Because I specialize in planning for teachers, I follow a number of teachers on Twitter -- and it turns out they share information like crazy. They have multiple chats throughout the week and help each other out with their daily problems.

One thing they talk about is a concept they call “genius hour” -- an outgrowth of the now-defunct Google concept of letting employees dedicate 20% of their work time on projects that motivate them.

Teachers have put the Google idea to work in the classroom, carving out a period of time in which students can explore their own passions. Genius hour even has its own Twitter handle and hashtag..

Can advisors use this concept? I think there are a couple of ways that advisors could put that idea to work in their firms.

Carve out Tuesday afternoons. Take one period of the week -- say, Tuesday afternoons -- and let your staff know they will not have any client or internal meetings scheduled. Tell advisors and other staff that they are free -- and, indeed expected -- to work on projects that they want to pursue. The only requirements: The project must be based in some way on making the company better, and after a certain period, they need to present their findings to the company and look to implement their ideas.

Focus on individual development. Alternatively, you could simply explain to your staff that you want them to be fulfilled in their work -- and encourage them to block off time each week to spend on their own development. You might tell them they can spend that time however they choose, but must report back in a couple of months to explain their progress.

Could a Genius Hour make a difference at your firm? If you're not sure, give it a trial period and see how your team embraces it.

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