embrace constraints

brick wall

Garr Reynolds has a nice post today on his Presentation Zen blog called 10 Tips on How to Think Like a Designer. He includes a bunch of good ideas to incorporate into making good presentations. The one that resonates the most with me is the first one on the list:

Embrace constraints. Constraints and limitations are wonderful allies and lead to enhanced creativity and ingenious solutions that without constrains never would have been discovered or created. In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.” There’s no point complaining about constraints such as time, money, tools, etc. Your problem is what it is. How can you solve it given the resources and time that you have?

I think that this is critically important advice – mainly because we generally tend to view constraints as obstacles. They’re not. Constraints give us an opportunity to innovate. This is true whether we’re making a presentation, writing a paper, creating art, or coming up with new business ideas. It’s true when new environmental regulations are put in place – a very robust empirical finding is that doing so unleashes a flood of new ideas. Constraints are not problems – they give us a chance to do something differently.

(image source: flickr/viZZZual.com)

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

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2 thoughts on “embrace constraints

  1. dang it, I just love that guy. Tim suggested I have a look at Garr’s work while I was preparing for a presentation a while back and I can’t recommend it highly enough to people!

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