If you’re like many managers today, you probably wish you had additional resources. Maybe you can’t hire as many people as you think your organization needs — or perhaps you think you could seize new opportunities if you only had a bigger budget. In today’s uncertain and competitive markets, it often seems like there’s far too much to do — and too little to do it with.
The good news is that, in many situations, scarce resources can inspire creativity and creative solutions to problems. In “In Praise of Resource Constraints,” an essay published in MIT Sloan Management Review in 2007, scholars Michael Gibbert, Martin Hoegl and Liisa Välikangas made the argument that resource constraints can foster innovation. “Limited — or better focused — by specific rules and constraints, we are more likely to recognize an unexpected idea.… Would-be innovators facing constraints are more likely to find creative analogies and combinations that would otherwise be hidden under a glut of resources,” the authors wrote.1
In other words, there may at times be advantages to having fewer resources than you’d like! However, for managers wrestling with constraints, it is crucial to use the resources your organization does have as effectively as possible — and that’s where this issue of MIT Sloan Management Review can help. You’ll learn about leveraging and building employees’ networks, combining new information technology innovations with one another and with human talent to gain competitive advantage, identifying new business models that suit your company’s competencies — and even getting your marketing messages to more people inexpensively through practices that encourage “retweeting”. Here’s hoping this issue — and this year — bring you many good ideas and much success.
Martha E. Mangelsdorf
MIT Sloan Management Review
P.S. I find that one effective way to leverage MIT SMR’s own resources is to create new online collections that bring together MIT Sloan Management Review content on important management topics. Along those lines, I’ve put together a collection of MIT Sloan Management Review articles, interviews and blog posts related to strategy.
1. M. Gibbert, M. Hoegl and L. Välikangas, “In Praise of Resource Constraints,” MIT Sloan Management Review 48, no. 3 (spring 2007): 15-17.