Edge theory – the idea that change happens at the margins, free from the stifling orthodoxy of the centre – is something I have often spoken and written about. It was great to see this concept make its way to the pages of the Harvard Business Review in an article by Professor Jeff DeGraff from the University of Michigan. Jeff suggests that it’s easier, more efficient and more valuable to innovate from the edge than the centre. That’s where all the risk and creativity happens. It is also where reward is most visible.
Jeff proposes that we do away with the classic 80/20 management rule of “doing more with less” and look at 20/80. Work to change 20% of your company by 80% instead of trying to change 80% of your company by 20%. Identify the people and areas that are catalysts for innovation. Work with them. Nurture them. Get them to share their thoughts and ideas. You can work this theory in your life too. Find out which part of your life drives change and put your effort there. You’ll end up getting more by doing less.