I saw an article last week (sorry, don’t remember where) about how some leaders such as Obama and the Facebook guy limit the small decisions they have to make so they have the focus and brainpower to make the important decisions. Makes sense enough, but I got to wondering if that also applies to innovation.
It’s pretty easy to remove decision points throughout the day. Wear the same clothes, eat the same food, drive the same route, follow the same schedule – no thought required. But, it seems that most innovations come from “different”, not “same”. They come from outside the field, are sparked by a fresh perspective, are caused by looking at the old problem in a new light.
The same actions will never create different results. Same creates same, different creates different. This is the power of diversity. I suspect that innovation benefits from taking different routes to work, trying new styles, going new places, talking to different people, reading different books and magazines. Mix it up, shake it up, tear it down, build it up, shatter and integrate. Seek different. See what happens.
And even seemingly small changes can bring about big alterations and impacts!
I think the key for innovation requires calibrating sameness and difference. Where can you introduce sameness and route in order to allow for more diversity and discovery where it matters most … with the caveat that periodically you must intentionally disrupt the routines to uncover new possibilities and to avoid them becoming very limiting ruts.
Jeffrey, thanks for taking the time to weigh in. I like your idea of intentional disruption to balance the benefits of useful/simplifying routines with preventing ruts. Please drop by some more – I’d love to hear your take on other topics.