Eliminate To Innovate

Several years back, while talking on the phone with a friend from college, I was also going though my pile of things-to-fix-up-and-reuse.  When she asked what I was doing, I told her and her reply was certain and final enough to get my full attention:

“Don’t keep broken things around you.”

taking out the trash

She went on with what she was talking about, but her statement stuck with me.

In “The Upside-Down Approach To Innovation,” Anita Campbell asks a core question:

“What if we approached innovation from the opposite direction – by getting rid of what isn’t working before we try to come up with something that works.”

What if we cleaned house first, addressed the mess and made room for innovation? What if we let go of the junk now and let it become somebody else’s treasure?

It’s time to quit wasting our energy on hackneyed systems and broken equipment. It’s like Spring cleaning, getting the house ready for the new year, except doing it now.

A Good Reason To Get Rid of The Mess

Christmas is coming! If you get rid of the things that don’t work, maybe Santa will bring you something that does. Ok, I’m kidding (a little). Besides I don’t know if Santa makes office calls, but the Holiday season does bring sales and that includes sales in the business community.

However, you can’t know what deals to take advantage of if you don’t know what you need. You can’t get intimate with what you need until you let go of what you don’t need.  Eliminate first.  That process alone will make you feel lighter and smarter. Then you can innovate with more focus and precision.

Don’t let the junk get in the way of your next steps.

Removing Trash Photo via Shutterstock


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

3 Reactions
  1. Nice post. This is a very interesting take on organization. I have gone through this process before, and I have to say it worked wonders for me. We often get too caught up in the “clutter” when trying to move forward. Thank you for bringing this to the masses.

  2. I read the entire article, and like you “Don’t keep broken things around you” stuck. As founder of an outsourcing company based in Florida, I tend to come across business professionals whose general strategy resembles a hoarder.

    They keep overly priced rental space (which is probably too big of a space to begin with). Their offices are decked out in leather chairs, imported desks, and let’s not forget the Apple hysteria. Every piece of machinery has “i” in front it – from iphones to “icoffee”.

    The irony is – these business professionals have requested my services to “cut costs” . . .

    My new iron clad policy of “Don’t keep broken things” (please do not sue me for copyright infringement) does not start after you get approved by the bank to fund your business. Instead, it should start at the point of conception.

    We are in the 21st century. Most brick and mortar businesses of the past can be exceeded at your “home office” without the five to ten full-time employees whose salary and health care costs alone are problematic – even for lucrative businesses.

    Do you know why so many business professionals are stuck on having a physical location? Stuck on hiring five employees when they can make do with two? And why the only technologies these companies are utilizing are the ones with an “i” in front of them?

    Because unlike Ms. J, these professionals keep broken things.


    Donatello Bae

  3. I tend to agree with you that when many business owners think of innovation, they think of developing new products/services.