A Beautiful Constraint

Posted by Becky


A Beautiful Constraint
Adam Morgan


When we sit round a table and want to deliver marketing for our clients that is beyond the budget, in too short a time frame or we simply don’t have the resources for, we often say “let’s imagine if we did have one of these” and go ahead and plan anyway.

The beautiful constraint processes this idea altogether and says look at the challenge differently.


Because you don’t have the budget, or the resources or the extra time so you must find another way.

Shall we explain?

Designers at Ikea were given the challenge of delivering a 5 euro table. How on earth could they do that? Talk to the supply chain, talk to sourcing. They found that if they bought doors (not a normal source of table wood) and cut them into four, they made several of the tables and met the budget. Ingenious!

Made.com wanted to attend the prestigious interior design show Salone in Italy but couldn’t afford the high exhibition costs. So rather than lose out, they came up with the idea of kitting out real Italian resident rooms with their products and hanging large banners outside these nearby apartments, achieving great and novel press coverage.

This is known as adjacent abundance – someone who achieves opportunity using someone else’s resources

Some of the most successful new companies are those that create no content and hold no stock. Just think about the business models of:


Otherwise, use – drama, surprise and piggybacking

  1. Drama with Brewdog – we all tell our partners the most dramatics thing that happened in our day
  2. Surprise – find a stitched in label in Primark clothing and understand a little more about where it comes from
  3. Piggybacking – Go pros in Marriott hotels, Freitag bags in hotel chains. Use them while you’re here, remember them when you go home.

The three beautiful constraints

Under resourced

Lots of people think about progressing the brand

Think instead about progressing the category

There will always be someone coming up behind you!ABC-Approach-2000px