Be Solutionary, Not Revolutionary

When we sit down with a blank canvas or clean sheet of paper, we have the tendency to think big. We ask ourselves, “What can I think of that is new, surprising, transformational?”

However, some of the greatest advancements across industries were not huge, singular achievements but rather incremental improvements. Even bold ideas such as online music stores, departures in architecture, and new genres of music were the result of new ideas refined over time. The iPod was not the first MP3 player. Google was not the first search engine. And the list goes on…

While logic should encourage us to improve what is around us, we still tend to think of innovation as creating something entirely new. Creative minds have the tendency to lose interest after the first implementation of a new idea. Marginal improvements are, frankly, less interesting for the cutting-edge creative. Nonetheless, incremental improvements often make up the difference between success and failure.

Creative minds have the tendency to lose interest after the first implementation of a new idea.
Especially productive creative teams are able to find excitement in solving problems both big and small, and in varying stages. It’s these accrued solutions that make up the distance between a new idea being created, and actually being adopted.

Leaders that focus on incremental progress – being “solutionary” rather than revolutionary – are the ones that truly push ideas to full fruition.  Such behavior takes a tremendous amount of discipline. But with conviction and clearly defined goals, creative energy can be channeled to refine a good idea enough to make a great impact.

The next time you’re in “dreamer mode,” trying to conjure up something brilliant, challenge yourself to search for the little tweak that can make a big difference.

More insights on: Achievement, Iteration

Scott Belsky

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Scott Belsky is Adobe's Vice President of Community and Co-Founder & Head of Behance, the leading online platform for creatives to showcase and discover creative work. Scott has been called one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company, and is the author of the bestselling book, Making ideas Happen.
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