Monthly Archives: February 2017

Learning to Love Constraints, the BrewDog Way

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In my ongoing quest to learn from best, I’ve just read ‘Business For Punks’ by James Watt, the co-founder of BrewDog, the poster child for the craft beer revolution that is sweeping the Globe.

It’s an incredible story and it’s a great read. Insightful, clear and written with the same punk attitude as the brand. I heartily recommend it – even if you don’t like beer.

Although they see themselves as true rebels, in many ways they’re deeply conventional. They do the fundamentals really well. They have a forensic attention to detail on cost and finances, – the punk accountants! – an unerring obsession with the quality of their product and a deep sensitivity towards the culture of the business and the role of every individual. All great stuff.

However, what really caught my attention was the fact that as a small business, up against wealthy megabrands, they truly embraced the constraints they operated under and saw them as a springboard for success.

‘When it comes twenty first century marketing, not having a budget is definitely not a problem. In fact, it is a massive advantage masquerading as a thinly veiled constraint’

This ultimately drove them to embark on such ground breaking initiatives as their ‘Equity For Punks’ crowdfunding scheme, which is now extending to the USA. They understood that their constraints were opportunities for innovation.

This is the philosophy that we preach at ‘A Beautiful Constraint’ where we see limitations as advantages and sources of inspiration. Our point of view is that it is by truly embracing your constraint you will be forced to challenge your underlying assumptions, break out of existing modes of thinking and develop new alternative solutions.

We live in constrained times. More limitations are likely to be imposed upon us. In the future, the winners will be those who are able to turn their constraints to their advantage

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Why it’s good to be messy

 

Last year one of my favourite books was Maria Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying‘ It really did change my life. I threw out all the clothes that didn’t give me joy, cleared out all my old work files and visited Wandsworth tip on a regular basis. I recommended it to everyone I know.

However, this year the book I keep banging on about is Tim Harford’s ‘Messy. How to be Creative and Messy in a Tidy Minded World’. It’s the complete opposite of the Magic of Tidying, but is just as compelling and inspiring. This book argues the case for introducing disorder, chaos and randomness into our lives in order to make us more productive and creative. What I love about it is the variety of source material he draws upon – music collaboration, building design, aircraft safety – and it’s relaxed, anecdotal style. Plus for someone, who find’s it easy to be messy, it made me feel less guilty about the state of my office.