I’ve written before about the science that helps explain why and how constraints and limits, often in the form of intelligent, well-set stretch goals, result in more creative solutions.
Too often, though, managers set what appears to be a good stretch goal, only to discover that it did not produce the hoped-for innovative thinking. One common reason for this is that the goal was in fact not “stretch” enough. When I ask executives what they consider “stretch,” I commonly hear about 5% to 10% increments in improvement.
That’s not stretch enough, because a 5%-10% improvement often translates to people working harder and longer. A 25% improvement, though, while audacious and arduous, can rarely be met simply by sweating more. It demands innovative thinking.breakthrough, stretch goal