Creative Genius Podcast

Season 1 Episode 3

There is Always a Better Way (Chuck Swoboda)

There is Always a Better Way (Chuck Swoboda)

Welcome to the Creative Genius Podcast with your hosts Gail Doby and Erin Weir, co-founders of Pearl Collective, a creative consultancy for interior designers. In their own honest musings and in their open conversations with industry leaders, experts, authors, and influencers, they share how they inspire each other and work through whatever life and business challenges come their way.

Anyone can innovate, but not everyone has what it takes to be an innovator. How about you? Can you pass the UFO test?

In today’s episode, Gail and Erin talk with innovation guru Chuck Swoboda, Innovator-in-Residence at Marquette University, author of The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible, and host of the “Innovators on Tap” podcast. He is also the founder of Cape Point Advisors, an innovation and technology consultancy; the former chairman and CEO of Cree, where he led the LED revolution; and a contributor to Forbes magazine, writing about the intersection of innovation and leadership.

In this episode, Gail and Erin talk about:

  • What is innovation?
  • How to embrace problems
  • The UFO test of innovation

Innovation has become a popular buzzword in business circles, but is often misunderstood. Innovation involves more than making improvements or enhancements, Chuck explains. A real innovation has to be something that’s new. It has to solve a problem. And it has to add value for the customer.

Innovators love a challenge. The innovator’s mindset begins with the belief that there is always a better way. When someone says you can’t do something, that’s your big opportunity. They’re giving you a problem that needs to be solved (and implying that they don’t know how to solve it). Find the solution and you’ve got something unique and of real value to offer.

Embrace problems. “Don’t waste a good crisis,” Chuck says. In times of crisis the old ways of doing things no longer work. That makes them an ideal opportunity to try new and different things. You have to re-evaluate what’s important and core to your business, which can lead to exciting discoveries. The biggest periods of innovation and advancement in U.S. history have come after huge crises.

What should business leaders know about innovation? “Innovation is the great equalizer,” states Chuck. It gives everyone a chance to be better than they are today.” It is available to all of us, if we are open to it. However, innovation is demanding. It takes a certain mindset and a willingness to challenge some of your own beliefs if you’re going to succeed. He describes the traits that make for successful innovators and the qualities of innovative leaders.

And, oh yes, that UFO test. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out what that’s all about. (Hint: It does not involve aliens.)

Mentioned in this Podcast

To learn more about Chuck, his company, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit his website at

You can find Chuck’s book, The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible, in hardcover or e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as in bookstores.

You can listen and subscribe to episodes of Chuck’s podcast, “Innovators on Tap,” on his website or wherever you get your podcasts.

For more information about Cree, Inc. and its products, visit

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