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How Living In An Incubator Helps Brew Innovation

Updated: May 3, 2018

By: Matt Haley

Alarm goes off. Head downstairs, grab a coffee and sit down for the morning meeting. No commute. No headaches. No dress code.

This is the beauty of the startup.

We work here. We live here. We create here.

Being surrounded by the team allows us to spitball ideas at any time. There is no “on the clock” time: just constant collaboration and co-creation.

Isolation + Focus = Innovation

Within this environment, we live, breath and think as a team. We work symbiotically to reach what is called a flow state, better known as being “in the zone”. This is a state of being where all members of the team are fully absorbed in an idea or activity with laser-like focus. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-Sent-Mi-Hi-), PhD and thought leader in the field of positive psychology, describes this as “operating at peak performance”. Flow is where you can maintain a high level of creativity, turning ideas into innovation.

Living in this think bubble also allows us to harness this exponential brainpower through constant development of ideas and goals. This environment is essential in keeping a startup moving swiftly and progressively in the right direction.

It really all comes down to three things: building the right team, aligning goals and targets, and proper time management with massive action.

Building the right team is the most important step when creating a new company. For me, it all boiled down to finding people who shared the same “why”; the purpose behind all that you do. This is the thing that drives your motivation and pushes you to work towards your goals.

With any management or leadership role, you are in the business of people. However, most companies, managers, leaders etc. only care about the product, or the “what”. This was a troubling fact for me and many other millenials heading into the workforce.

The 9-5 Kills Creativity

Through my experiences in the corporate world, I have seen firsthand how companies place such minimal focus on their people, their “team”. Employees enter the rat race with little to no room for their ideas to grow. When these ideas are not nurtured, they wilt, evaporating from the mind never to be seen again. In this environment there is no room for innovation, growth or creativity. The company usually has only one goal: make a profit.

When times get tough, they cut people, not products.

But who is there to drive the business forward after a bad quarter? Who is there to pick up the pieces when things fall apart?

Your people.

Your people are everything to the life of a business, especially a startup. Our influence over human behavior comes either in the form of manipulation or inspiration.

This is not an argument of nature vs. nature, but rather how well you nurture your nature. How you cultivate your talents and sustain continued growth.

“Great companies don't hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” -Simon Sinek

NOTE: In future posts we will discuss the importance of the remaining two pillars to launching a startup: setting goals and combining time management/big action to hit those goals.


Scale: to increase something (or be increased) in size or number in a gradual way.

Startup: the action or process of setting something in motion; a newly established business

Incubator: a place, especially with support staff and equipment, made available to new small business; an apparatus used to create a controlled environment to allow things to grow

Collaboration: the action of working with someone to produce or create something

Symbiotic: denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.

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