I love Adam Morgan’s book A Beautiful Constraint. It identifies every constraint as an opportunity for greater creativity. He even goes as far as saying that life without constraints stifles innovation. You can certainly see this principle borne out in the best architecture, which is often inspired by something external within the wider environment.
Essentially, he is asking ‘how can an oyster build a pearl without the grit’?
Now, not all constraints are welcome. And, right now, the Coronavirus is extremely unwelcome. It presents us with very real challenges, from every angle.
As a business, it is essential that we protect the well-being and future prosperity of our people. This is not only about limiting travel and encouraging virtual working, as well as lots and lots of hand washing. It is also about how fast we adapt, so that the business can continue to thrive.
It is a constraint that requires us to be our most imaginative and creative, exploring new ways to interact and get things done for our clients.
In our world of research, there has been a huge amount of innovation in technology platforms and cool tools. Whether it be social data analysis, mobile, community quick polls or virtual qual, there are so many opportunities to answer questions in different, fascinating ways.
This is the time to experiment and try out new things, to mix and match and look at an issue from many different perspectives. Where previously a new tool has been something to add richness and colour on the side, it can now take a central role and be applied in innovative, more inventive and integrated ways.
So, yes, every bleak, dark cloud can have a brighter lining, if you look for it. In research, it is the opportunity to experiment more, and create new insights from virtual interactions, self ethnography and social data.
This rapidly changing environment also presents an opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves – to recognise that this new constraint is going to test us all in ways we have yet to imagine. We are going to have to get used to responding to things we cannot control, and accepting this.
However, if we focus on the things we can control, and work out how to solve problems in inspiring ways, we will all emerge from this stronger and wiser. It is an opportunity for everyone to step forward, lead and learn together, whether at work or among family and friends.
We all have control over how we choose to respond to what is happening and, if we remember this, it will be a positive experience to find a way through.
At Hall & Partners we are working closely with our clients to adapt, invent and collaborate, in search of new solutions and sources of inspiration.
We expect to create some new pearls of wisdom.