Energy is neither created nor destroyed—It is just used in different ways.
In thermodynamics, free energy is defined as that portion of energy that is available to do work. In a thermodynamics company, for example, it would be useful to define free energy as that portion of energy available to innovate.
Free energy is that energy that is not tied up doing other activities like trying to figure out research goals; deciding if those goals are aligned with the company strategy and vision; or worrying about whether or not, you are meeting expectations.
These energy-wasting activities can be nearly eliminated by good management. A good manager helps each scientist set research goals that are motivating and are aligned with company goals. A good manager keeps tabs on the research progress and on the shifting company strategies and vision to provide frequent updates to their scientists.