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Why Constraints Are Good for Innovation

hbr.org

Constraints vs Obstacles

Constraints are viewed as obstacles. The common wisdom regarding obstacles suggests that we have to remove all constraints.

We tend to believe that by getting rid of all rules and regulations, real creativity and innovation will start to emerge.

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Embracing Constraints

New research suggests that managers can innovate better by embracing and working with constraints, instead of viewing them as a hindrance to innovation.

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The Mind Needs A Challenge

When there are no challenges in the creative process, complacency comes in, and people tend to go for the most intuitive and easy ideas rather than investing in the development of better but difficult to implement ideas.

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Providing Limited Resources

Managers may intentionally limit inputs by capping resources in corporate entrepreneurship projects, to motivate employees to challenge themselves and innovate.

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A Balancing Act

Do not impose too many constraints, otherwise, employee motivation is hampered and creative ideas don't have breathing space.

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