This week will focus on various types of constraints. At first, constraints seem to be big NO's to innovation. Applied at particular times (i.e., after implementation has been started) that can be true. Early on in ideation, however, constraints can force considering radical and innovative alternatives which would have never been considered under more typical circumstances.

Some constraints are so insidious they absolutely blind us to simple and very obvious decisions we should be making to improve our situation. Other constraints are there to drive stronger performance from a narrower list of variables. Frequently, defining a certain business model strategy for your brand poses constraints which stand in the way of best serving customers.

The key, ultimately, is being able to be innovative and successful irrespective of the strategic constraints you face.

This week's topic was inspired recently when thinking about how to fit more exercise into my day. Having a 9th floor office with the nearest ice machine 3 floors away, it was easy to walk 20 or 30 flights of stairs daily simply through bypassing the elevator several times. Now, in a first floor office, there's no comparable opportunity, or so I thought.

I start nearly every weekday by attending mass. When traveling for business, this has created the opportunity to visit to some of the country's great cathedrals and some pretty intimate little churches as well. Often with no rental car, I think nothing of walking two to three miles roundtrip to get to the nearest church with an early morning service.

Yet after going to daily mass at home for more than 11 years at a church that's about a mile away from our house, I'd not walked to mass one time! For whatever reason, my perception of time limitations in the morning precluded me from even considering walking.

Recently, however, I saw a 70+ year old fellow parishioner walking home from church. She wouldn't accept my offer of a ride as a major thunderstorm moved into the area. Her perseverance though opened my eyes to the meaningless constraint which had prevented me from walking.

The next day I tried it the first time. It was a prayerful 12 minute opportunity to start the day in a new way, along with registering two miles of exercise before 7:10 in the morning! All because of finally realizing how I was unnecessarily constraining myself. - Mike Brown