Praise for perfectionism.

You'll almost never hear praise for perfectionism in any conversation about innovation.

"The perfect is the enemy of the good."

"Progress over perfection."

"Take imperfect action."

"80% is the new 100%."

Too much of this and it becomes shortsighted.  In fact, wrong.  Ingenuity thrives on diversity, and getting the details right - at the right time - is an critical part of that diversity.  The experts we seek out for advice are usually experts because they understand certain details and know how to apply those details.  

Detail-oriented people can be accused of dragging down the energy, of slowing things down.  Yet each of us can think of a time when a "details person" pulled on a tiny thread, asked a simple question, and eventually overturned a massive problem or oversight.  A thankless job, sometimes.  

An often quoted idiom says, "God is in the details."  (It is also said that you can find the devil there.)  Those details need to be a part of the process from the beginning.  Getting key elements of the process and the fledgling ideas that come out of that process perfect -- yes, let's say it again, perfect -- gives you a strong, safe foundation for the creativity and risks and the flow of ideas that are needed later.

And similarly, process checks are needed along the way to ask: what needs to be sturdy and perfect right now? and what needs to be in flux to get to the best outcome?  What small detail could be catastrophic if we don't get it right at this stage? 

For a timely read, try this article by Benjamin Bannister, sent over by a friend of the You Are the Innovator and one of our favorite perfectionists.  In the scope of the global event and fanfare that is the Oscars, a tiny but mighty design shift could make all the difference.

Why Typography Matters - Especially at the Oscars

Erin Mosley