Innovation can be born from Constraints - René Lumley Hall

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“Some of the most innovative outcomes are produced when innovation is constrained.”

Transformation and innovation of new strategies in the digital world inspires me in my work. But, good innovative ideas do not necessarily come easily. Sometimes people require a push in order to get in the mindset to produce solutions.

A great way to pressure thought leaders is through innovative constraints. Constraints have the power to force innovators to re-imagine solutions and look at things through a different lens. It directs developers and allows for a clear goal of what needs to be accomplished.

It is important to note that not all constraints provide positive impacts on an innovation, for example, monetary constraints. In an article by Harvard Business Review, the authors discuss what types of healthy constraints can lead to positive outcomes.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, the urgency of the problem prompted traditional budget/risk constraints to be replaced by two alternatives — one that we believe support genuine innovation:

  1. constraining outcomes, e.g. “the new antibody test must have this level of sensitivity” or “the new ventilator must have this functionality”;

and then, within the context of this new target outcome:

  1. constraining time, e.g. “we need a reliable test by Q2” or “the new hospital must be ready in a week.”

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in developing markets and in scenarios where I didn’t always have complete, structured data sets or access to the most robust dashboards, tools and latest business intelligence software. That meant having to get creative and often creating proxies for what was actually needed in each case.

One such scenario included the development of an intelligent tool that captured information on borrowers’ bill-paying history, using unconventional data in markets where credit reporting bureaus weren’t yet the norm. The team used inputs such as newspaper subscription and school tuition payment history to judge a prospective client’s credit worthiness. The presumption being that if he/ she paid for those services consistently, they could be trusted to repay a business loan or line of credit.

You can read the original article

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