How to Spark Innovative Ideas with RE:Think Innovation author, Carla Johnson

In today’s episode we have an amazing guest, Carla Johnson, who gets our juices flowing when it comes to innovative ways to leverage the moments of today in order to get to your goals.  She just released her latest book, RE: THINK innovation.  Carla is a storyteller, speaker, and a prolific author- seriously, 10x author.


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Dia and Carla discuss the relation between ideas that you are coming up with (however frequently for you), and seeing if those ideas can be applied successfully to something in your life.  Whether it's a work issue, a relationship, an opportunity...you name it.  

Think ideas are cheap?  Think again. Carla agrees that execution matters but execution is hard when ideas are crap.  So, she’ll share with you a system for generating new, reliable ideas that work.  

Carla not only discusses a sequence of events in order to get you thinking more innovatively, but she and Dia explain how this capability will help advance your career in material ways.  Looking to move from Manager to Director? You’re gonna want to listen.  Leading a team who needs to create better ideas?  Listen today.

In this episode, she’ll coach Dia on how to pitch her innovative ideas in a way that sticks!



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Have a question for Dia?  Call the show at 341-333-2997 and leave your question and we might workshop it on the show! 


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Email us at hello@diabondi.com


Dia Bondi  00:03


It's great to talk about big brands, but we're also talking about people's individual lives, their individual actions that they take in their every day. Small businesses, you know, startups and careers when they realize there's something that deserves and needs innovation.


Carla Johnson 00:19

Absolutely. And that's my belief about innovation is that everybody is an innovator.


Dia Bondi  00:48

Hey, everyone, welcome to the Dr. Bondi show a big, huge, ginormous, gigantic, enormous, ginormous hugeness podcast for women and folks with goals. I'm Dia Bondi, and I'm on a mission to help you ask for more and get it resource your dreams and have a blast doing it because we all need to have a blast once in a while. And I'm joined today by my fave, Arthur Leon Adams, the third aka baby Arthur. Hi, baby. Hey, Dia. How's it going? Pretty good. Yeah, super foggy out, even though it's like, end of July. And here comes the train. Maybe we just leave this one in. Yeah, this happens. This happens. I don't know if it can folks pick that up. Oh, yeah. We can hear it. It is it is. Listen to that. It comes this office is. There it is? Oh, yes. Enjoy that everyone.


Arthur  01:36

Yeah. So what normally happens is the train comes and we stop recording. We wait till it's done. We have a train break. Yeah. And then we jump back in. But I knew that there would come a day where we would leave one in the episode and talk about it. There it is. There it is. Meta commentary for all y'all.


Dia Bondi  01:53

Interestingly. So we have a guest today, who is Carla Johnson and I and I know her because we're both have taught in our faculty at Harbor space University and international university of entrepreneurship, technology and design. And it's in Spain. But there's it's an international group of folks and I got to teach, I was going to go to Spain this last year and teach face to face there. She She got to do that in Barcelona. But I wasn't able to go because of COVID. So I taught the class remotely. So where I record this podcast is exactly where I was teaching this class. It was three weeks every day for three hours with a group of about 28 international students. And it was around communications. And when the trip to the train came by multiple times of the course of the class, and it was so interesting, one guy in the class, when I let everyone just kind of hear it at the beginning of the three weeks, I was like this is gonna happen everybody for three weeks. And one guy in the class said, Wow, he was a German guys. And then he was like, Wow, that sounds so American. It was like there's just like a distinct sound of the trains here that are just for me very nostalgic, actually. But for the folks who were, we had folks dialing in from all over Europe and also in, in Bangkok. They were all just like that is such a distinctly American train sound.


Arthur  03:10

Interesting. Yeah. It's nostalgic for me too, because I grew up very rural. And across the road from my house was a farm field that was ultimately used for grazing cattle or growing corn to feed the cattle. And then about, I don't know, a five minute walk through the field was train tracks, and it was one of the main train routes in the state of Vermont. And so we used to go over there all the time. You know, put pennies on the tracks walk along the tracks, watch the passenger and cargo trains go by so


Dia Bondi  03:44

you put pennies on the track to flatten them. Yeah. Oh, yeah, totally. So I don't mind the train here. Although we do have to pause talking sometimes let it go by and today, this is our gift to you. So let's talk about today's guest. So today we have Carla Johnson, who is a 10 time author and has just released her book, I have it here in my hand, rethink innovation, how the world's most prolific innovators come up with great ideas that deliver extraordinary outcomes. And you know, when I had when I said, Hey, I'd love to have her on the show. I always have to ask myself, you know, for what, for our listeners, why does this guest matter. And in this case, you're going to get to hear from her but just want to set it up a little bit before she actually even shows up on the recording. That this she says here that this book is she identifies who this book is for. And you know, there are a handful of folks that she identifies here but there are two that really stand out for me when I think about you know, the the Deobandi show and all of the work I do around helping ask women help women ask for more and get it. I am really focused on those of you who are who woke up today and realized that you that you have a goal that you want to Go out on your own, that you wake up, you woke up this morning and said, That's it, I want to be director in two years. When you wake up to your own dreams and goals and you You are now seeking ways in which you can leverage today's moment to get you to that goal. And there are two, there are two sort of profiles of folks in this, in this book rethink innovation, that that Carla Johnson says that she that she, you know, believes that this book is for you. And I want to I want to name them here, she says, this book is for you, if I'm reading directly from the text, if you're a team lead, who believes your crew is capable of much more, but can't figure out how to draw it out of them. In this, this is for you, if you are someone who wants to build a brand and a track record as a successful innovator, but doesn't know what to do doesn't think they have time, or tries though, or tries through rigid processes rather than by bringing out the best in people. So if you are that person who is a leader of a team, either matrix or they're your direct reports, and you know that part of you securing that direct that director role, or making VP at some point or getting to work on the highest profile, most important projects that really light you up, if part of getting to do that means helping the team that you're managing now be really successful and, and bring out the best in that team and to demonstrate your own leadership and your own sort of impact on a team and eventually on the business. The conversation today is going to be for you. The second profile that she says that this book is designed for is this one that I think really speaks to our audience, which is it this book and this conversation we're about to have with her is for you. If you've ever heard that little voice inside you that says you have a great idea, the one that pops into your head and screams for your attention before reason convinces you. It's ridiculous. And you look stupid if you say it out loud. And day after day, another little piece of you dies because you because you've squelch that urge to do extraordinary things for so long that you no longer believe that you can. So for those of you who have that little whisper inside you a great idea business you want to start you know, something you want to make in the world, a nonprofit you want to you want to pursue etc a job you really want an idea that is that is so deep in there but is teeny tiny but very bright light and you want to bring it forward and give it you know, stand up for it. This may be this conversation is for you as well.


Arthur  07:40

So if you are a big fan of the podcast, you know, there's a lot of ways that you can help us out you can rate subscribe, and review on your favorite podcast app. And you can also share the podcast with somebody that you think might get something out of it. You can also give us a call at 333412997 if you have a question or comment about the show.


Dia Bondi  08:05

We love to hear from you. We love it. Love it, love it, love it. Okay, so today we have Carla Johnson and let me just give you a sense of who this woman is. She's a storyteller speaker and, and a prolific author seriously, she has literally written 10 books. She's lived worked and keynoted on five continents, and partnered with top brands, ones that you're very familiar with right now and conferences to train 1000s of people on how to rethink the work that they do and the impact they can have her expertise as equip leaders at all levels to embrace change something some of us love, and some of us really do not like. And they welcome us to help them welcome new ideas and also transform their businesses. Her work her work with fortune 500 brands serves as the foundation of many of her 10 books, her 10th, which is the one we're talking about today, rethink innovation busts the myth that innovation is something that requires a specific degree, or a special training. And our goal is to teach 1 million people how to become innovative thinkers by 2025. So, so happy to have Carla with us today. Yeah, let's do it. It's so great to have you here. Carla. Hello. Thanks, Dee. It's great to be here, too. I appreciate you having me. It just so happened to you before you jumped on the call in our introduction. So I have an office right here in Berkeley, right next to a train track was both a freight train and a people train. And it gave me reason to remember that all my students at Harbor space where you and I both taught were who were on an audio call, got to experience the you know, the American ness of our American train sound. So it gave me It gave me a reason to remember that like, yeah, that was our early connection that that you and I both have taught at Harvard space.


Carla Johnson 09:50

That's right. And I and I think we met through dreamers and doers.


Dia Bondi  09:53

We did. We did. It was interesting. I when I was first looking to teach, teach there, I jumped into the network. Say let me do taught here and blank in like 30 seconds I got connected to you. Yeah, so we got to talk about that. So I,


Carla Johnson  10:05

me and my husband and our kids and I, we moved to Spain for a year. And that was that was the thing that got us started was teaching at Harper space. And then I met my dear friend, Jenny Cardone, who introduced me to dreamers and doers. And it's just been an amazing network. Yep.


Dia Bondi  10:20

That's great. So I'm so happy to and I have my my book here, folks who are listening can't see we're actually on a on a video call. But I have my rethink innovation book here. I read it over the weekend at my daughter's softball tournament. Just so you know, as innings changed, I jumped in and managed to get get in. I know, I was multitasking pro skills, mom superpower. And so I was able to get through it. And I've got a couple of questions for Carla, I would expect you to do. So I'm gonna I'm gonna start with just a super, super simple and direct one, which is like how do you Karla? Define innovation,


Carla Johnson  10:59

I define innovation as the ability to consistently come up with new great and reliable ideas. And the it's a very simple statement. But there's a lot of nuance and punch in each word. So when I when I look at ideas, a new idea is something that is has never been done, at least in your industry before. And I think many times when people have that pressure to come up with something new and be innovative. They think, Oh, I have to look at the whole entire world and make sure I start from scratch. It's not necessarily true. I mean, you look at McDonald's in the layout for their drive thru. For fast food, they modeled it after a Formula One pitstop. Was it an absolutely new idea that had never been done before. No. Was it a new idea to the industry? Absolutely. And BMW pattern the mechanics of their I drive system after a video game system. So a new idea is just really taking inspiration from something else, you know, something around you. But go ahead. You had a question? No,


Dia Bondi  11:59

I wasn't the the interesting component of your definition to me is the reliable part.


Carla Johnson  12:04

Yes, yes, it because if you just have a new idea, that's not a guarantee that it's going to succeed. And a great idea that characteristics is something that's a little bit more subjective. You know, what I think is a great idea may be different for you. And what's a great idea in one industry can be very different in another and, and it's really I think about David Ogilvy when he talks about a great idea is one that makes you jealous, you didn't think of it yourself. And it's the one that you have this visceral response, you know, that kind of like the hair stands up on your arm and things like that. But even having an idea that's new and great isn't enough, it is that third anchor, that it's a reliable idea, it's something that can make you money. And for true innovators there, they are able to consistently come up with ideas that have all three of these characteristics.


Dia Bondi  12:49

So our podcast is really aimed at you know, we say that this podcast is a big podcast for women with goals. And you know, the folks that we really want to be speaking to, and I set this up before you dialed in our folks who woke up this morning and realize that they have a particular goal in mind. And the two that I named in, in before you dialed in, or, you know, I woke up this morning, and I realized I want to be director someday, I want to be VP someday I woke up this morning and realize I want to leave my corporate job and start a business I woke up one day seeing you know, seeing an intersection of something I hadn't seen before. And I want to bring those ideas forward so that I can reach my own career goals. And you say, you know, in your you know, in the definition of who this book is for the those two profiles of, you know, if you're a team lead, who believes your crew is capable of so much more, and you can use idea, you can use this book to help bring the best out in them. And if you yourself have a an idea in your heart, in your mind, that feels like something you can't ignore, but somehow we like push it down. And we slowly kill it. Like that's who in this conversation, Carla, we want to be talking to, in sometimes, you know, these are the people who are, you know, it's great to talk about big brands, but we're also talking about people's individual lives, their individual actions that they take in their every day, small businesses, you know, startups and careers when they realize there's something that deserves and needs innovation. Absolutely. And that's my belief about innovation is that everybody is an innovator. And we tend to have this stereotype that an innovator is a Steve Jobs. It's an Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington or, you know, Richard Branson, somebody


Carla Johnson  14:25

like that, that is big, huge, disruptive, it's big brands, big budgets, big complexity, and all of these things. But the interesting thing, a piece of research that I came across when I was working on this book is that 90% of innovation happens outside of traditional innovation groups. That means that everybody you just talked about for your audience. These are the people that the world of business is heavily reliant on for being successful. So if you think about the person who woke up today and said, I want to be a director, a director is a very different job from a manager. A manager is like literally Literally let me manage and make sure these boxes get checked in these things get done. A director is more of a leader. And if you're looking to increase the, the potential that you will get that promotion, and even where you go beyond that director, you need to have the ability to bring out great ideas from your team. And one of the big things that I have seen happen this last year is that the leaders have such broad shoulders that are overflowing with demands for ideas, their teams are going to them and saying, Tell me what to do. And I'll do it. And these leaders have other people in the organization coming to them and saying, we've got these problems, what ideas do you have to, to to solve them. And so these, these directors are looking at here, looking at all of this going, Oh, my gosh, I have the weight of the world on me. And everything either lands in their inbox, or lands on their desk. And the answer to that is to teach your team, how to come up with ideas so that they can recognize the opportunities and jump on them. Or they can identify the problems and solve them. So you don't have to be as intimately involved in those decisions. And that needs to happen before you get to that director position.


Dia Bondi  16:16

Yeah, I love what you're saying there. I mean, I think about there's a lot of, especially in the creative space in the marketing, space design, you know, product development, I just noticed that there are a lot of people who might be facilitating these kinds of idea generation moments, even if they're not the director, even if they're not the boss, but what an incredible position to be able to apply the frameworks we're about to talk about, in that context, to bring out the best of a team that maybe you don't even directly manage and you know, in a matrix organization or whatever, but you are tasked with, with facilitating those moments where ideas get born?


Carla Johnson  16:48

It is and that's the that's the hallmark of a leader, it's not what work can you get done? It's what work can you facilitate and make sure that a team gets done?


Dia Bondi  16:58

Okay. So as we get into this, you know, I wrote this question earlier, it's kind of snarky, but it's like, ideas are super cheap. Carla, ideas are cheap. Who Why did you write this but I know people say all the time ideas, cheap executions, expensive.


Carla Johnson 17:13

Yeah. And I write it if I wrote it, one, because that statement is wrong. It's not that ideas are, are the easy part. And the execution is where all the chops comes in. execution is hard, because people didn't start with great ideas in the first place. So it doesn't you you can never execute crap. And if your ideas are crappy, it's always going to be hard. And so I need that on a T shirt, you cannot


Dia Bondi  17:41

execute crap. No, at least on the front, it'll say ideas are not cheap. And in the back, it'd be like, you cannot execute crap ideas.


Carla Johnson 17:50

Yes, I mean, I come from a family of left brain execution type people, my brother's a PhD, mechanical engineer. So Believe me, I have heard everything there is to say about why execution rules and ideas are cheap. But the truth is, you have if you're going to get to an execution, an executable idea, you have to start with a lot of ideas. And that's a big fallacy that people have about ideas is that Oh, get to that one idea. And of course, then then we'll take it from here. Well, you know what, there's a whole lot of brainpower that goes into coming up with that great idea. I mean, first, you have to truly understand, identify, articulate the problem you're trying to solve or the opportunity you're trying to take advantage of. And even with ideas that are executed, they may go out the door, and they fall completely flat, because they weren't directed toward a specific objective of focus that mattered to the business. And the only thing that matters to the business is the customer. And I tell you, there are plenty of product people execution, people who are sending stuff out the door that fall flat, because they didn't have a proper objective to start with. And so the ideas didn't work. They executed it, you know, chest beating, their execution went great, and nothing ever happened. And that's the whole idea is that is that I wrote the book to understand by studying the most prolific and successful innovators in the world, what's the process they use? And can that be broken down and taught in the answers? Yes.


Dia Bondi  19:22

Great. So what is the perpetual innovation system? Am I saying it right?


Carla Johnson 19:26

Yeah, perpetual innovation process. process. There it is, right? It is it is a five step process, but out in front of the process. You I have an objective statement, that when you get down to the heart of things, you have to fill out that objective statement first. But the interesting thing is in certain situations, the ideas come first and then people say, you know, how is there a place that we can apply this? But if you're learning this from scratch for the first time, let's start out with a specific problem opportunity so you have something to focus and direct all of your energies to So the first step of the process is one of the most simple. And that's why it's often taken for granted. And that's to become more observant of the world around you. When you talk to somebody who's highly creative, highly innovative, they will notice the smallest detail about things. I remember talking to a chief operating officer, one time of a, it was a $20 billion company at the time, they've since split into several groups, but he was talking about the difference in curb heights, on sidewalks around the world. And then he started to talk about the different graphics that are used for walk, don't walk and things like that. That's a person who's highly observant. And, and an observant person is somebody who looks, hears, feels, tastes, touches, uses all five of those senses, it's really easy for us to look around and observe everything. But to truly feel something you have to close your eyes and take everything else in. So that's the first that's the first step is to become more observant. Now the next one is and I talked about, like I'm like, given to the girl given


Dia Bondi  21:09

to me because I what's crazy is so when I was reading this book, I was like, oh, which one? Do I jump to? Which one do I not jumped in like, and I got an idea about how I roll and like where because project asked like an auctioneer marries two very unrelated worlds to solve a problem. And and how it hit me was was I did all the steps. So intuitively, I didn't even know they were happening. And I jumped to one and I'm like, Wait, does that mean I skipped the other ones? Or was it was because the I'm such a, I'm such an observer. Anyway, keep going.


Carla Johnson 21:41

Yeah, and I'll keep going. And then we'll use the ask like an auctioneer as the perfect example. So when we talk about innovation is about connecting the dots observing, and like literally writing down these observations, analog, put your phone away, in an on a notebook on a piece of paper with an old fashioned pencil, a pen, whatever it is, you have to go analog, because it has a different effect to your brain, from a neuroscience perspective, which I won't get into that because I know we, you know, we don't have four hours, and so that your observations are your dots. Now, the second step is to distill all of these observations into patterns. And this, again, is how you start to connect the dots. But it's also something that your brain does very naturally. If you think back to the beginning of humankind, a man or woman was on the savanna, they're observing things around them, they observe, are the birds sitting still in the tree? Is the grass very calm? You know, what does the sun look like? Are there clouds, things like that, they look for patterns, then if a pattern changes, if the birds all of a sudden fly off together, if the wind blows, that's a different pattern of something that says it's not safe. So these things are hardwired into our brain. But they've been pushed down into us, because we're so caught up in the technology and being on our phone all of the time. So once you start to observe, then look for those patterns. And there's no rhyme or reason into how you come up with a pattern. So it can be something simple, like people signs, tall things I had in one exercise, a distil pattern was icky things. And it was some I've been at a coffee shop. And it was a poopy diaper. It was the smell of coffee, it was all the you know, crumbs and stuff on a table because it wasn't clean, you know, there's no rhyme or reason. Then the third step is actually where the magic happens. And it's relate. And it's understanding how that how you start to take the theory of what you observe in the world and make it practical in the real world. This is also the one that people skip over. And they want to just hop to the fourth step, which is generate the ideas, but the relate step understanding how do things like community, people, icky things relate to the work that you do?


Dia Bondi  24:00

This, I love that that's my favorite one. That's my favorite step.


Carla Johnson 24:04

And it's it's not easy to do. And when I go through this exercise and workshops, and when I do this with companies, I tell people upfront, you're going to struggle, like unless you're a dia Bondi. And it all just happens magically, because you've done it your whole life and didn't realize it, this, it's going to be frustrated. But once you get it, you will always get it. And then you take like, how does this relate into my brand? Like, how do I start to build more community into whatever I'm doing. And then when we get to the generate ideas, we bring the objectives back in. So you're generating ideas based on specific objectives you're wanting to achieve and based on constraints that you know that you have, because let's be honest, if you know if there were never any constraints, we'd all be on that rocket going into outer space right now but we all have constraints that we have to live with. Live in and then the fifth step is pitch.


Dia Bondi  24:56

Because I love it that you let me just jump in here and say I love it that you include it. pitch in this, because these, this is where your ideas can't just die on a whiteboard, they have to actually make their way through engaging with the decision makers and the people that can then, you know, unblock, you know, or get into movement with it. So I just love that you added this and you gave some instruction on how to gather a powerful pitch, right?


Carla Johnson 25:22

I do I get very detailed and how to do that successfully, and also how to ask for and give feedback. And you know, just like, you can't execute crap, a bad pitch kills the best of ideas. And it can a bad pitch can kill something that has so much potential. And a pitch doesn't have to be complicated. What I have people do is literally start at the beginning about what's the problem they were trying to solve? What inspired them? What were the patterns, you know, what did they distill? How does that relate to the brand? How did that inspire this idea that they generated, and now they're here pitching it. And this ability to pitch a great idea when you're involved in the creation of an in, it's something personal that you experience, there's so much passion that comes out of it. And I've had C suite people tell me, you know, I have somebody come to me with an idea. And I'm like, I'm not all that jazzed about it sounds like a lot of work. But they were so passionate about it that I said, Yeah, go ahead and pursue it. And it turned out bigger, and more amazing and impactful than they ever could have imagined. And a lot of it is that passion that comes from the pitch because they're so involved in it.


Dia Bondi  26:28

I love it. I love all of this. So, okay, so I want to talk about the relate piece of the five of the five steps. Because the when I when asked like an auctioneer hit me as an idea. It was like I have this thing where like the guys in the back room I call them which is like my unconscious working on stuff a lot, which is taking into account I think a lot of the observe and the connecting, observe and the pattern matching or the pattern seeking that I that I find. I think I sometimes jump straight to the relate part because I default my own. I always default to like how things connect that that is a very, I don't I just see things in the world of like, yeah, it's innate that like, I see how things connect, I could take, you know, I could take this chapstick, everyone I'm holding up a chapstick and this glass of water and find a way to tell the story about how they're related. So you know, and that's also you know, a learned because as a leadership communicate communications coach for so many years, I have had to help folks, I have been listening for relationships in content and storytelling for I mean, it's a cross tell you how many industry forever but across 1000s of stories in so many different industries, because I'm agnostic to my work and Communications is agnostic to subject matter. I don't care if we're talking about technology or talking about pharmaceuticals, we're talking about, you know, we're talking about CPG. We're talking like, I don't care. So yeah, the relate piece is the one I want to really jump to and so I have to have a little bit of discipline because the observe, and the observe and pattern part. So when Nate, I have to kind of make sure I'm, I bring an honest look at things and not just sort of assume that I got it, I got it, I got it, I'm gonna start doing the relating,


Carla Johnson 28:18

you know, it is and the process is really designed to slow people down. Yeah, and think about these things. And when when we do the exercise about relating, I have people ask the question, how might me How might we,


Dia Bondi  28:33

it's my favorite, I loved this in your book, how you and I've known about that technique of how might How might we? And it does make things the possibilities open. So you know, I I find in my work that adults just don't want to be wrong. Exactly. And it stops us from exploration.


Carla Johnson 28:55

That's a great point. And I think even that rephrasing the questions that are typically asked of how can we and how should we it's very different when you ask it in the in the version of how might we because how can we subconsciously people are saying I don't know if we can sounds really hard. I've got a lot of stuff on my plate, you know, just huh. I don't think we can and then they start to kill the ideas before they ever get very far. How should we is very similar in that I don't know that we should Are we going to get in trouble? Am I what's right, how do I know it's right, maybe we shouldn't do this. Let's let's just not because we know there's no risk in not doing anything. But when you ask it in the form of how might we it puts it into the land of pretend and play just like a child. Yeah, I love there's no risk. There's there's no risk. We're not saying we're doing it. We're just saying if we were How might we do this? What might that look exactly? And and again it looks at how your how your brain behaves under certain Questions and especially as a communication person, dia, you know, all of those, those nuances, and unless we start to pay attention to them, that's what builds the struggle, and why we have a hard time becoming that innovator that gets promoted to the director or success as we step out onto our own and become that entrepreneur. And I think especially as an entrepreneur, you have got to be incredibly nimble at connecting the dots with unrelated things, and consistently coming up with great ideas. I mean, it may be the only person you have to pitch them to is yourself. But it could be a bank, it could be a customer, it could be you know, who knows what


Dia Bondi  30:38

your boss Yeah, it could be all the things I you know, I, I really are your mentor even to get feedback or whatever, you know, the How might might we is such a such it creates such a big, beautiful container. You know, it since I launched project asked, I can actually I've talked to hundreds of women about, you know, how should I ask my my boss for a raise? or How should I ask for that promotion? or How should I ask to lead that communication? You know, org wide? Or how should How should I ask my investor for? How should I get the question all the time? And my answer is like, I don't know, how might you? How might you? And and as soon as we do that, there's almost like a visceral shift, like you can relax, you relax, and what how much more resourceful we are, when we pose that question is just exponential compared to that showed or can,


Carla Johnson 31:22

it is and when you start from that frame of reference, into the idea generation step, you are in a completely different space, because what typically happens is that we say, we need a new idea for a product name for a campaign for a company, or whatever it is. And we start with generate, and we say, let's get on a zoom call, let's get in a conference room, give me all your ideas. There's no such thing as a bad ideas. And all those ideas are crap. And then that's why when the execution people come in, they go, Oh, this was the easy part. The hard part is that I now have to execute this. Well, that's because it wasn't a good idea.


Dia Bondi  31:59

So Alright, so I actually want you to pitch I want you to coach me a little bit on a 32nd pitch using the frame your pitch framework. But before we do that, because you know, I'm so Okay, so I want to get to that in a second. I'm super nervous. By the way, I thought of this last weekend, when I was reading the book, I was like, I want her to coach me on the formula for a 32nd pitch for for project asked like an auctioneer, like if I'm talking about it to somebody, how might I do that. And I think it might give the folks listening, just a real, I find that in my workshops, when I do live coaching, I've heard you know, I've heard lots of folks say that the most powerful part of that experience was watching somebody else get coached. So I'm going to lay myself on the line and say, Carla can fix my terrible pitch. Okay, number one, but before we do, I want to talk about this archetype, this notion of, of when you come to your pitch, identifying and sort of, you know, we say, name and claim a lot on this show, name and claim your archetype. And you say that archetypes are a powerful tool for your own personal innovation. And interestingly, to me, that's not unrelated to how I think about my world of communications as well, when I think about the folks that I work with, I want them to name and claim their archetype, because you can't not be it, you're always are it. But if you can name it and claim it, you can use it as an asset. And then also notice when it becomes a liability, you know, there's two sides of that you are spot on. And that's the thing that I found is that there's a reputation of an innovator. And oftentimes they're that edge pushing disrupter and, you know, we love them,


Carla Johnson 33:35

but only because they succeed. And I, you know, I think they they everyone that


Dia Bondi  33:39

succeeds, there's a million that are still working right,


Carla Johnson 33:41

and there are too many white knuckle moments. And then you have you have the strategist who's very methodical, and you know, I don't know that their ideas are quite as inspiring. But you know, they're going to get the job done.


Dia Bondi  33:55

Right, very sober. It kind of act like a Huh,


Carla Johnson 33:58

they're not they're not inspiring people to, you know, run naked down the street screaming the the, you know, the glory of this idea, that's for sure. Yeah. But you know, you'll be able to pay the mortgage, and you'll get your kids through college, and, you know, it'll be fine. It'll be fine. Yep. You know, but nobody wakes up jumping out of bed on a Monday morning working for him. And what I found is that there's really six kinds of archetypes of I was


Dia Bondi  34:23

looking, I was looking for it in the book, but let's Yeah,


Carla Johnson 34:25

absolutely. So there's six there's there is that strategist that we know and are familiar with, and I call them their zone of genius, this area that they're really well known for planning and execution. These are the people who do get the, you know, make sure we check all the boxes and get things done and out the door. Then we have the collaborator, and a collaborator is someone who naturally integrates people processes things. They care more about the success of the idea than they care about their own personal glory and credit. Then we have the culture shaper, and it's interesting that as important as the ability to communicate your idea as an innovator is, storytelling isn't recognized as a non negotiable in innovation. And that's what these culture shapers are, they're able to tell the story of the vision of the future and connect the dots through through a narrative to where we are today or where we've come from. Then we have a psychologist and their natural geniuses is empathy. They ask the types of questions and say, what's it like to be the consumer of this idea? What's the experience like for them? What do what do we need to know that we're not thinking about? And that's where you see ethnography and anthropology and some of those things come into traditional innovation teams? Then we have, who have I missed the provoca tour. I have to say, I'm a provocateur. Yeah, it doesn't surprise me You are too. And the provocateurs are the ones who are always pushing the status quo. And you know, you either r1 or are in a meeting with one, when you hear people say enough, like, just let Oh, we just need to get something done. Like let's just get stuff done, because they are prolific idea generators. And then the last one is, is the orchestrator. And they're the ones who are these fearless leaders. And interestingly, they're the rarest of all six archetypes, only 8% of the 1000s of people have taken the assessment are orchestrators and they, they lead fearlessly, they are fine having those hard conversations early. And often they understand the stepping stones to maneuver all of the politics and bureaucracy within a company and they just somehow, they're this magic linchpin that makes it all come together. And it's not about what is right and what is wrong. It's understanding to your point, name and claim it. Exactly, exactly. And then understanding then, are you, you know, are you a provocateur, and you're always in meetings with strategist and you butt heads constantly, because their work feels boring. And they say, you can never get, you know, you're always up in the clouds. It's understanding how each one works together, and the value that each one brings. But what typically happens in organizations is that leaders are entrepreneurs, or, or bosses get hung up on what's the job title? And what's the role? And that's behavior based?


Dia Bondi  37:14

Yeah, well, I think of it actually is, you know, what is your job? And what is your role? What is your role in the organization? What is your role in the world, because there's a pretty good chance, if I were actually employed somewhere, I would have a job and a role, which are not necessarily the same thing. But my role in the world is to be a provocateur, and I can't get away from that. Yeah. So you know, that is something we bring with us. And the question is always, if I love that, you're pointing out Am I a provocateur? And I'm always in a meeting with strategists? And how does that actually make it does that create some tension or friction with it doesn't necessarily need to be there, I would imagine, tell me if I'm wrong, that in storytelling, we will end pitching we want to consider that we want to use maybe our own arc type, as a platform and a strength and a way to inform how we might best pitch and then also recognize the archetypes, you know, that we're talking to? Absolutely. I


Carla Johnson 38:03

mean, Plato said that your archetype describes your ideal self, so you can't not be that person. And, and there's, there's times when you know, you're talking about an archetype and a situation, when you're saying something, and you, you know, talking it through, and you say, let's go ask Dia, because she's such a people person, they're talking about your archetype, or this idea is flat, let's figure out what we need to do to spark it up. Let's go ask the, that's your archetype. And you're being recognized for it. Even if your job title doesn't acknowledge it at all, because when you look at a job description, it's behavior based. But an archetype is something you can't change. This is, who you be,


Dia Bondi  38:41

it's who you are.


Carla Johnson 38:42

Exactly. So celebrate that. So in the pitch, you need to understand how you come to the pitch. From this perspective, sometimes you're pitching by yourself, sometimes you're pitching by a team, you need to understand the dynamics of all of them, as well as those of the people who are the catcher's of the idea, the people you're pitching to.


Dia Bondi  39:02

So I want to speak to our audience right now and say, of the six archetypes that Carla just named, you can always go back and re Listen, or you can get her book rethink innovation, which of those three are which of those six feels like the most resonant and true and and notice, the one that you feel like is you may not be the one that the one that you think you should be? Like, I'm curious what the, for the first question which one feels like is most resonant and true for you. And as you look over the next couple of weeks at the pitching that you might be doing for the ideas that are coming out of your own self or out of your team, you know, how might you through that lens of your archetype? How does that change how you might approach your pitch using the framework that Karla is about to share with me right now as she fixes my terrible pitch?


Carla Johnson 39:50

Absolutely. And that's the thing is that when you become more aware, back to observation, you may find yourself stepping into other art archetypes because you understand, that's what's needed to lift up a situation at a particular meeting or whatever. So you can if as long as you understand what's missing, you can fill this up. You don't need to have a team of all six archetypes. And if anybody wants to go take the assessment and find out what they are, the website is Carla with a C johnson.co. CEO for Colorado. No m slash innovation archetype. Take it yourself. Have your team take it have colleagues, investors, whoever take it, Arthur, you, you and I should take it would be interesting.


Dia Bondi  40:37

Yeah, I was thinking about that. I mean, because I'm assuming I'm a provocateur, but maybe I'm not. I'm


40:43

probably I think I kind of know what I am, too. But I would be interested to take it. What do


Dia Bondi  40:48

you What's your suspicion?


40:49

I actually think that I might be an orchestrator.


Dia Bondi  40:52

You know, I was when she was talking about it. I was like, maybe that's maybe that's Arthur. I mean, I don't know. Anyway, we could talk about architects forever and ever. I want to keep going on this, because this is so fun. To talk about it in the wrap. I know. I can't wait. Okay. Um, so Are you really willing to give me a little bit of coaching on my idea? I have no notes in front of me.


41:12

I'm just going to like to ask you for your objective statement up front.


Dia Bondi  41:16

I don't know that. What


41:17

are you trying to say? What says okay, what? So the objective statement is three parts? The first one is we need new, we need new ideas to what is it that you're trying to accomplish? And then the second part is, so we can, what do you want the outcome to be? And that could be like, so we can increase customer retention by 10%?


Dia Bondi  41:35

Wait, is it so are you coaching me on my pitch for my idea, you coaching me through the five the innovation phases?


41:41

I'll coach you on your pitch, but in order to do the pitch successfully, you have to pitch towards something.


Dia Bondi  41:48

Okay, great. So I create a new idea, or I generated a new idea. So that I know is that not right? Is that not right? We need new ideas, new ideas, we need new ideas to help women ask for more and get it. So they never leave money and opportunity on the table again, ever and ever and ever so that they can resource their dreams,


42:06

okay, we're gonna make it simple to help women, ask for more money,


Dia Bondi  42:10

ask for more money and opportunity. So they can so they can reach their goals faster. And what constraints? Do you have constraints? Can they be like a fear? Can they be sitting like that? Or does it have to be more concrete?


42:27

No, that can be it. It could be one constraint is they've had experiences that make them fearful to to raise their hand and ask for money. You know, money money?


Dia Bondi  42:37

Yes. So let me give kind of give you a few. I'm gonna give you a few. Yeah. Okay. So one it one constraint is yes, fear to ask for more than they think they can get. Another constraint is an assumption that the best asks are the best asks are shaped around what they think they're going to get a yes to? I don't know if that's a constraint. It's like the constraint is a yes. perception of what's perception of what's possible. Good. Okay. What other constraint? And


43:10

we're gonna stop just with that, right? Because the time right, perfect. So one of the things that it's important to keep in mind, when you start your pitch is that you're looking for laying the common ground? What is it that you have in common with the person that you're pitching to? So you can start from a point of agreement, okay. So that's where you want to start out by by talking about one of the things that we that we need to do as women is understand how to ask for more money and opportunity. Yes, the other day I was yes. And then that's when you start into your observation phase. So your pitch really is retracing your steps from what you participated in, you're going to start out with that first part of your objective statement. Then you're going to go through what you observed, what you distill how that related into your work. That led to the idea, you generate it. Okay,


Dia Bondi  44:15

so I would start by we have new, we need new ideas to help women ask for more and get it so they can reach their goals faster. Then what's the next step? Give me the next one again. And actually,


44:26

you just start out with a first first sentence and we need more ideas to help women ask for more money and opportunity. Okay, okay. Yep. The other day, and what's your opposite, okay,


Dia Bondi  44:35

and in and we all know what it feels like to make the asks that matter in our careers. And in 20 years, I have worked with 1000s of people putting together the asks in their businesses and careers as the foundation for the stories that they tell in the world. And now Do I go to observe, observe, observe,


44:55

and so yeah, so tell tell a couple of things about what you've observed in this work.


Dia Bondi  45:00

So in this work, you move with the problem part or just the description of what I do to


45:05

just get what is it that you've observed that will lead people down the path to your ID right? So then, like I observed people were hesitant to


Dia Bondi  45:13

Yes. So what I observed in 1000s of those coaching sessions is that when I'd asked the question at the beginning, what are you asking for? I often got the response. What do you think I can get? And for years and years and years, I co conspired with my clients to design their calls to action, which are fundamentally asks around what they think they can get. So if they need $25,000 in budget, but they never think they can get it, we would decide to only ask for 12 and they would get 12 and feel good about it. And what I noticed once I started, and that when you start to go into the what I noticed, that's when you're going to start to distill the patterns, okay, of what you just talked about that you observed, okay, okay. Okay. Um, so over an Well, I didn't so here's the tricky part. I didn't notice the pattern until I was exposed to a new thing of auctioneering for fun. So how do I fold that in?


46:11

So okay, so then probably what you did right there is set up the problem I did bigger. Yeah, yeah. And that's fine. So you can say, an interesting thing was, how did you and this is a side How did you start to get into auctioneering? Right? How did you


Dia Bondi  46:26

so a few years, okay, so now we'll get into like, kind of showing the observe but also starting to connect the dots now? Yes, yep. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So um, so a few years ago, I went to auctioneering school and learn how to do fundraising auctioneering, for fun, and now it's my impact hobby. And a year into doing that I saw, I noticed that the way that we ask as auctioneers is to never aim for a yes. But to always aim for a no, we can't actually sell anything until we get a no. And then and when we do we know we've maximized the opportunity of that ask. And so that is the exact opposite of how we ask in business. And so I asked myself, if the women that I work with in the world of work in business could use I'm sorry, you're looking at me. So did I lose it? or lose it?


47:22

No, I'm looking at you because I'm looking at you. Because you have naturally gone from observed distill in right into relate because you do this. So naturally. So when you started to talk about, I saw that. You can't sell anything until you get to a no. Yeah, that's an observation. Now, what is it? What is it that you distill from that pattern? Is that people never go for the No. people stop before they get there.


Dia Bondi  47:51

Yes. So So what I want to leave money on the table. Yes. So what I saw over there in the world of auctioneering, was that the way that we ask in business always leaves money and opportunity on the table.


48:03

Because jumping right to relate, so don't so don't don't do that. Yes. don't connect the dots to relate yet. Okay. Have to clarify the patterns that Okay,


Dia Bondi  48:13

okay. Okay, so the pattern, so I finished the patterns on the how we ask in business is like that. So I noticed when I was auctioneering. I'm over here in auctioneering. Now, when I noticed when I'm in auctioneering, that we cannot sell anything until we get a no. And in fact, we have to actively seek a no. And every time I had the courage to do that, and I got to know in the room, I would sell I sell it for a click beneath which inevitably gets me more than if I had sold something at the first Yes, I got that happens over and over and over and over and over and over again. And I got to practice it in a million different contexts. I mean, that's the laws of auctioneering. But even when we do a direct pledge, it plays out as well. I'm going to ask the room for $1,000 contribution. And I'm not going to, and I'm not going to move to the lower level until I have nobody raising their hand in the air, which means I have maximized the opportunity of that ask at that level in that room. Now's the time to go the click down below.


49:14

Here we go. So that's that's what you've just distilled what you observe. Now you can say, then I realized, all of this great right here relates to the world of business. Great.


Dia Bondi  49:24

So then I realized I love this, that everything from that side from that world of auctioneering could be borrowed by the world of of making asks in business in our careers, and we would end up helping women ask for more and get it and now What's your idea? And so my idea is project ask like an auctioneer, where we teach women to borrow from the world and of auctioneering use the ideas, insights, frameworks and tools from that world and apply it to the asks they make in their careers and businesses. Perfect. They can,


50:00

yeah. And then the second part of your objective statement, you were just ready to


Dia Bondi  50:05

go, they can ask for more and get it and reach their goals faster.


50:09

And you can say this is how we deal with their fear to ask for more than they think they can get and their perception.


Dia Bondi  50:16

Great. And and how we deal with there with? Well, there's so the two constraints the assumption that we aim for a no, when I show them the the, the, the mental model or the model of going for a yes, they will see that that that going for Yes, shaping your your asks toward a yes, instead of excuse me shaping your asset or to know, instead of a Yes, we'll get you more of what you need. And secondly, we will help women deal with the fear of asking for more by teaching them the nine ideas that I learned in the world of auctioneering. To help make more courageous asks,


50:52

Where can I sign dia Bondi? That was, in so so good, what you did is you've clearly identified the problem, you've talked about inspiration, you've looked at something else that's very unique and different, yet relatable into the world that you want to work in business. And then you've said your idea in such a way that is so clear, that solves the problem, and addresses the constraints. My favorite


Dia Bondi  51:23

part is when you asked me to go back to the objective statement, which we started with which I thought that I was like, I'm not sure where this fits in the whole story, it feels like it hasn't, the story doesn't start until the next beat. But as you circled the back, it just closes the loop. That's really beautiful.


51:38

It does and the more that you can be specific with observations in and put the person you're talking to, into that scene, paint a picture. You know, I was at I was at a charity auction, people were all dressed up, it was silent, they were holding numbers, make that auction come alive and be real, because I'm from a farm town, when you talk about an auctioneer. It's a guy in Wranglers with snap button shirt and a cowboy hat and it hit yet you know, cattle and hogs. And that's very different from a charity auction. So those little distinguishing details that you've observed, make it so much more rich and relatable. And you've now invited that person into your story.


Dia Bondi  52:26

Great. I love Love, love, love, love this. Thank you so much. And so this framework is available inside of the book. So for those of you who go grab the book, you can use this and and reference this and use it as an as a the scaffolding for the own pitch your pitches that you might be making to anybody that matters to you getting your ideas to the next you're good, you're good, new and reliable. Is that are those components, right? Good, new and reliable ideas off the ground and into the world in a way that can have the impact that you want. Karla this has been so so fun. Where can people find you?


53:00

My website is Carla johnson.co Carla with a C and C o m. And if you go to Carla johnson.co, slash rethink book. There's lots of great fun things that you can download free bonuses if you if you bought the book, put your order number in there and lots of great things in tools that you can use to make this easier and a reality. I always love it. If people hear that I've been on a podcast connect with me on LinkedIn. And let me know that you heard me talking to Dia and Arthur. And I'm on Twitter at Carla Johnson Instagram, Carla johnson.co.


Dia Bondi  53:37

And you also have a live stream show You Do Is that


53:40

true? I do. It's called connect the dots. And that is either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday on LinkedIn and YouTube. So you can go to my YouTube channel and watch past episodes with people like Dr. Raj mukerji. He's one of the founders of shoes am. I had Sue Dyer last week. She's an expert in trust. And I know that you and I are going to be talking here in a few weeks as well. I'm really excited about that. But it's about connecting the dots in the world between what inspires you and what you end up executing.


Dia Bondi  54:09

Carla, you're a badass. You make


54:13

me feel like it. Although now I have this as a provocateur and always having ideas. I'm dying to go sign up for Oxford auctioneer school now.


Dia Bondi  54:21

I love it. I know it's such a weird thing to do. We'll talk more about it on your show. Thanks so much for coming and being with us today. Thank you. It was a privilege to be here. Thank you, Arthur. Thank you, Dia. So good.


54:37

Yeah, that was that was a great interview and just talk.


Dia Bondi  54:40

It's so fun for me to get coached. I love it. Yeah, I see that. It's just a delight. You know, I'm always on the other side of it. And so just to get coached is just so wonderful to get like prompted and have somebody else have a make an observation because you know, sometimes we're so inside the jar. I said that earlier in this episode. can't even see. You just can't hear it because it's all a jumble inside your own mind and inside your own, you know, thinking, so that was super fun. And I love the pitch framework just makes it so easy. Mm hmm. Anyway, what stood out for you?


Arthur  55:15

Well, you know, we were talking about the archetypes. And you know, when I was listening to her list, all of them. I was like, No, I don't think that's me. Now, like, she went through all of them, you know. And then she got to the final one. She's like, this is very rare. Only 8% of people are this. And she was describing. I was like, actually, I think I am an orchestrator.


Dia Bondi  55:33

You're so you are only eight. You're very rare beast. Wow. Yeah.


Arthur  55:37

And that's not to self aggrandized. But I think just as a filmmaker, a director, producer, and stuff like that, that is the position that I'm in all the time, you know, like, especially doing low budget stuff, independent film, stuff like that. I mean, I am having to do kind of orchestrate everything. Yeah, I don't know. I'll take the quiz and see what it says. I know. Um, but I think even in bands that I'm in, I end up doing it, you know, I'm producing the record. I'm scheduling all the time in the studio. I'm there even if I don't have something to record that day, you know,


Dia Bondi  56:11

yeah, maybe cat you and Kat both to do that assessment. I want to know, like, I want to know both because I'm curious. I'm gonna make my husband do it too. Yeah, then we know what kind of archetype we are, what kind of archetype we're living with. Yeah. And we can talk about it in a segment sometime. I love it. I love it. That was an absolute blast. And I hope, um, you know, we can I hope for those of you listening, got, you know, something, putting myself you know, in a position of being coached, you know, maybe you are pitching ideas, as I said before, right now, that really matter to your future. And hopefully, that gave you if it gave you one idea, or one little prompt to help make that story and that pitch a little bit more robust and accurate. I hope that was great for you. Arthur is really nice to see you today. Yeah, it's always great. All right, everybody, really, really, really, really quick. You can go to Deobandi calm and see what we're up to. I know I talked about project as like an auctioneer today. So you can go to do Bondi comm and see what we're up to. You can also go to ask like an auctioneer.com. And you'll see the project there that was sort of a baby website that we launched. When I originally came up with this idea and everything right now. It's end of July, everything is going to get reinvented and relaunched in the next couple of weeks. But for now, and whenever you are, finding this podcast, you can go to do Bondi comm or ask like an auctioneer calm to find more about that project. It does include a keynote and a workshop your most powerful ask alive if you work in an organization or you are part of an association that brings learning and development content to the audience's that that matter to you and your organization or in that association, you can reach out to us at Hello at dia bondi.com to inquire about bringing the workshop to that community or to that workplace that you care about right now. We can do that IRL and as well as a super interactive, live switch, multi camera picture and picture super produced. workshop experience. So if you are working with distributed teams or distributed and audience audiences in your association, we can make a kick ass experience for you as well. All about those kick ass experiences. Come on now. Come on now. All right, everybody. All right. Good to see ya. See you later, everyone. Bye bye.


58:35

This Podcast is a production of Dia Bondi Communications, scored MCs and produced by baby a. You can like share rate and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. If you would like my mom, Dia Bondi, to answer any questions about how to make your next big news, call us and leave your question at 341-333-997. Thanks for listening.


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