For Innovation, Hire Education

As the co-founder, president and idea-development head of New York-based innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212, Mark Payne has worked with companies such as Coca-Cola, Toyota, Best Buy and Starbucks, and assisted in launching other businesses. He and his creative team have helped conceptualize new products and brands with a global reach.

In a field so focused on creativity and originality, innovative thinking is the key requirement for all prospective employees. And innovation is not easy. At Fahrenheit 212, they expect a lot. Inside the consultancy walls, staff are expected to have inherent imagination and a boldness that they can use in individual brainstorming, but they have to come together, too, for that collaborative innovative thinking that is so essential. It's an atmosphere of both creativity and serious reasoning—and the combination is brilliance.

“We make [interviewees] do stuff—creative, inventive tasks,” Payne says. “We’ll give them a problem and ask them to go invent something to solve it. We’re not interested in what they’ve done already. We give them tasks they’ve never been asked to do before, which allows us to see them in their purest form.

“You never hire a résumé. You hire a person.”

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