Forcing People to Innovate
Taking Away Degrees of Freedom to Rekindle the Innovative Spirit
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” – Plato
My son came back from a trip during which he broke a guitar string that he could not replace. He was actually delighted with the experience, having had to invent a different way of playing the instrument, and discovering new harmonies. With one string missing, he had to work out the other to a whole new level.
This is an innovation classic. Other examples include legislation on car emissions that have led to innovation in the combustion engine and the rise of hybrid and electric vehicles, or Apple making the explicit decision to ban the use of stylus, which led to the famous touch-screen products that we all know.
Innovation can be enhanced not always by adding new degrees of freedom, but sometimes by cutting some.
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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.
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Early in my IT career, our server that supported our training rooms experienced a failure we had seen before and for which we had a time tested solution. Since there were no classes coming for a few days, my boss forbid me from using that solution. She challenged me to come up with another way. My resulting solutioon was not nearly as elegant as the time tested one – but I ended up figuring out two new tricks that we were able to employ in other scenarios that saved time, data and our bacon.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. Pick up a different tool and see how things look.