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Home Court Disadvantage

BballWe've all been there.  Somebody schedules a meeting for us to

  1. Solve a problem
  2. Come up with a creative new idea through brainstorming
  3. Share status
  4. Build requirements
  5. Set direction through strategy or mission/vision statements

Then they schedule the meeting in Conference Room 302 in Building Z.  And everyone shows up to the same gray-beige room with the same laminate wood table and the same cushioned chairs and the same white board... and they come up with the same ideas as before.

Ugh.

Penina Finger of Fantastic Machine has an amazing post that addresses this very issue.  In it, she shares how somebody she admired scheduled meetings in Conference Room C, which was code for a cafe outside the office.  She realizes that when you put people in the same environment, they're going to come up with the same solutions, regardless of how you exhort them to "think outside the box."

Here is Des Moines, I've been made aware of some really creative meeting places I didn't even know existed.  For example, the local Harley-Davidson shop has a conference room (based on availability).  What genius!  In almost every meeting, there's going to be some testosterone-driven male who will be drooling over the merchandise (of course, not to be sexist here, I'm meeting more and more women who lust after the vroom-vroom of a motorcycle every bit as well as their male counterparts).  Another place that has conference facilities is a local horse stable.  Again, jarring people out of their current locations is a great approach.  One of the favorite classes of my Drake creativity students is not even in a classroom, and I'm not actively involved.  I send them on a scavenger hunt.  That one night teaches them many more lessons in many creative ways.  I think I've mentioned this before, but when I was writing GUST, I hit a nasty wall of writer's block.  I stepped back and gave some hard diagnosis to the problem.  Then I terminated my contract with my current client because I realized it was draining my spirit.  After a week of "client detox" I went to the mall and did some people watching for an evening.  I came back and wrote the last four chapters and the epilogue in one week.  All from a change of scenery.

So... are your meetings generating the "same old stuff"?  See what moving them to a different location does for you.

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Comments

Penina

Wow! Being more of a lady's lady, I'll go for those horse stables. Still, I like both ideas... and I bet there are more. It would be worth building a collection. On the other hand, I bet other team members could be continuous founts of creative meeting place ideas.

Thanks for linking back to me, Timothy, and for the compliments! I've also added a follow-up post to the article you linked -- a list of key ideas: Seven Sparks for Wisdom Sharing (http://fantastic-machine.com/penina/?p=59).

Timothy Johnson

Penina - your timing was perfect... I'm just glad I was able to piggy-back off of your great wisdom and insight.

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