It is invigorating to accomplish a huge project. When we sit down with a blank canvas or clean sheet of paper, we have the tendency to think big. We tend to ask ourselves, “What can I think of that is new, surprising, and transformational?”
However, some of the greatest advancements across industries were not 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 new. Creative minds have the tendency to lose interest after the first generation of a new idea. Marginal improvements are, frankly, less interesting for the cutting-edge creative mind. Nonetheless, incremental improvements often make up the difference between success and failure.
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.
***This article is based on research by Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the 99% productivity think thank, the Action Method project management application, and the Creative Jobs List.