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Meet Susan Reed of EdgeDweller in Greater Atlanta Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Reed.

Susan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Looking back, I would describe my story as the journey of a disruptive thinker. Disruptive thinking is the process of placing critical thinking as an infrastructure around high levels of creativity.

I started in the advertising world as a copywriter. It was tons of fun, I was creating ideas, but I realized my ideas only got the thumbs up when I surrounded them with critical rationale. I saw that creativity alone wasn’t always welcome in the workplace. I saw creative people face challenges because their way of thinking was seen as madness.

I discovered that using critical thinking as an infrastructure opens the doors to creativity and can result in incredibly high growth. I knew that if I could help prove that creativity is productive, it would be welcomed back in the workplace. So, I devoted my life to making disruptive thinking valuable, to encourage individuals and companies to see creativity as an asset in advanced problem-solving.

I created EdgeDweller so that disruptive thinking could be taught and learned and therefore, accepted into the workplace. After many years of research, trial and error, we found a way to make disruptive thinking applicable in any setting, for anything from redesigning dairy ecosystems in Tanzania to reinventing net worth in the US.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Innovation is risky, so we had to learn how to appeal to the people who think both critically and creatively, and to those who have the influence to promote creative thinking in their organization. The challenge was, only a small percentage of decision makers were ready to take on this type of disruptive thinking. Today, that percentage is growing exponentially.

The world we live in very heavily relies on critical thinking. There’s a study by Dr. George Land that proves we become less creative over time. The idea is that as we grow up, we find that creativity is not as widely accepted as critical thinking, so we squelch those creative impulses with critical filters. One of the most amazing parts of this study is that at age five, 98% of children exhibited incredibly high levels of creativity. That means at one point, it’s likely you were a highly creative individual.

One of our biggest challenges is to reignite that creativity within people. Everyone told us that we should go out West to test our process and thinking patterns because the South was a more risk-averse market. While it may have taken longer in the beginning, today it is paying off. Atlanta is zooming because it was able to keep up with the speed of change. Innovation is reaching its tipping point here. With economic development, the film industry, the tech hubs, the leadership, and growing acceptance of creativity all colliding, Atlanta is a booming market for innovation.

Please tell us about EdgeDweller.
In short, we create big ideas and make them work. We implement our ideas through a series of smaller innovations which reduces risk. So, our process creates ideas that are safer, bigger, smarter, and longer-lasting.

We give a process to highly creative thinkers and reignite creativity in highly critical thinkers. Everyone has a role, nobody feels excluded, and there’s mutual respect. We have a repeatable process that takes companies from understanding what they need from innovation all the way to the implementation of that innovation.

Something that sets us apart from other consulting companies is we focus on implementation. If the idea never gets to market, it’s just an idea. It never has the opportunity to create the high growth you are seeking. So, we create a path to the big idea and launch huge ideas very simply.

I think what I’m most proud of is that we reignite creativity in people who have lost it. And based on the 2020 World Economic Forum, Job Futures Report, the three top skill sets of the future are complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking. It’s exciting to be a company that carries that in its values and aims to deliver that to our clients.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In the world of innovation, we are constantly looking forward. Yes, we let what we have learned in the past influence how we create ideas of the future, but our job is to look ahead. So, no, I don’t believe we would have done anything differently. Our focus today is to use what we have learned to continue making those big ideas of the future less risky, easier to launch, and as a result, ignite more creativity in the world.

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