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Embracing 'Good Enough': A Path to Innovation and Success

As I watch my daughter, a budding artist, pour over her sketches for a school club poster, I'm struck by her relentless pursuit of perfection. Her room is a sea of crumpled drafts, each a testament to her dissatisfaction with work that, to my eyes, already seems 'perfect.' But here's the thing: each discarded drawing is a missed opportunity to showcase her talent. It's a vivid reminder of a principle I've learned in my career: sometimes, 'good enough' is not just good; it's great.

In the world of business, especially in creative and dynamic fields, the quest for perfection can become a barrier to progress and innovation. Let's explore why adopting a 'good enough is great' philosophy can be a game-changer.

Speed Over Perfection

Let’s face it, time is a luxury that the fast-paced business world rarely affords us. The 'good enough is great' approach prioritizes speed to market, recognizing that a timely product can often outperform a perfect one that arrives too late. By launching a product that's good enough, we seize market opportunities and gain valuable feedback for iterative improvement.

The Iterative Approach

This leads to the second point: the power of iteration. A 'good enough' product isn't the end of the journey; it's a step. It allows us to test, learn, and refine based on real-world usage, not just assumptions. This iterative cycle is at the heart of agility and continuous improvement.

If you have created a team culture that inhibits new ideas going forward—in other words, if your people feel paralyzed unless their project feel 100% perfect—then you’re likely hindering innovation in untold ways.

Resource Efficiency and Decision-making

Pursuing perfection often means pouring excessive resources into minor improvements. This not only strains resources but can also distract from other valuable projects. 'Good enough' helps us allocate our efforts more effectively, balancing quality with resource efficiency. It also combats the paralysis of analysis, where the fear of imperfection stifles decision-making and action.

A Culture of Innovation

Perhaps most importantly, the 'good enough is great' mindset fosters a culture of innovation. It creates an environment where taking risks and learning from failures is encouraged. It's about understanding that the path to excellence is paved with trials, errors, and learning, not just flawless execution from the get-go.

This is NOT Settling for Mediocrity

Now, let's be clear: advocating for 'good enough' is not an endorsement of mediocrity. We're not lowering our standards; we're redefining our approach to achieving excellence. It's about recognizing when further refinements yield diminishing returns and when it's time to move forward. Excellence remains our goal, but we understand that perfection is often an elusive and sometimes counterproductive target.

Implementing the 'Good Enough is Great' Philosophy

  • Set Realistic Standards: Define what 'good enough' looks like for your team and project. It should meet the essential criteria for quality and functionality without overburdening the process with unattainable standards.
  • Encourage Quick Decision-making: Empower your team to make swift decisions. This speeds up the process and fosters a dynamic working environment.
  • Iterative Feedback Loops: Implement regular feedback sessions post-launch. Use these insights to make incremental improvements to your product or service.
  • Celebrate Learning from Mistakes: Foster an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities. Encourage your team to share their 'misses' and what they've learned from them.
  • Balance between Speed and Quality: Continually assess the trade-off between speed and perfection. Ensure that the product meets the necessary quality standards while maintaining a brisk development pace.


Embracing 'good enough' as a strategy is about striking a balance between perfection and pragmatism. It's a philosophy that champions progress, embraces learning, and ultimately leads to innovation and success. Just like each of my daughter's drawings, every step forward, no matter how imperfect, is a beautiful part of the journey toward excellence.

At Instil, we’ve made innovation one of the key vital signs for measuring company culture. A genuinely innovative environment does not happen by chance, and there are several crucial ways leaders can foster innovation to have a significant impact on KPIs and productivity. Encouraging a trusting atmosphere where your people know they can experiment and create ‘good enough’ products will help stimulate greater innovation for the future of your company. 

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