MeaningPlace Flywheels 

Day 121 Week 18 Q2 Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Creative Outliers derive much meaning from creating. It is part of their identity. And although they do not always voluntarily gather in groups, some places spring up. These places are generally founded by innovators who do come from the population of creative outliers.  Innovators generally value innovation and the conditions that lead to it being maximized. This is why entities created and led by innovators support both. All organizations have a culture, and it is derived from the values of their founders. When founders strongly value innovation, they try hard to create innovation cultures, for that is where they are most comfortable. 

These innovation cultures also act as innovation flywheels to bolster innovation activities in individuals, managers, executives and hopefully board members when they are present. Places combining being a MeaningPlace with being a Flywheel are very special places. They can have many names depending upon the field of endeavor ranging from research labs to salons. They can be company or institution-wide or reside within a single department. In the past, there were more research labs than at present. They have tended to be absorbed by or eclipsed by development teams, and now even teams seem to come together specifically for projects and are dismantled at the end. 

All of this change is due to a desire to increase profits by reducing risk. Exploration is less open-ended and more focused on achieving specific results. Most tech companies used to have R & D, and now they mostly only have D.  Research sometimes lingered in labs and never made its way into the world. Development teams are only concerned about getting things out into the world. They can both be innovation cultures, but it is harder to justify in development than in research.

If tech people have their meaningplace flywheels in laboratories, then artists have them in salons, a French word for livingroom that bifurcated into an artistic gathering place or a saloon, a place to drink. No doubt most salons also had something to drink available, but the corner bar seems to have evolved into the corner coffee shop. Most of these places are primarily to eat or drink, but some still support groups of like-minded artists spending time together where the business model supporting the gatherings is still food and beverages.

Perhaps neither the salon nor the research lab are currently in vogue because neither has a viable business model. Still, both have played foundational supporting roles to creative outliers for generations. Watering holes still focus on specific specialty clientele, and they can be MeaningPlace Flywheels.  If you can not find one, simply gather like-minded creative outliers, take over a corner of one, and create your own MeaningPlace Flywheel.