Gartner Research

Using Constraints to Generate Breakthrough Innovation: Throw Out the Blank Slate

Published: 27 February 2014

ID: G00259973

Analyst(s): Ken McGee , Mary Mesaglio , Tomas Nielsen , Jackie Fenn


If, as CIO, one of your goals for 2014 is to encourage more creativity from your team, avoid using a blue-sky approach. Research shows that a few well-chosen constraints in the innovation process elicit more creativity. This document indicates how and where to use constraints to drive creativity.

Table Of Contents



  • Reject the Myth of the Blank Slate
  • Consider That a Few Well-Placed Constraints Will Encourage, Rather Than Inhibit, Creativity
  • Create Effective Constraints
  • Ponder a Few Practical Considerations Before Getting Started

Case Studies

  • Welfare Denmark
  • "Jugaad" (or Frugal) Innovation
  • IT Budget Constraints as a Driver for IT Creativity

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