Can constraint actually drive business innovation?


The world at large will often rely on a scattergun approach to creativity and innovation. After all, shackling artists, designers and so on in their endeavors will typically produce less effective results. However, is intelligent constraint actually a gateway to success?

Well, according to research from Mckinsey & Company, the answer appears to be yes, especially in the world of business.

Sophisticated innovation

The ‘think outside the box’ mentality that many enterprise leaders try to adopt would suggest, by its very nature, that restraint actually stifles creativity. However, the opposite is in fact true.

For example, thorough strategy mapping practices can ultimately make any objectives easier to meet further down the line. Without any guidelines at all, big organisations in particular will struggle to coordinate all of the applicable stakeholders when trying to innovate, and consequently fail.

Intelligent constraint

While seeking innovation is, of course, absolutely critical in today’s enterprise environment, it is by no means easy. Using technology as an example, organisations may choose to latch on to the latest and greatest in software just because it is new, rather than weigh up the tangible benefits.

Intelligent constraints create an environment which allows for innovation while also providing guidelines within which the boundaries can be pushed. At the end of the day, a wrong decision can cost a swathe of time, resources and money, so ensuring that any innovative processes will ultimately yield positive results is the first hurdle to surpass.

As pointed out by McKinsey & Company, too much constraint can stifle innovation, while too little is just as detrimental.

Ultimately, simple guidelines and rules can outline the give and take that the company has available, and should, in theory at least, create a breeding ground for thorough and effective innovation.