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How to use rivalry and competition to boost innovation in your company


According to Bernard T. Ferrari and Jessica Goethals, writing for McKinsey Quarterly, productive rivalry can spur innovation and help the development of products and services, and they cite such diverse evidence as the director of General Electric's Global Research Group, and the more surprising example of the Renaissance.

It's the latter that is dealt with first by Goethals, a PhD candidate in Italian Studies at New York University. She insists that "the Italian Renaissance was such an extraordinary period of creativity it can shed light on how to stimulate business innovation".

Goethals believes there are "uncanny parallels" between the events of the Renaissance and the principles that have proven valuable in R&D organisations – she gives the examples of collision between diverse experts, providing loose guidelines, and establishing stretch goals.

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