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The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun

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Chapter 16

Innovation and Friction

Jerry Hirschberg, the former head of design for Nissan, had a theory of work he called Creative Abrasion.1 He believed you need the right amount of friction for good work to happen—not too much and not too little—and that few managers get it right. Worse, they don't know what to aim for, having never experienced a healthy creative workplace. Knowing how much friction is needed and when to apply it is the skill that successful leaders, from the coach of a competitive basketball team to the conductor of an orchestra, must master.

Many things managers do create unnecessary and unhelpful friction. From insisting on unnecessarily detailed plans, to long, stressful project review meetings, much of the boring machinery ...

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