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You’ve hired the smartest, most capable employees you can find for your organization. Are you truly maximizing the value they can bring to you through their creativity?

We are entering the conceptual age, where new ideas and innovation are just as critical as data and information. Everyone has the ability to think Conceptually—it’s about finding your sweet spot…how you best work through your Conceptual brain.

Google is one of the world’s largest and most successful companies. It is also a tech company (no kidding), full of engineers, developers, coders and others who may not always get characterized by big-picture, abstract thinking. In addition, Google is consistently ranked amongst the best places in the world to work.

This isn’t just because hiring smart people creates a cycle of hiring other smart people. It’s because Google is a model for a company and the way it relates to its employees—and how they make innovation a part of their culture.

I want to focus on one specific initiative that is groundbreaking…and goes against everything you think about in terms of business success. It’s called the Google “20% Time.”

Google offers its employees 20% of their time at work to build, create and especially collaborate in any way they would like as long as it is company-related.

Maybe you have never heard of it…but if you have ever used Gmail, Google Earth or Google News, you have personally benefitted from 20% Time.

Why the 20% Time is critical to Google:

Think about this—Google is growing like wildfire…how can they afford to only get their employees at 80% focus? Are they getting things done as efficiently as possible?

This is where thinking needs to be reframed. It isn’t about losing out on time; rather, it’s about devoting time to a different, more conceptual way to work. Google gives free reign to engineers, marketers, experience designers and developers to create new ideas those employees are passionate about. This type of freedom stokes Conceptual thinking and reinforces Google’s employer brand.

How we did it at Emergenetics International!

This is such a cool idea that our company recently created a similar initiative with our marketing and sales teams. We too are growing like crazy and have more on our plates than we can get to—however, we instituted a new element to our weekly meetings, where new ideas are researched, presented and developed. No strings attached. It is completely separate from typical tasks and projects occupy our work day.

It’s something that each person is passionate about. And we give every person 4 hours during their week to think about, create, research and explore their topic. We have already looked at Design Thinking with this allotted time…and who knows, we may now utilize Design Thinking into our work or our new products.

The concept of implementing Conceptual thinking isn’t always easy to develop. It takes commitment to connecting dots and allowing for a less defined way to operate. However, if Google and Emergenetics International can do it, chances are you can too.

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