Marissa Mayer: Creativity Loves Constraints

Marissa Mayer, then Vice-President for Search Products and User Experience at Google, and presently CEO of Yahoo, had the following thoughts on creativity:

Marissa Mayer on Creativity Constraints shape and focus problems and provide clear challenges to overcome. Creativity thrives best when constrained.

Constraints can actually speed development. For instance, we often can get a sense of just how good a new concept is if we only prototype for a single day or week. Or we’ll keep team size to three people or fewer. By limiting how long we work on something or how many people work on it, we limit our investment.

… constraints alone can stifle and kill creativity. While we need them to spur passion and insight, we also need a sense of hopefulness to keep us engaged and unwavering in our search for the right idea. Innovation is born from the interaction between constraint and vision.

Henry Ford once said: “If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.” True creativity makes the impossible possible. It can revolutionize a product, a business, the economy, and the world around us.

Think about that the next time someone interprets the results of a customer survey or focus group.

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Posted in Mental Models and Psychology

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