Sponsor Spotlight: Edge DesignNovember 4, 2013 8:10 AM
After a stint in the furniture industry in the 1980s, Michael Kerr, CEO of Edge Design, shifted his focus to the technology sector. He moved to Raleigh 18 years ago, and after making several connections at a CED awards banquet, ended up doing business development for a couple of local tech companies, starting a dot com, and presenting at Venture 2000. Then the economy crashed. Tech was tanking, and so, Kerr decided to return to furniture.
Kerr took the lessons he learned in the tech sector to evaluate what he could do differently in the furniture business. How could he infuse office design, an industry so focused on tradition and standards, with technology, in which success relies on innovation and breaking boundaries?
His solution? Develop a proprietary technology to make Edge Design’s planning and ordering processes more efficient and user-friendly. Kerr and the team at Edge Design have also made it a priority to stay involved in the tech entrepreneurship scene. As a startup themselves, they are constantly looking for ways to contribute to the entrepreneurial community, which is why they got involved with HQ Raleigh.
Office design plays a huge role in the environment and energy at HQ, which Kerr wholeheartedly understands. When he started in the furniture industry, space was status; the bigger your cube or office, the more important you were. But now, work environments give teams and individuals choices and flexibility. Workplaces combine what Kerr calls “Collaboration Space and Concentration Space” - open areas with common energy and moveable, adjustable furniture, in addition to small meeting rooms and spaces with acoustic and visual privacy. These design choices are integral in creating company culture, in recruiting and retaining talent, and in energizing the individuals using the space.
Beyond helping to make HQ a collaborative, inspiring workplace, Kerr and the team at Edge Design are a valuable resource for our members. Throughout his years as a tech and design entrepreneur, a few pieces of advice stuck with Kerr.
One such lesson he shared was “If you’re gonna cut wood, you gotta leave chips.” In other words, be prepared to make mistakes - they’re inevitable as an entrepreneur - but also be ready to learn from and move past those mistakes. Kerr also encourages entrepreneurs to couple resiliency and a “warrior mentality” with a great team of advisors. Seek out expertise from people you respect, get some outside perspective, and keep pushing forward.
And in case you’re wondering (we were), the craziest piece of furniture they’ve ever installed in an office space is called the “Metronap.” Should we get some of these for the new HQ…?