Innovation within the boundaries

Picture Frame

Where are your boundaries?

Did you know that Steve Martin plays the banjo? He’s releasing his second bluegrass album and starts a concert tour next week. In his WSJ interview with John Jurgensen, he gives us this moment to think about innovating within the boundaries.

I wrote a play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” about a conversation between Picasso and Einstein. There’s a scene with an art dealer and he’s waxing rhapsodic about a painting and he says, “You know what makes this painting great? The frame. It forces a containment and the painter has to work within the boundaries. They have to innovate within.” I like that [about bluegrass]. Here’s what you’ve got, now what you can do with it?

From “Banjo Player Walks Into a Nail Salon
WSJ: 11 March 2011, emphasis added

We should all ask ourselves from time to time: “Here’s what you’ve got, now what can you do with it?” What are the boundaries you’ve got to work within? Whether you’re a bluegrass musician, a painter, a software engineer, an entrepreneur or something else entirely, you’ve got boundaries and restrictions.

Sometimes those supposed restrictions themselves can provide inspiration for your innovation.

“Here’s what you’ve got, now what can you do with it?”

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