Where Science Meets Muse

Do Implementing “Best Practices” Stifle Creativity/Innovation?

Posted by Plish on January 26, 2009

The Future of Best Practice Adoption

The Future of Best Practice Adoption

 “Companies have defined so much ‘best practice’ that they are now more or less identical.” — Joseph Kunde, Unique Now…or Never

We all have seen, heard, or read references to “Best Practices”‘ as being a road to success.  Kunde’s astute observation challenges us.

Are we so involved in adopting “Best Practices” that we are losing our unique, tactical edges?  Can “Best Practices” result in all our solutions to big problems looking alike and do they really advance innovation?

Just today the Pfizer/Wyeth merger seems to answer “Yes”, “Yes” and “No” respectively.

Yes, there are times and places for instituting “Best Practices”.  They are to be used when the road is poorly marked, when the strategy is one of staying the course. 

But, when the goal is to bring new innovations to the world, to out-battle those bigger and stronger, to zig when others zag, the “Best Practices” enacted should be those that empower us, people, your team, 

to be authentic,



                                                                           dynamic individuals –

that together –

are greater than the sum of their parts.

2 Responses to “Do Implementing “Best Practices” Stifle Creativity/Innovation?”

  1. Mike Brown said

    The football picture made me think about a story USA Today last December on the Miami Dolphins and their use of a single wing offense. This formation hadn’t been used in the NFL since 1951, and it was originally designed in 1907 for Jim Thorpe. It was so surprising to NFL teams that Miami scored four times in the first six plays it used the “Wildcat Offense.” Goes to show that simply looking for contemporary best practices as a means to improvement might not be enough; a surprise-based strategy could have a far bigger beneficial impact.

    If Miami coach Tony Sparano had only sought out examples of teams running current offenses, he might have realized some incremental improvement. It’s not likely though the Dolphins would have scored so frequently early on by implementing a current offensive best practice. The dramatic success was fueled by something not only unexpected but unseen previously by its competitors in the pro ranks.

  2. Plish said

    Mike, what a great example!! Thanks for bringing that up – it’s a lesson we can all learn from!

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