Are Constraints Innovation Accellerators?

Interesting blog post about Google growing up as a company.

Google Grows Up – Scott Anthony – HarvardBusiness.org

I very much admire Google and all of the innovative apps they have brought to the market.  The fact is that most all of their success financially is still pegged to their ad revenue and their many other investments have yet to bear fruit.

Scott’s advice to Google about investing in innovation makes sense but you have to read all the way to the end to find this nugget that really hit home to me:

“People think that constraints are innovation inhibitors. They aren’t. Unconstrained efforts are often undisciplined efforts that lead to immaterial results. The right constraints in the right places can be innovation accelerators. Constraints can focus creativity where it is most needed. Constraints can help ensure investment flows to where it provides the highest returns.”

This is a challenge that we face nearly every day, expecially when it comes to staffing constraints and feeling as though we never have enough people to do “want” to do.

Whether you’re Google or not, most (all?) companies face constraints.   And while I would always like the ability to expand our team, I agree with Scott. Companies need to use constraints to concentrate on efforts and investments that “should” be undertaken to lead to the greatest return.

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