When I took a solo trip to Italy back in 2008, I relied on my trusty Eagle Creek backpack as my carry-on.

Four years later, when I led a creativity retreat in Istanbul, I was done with hauling everything on my back. I found the lightest rolling carry-on available — my beloved Osprey Ozone 22″ — and paired it with a day pack for my “personal items.”

For the past dozen years, I’ve perfected my packing routine, using packing cubes and maximizing every odd compartment in my suitcase and daypack.

It worked great. Until it didn’t.

My last two flights proved that my knee, after two dislocations and reconstruction surgery, could no longer handle racing through airports with a daypack stuffed to the brim (always with the heaviest electronics, too!)

Problems like these are where human creativity comes to the rescue.

My favorite question to ask when faced with a challenge: “How might we?”

How might we get all my stuff through the airport in the most body-friendly way, without carrying it on my back?

Could I find a wheeled bag that fits under the seat?

To avoid managing two wheeled bags at once, it made sense to swap my Osprey Ozone for a 4-wheeled spinner carryon, allowing me to stack the smaller bag on top.

It’s a reasonable solution, though I felt some resistance to letting go of the Osprey.

I love that old Osprey Ozone carryon!

When I first got the Osprey, it took me a while to get used to its quirks. The interior is a weird shape due to the pull handle, and there’s an odd second compartment on the back.

I’ve gotten used to these quirks, which now feel normal. But that wasn’t always the case.

There was another normal before this one. And another before that.

What luggage has to do with innovation

It’s the same on your team, in your organization, and in your relationships outside of work, too.

It’s easy to get complacent. Sometimes it takes a wrench in the works — a sore knee, market competition, or another unexpected disruption — to shake us out of our complacency and push us to try a new way.

If things are working, great. But be on the lookout.

It took a few trips with sore knees for me to realize my luggage setup needed to change. I wish I’d caught on sooner; it would have spared me a lot of pain!

What’s your “sore knee”? Pay attention and connect the dots. Are you willing to let go of the status quo to make things better?

Conclusion

Innovation often starts with a challenge.


Just like I had to rethink my luggage strategy, leaders and organizations must be willing to reassess and adapt.

By asking “How might we?” and embracing new solutions, we can Create the Impossible™.


Don’t wait for discomfort to force a change—proactively seek out opportunities to innovate and improve. Your next breakthrough might be just a question away.


When you’re ready to ignite innovation by improving connection, communication, creativity, or all three, book your complimentary Impact Assessment Call and let’s chat about how I can help.

 

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