Creativity from Constraints

Jamie Flinchbaugh seems to post timely blogs with things I am working on.  Last week, he posted a blog about Leveraging Constraints for Creativity.

Now that we are back from the holidays, one of projects I am working on is improving a process to meet the customer cost requirements.  Before the holiday, the team had 4 great ideas that would allow great savings and efficiency gains.  The potential drawback is that it requires our customer to change how they give us information.  The company I work for is one of a thousand customers and we have very little product in their stores.

The challenge to the team is to still create an improved process but with the constraint that the customer will not change the way they give us information.  This is a big constraint and is causing some angst on the team.

I like the constraint.  It is really going to challenge the team to get creative with a solution.  It will push the limits in our ways of thinking about our process.  I expect it to help us make the process better than it has ever been.

Before this constraint, there was too much freedom.  This freedom allowed us to look at the customer and say they need to change or we can’t get better.  I don’t buy it.  Now with the constraint, it will force us to look at ourselves differently.  This self reflection is how we get better and stay ahead of the competition.

Posted on January 26, 2011, in Customer Focus, Problem Solving and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That reminds me of a conversation I overheard the other day talking about movies. One of the reasons Jaws was so frightening and is still such a classic is because they were limited by the special effects of the day. They had to figure out a way to tell the story and show the fear without using the shark itself so much. Had they gone heavy on the effects of the day, the movie wouldn’t have aged nearly as well. Don’t let your lack of a shark keep you from making a great shark movie.

    • That is a great line. “Don’t let your lack of a shark keep you from making a great shark movie.” I am shamelessly going to steal that when working with some groups.

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