“Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” —Albert Einstein
3M is the third most innovative company in the world, behind Apple and Google. It sells fifty-five thousand different products—giving it a nearly 1:1 product-to-employee ratio—and generates 30 percent of its annual revenue from products that didn’t exist 5 years ago.
The essential feature of 3M’s innovation is its “flexible attention policy.” Instead of requiring constant concentration, and working to improve efficiency ratios, it encourages people to make time for activities that are unproductive—going for a walk, reading, etc.
Have you ever seen Lean Six-Sigma promote such a concept? I haven’t.
Innovation is the antithesis of efficiency.