The Laws of Subtraction, with Matthew E. May

Innovation & the Laws of Subtraction are the topic of discussion on the 37th episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast. We look at how to engage in addition via subtraction in the workplace by employing tools like the Jim Collins-approved “stop doing” lists. We’ll also look at 6 rules for winning in the age of excess everything and talk about why what isn’t there is sometimes just as important as what is.

Matthew E. May, author, keynote speaker, and founder of EDIT Innovation joins us to talk about these topics and more, along with his book, Innovation & the Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess everything. Matthew is the author of four books on business innovation, a keynote speaker, and the founder of EDIT Innovation. In addition to The Laws of Subtraction, he is also the author of The Elegant Solution: Toyota’s Formula for Mastering Innovation, which was a 2006 Wall Street Journal bestseller, and In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.

In his current entrepreneurial foray with EDIT Innovation, Matthew counsels executive leaders and teams on issues like strategy, culture, and innovation. Prior to EDIT Innovation, Matthew was in an advisory role with Toyota. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Organization Design from The Wharton School, and did his BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. Matthew is also trained in design thinking from the Stanford Hasso Plattner Institute aka the

Here are some of the highlights from this podcast episode with Matthew:

  • We talk about how his latest book came to be and the 6 simple rules he lays out in it
  • Matthew goes into why “creativity thrives under intelligent constraints” and in so doing talks about “the 7th law” that didn’t make it into the book
  • We talk about a recent Forbes article on research that suggests multi-tasking doesn’t just diminish the quality of work but could actually cause brain damage
  • Matthew talks about the “3-hour vision meeting” and why it can be a good springboard for corporate innovation & strategy


Interested in hearing more? Tune in to the full episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast via the SoundCloud embed below.



You can also download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on iTunes or tune in via the podcast’s home on Stitcher Radio to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.

Will Sherlin

Will Sherlin

Senior Manager of Digital Marketing

Will Sherlin is the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at 3Pillar Global. He oversees the 3Pillar website and other web properties, hosts 3Pillar’s ‘Innovation Engine’ podcast, and manages 3Pillar’s social media accounts. Prior to its acquisition by 3Pillar, Will was an Account Manager at PointAbout, a DC-based mobile app boutique that specialized in developing iPhone and iPad apps. He holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina.

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