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Using Rivalry to Spur Innovation

Abstract: Many of the best practices of the Renaissance have already been largely integrated into today’s R&D practices to stimulate business innovation. Some of the practices adopted from that creative period of Renaissance include -

   • Promoting “collision” between engineers, scientists, and managers ultimately leads to better collaboration and ultimately produce the best ideas.

   • Giving researchers their space to spend time on their own ideas and projects.

   • Setting stretch goals to encourage innovators to “shoot for the stars.”

The article concludes that a friendly and healthy degree of rivalry between two or more teams working on a given project can have a strong motivational impact and can lead to new levels of creativity and more valuable, business innovation. The article conclusion is that modern R&D organizations are missing an opportunity to promote pioneering innovation by overlooking this potential of rivalry.

Published: McKinsey Quarterly, May 2010

Authors: Bernard T. Ferrari, and Jessica Goethals

Link: Using Rivalry to Promote Innovation

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