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Innovation Process with John Carter

“You need an innovation process so that once the individual has really vetted their idea and believes there's a market for it...you need to be able to transfer that to the organization at large, where they can execute on it.”

“Innovation” is an exciting idea for many, but often a tad scary for project managers who are tasked with keeping project on time and under budget. But innovation doesn’t have to break all of your project plans if you have a well-structured innovation process and solid governance in your organization.

In this episode of Time Limit, Brett sat down with John Carter, who invented Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones, helped design Apple’s New Product Process, and authored Innovate Products Faster. His take on how organizations, teams, and individuals can go from creative spark to an executable idea—without wrecking well-laid project plans—is not only insightful, but it’s comforting. There’s real proof here that making lofty ideas a reality doesn’t have to be confusing or even lengthy. 

Through the course of the interview, John and Brett discuss:

  • Innovation planning
  • How organizations should invest in innovation
  • How to budget for innovation and even new ideas
  • How governance impacts innovation
  • Innovation process for organizations and project teams
  • Can you make innovation happen on the side?
  • How to set goals to be more innovation, in your career or within an organization

About our guest

Guest

John Carter
Founder, TCGen, Inc.

John Carter is a widely respected expert on product development.  He is , an inventor of Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones and designer of Apple’s New Product Process. As Founder of TCGen Inc., he has consulted for Abbott, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Mozilla, Roche, and 3M. He is the author of “Innovate Products Faster,” featuring more than 40 tools for accelerating product development speed and innovation.  John has an MS in Engineering from MIT.

More about John:

Episode Transcript

Transcript

Brett Harned:                                          Hey there. Welcome to Time Limit. This is your host Brett Harned and I'm glad you joined me for this interview with product development expert, John Carter. In the conversation, John and I explore the topic of innovation and how to plan for it. John is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. And as the founder and principal of TCGen Inc, he's advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world including Apple, Amazon, Bows, and many others. He's been on the front line of innovation and has an eye for process and management. So it was great to sit down with him and pick his brain about making innovation happen. Hey, John, thanks so much for joining me on Time Limit today, how are you?

John Carter:                                           A very good and excited to be here Brett?

Brett Harned:                                          Awesome. I'm excited for you to be here. I'm really looking forward to talking about innovation with you. It's a topic that I've been thinking about a little personally, just kind of how innovation comes up, how you plan for it, how do you make space and time for it? Before we get into that, I don't want to jump right into it, I think there's a lot to discuss before we get to those points.
                                                      And I was thinking it could be interesting to start at the highest level, which is basically the organizational level. And then talk about innovation on teams and then maybe even the individual level as well. But first to set the stage for the topic of innovation, let's talk about what it is. Would you mind maybe sharing how you personally define innovation or maybe even share a goal or a project that you've worked on in your career?

John Carter:                                           Yeah, it's great. And I'm glad we're starting here because there's so much misconception around what innovation is or should be. And hopefully at least I can give you my definition, which I've found very useful and might clarify the situation for many organizations. So to first order and very simply, innovation consists of two things. It consists of an idea and the execution to deliver it, so that you gain economic advantage or gain or really accomplish any goal. So it is the combination of as creative spark with the notion that you take that creative spark and turn it into something that is realizable and useful.

Brett Harned:                                          I like it. That's a perfect way to kind of encapsulate it. I like the idea of it being a creative spark because that's been my experience in my career with innovation. You know it's not something that you always plan for. It's something that can come up midstream in a project. It could be a part of a conversation that then spurs into a full project or a goal that ends up doing kind of what you explained and kind of further this along, there's probably no great answer to this, but I'm curious where you typically see innovation come from. I mentioned it could be in a meeting or it could have come up while someone was executing work, but do you see innovation starting at an executive level where they're pushing for change or do you see it more from that team level where people are working through ideas and executing?

John Carter:                                           Well, of course it's in a way both but to me first touch on the notion of where innovation happens. I know personally, or at least the creative spark it can happen when you're sort of processing what I call the slow mind, which is that you've set it aside for a day, you're taking a shower in the morning, you're getting ready to face a new day. And suddenly a thought comes up either from a meeting or a conversation or a project that you're working on. And so often I find at least my creative spark comes in the fertile grounds of being away from the project. And I think this is important to capture that spark and use it. I wanted to augment your list-

Brett Harned:                                          Appreciate that.

John Carter:                                           With respect to where does it occur, is it top down with the executives really demanding it, or is it people in the organization that come up with the ideas that can move us forward. And the answer really is both. But there's a lot of mis-comprehensions about this or misunderstandings that I think are very basic. First of all I do believe that innovation.... And there's one element of the definition I left out and that is disruptive. And I don't think that all innovations have to be disruptive, but they can lead to profound benefit and change because they could be simply extrapolation of something that you already have, but then really moving it into a new dimension or direction or audience or team or whoever.
                                                      So it's not really destructive, but you're extrapolating. Nevertheless if you look at innovation, there are two components. So let's talk about top down innovation. I firmly believe that you need to consciously invest in the organization and by this, I mean invest people's time in doing it and create a so called discovery space where people can be free to innovate and really focus on those next dimension ideas. And I recommend that allocation, believe it or not on the order of $10,000 for professional. So let's say you have a staff of 10 professionals. You might create a budget of a hundred thousand dollars, which might support, let's say half a person, including overhead to work on new ideas for larger organizations.
                                                      It would be more, but that is the top down form that executives value innovation and they value it so much. They're willing to budget innovation and staff it, and that I think is the best formula because as we talked about, it's a creative spark, but it's also the execution. Well, I'm not a believer in this 20% time. I don't think it works. I don't think it exists. It's a fantasy. And it can be useful because it encourages innovation from all parts of the organization. But I think if you want dependable innovation, you need to fund it and work on it.
                                                      In though the respect of the individual many great ideas come from individuals maybe most, and they don't come from the 20% time that's talked about, they typically come from you're working on a problem or working with a team just as you described Brett, and then suddenly a concept appears to you. And I think the difference then, or the challenge is so on one hand, you've got executive driven top-down innovation activities, which are funded. Then you have these individuals coming up with really great sparks and ideas. Well, the turn, they creative spark into innovation, you have to then fund what that person is doing. And so they need to transfer out. I am serious about this. They need to transfer out their responsibility ongoing to really focus like an entrepreneur on their creative spark to really turn it into an innovation. And focus is really important. You can't dilute your effort with a whole bunch of ideas, but those are the two ways that I've seen innovations take place, Brett and both work.

Brett Harned:                                          Interesting. I love the concept that you brought up of the slow mind. I can personally really relate to that. I think I do my best thinking and innovating when I'm not sitting at my computer when I'm not working or even thinking about work. That's a really interesting concept. I want to dig in a little bit on what you mentioned around, it gets to how organizations can plan for innovation. I'm interested to dig in on that $10,000 budget per professional. What does that budget include? What does it cover? Because I'm thinking for some of our listeners who maybe want to make the case for this kind of path, like that might be helpful.

John Carter:                                           Yeah, sure. And of course it's a rule of thumb. Rules of thumb just guidelines. The notion comes from product engineering but can be applied everywhere. And that is that if you look at a typical product development activity, you would find engineers and marketing people in UX and all the functions that are working on this and they all add up to a budget for product development. And so what you do essentially is you take 10% of that budget and you move it over into a protected space. Now, what do I mean by a protected space? So, first of all, every year the executives have to consciously write a budget and it has to appear and this permanence is super important. You've got to be consistent on innovation. Anyway, they establish a budget. Now, if your organization is such that they can establish a dedicated, full stack team or two that's ideal.
                                                      So you've got a budget and then you've got actually full stack teams, meaning designers and UX people and engineering and customer success people all working in this tiny crucible. And then when the fragile creative spark is tested and evolved and iterated and typically in agile fashion, at some point ready to go back into the overall organization. What I like to see is dedicated funding and a dedicated space. Now, if you don't have that kind of big budget, let's go back to the analogy of, you've got the small shop with 10 professionals involved in your activities that creates on the order of a hundred thousand dollars budget.
                                                      Well, what does that mean? That would mean that you might cover an individual half time and also be enough to afford a development partner who could work on your idea and iterate so that you don't have to gain the fixed costs of a whole organization, but you take part of that a hundred thousand dollars, and let's say 50,000 offsets, a good portion of someone's time. They can share responsibilities. And it also then leaves $50,000 for a budget to in fact explore an idea. And so that's how I'd suggest you might think about it.

Brett Harned:                                          Got it. You also mentioned 20% time which I'm assuming is, what some organizations will do is set aside 20% of someone's time every week or over a month, or course of weeks to focus on quote unquote innovation or a new project. Is that what you're referring to?

John Carter:                                           Exactly. And I just think it's a myth, to be honest. It's funny, Google hijacked the term it's been around for a super long time. And I think it's more useful for setting a vision about, "Hey, innovation is important to us as an organization." So yes, you can spend 20% of your time to explore it. That's practically speaking. If it's outside your normal function, you're going to do that outside the working hours. But nevertheless, I think it's a useful concept and it's a halo effect, but in reality, it's hard to say, "Well, I've just done 80% of my job. It's Friday morning at 10:30 and that's time I've spent the rest of the day and [inaudible]."

Brett Harned:                                          I'm there with you. I've been there actually.

John Carter:                                           Okay.

Brett Harned:                                          When I worked in the agency, they gave us a small group of us, were the team who were working on this new app. And it was something that the company was funding and we were given Fridays to do it. But guess what? By the time, Friday rolled around everyone who was supposed to be doing that work was so busy with the billable project work that they had to get done. So, that innovative time went out the window and that was just more frustrating for everyone.

John Carter:                                           You nailed it. Exactly.

Brett Harned:                                          That leads me to a question kind of around process and how you make things happen, is there any preferred way that organizations should structure themselves or teams to achieve those ideas or even structures around like ways they should plan for this kind of stuff outside of what we've talked about in terms of money and budgeting? Like I'm thinking more on the tactical level, like the team level?

John Carter:                                           Oh, sure. So there are a couple ideas that I think can be really effective. The first of all is basically giving individuals and small teams, the notion that they can in fact ideate and it's good and it's expected of them and set the framework that way. And then the innovation process actually... Again, I think there's a missed perception here that innovation is a lot of process. The fact of the matter is very little process and what really matters are two things. And that is funding, as we talked about. And second is governance. In other words, executive teams that can jump on your idea and be able to run with it. This is so important because ideas are fragile and just like this creative spark often, it's a creative ember, so it actually hasn't caught fire yet. And so it needs an environment to be nurtured.
                                                      And this is where process comes in. So if you look at the very front end there should be some kind of process that people can submit ideas. So there's some sort of governance body or leadership team or someone that controls the purse strings, and there should be a defined process for innovators to present their ideas for funding. So that's the first thing you need. You need some way of getting innovators to document their ideas and share them. So governance is actually more important to leadership and having an organizational steering committee or something is more important than process because you need a sponsor. So let's assume that you've got some kind of sponsor, either the owner or an executive or an executive team and you have a process around codifying an idea. Part of that second process step is, look at your idea in the context or through the lens of the product vision for the organization.
                                                      In other words, some ideas are more aligned with strategy than others. For example, when I was chief engineer at Bose, we commonly use this guidance, if you will in [North] [Star], which is better sound from small packages. And so that's actually a very useful constraint. So if someone has an idea that's not aligned with that, then you probably not going to invest in it. So being able to have a product vision or what good looks like. So the teams know how to filter their ideas, is the second step. And then the third process element that's super important is to have a super, I call it a protected space, but basically it's you are protected from bureaucracy attacking your ideas. So you need a process to basically allow people to innovate and create and refine without a lot of corporate bureaucracy.
                                                      And then finally you need a process so that once the individual has really vetted their idea and believes there's a market for it, and the creative spark has turned into a small little flame, maybe a candle flame, you need to be able to transfer that to the organization at large, where they can execute on it. And therefore the fourth process that we might consider is how do you transfer an idea that's been proven and hardened by an individual, very small team into the organization and get it to be a priority. So those are some of the thoughts that come to mind Brett about process. But I think in most cases it's used as little processes as possible, but no less.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, that's really interesting. I think kind of taking it back and we already talked about how an innovative idea can really manifest itself in a variety of ways as it can come from any corner of an organization. It doesn't have to be that an idea comes from an engineer or a designer or an executive. It can come from anywhere. And I would think that a lot of organizations and I've experienced this personally, a lot of organizations set out a mandate about, or making statements about being innovative or setting goals around innovation. And trying to get employees to think differently or even approach their work differently.
                                                      I guess, in some way, I am thinking about this like an agile transformation. It's like, this is something the organization says we're going to do for reason X, Y, and Z. And we are going to do it. Do you have any kind of tips around how leaders and organizations should communicate about innovation to make it feel more accessible? Because I think the way that you're approaching it, or at least the way you're explaining it feels more natural and approachable than I think what I've probably experienced in my career.

John Carter:                                           Yeah. Well, it's interesting. I think part of it is cultural change, Brett. And culture change it only occurs at the speed of trust. So culture change really occurs at the speed of trust. And what does that mean? Well, let's say you've got an innovation mandate from the executives. As you've just described, well, there are going to be failures. There are going to be people who had ideas and it didn't pan out, and that should be part of the process but they shouldn't be penalized for failure. You've got to trust the management team, the executive team that in fact, if they allow you to innovate and you fail that you're not in some way castigated or criticized for doing so. So I think there's a definitely, there's a trust and culture component about it.
                                                      But the other thing that you said is really interesting and very important is innovation takes place everywhere. And I think this is another area of the misconception, which is that people tend to think of innovation only occurring in the product itself or the deliverable but in fact, profound innovation can occur in other areas of just distribution or IT, or any way, any parts of the organization and be transformative. In the case of, again, I'm drawing on my experience at Bose, but it's a great example of when we came out with the headphones which I worked on, the noise canceling headphones, we knew that average retailers would not ever be able to sell superior headphones for $300. We just thought there would be no market for that.
                                                      And so what we did as a company is we actually looked at different distribution models. So we innovated a long distribution, turning our sales through retail into a direct channel. And this is a great example of innovation taking place in distribution channels. And there are many other aspects of where innovation should take place. So you're exactly right. Executives really should encourage it everywhere and have this culture of trust. Knowing that innovation also includes failure.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. So two things, one, I'm pretty sure that I had that first set of Bose noise canceling earphones. So that's interesting.

John Carter:                                           Okay.

Brett Harned:                                          Second, I'm really interested in this idea of executives making space and allowing for innovation. The place where my project management brain starts to go crazy is when I think about this open culture of innovation, it means that I'm working with a team, we've got our initiatives mapped out, I have some level of a plan for things. And then a new idea comes up that can completely change the face of that project or that product really. How do you handle that? How do you account for it? How do you not only give people the space to do it, but also say, "Oh, you came up with this great idea. Yes, let's include it and reprioritize everything."

John Carter:                                           Brett, you ask good questions. These are not easy to answer, but I'll do my best. So let's take the case that you've talked about, where you've got an individual and it's working on a team it's newly put together and suddenly they have a game changing idea. What do you do? Well, the first thing, there are several options. Sometimes the ideas we talked about the slow mind can be outside what you're working on every day. So it's actually maybe not related to the project you're working on. If that's the case, then, you know we talked about process just a bit earlier and individuals should be able to be encouraged. And there should be, if you will a small P process to have this idea kind of placed against the lens of the product vision. So we know it's aligned and then we have governance.
                                                      So we talked to the owner, whoever has the purse springs and they say, "Yes, that's in fact, a good idea. And we should invest in it." Then there's a decision. So once you're at that point, if the product is, rather if the innovation spark, the creative spark occurs right then, if that is aligned with the project activity this person is on, then what I would recommend is a so-called have a boundary break review. In other words, this project has changed and it's changed because it's going to include this great new idea. So you have a mechanism to go back to management and request you move the goalposts, because if you don't have this explicit meeting to move the goalposts, and in fact, the team decides to pursue this radical new thing, you're likely to be late and not deliver what you think you're going to be delivered.
                                                      But if you have a kind of a system where the team goes back to management, say, "Hey, we've got this great idea. It's going to take longer, but if we do it right, we're going to just be 10X." And therefore we'd like you to move the goalposts and give us another two quarters or another $300,000 or whatever it is you need to be successful. And the executives will either say, "Yes, do it." Or "No, we can't afford that." If they answer is yes, we do it. It's great. They're going to Disneyland. If the answer is no, but it's really valuable. Then it goes back into this notion which we talked about a protected space for innovation and discovery. And then the final thing, if neither of those two are possible, you would budget it for next year, but that's no good. So hopefully there's a way to act on it, either aligned with your project activity or to be basically nurtured in a protective space.

Brett Harned:                                          Okay. Say it's almost kind of leaning on that structure that an organization would set up around innovation, like having that protected space, having that governing body to help determine what money should be spent on and advocating for that thing and then making a change to the scope of your project and proceeding which-

John Carter:                                           Exactly.

Brett Harned:                                          ... I think absolutely makes sense. One of the other things that I wanted to dig in on is, if you look at the project setting you've got a PM and a team working on a project we mentioned this idea of budgets and change. And I think one of the toughest things to really figure out on that level, like if that innovative idea comes up, it's introduced to your projects, potentially rolled into it. It's coming up with a scope for that thing. And a lot of times when an idea comes up, that is new, it's something that's not been explored or done before. So it's hard to place an estimate around it. So wondering can teams budget for innovation on the project level?

John Carter:                                           That's again, super interesting question. I think of course the answer is it depends. I think one of the toughest situations, if this project team is actually working on a deliverable for a client, who's expecting an outcome, this deviation in scope needs to be done with their approval. And that's, I think first and foremost, there's this notion that some activities are so-called build the stock, meaning they're ideas that don't necessarily have a customer but will be attractive and people will buy it. It's one type of businesses. The other is build the order where you've got a specific scope. Let's say it's to build a building or it's to create a digital asset used in advertising or whatever. Those are fixed deals with customers. So you, in fact, you really can't afford to make big changes or innovations there. And then you get to the question, okay, if you find a way the management says, "This is a good idea, but we didn't plan for it, budget for it." How do we get our arms around it?
                                                      I think the best way to do it is not make it necessarily an outcome driven kind of approach, but early on it's best to just have milestones and funding. In other words, say, these are the five questions we want to get answered in this discovery, in this protected space. And we're going to give $150,000 and six months to do it. And at the end of that, we would like to have these five questions answered. And we would like to have you be able to present our scope, to bring it to market say, or to deliver to a customer. But it can't be a traditional kind of project plan per se, because you're in discovery things could change. So really, I think setting clear expectations, clear timeframe, and a clear budget helps us at least move the project to a point where it actually can be scheduled.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, that absolutely makes sense. I think you referring to it as discovery is really important. And I think that's a good way to make the case for, if you're working on a project that a team member or the team comes up with this new approach or idea that falls outside of what you've already planned or what you've already scoped, moving that to its own separate area and thinking about it and iterating on it, then determining if it's worthy of introducing to the project is probably a good idea because you're working out kind of a proof of concept on some level. And then you've got to do some due diligence and communicating about it, selling it to people, making sure that it's an appropriate fit for that one thing you're working on. And if it isn't, maybe it's something that exists on its own.

John Carter:                                           Yes. I think you've really described exactly what should take place in this discovery zone activity because you really can't schedule it. You can't budget it but you want to encourage it. And so having a mechanism to do this I think is super important.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. So we're not kind of piggyback on something that you just said about encouraging it. So to me, the idea of working on or leading a team that is innovative is pretty exciting. I also think from the PM perspective, it's a little bit scary. Because while you might do all of this work and more of a traditional project setting and planning your project and making sure that you've got the resources and the budget to get the work done is great. But knowing that at any time, scope creep could be introduced in your project, through your team itself is a little bit nerve wracking. So I guess the question for me is like, as a leader, how do you get your team to focus on executing projects, kind of with innovation as like a side hustle so to speak? Does that even make sense?

John Carter:                                           It does. I think it's really hard to be candid. It's really hard as a side hustle. So I think what the organization needs is a simple and relatively easy way for someone who's working on a side hustle to actually have enough time and focus to innovate properly. And so you need to be able to... Do you need to do the side hustle long enough to codify your idea, show how it meets the product lens, describe the five questions you're going to answer and your budget. And then the organization can sanction your side hustle and turn it into a normal, straight forward part of your job, hopefully most all of your job to really focus and get it done.
                                                      And in one ways that I've seen organizations do this as kind of clever is they create this protected space by four individuals, not physically, but actually they turn off the Slack channels related to the company, and they create a virtual, if your organization that allows them some isolation from the typical corporate bureaucracy. What we talked about, protecting a space, you can do that electronically by just encouraging communication within the innovative team and not inviting them all company meetings and status reports and allow them to focus and innovate.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. That seems like the dream scenario. You're working on a project, you magically come up with an idea, your work gets reprioritized, you get to offload project work and really think about idea that you came up with and make it a reality. That sounds like a really exciting proposition for me. I'm sure to a lot of folks too.

John Carter:                                           Can I-

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, go ahead.

John Carter:                                           Yeah. Let me probe on that because I think it's really important and there's one other thing that's also, it's a bit a dose of reality because it is a dream project. You're absolutely right. But the dose of reality is, you know we talked about this roughly 10,000 for professional. Maybe it's a 10% of the whole activity. You can only accommodate so many ideas at a given time.

Brett Harned:                                          Right.

John Carter:                                           And unfortunately you may not be able to get to this dream state because there's another innovative idea that's kind of taken soaked up the 10%. So just to be fair and manage expectations, I do think you need real budget and real money to be innovative but sometimes unfortunately you have to wait in line because you're going to need the prior innovation kind of finished before you can work on.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. So we're kind of creeping into that personal individual level of innovation that I wanted to talk about. And I'm wondering, are there any personal benchmarks or goals that you'd recommend to people who want to prioritize innovation in their careers?

John Carter:                                           Oh gosh. Another hard question. Tell me about this do they... Are you talking about leading, let's say an innovation initiative or having a center of excellence around innovation or are you just talking about how you can allow people to be innovative and get reward as a part of their resume?

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, I was thinking more of the latter, like on the personal level, I want innovation to be a part of what I do a part of what I'm known for, what are things that I should do or strive for?

John Carter:                                           It's a great question. So another unpopular answer though and I think it's actually worthy of note, which is focus. And so if you really want to be innovative, you can't juggle your job in 10 cool ideas. What you've got to do is you've got to sort that list down and pick a horse and run with it. And I know it's super hard to say that but the fact of the matter is this transition from this spark into a flame and nurturing the actual execution, it's so fragile that you really need a special way to do that. And you can't do it if you're trying to do five or 10 cool ideas as well at the same time. So I think focus would really help you in terms of your innovation journey.
                                                      The second is, and this is really important. It goes back to our discussion about product lens. Let's say your organization is quite so formal and they don't have all these things set up. If you've got an idea and want to be known as an innovator, you have to understand how this idea will help the business move forward and be able to communicate that to the executive so that they allow you to put time onto it. Unfortunate thing is innovations often occur by employees or team members but they're not aligned with the business. So if you want to be innovative and be known for it, I'd recommend two things, one focus, two make sure you can present your case for innovation in the context of how it will make the business that you're working for at move forward.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. Those are really good tips. So coming up on my last question and the last question of each episode, nods to the title of the show, which is Time Limit, and we've talked a lot about the context of innovation in structured, maybe even larger organizations where there might be a program or process and a budget to go along with it. I'm guessing that there are several of our listeners who are in organizations that aren't set up for that or maybe not funded for it. And I'm wondering, are there ways that teams or individuals even can just focus on innovation when they don't have those resources? Are there any things I think the previous points around focus and knowing that you have to be able to sell your ideas are really important. Do you have any other kind of tips for folks who want to try to focus on it, but are stretched for those resources and time?

John Carter:                                           Yeah, this is quite a realistic situation. So I can understand that may be true for many, if not most of the listeners here, I would say that to first order. One thing that can be really helpful is if you think about... Let's say you're working in an organization but you have this really innovative job. We talked a little bit about a side hustle. Well, I think one thing that would really help is to figure out clever ways to vet the concept or idea with potential customers. So if you can, on the side, figure out a simple and elegant way to get feedback on your idea. And I think it could be done through social media, for example. So that you gain evidence to show management that this is something you should work on because you've tested in the marketplace. I think that might give you some real if you will, a tail wind.
                                                      So I recommend A, the idea of be aligned with the business and B, you've done enough thinking about it. So you can in fact say, "Well, I've got survey of 40 users in social media in this particular group. And 38 of them would absolutely love to have what I'm talking about." I think if you can find efficient ways to get market feedback and an idea aligned with the company and if you can do both of those things on the side, then I think that might give you enough evidence to really get some space to work on your new idea.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, I think that's a really good point. Kind of is making me think that when you do come up with a new idea and I've experienced this personally too, and it's something that you really want to execute, it's something that you're excited about that you know will work, you'll make the time. And that time could be on nights and weekends. Like you will make the time because you're committed to that idea. And you're committed to having it see the light of day and people experiencing it. So I think that's part of it too. It's just having that drive. And when you are limited for that time and resources, then you find alternative ways to make it happen.

John Carter:                                           Yeah. So we're talking about the individual aspects here, and you're a hundred percent right on the drive. So you need drive and you need focus and you need some way to get some feedback, but man, if you're really excited about a concept by all means you should pursue it.

Brett Harned:                                          Love it. Well, John this has been great. I'm like inspired to go think of a new idea that I can work on in my off time, which is not going to happen right now but I can be excited about it anyway. Thank you so much for joining me on Time Limit. It's been a pleasure getting to know you and talking to you about this. I hope that we stay connected and again, thank you.

John Carter:                                           Thank you very much for this opportunity to talk about this important topic. It's something that I'm passionate about and you gave me an opportunity to share the passion. So I appreciate it, Brett. Thank you.

Brett Harned:                                          Happy to do it. Thanks so much. All right, folks, that's it for this episode. I have to say I left that conversation thinking even more about how I can include innovation into my daily routine since we're in the middle of a pandemic and I have more free time than ever now feels like a good time to do that. Maybe you'll try it too, or even better maybe you'll find ways to make time and space for innovation at work. That sounds like more of a plan.
                                                      All right, so join me for our next episode which will be all about agency project management. In the meantime, will you please rate our show wherever you're listening to your podcasts and if you've got guest suggestions or want to be on the show yourself, reach out to us @podcastatteamgantt.com. Thanks.

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