Innovation comes from giving creative people challenging problems, directing their energy with incentives, and then making them feel the true pain of the problem.
The path from “hard” to “easy” is what creates the innovation. In other words: the desire to be lazy is what drives the creative problem solving. The key is making the creative problem solver feel the pain, and incentivizing them to remove the pain.
Incentives direct the energy of the problem solver, but a desire to be lazy and pain-free get’s the problem solved.
- If you want to use technology to improve customer service, have your developer work as a customer service representative for a week.
- If you want your marketing team to provide cleaner data for your analysts, assign them a data-cleaning task.
- If you’d like your logistics to run more efficiently, send your developers on delivery routes.
- If your marketing team is ineffective, send them to the front lines of your retail storefront or production warehouse. Have them create and sell the product.
Don’t let anybody leave their new post until the problem is fixed. Total immersion into the pain of a problem; that’s what drives innovation.
Entrepreneurs are more effective at solving new problems than industry incumbents because they’re able to feel the pain of every facet of their business, and the only way through the pain is creative problem solving.
The bigger a company gets, the more departments are protected from organizational pain. Once departments are insulated from pain, less creative problem solving occurs.