The Ten Keys to Having a Creative Company

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Dr. Keith Sawyer, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in studies of innovation, creativity, and team collaboration, recently did a study involving innovative companies and what causes them to outdo the competition when it comes to coming up with new and pioneering ideas. Here are the ten secrets to these companies’ successes according to Dr. Sawyer:

1.) “Keep Many Irons in the Fire”

  • Innovative companies tend to have several low-cost projects going all at once and respond to the ones that emerge rather than have a grand plan that, if diverted from at all, will result in catastrophic failure

2.) “Create a Department of Surprise”

  • These companies often have completely sovereign teams that identify potential lucrative innovations and frequently have the power to fund them

3.) “Build Space for Creative Conversation”

  • Workspace layouts that cause more chance interactions and spontaneous communication help bring out ideas

4.) “Allow Time for Ideas to Emerge”

  • The more pressure people are under, whether it is from a deadline or otherwise, the less creativity they display in their work

5.) “Manage the Risks of Improvisation”

  • Successful businesses must find a balance between planning and improvisation that does not hamper either

6.) “Improvise at the Edge of Chaos”

  • Limited structures within companies that do not hinder creativity but keep things from falling into utter chaos foster innovation

7.) “Manage Knowledge of Innovation”

  • Successful companies make it a point to select and diffuse good improvisations

8.) “Build Dense Networks”

  • Decentralized decision making and managers acting as facilitators of knowledge rather than the only source of it helps collaboration and creativity

9.) “Ditch the Organizational Chart”

  • Many innovative companies have begun rewarding collaboration outside employees’ units and are emphasizing flexibility and connectivity

10.) “Measure the Right Things”

  • The level of collaboration in an organization is actually a better indicator of potential for innovation than the amount of research and development financing an organization takes part in

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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