If you demand that a team only does what is feasible, you will rarely get exceptional results. A team that is encouraged to think within existing and proven solution patterns will get few ideas outside these boundaries. Innovation leadership means setting ambitious visionary goals and regularly pushing conventional boundaries.
The ingenious inventor Thomas Edison had an ambitious innovation goal: “A small invention every ten days, a large one every six months”. Such targets create an almost automatic tendency to create the framework for these ideas in one’s own area of responsibility: Setting goals, defining limits and giving employees the necessary freedom to develop ideas within these limits.
Forget the notion that ideas flow best when people can think completely open. The opposite is true. Restrictions encourage creative thinking. If you have three million Euros for the development of an advertising campaign, then think about an expensive commercial. If your job is to make the same impact with 30,000 euros, you inevitably have to be creative. “Austerity promotes innovation just as other constraints do.” This is a basic philosophy of company founder Jeff Bezos. To this day, he is one of the main advocates of an innovation approach that promotes creativity through limitations. Just like Google. Here, too, massive restrictions in time, money and sometimes even resources stimulate unusual solutions.