“Employees who have complete freedom to innovate often pursue random ideas that don’t matter…” -Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg Innovation As Usual: How To Help Your People Bring Great Ideas To Life
Creativity and innovation is not always what we think it is, especially if we want it to provide real authentic value to the user. We tend to think of it in terms of complete freedom of will and lack of restriction. But what the research tells us is that much of that thinking is a myth, a misnomer.
In fact, creativity and innovation are often better served and engaged when approached from constrictions and constraints, than when not.
But the myths persist.
So we continue to choose not to approach creativity and innovation as a strategy, with a defined outcome in mind. Rather, we take this open approach to creativity and innovation and become frustrated when the thinking and ideas that spring forth do very little to provide real value for the organization and those within.
As Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg share in Innovation As Usual, “Given the constraints of day-to-day pressure, innovators succeed when their leaders give them a clear and limiting focus, and when that focus is directed at something that can create value for the company.”
When we determine to direct our people and constrain our ideas towards a collective outcome, we will begin to see not only more creativity and innovation, but a real depth to our creativity and innovation that provides authentic value for the organization and those within.
In the words of Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg, “Focus beats freedom. Innovation architects must help their people focus their efforts on what matters.”