Monday, June 1, 2015

Constraints And Not "Outside The Box" Thinking Are Critical Sources Of Value-Creating Innovation: McKinsey & Co

From McKinsey & Company, Insights & Publications, May 2015, "The simple rules of disciplined innovation: Constraints aren’t the enemy of creativity—they make it more effective." by Donald Sull:
When it comes to innovation, the single most common piece of advice may be to “think outside the box.” Constraints, according to this view, are the enemy of creativity because they sap intrinsic motivation and limit possibilities.

Sophisticated innovators, however, have long recognized that constraints spur and guide innovation.
Simple rules add just enough structure to help organizations avoid the stifling bureaucracy of too many rules and the chaos of none at all. By imposing constraints on themselves, individuals, teams, and organizations can spark creativity and channel it along the desired trajectory. Instead of trying to think outside the wrong box, you can use simple rules to draw the right box and innovate within it.
Simple rules are most commonly applied to the sustaining kind of innovation, often viewed as less important than major breakthroughs. The current fascination with disruption obscures an important reality. For many established companies, incremental product improvements, advances in existing business models, and moves into adjacent markets remain critical sources of value-creating innovation.

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