12 Mar Why constraints are beautiful
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by constraints? Distribution is squeezing you, legislation hurt you, budget cuts frustrate you or a lack of resource is crippling? We’ve all experienced the feeling of being constrained by factors largely beyond our control, but it is how we react to them that matters. Do you act like a victim and be constrained or do you find a way to flip that constraint to your advantage?
That is the premise of a new book I have been enjoying called A Beautiful Constraint written by Adam Morgan, the author of Eating the big Fish and The Pirate Inside. It explains how you can reframe challenging situations, recognise & avert legacy processes and provides practical frameworks for overcoming the constraint.
The book is jam-packed full of examples of organisations which have turned what, on the face of it looked like adversity, into innovative, successful outcomes. Here are a few:
Being the public fall guy for sweat shops could have taken Nike down. One of the major workers right issues was health & safety compliance around the fumes from the glue used on the shoes. Nike were under severe pressure to solve the problem by hiring supervisors in all their factories 24/7 to ensure people were wearing the protective clothing. Nike’s fix to the problem was to render it unnecessary. They did this by inventing a water-based adhesive which removed the fumes and removed the problem. Not only that, the new glue performed better than the original one. By attempting to neutralise a problem, they created product innovation!
On a smaller scale the Italian luxury furniture company made.com wanted to exhibit their furniture but could not afford to lease anywhere in Milan, not a even pop-up space. Their solution was to borrow the apartments of their 4 most enthusiastic customers for four days. They witnessed over 1,000 visitors, garnered publicity and perhaps most importantly, cemented a reputation as a brand with a fresh perspective.
If your growth plans are constrained by factors beyond your control, I highly recommend this book to help your organisation navigate towards an innovative solution. Just like monetising your own media assets, a different solution to growth might be staring you in the face!