team for 15 years to pretty extraordinary results. So, I know something about that. I know something about producing under pressure. Lorne Michael said it once. He said, we don’t go on the air because we’re ready; we go on the air because it’s 11:30. That’s exactly what we did too. You have that kind of pressure plus the pressure of knowing there are a million or so people watching or that sort of thing. And I also learned about, as I said earlier, about being creative, being innovative on-demand, whether you feel like it or not. 

We all have times in our life and then our jobs are like, ah, I just don’t feel like going into the office, whether that’s an actual office or a virtual office or the proverbial office. We just don’t feel like it, but you have to do what you have to do. So, okay, well, I know how to do that. And that, when all of a sudden, I started seeing my skillset in a much broader level, all of a sudden, the possibilities opened up. It was like, okay, does this have applications elsewhere? Well, yeah, it does. You don’t have to be producing a comedy TV show to want to learn how to lead a creative team. By the way, I assert that every leader is leading a creative team, whether he or she knows it or not. And if they don’t believe they’re leading a creative team, then they are missing out on the creativity of their team.

So every leader is leading a creative team. Whether they choose to take advantage of that or not, that’s up to them. I can help. Once you start broadening your definition of who you are and what you do and what your skill sets, you open up new possibilities. That’s what led to the speaking business. Plus, the fact that I was the producer for the show, but I was also a cast member. So, I was on TV for 15 years, and when you’re on tv you get asked to speak a lot anyway. Civic groups, church groups, social groups, schools, things like that. And I did the audience warm-up every week. So, I was used to being in front of people. I was used to telling stories and things like that. That came kind of naturally; it was kind of a natural fit. 

I’ve kind of condensed the timeline, but there was a lot of that where I had to get beyond my own set of blinders. And I’m a guy who’s like, yeah, I’m a creativity innovation, let’s take the blinders off guy. But it just goes to show we can all be wearing blinders at any given point. We need to think, are there blinders that are holding me back from something? And if so, what might they be? And are they real? Well, my only skillset is I can write jokes and I can produce a comedy TV show. That’s not real, but as long as I choose to believe that my results are going to suffer.

Austin: Yeah. Well, this is where somebody like you can be really helpful too, because I think sometimes people just don’t even know that they have the blinders on to begin with. They need to be told that, or they need something that triggers that self-awareness for a moment. Our good friend of the show, D. T, I’m going to use the phrase that we’ve used many times in the past, but you can’t read the label of the bottle that you’re in. And so, sometimes you have to be able to get outside of yourself to really see where the innovation is.

Bill: Yeah. I told you earlier about Bill Nye, that we literally invented Bill Nye the Science guy on the show, it’s a story I tell on stage also. What happened was a guest; Johnny Depp was going to be our guest. He was doing 21 Jump Street at the time. And he had to cancel last minute ‘because they were doing reshoots. We were all trying to come up with another guest. It has to be somebody local, but nobody was available, whatever. Because it’s the day of the show, it’s crunch time. And that’s when Bill Nye, again, who keep in mind was the lowest paid writer, he said, I might be able to do something with liquid nitrogen. And we’re all thinking, shut up, Bill, because he’s brilliant, but he’s kind of crazy too. But it’s kind of like, so I was wearing two sets of blinders. The first set of blinders is, Bill, you don’t seem to understand the situation. We’re trying to find a guest to interview.

Taylorr: Just the feet, on video.

Bill: Yeah. Yeah. So, we’re trying to find a guest. That’s blinders. And Bill’s not a guest. And the second set of blinders is, Bill, you’re the lowest paid writer. The grownups are trying to solve it, stay at the kids’ table. The grownups are trying to solve a problem. Because foolishly in my blinders, and I never thought I was this person, which is another kind of wake-up call for all of us. I never thought I was the person who said, well, you’re just the junior member, you can’t have good ideas.

Taylorr: Yeah. The good ideas can come from anyone. Good ideas don’t have to come from senior management, and they don’t have to come from the loudest person in the room, but the loudest person in the room tends to win because they’re the loudest person in the room. But what about the quiet voices? The introverts, the new person, the intern, the lowest paid writer, you know? So, Bill Nye, we put him on the air, I was like, fine, let’s get him a lab coat and some safety glasses and get him some liquid nitrogen. And it was phenomenal. And a cultural icon was born, which none of us saw coming. None of us saw. 

But here’s another thing. See, Bill Nye asked a different question. I talked about broadening the situation by expanding your definition of what you can do. Bill did the same thing. He was asking a different question, which is one of the real keys to creativity and innovation. You ask a different question; it changes the context. We were all asking, who can we get as a guest to interview? Bill Nye was asking; how can we fill the time?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Bill: And do you see how that question changes everything when you ask a different, interesting question. There’s a company just not that far from me in Seattle called Pike Place Fish. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Pike Place Fish. They’re the guys who throw the fish. And it was a huge training video years ago. And books have been written about them and everything. They’re down at Pike Place Market. They’re one of three fish stands in the Pike Place Market. And one of, I don’t know, 20, 25 fish places here in Seattle. We’re a seaport town and who knows how many thousands across the country. Well, one day they were sitting around, we want to build our business. We’re just one of the three fish markets. How can we become maybe even the best, the most profitable fish market in the Pike Place Market? 

Well, there are only three of them. So, that’s okay. Well, it’s anything, you can lower the price of your fish, you can do whatever. So, they were asking that question. The question is a frame through which we view the situation? And if the question is how can we become the most successful of these three fish markets? Those are the answers you’re going to get. But then one of the guys, and he was a fairly new person on the staff, posed a really interesting question; he said, and he had no business asking this question. But the question was, what if we wanted to be world famous? This is a stand that sells salmon and halibut, it’s a fish stand like countless others. 

What if we want it to be world famous? What if everybody listening to this and watching this thought about your own job? And maybe that’s not what you want to do. Maybe you don’t want to be world famous, but what if you spend a day or even a few hours with a pad of paper and a pen and ask that question. In the scope of my work, what if I wanted my business to be world famous? What would I do? What would have to change? And again, maybe that’s not what you aspire to, but it’s an interesting question. And if you have a team; team, one of these days, I’m going to go through puberty, I’m looking forward to it. I hear it’s great.

Taylorr: So hard on yourself, Bill.

Bill: If you have a team that can be a really juicy conversation. And even though you may not aspire to world fame, you’ll come up with different answers because you’re asking a different question. And any one of those answers could be, well, I don’t really want to be world famous for whatever reason. But this thing, this idea, which we never would’ve come up with had we not asked that outrageous question; this could lead to something. This might take us to the next level, whatever that level is. But, boy, when you ask an interesting question, you start getting interesting answers.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: Well, I love this train of thought. It actually kind of segues into a question I’ve been pondering on the topic. And it seems like for some, I’ll just speak for myself here. When I hear innovation, I almost equate it to a moment in time. Now I need to innovate our product better. Now I need to think about this new process. It’s not a consistent practice. And so, the root.

Bill: Right, right, right. It’s an event.

Taylorr: It’s an event, right? So, the root of my question is, I want to learn how you’ve taken this expertise and everything you’ve learned and applied it to your business specifically since our listeners are thought leadership businesses. But the theme of that, the through line is, is it event-based? Is it something that we adopt as a mindset more than anything else, so it’s always front and center to remove the blinders? When is it worth being innovative versus not? As we were just talking before the show, right? We’re just doing the work right now; we’re just being consistent with it. Maybe there’s not much to innovate. Anyway, hopefully that rant makes some amount of sense, because I’m trying to find out, is it an event, is it a theme? And how does it apply to your business? Which is probably three questions, so good luck.

Bill: Yeah, but that is a fabulous suite of questions, it has multiple answers. First of all, you’re right. Most organizations that I work with, whether it’s through keynoting or through consulting and advisory work, they treat innovation like an event. Now, innovation can be an event, but most of them treat it like an event in that they only innovate usually as a response to a crisis. Occasionally as a response to an opportunity, but usually in response to a crisis, a pandemic, a supplier goes out of business, a competitor does something. And here’s the problem with that, the challenge with that. 

I don’t know if you guys ever use Photoshop, for example. I use it maybe two or three times a year. And each time it’s like, how do I open up Photoshop? How do I do this? How do I do that? Whereas you talk to a graphic designer who uses it every day and they’re not even thinking about it. It’s like, so Taylorr, you and I were talking about you playing piano among other instruments, I play piano also. And when you’re learning a new piece, first of all, the first thing you’re doing is you’re just playing the notes trying to figure out, okay, what note comes next and the fingering and that sort of thing. And you’re not really playing music yet, you’re just playing the notes because you don’t really have it in your muscle memory.

Taylorr: The musicality. Yeah.

Bill: Right. Once you have the notes down, so you don’t have to think about it, now you can start playing music. Does that make sense?

Taylorr: Oh, yeah.

Bill: It’s the same thing with innovation. If you have to think, okay, now how do we innovate? Because we only do this once a year, so we don’t really know how to do this. If you only land an airplane once a year, those landings are going to be a little bumpy, but if you’re a professional pilot who does it multiple times a day, okay, it’s going to get better and better and better. It’s the same thing with innovation. If you treat it just as an event, you’re not going to be that good at it because you’re not doing it all of the time and your team certainly isn’t doing it all of the time. And you may not know how. If it becomes more of a mindset. Here’s how I describe it, there are kind of four levels to innovation. 

The first level is when you’re doing the same thing as everybody else; you’re not innovating at all. It’s like we make widgets. Second level is, okay, now you’re doing the same thing as everybody else, but you’re doing a little better, you’re making improvements. Like the new and improved widgets. So, it’s like you go from, we make widgets to we make better widgets. Okay, that’s good. But now you’re going to get into this escalating arms war of, okay, but then now my competitor, there’s is slightly bigger, so we have to make it a little bigger. And you get into this kind of arms war of continual incremental improvement, which counts. 

But once you move beyond that of making something better, then you can move into like, oh, now we do something different. Sally Hogs had, who I’m sure you know, one of her great quotations is it’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different. And different is, we make widgets, we make better widgets and now we are widget makers who innovate. That’s when you get to the different level, okay, you’re doing something different, and people are starting to take notice. But then if you want to get to truly game-changer level, it’s not, we are widget makers who innovate. It has to be, we are innovators who make widgets. The innovators who are doing it as an event. They’re kind of in that third group. We are widget makers who innovate (when we need to).

Taylorr: Right.

Bill: As opposed to us are innovators who make widgets. We are innovators who run a speaking business. Well, it kind of goes to what somebody once told me about speaking, he said, don’t think of yourself as a speaker. Think of yourself as the CEO of a speaking business. Ooh, that changes things. It’s like asking a different question. Ooh, that changes my outlook. So, if you think I am an innovator who speaks, I’m an innovator who writes books, I’m an innovator who practices thought leadership, whatever. It’s like, okay, innovator comes first and put that on a post it someplace. 

So, it’s kind of front and center. I’m an innovator first. It’s a bit of a sales job to yourself. But you do that and then set up processes that kind of force you to innovate. So, let’s say you’re a solopreneur or a small entrepreneur, you have a team of anywhere from two to a dozen people. Well, what if once a month you thought, okay, on the third Thursday of every month, we’re going to ask an interesting outlandish question. What if we wanted to be world famous? Anything but something that you wouldn’t normally ask and say, okay, and we’re going to think about this. Or maybe we do it every week, or every other week or something that, but just something that you build into your structure. 

So, you’re continually innovating, you’re not waiting for a crisis, you’re not waiting to innovate, you’re already innovating; so, when that crisis comes around, you’ve already got the chops. You’ve been practicing the piano every day, so all of a sudden when there’s an audience, okay, yeah, I can do this. As opposed to, oh, crap, where’s middle C? Oh, there it is. Okay, I think. When you have it in your DNA, and again, that comes from a mindset of we can do this. It’s an open playground. Once you have it set, we’re like, okay, no, we’re innovating, maybe not every day. Because look, you can’t be on that spike every single day. Some days are just, you’re doing the work, you’re doing the job, but you’re not going to be practicing piano 24/7. 

But if you want to be good you want to at least do it regularly. Whatever regularly means for you. But not just wait until like, oh, I have a gig coming up. I have to relearn the piano. And that’s how most organizations think about innovation. Oh, we have a crisis, we better relearn innovation. Well, you’re going to lose out to the competitor who’s been practicing innovation continually and they have it in their bones. They have it in their DNA. That’s kind of my mission to let any organization or person or leader know that this can be part of your DNA, it’s not that hard. Anybody can do it. It’s learnable and it’s worthwhile. And it’s fun. It can be fun asking those questions. It’s like you get to play, but you’re playing in the grownup world, when you ask a question like, how could we be world famous? That’s like getting a new set of Legos. You get to play and experiment. To me, that’s cool. Maybe I’m just a geek, but to me that’s cool.

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