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the top tens

Perpetuating an innovative culture drives us every day, even now that we’re steady, established and strong. Here are ten ways we keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive at our workplacePeshkova/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just over three years ago, a small group of engineers came together with a passion for being different – bold, creative and cutting-edge – and a dream of a better future for the industry.

What began as a small and inspired startup grew quickly and our values, philosophy and entrepreneurial roots continue to permeate through the walls of our business, as surprising as that may sound for an engineering team. Perpetuating an innovative culture drives us every day, even now that we're steady, established and strong. Here are ten ways we keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive at our workplace:

1. Be nimble. Our strategic plan has taken a few turns since we started. As our leadership team grew, our client roster grew. We adapted to new ideas. Things change. Be flexible.

2. Align your leaders. Everyone on the leadership team has the same vision. We all recognized the same opportunities and challenges from day one and together continue momentum on our strategic direction every day.

3. Hire staff who fit your vision. In our three-year journey from three to over 100 team members, we always looked for candidates with passion, imagination and inspiration – probably not your perception of the typical engineer. If they didn't fit, it was over. Walk away if it doesn't feel right.

4. Engage your team without fail. We're a group of over 100 bright minds, and you'd better believe we plan to keep our team intact. We deliver on our promise to communicate with our staff. We spend time together, in the office and on the soccer field. We recognize that our staff is the future of our business and the future of engineering. We know what our team needs to succeed, and you should too.

5. Occupy one collective brain. Connect your minds. Like any creative studio atmosphere, information, resources and ideas are free-flowing across all our office locations. Our clients are astonished by the results: multiple solutions and unseen designs.

6. Join forces with your clients. Put them first, and your own success will follow. We become like another arm of our clients because we deliver what they need: intense understanding of design, business objectives, and a passion for building performance.

7. Lead the way with tech. Use technology in new ways and become a leader in your field. Every engineer knows modelling software, but we've developed our very own method of combining and applying advanced technologies to the benefit of our clients. We call it Vertebrae. Find your technology niche, command its use, and train your team with the same.

8. Think outside your borders. We work on projects internationally, from Saskatoon to Manhattan. Growth comes from understanding a diversity of regions with unique needs and challenges. Learn to transfer your skills and free yourself from the boundaries of your immediate locale.

9. Create brand dialogue. We put a sharp focus on marketing: in our bold branding, our playful moniker, our provocative visuals, our sharp videos and our popular CityVision events. Every asset, every piece of collateral, even every word you write will say something about your brand. Provoke a response.

10. Practice fun. We love what we do. We think engineering is fun. We think technology is fun. And we let everyone know it. Enjoy your work, or do something else.

Brock Schroeder, Barry Charnish and Sean Smith are the managing principals at Entuitive, a structural engineering firm with a vision of bringing together engineering and intuition.