Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Unleash Your Inner Maverick

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to hear Polly LaBarre speak about her new book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. Polly is a native Cleveland girl made good in NYC. She spent many years on the staff of Fast Company, so she knows a thing or two about creativity and the workplace.

The book is written in the same eloquent and concise way that Polly speaks. It features about 2 dozen or so companies and how they are revolutionizing the world of work through their innovative practices.

Some of my favorite examples from the book include Cleveland-based NineSigma, who is revolutionizing the global network of innovation allowing creative solutions to be found easier. They do this by maintaining a network of the top talent in science and technology that they can tap into when a company comes to them looking to solve a problem or develop new research.

Dan Weiden, cofounder of Weiden+Kennedy, an advertising agency best known for coining Nike's "Just Do It" slogan, is another creative maverick. His company's headquarters in Portland are housed in a former cold storage facility and infused with plenty of outside energy. Weiden even invited the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art to move in to provide new insights and inspiration for W+K's staff.

Finally, We've all heard of Pixar, the animation giant, but have you heard about Pixar University? This is where Pixar employees are encouraged to take up to 4 hours a week worth of classes that range from creative writing to belly dancing. It allows employees to explore new ideas and learn to work better with colleagues. Now that's a creative place to work and somewhere my lifelong learning addiction could be fed.

  • Are you working for a maverick organization?

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