What pizza dough can teach you about innovation

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Take a ball of pizza dough.

Now pull as hard and as fast as you can on all the edges. What do you get? The world’s largest, least satisfying bagel, a tiny thin ring of dough.

Start over.

Take your ball of dough and press down on it really hard, right in the middle. What do you get? A hard lump of compacted dough that at best will be a poor loaf of bread and at worst will be an inedible brick.

Start over.

Take your ball of dough and knead it from the center outward, punching down the air bubbles, roll it out for consistency, then toss in the air. You’ve got the foundation for a great pizza.

Innovation is no different.

If you race for the edges, for the latest and greatest, with no buy in from the core of the company and no strategy, you create something thin and useless, ultimately failing in your mission.

If you play it safe and clamp down on everything, never risking, demanding risk analysis, studies, and metrics for even the slightest change, you create stagnation so bad that you can’t grow or change even when the situation demands it, ultimately failing in your mission.

If you work evenly and together, with risk takers and decision makers in alignment, balancing each other out, punching down the excess hype but retaining levity and conversation, and make your great leap of faith together, you might just make the next great thing.

So, which are you doing right now?

Which do you want to be doing?

You might also enjoy:

Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here

AI for Marketers Book
Take my Generative AI for Marketers course!

Analytics for Marketers Discussion Group
Join my Analytics for Marketers Slack Group!


2 responses to “What pizza dough can teach you about innovation”

  1.  Avatar

    I’m getting hungry if nothing else. I like the idea about not jumping in there and getting pizza dough on the ceiling from high impact tossing. Seems like your analogy is kind of mixing up the message for me. Maybe use something not so… delicious. Speaking of, got to grab a bite.

  2. This is a neat analogy, very well done. Finding the proper balance in your work environment leads to a successful path.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This