Innovation on the cheap

As Paul Newman said in Cool Hand Luke, "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand." The band Walk Off The Earth seems to know how to do something with nothing.

Business leaders have said forever that a creative team on a tight budget will often out-innovate a team that has all the bucks it needs.

Take the music videos that WOTE effortlessly cranks out every month. The following clip of a popular James Bay song—performed in a bathroom!—shows what they can do on a zero budget. (This certainly raises the bar for singing in the shower.)

This band has also released some expensively produced videos since being signed by Sony, but the best stuff, IMHO, are the cheapo DIY jobs—produced by band member Gianni Luminatti—that they upload every time I'm not looking.

It was just four years ago when the following video became an Internet phenomenon for WOTE (gaining millions of YouTube looks within weeks), which also cost nothing to make.

Having limited resources can push a creative team to find original solutions. (We have noted exceptions to this, as discussed here, but the principle is a solid one.)

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says, “Frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”

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  1. I recently heard about in interesting constraint: writers producing ebooks and audiobooks in episodes the length of a television show. Each one is a standalone story about 10,000 words (or 1 hour) long, building a story arc over the whole season.

    Not just short stories with the same characters, and not just serialized fiction like magazines in the old days.

    1. Sounds like you should jump on that one.

      I should have titled this post "The Freedom of My Chains" from that great old tune, "Loving Arms."

      1. Last Monday I wrote 10,262 words. Finished episode 1 of Perpetual Prey about an experiment gone very wrong, a conspiracy and a coverup, and the guy who'll uncover it all if he can just stop dying every day. (Even recorded the 55-minute audio version.)

        Yeah, I'm on that train, working my way up to the engine like Jesse James.

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