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Organizing Time for Innovation


Slack time, made popular by companies like 3M and Google, provides one way in which companies try to encourage innovation. During slack time, employees choose what projects to work on and how to complete them. While this concept is intuitively appealing, not much is known about how to effectively implement slack time.

This research project takes a deeper dive into how companies organize slack time. By speaking to 17 IRI Members about their experiences with organizing or using slack time, we found that employees using slack time think and act like entrepreneurs. This entrepreneurial way of thinking and acting, which is quite different from managerial thinking, is called effectuation (Sarasvathy, S. D. (2001). Whereas managerial thinking relies on planning and analysis to prepare for a mostly predictable future, effectual thinking focuses on controlling an unpredictable future by taking action and solving problems using available resources.

During this session, we will discuss the effectual model used by startup entrepreneurs and extend this framework to corporate entrepreneurs using slack time. We will then engage in a hands-on session where you will use effectual thinking to come up with creative ideas that could be pursued during slack time.