Jay Sparks, director of the Columbia College Steven and Barbara Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship.

*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column series that features insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.

“I don’t want to spend time on all the same things smart people are spending their time on. I want to see where the smart people said, ‘That’s dumb.’ And unless someone shows me evidence as to why something is truly dumb, then I’m not going to believe it. And I want to see with my own eyes.” – David Chang, celebrity chef.

Efficiency is a word that many people see as aspirational. Our lives should be more efficient in many ways. Driving routes should be efficient and optimized. My to-do list should be efficiently crossed off at the end of the day. Kitchen gadgets and nifty new cleaning equipment make our lives more efficient by saving precious time. A business should always take the most efficient route from problem to solution.

What chef David Chang mentions in the quote above is that there may be some value in looking at what others are choosing NOT to do.

When he opened his first restaurant, Momofuku, in New York City, he and his staff were doing all of the things they were supposed to do. They were creating the “correct” menu for the time and place and checking off all the boxes for what a successful Asian noodles and dumplings restaurant looked like in New York City. But their tables were empty and the cheap take-out place across the street was packed, adding insult to injury. Then he realized he had 90 days of operating budget left. So, what did he and his staff do?

They started ejecting customers who wanted to argue or didn’t like what they saw on the menu. They stopped allowing substitutions on their dishes. They started cooking all the weird, crazy things they dreamt up when left to their own devices.

“We were at our best when we were feeding these people who really knew their stuff,” he writes, as most of their customers at the time were other NYC chefs. “That realization saved our restaurant. At the last possible moment, we erased the line between what we thought we should be serving our customers and what we wanted to cook for our friends. We threw out anything that smelled of fear, and started shooting from the hip.”

And, most amazingly, Chang put the now-ubiquitous Momofuku Pork Bun together in 15 minutes as a throwaway side item.

“I’ve found the best moment to start working on a new dish is the hour before the doors open, when everyone on staff is rushing to shovel food into their mouths. On paper, it’s the worst possible time to try to be creative, but you end up with no choice but to make decisions and stick to them.”

They started doing all the things that seasoned, traditional and successful restaurateurs would have told them were never going to work. Recognizing market inefficiency, they leveraged something really amazing from a bad situation in the form of two Michelin stars, one of the highest international awards for a chef or restaurant.

There are so many similar brink-of-defeat business stories out there. There could be multiple columns rehashing them. In almost every case of an already-successful business failing, there was a leadership change, and often, it was back to a previous CEO or president who had presided over better times. That’s obvious efficiency.

But in most of the stories about startups that have that teetering on the brink of failure moment, they all threw caution to the wind and zigged when “business” said they should have zagged.

So, entrepreneurial minds beg the question: Why do founders not start by shooting from the hip? If they know their customer base and their product-market fit, why not focus on those market-inefficient strategies from the very beginning?

That’s a scary thought for most. We want the approval of others, especially investors, not the head shake of disappointment from those who can open the doors you need opened on this journey. But in those failed startup stories, those investors stayed away from the market-efficient models and only swooped in to help once they started shooting from the hip.

The world needs more inefficient ideas. They won’t all succeed, and they will scare away investors in the process. However, the entrepreneurial world needs disruption and innovation badly right now. It requires the creativity of generational minds who aren’t constrained to just one idea or thought process.

Your next inefficient idea that no one else is doing might not end up with restaurants on different continents, millions in online food sales, and multiple celebrity chef streaming shows, but it may have an equally important impact on the world.

Jay Sparks is the director of Columbia College’s Steven and Barbara Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship, housed in the Robert W. Plaster School of Business. He previously worked as the entrepreneurship coordinator for the Columbia-based Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI).