Unleash What’s Possible


May 9, 2023

In a recent article, I talked about the 3-story limit that architects in the early 1900s had to deal with. How wood and bricks were the only materials they could use. But those materials had a problem: buildings could only be built so high because wood and brick couldn’t structurally support the weight of a building taller than about three stories.

Interestingly, it’s not just buildings that have limit on their height. We often put limits on ourselves and cap what we think is possible. In our work. In our ideas. In our life.

The secret to becoming a successful innovator, then, is understanding how to break through these limit. And how to unleash what’s possible for your work.

How do you come up with ideas?

Have you ever thought about how you come up with ideas? Maybe you’re like most people and use the old standby: the brainstorm. Nothing against brainstorming, but more often than not they don’t work. People in these meeting usually don’t produce ideas that are actually fresh and unique. They’re just a rehash of something that they’ve seen someplace else.

That’s what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and more broadly over the course of my 25-year career in innovation. I’ve been asking myself: What if there’s a better way to generate ideas that doesn’t require more time, more budget, or more team members? A way that’s not about muscling it out, powering through, and burning ourselves out in the process?

A smarter way?

A more creative way?

It’s taken me 25 years to answer these questions, and I’ve had a surprising path to discovering the answers.

It all started when…

Lucky for me, my first job out of college was working at an architecture firm. When you’re a kid in kindergarten and have to say what you wanted to be when you grow up, working with architects was nowhere on my radar. But I love it! I loved the big thinking. I loved the design process. It was humbling seeing incredible buildings come to life. I loved all the creativity. If architects had groupies, I was front and center.

In fact, I loved it so much that I ended up getting a master’s degree related to architecture. And my research turned into my very first book.

What I learned from the world of architecture is that architecture is just another way of helping people unleash what’s possible. To see the world in a new way. To think bigger, broader, and bolder.

The interesting thing about architects is that they make this happen by doing two things really, really well. They…

1) Reverse engineer the outcomes they want

2) Connect the dots in fresh ways

After a decade I asked myself, “Why do architects get all the fun?” And I set out on a journey to help people in other professions learn how to apply these exact same principles.

What’s innovation really about?

That led me to the field of innovation. I’m such a student at heart, and after I spent thousands of hours of research, years of studying with the masters, and writing three books specifically on the topic of innovation… guess what I learned?

Innovation is about two things unleashing what’s possible. For a product. For a company. For an industry.

And when you boil it down, innovators spend their days doing two things…

1) Reverse engineering the outcomes they want

2) Connecting the dots in fresh ways

Sound familiar?

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m an Innovation Architect. I’m actually a person who spends my days reverse engineering the desired outcomes for leaders and connecting the dots in fresh ways.

In other words, I help people unleash what’s possible.

These days I travel the world, advising executives on how they can break through their three-story limits, elevate their companies to new levels, and unleash what’s possible. In fact, I’ve put a stake in the ground. I’m on a mission to teach one million people how to become innovative thinkers.

What this means for you

The GOOD news is, I’m not the only one who gets to be an innovation architect! We ALL can be Innovation Architects because innovation is everybody’s business. And I invite you to become an Innovation Architect right alongside me.

This is what we’ll learn.

Through my years of research, I’ve developed a simple, repeatable, and scalable five-step process that teaches people how to reverse engineer the outcomes they want to experience. And how to connect the dots in fresh ways. And that’s what catapults people into inspired thinking and helps them leapfrog to bigger outcomes. 

Through my experience, what I’ve seen is that the answers we’re looking for are usually right in front of us. We just don’t know how to find them or sometimes recognize them when we see them. But they’re easier to find than we might think. So together, let’s explore this process.

In my next article, I’ll dive deep into my proven five-step process to unleash what’s possible.

Want to read more about unleashing what’s possible? Check out:

What Keeps People from Hitting Their Goals?

Are You Hiding Your Best Ideas?

How to Be More Creative (77 Ways)

Photo credit: ROMAN ODINTSOV via Pexels

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.