Say ‘goodbye’ to dreary Wednesday afternoon boardroom catch-ups and ‘HELLO!!’ to creative pedal-powered pow-wows. Businesses around the world are opening their eyes to fresh meeting alternatives that wake up the grey matter, actively encourage participation and spark new concepts from unlikely sources. Join us as we break down 10 emerging creative meeting ideas and why they could work for your team.
We’re all familiar with the benefits of exercise on the mind but taking your meeting for leisurely ride along a local cycle path to talk over the matters at hand could be the key to unlocking new ideas and discovering different angles on problems that you never would have thought of within the confines of the office.
Why it works…The low-stress exercise of bike riding can increase serotonin levels, improving staff mood, morale and attitude towards the subject of a meeting. It’s also a great leveller, encouraging junior members of the team to contribute their ideas, even in the presence of their most senior colleagues.
Let someone else be ‘King for a day’, give a team member a heads up that they’ll be leading the next creative meeting. This role reversal is a great way to promote individuality within the team, and the unexpected shift in dynamics can often bring out the best in team members, encouraging them to be on the front foot in discussion.
Why it works…While some staff members are often more vocal than others in meetings, this format allows more conservative individuals to express their ideas without the risk of being drowned out. You can step in to control the direction of the session at any time, but what’s important is you allow the team-led discussion to flow freely. You could uncover some real insight that otherwise would’ve gone undiscovered.
Up on the Roof
If you’re lucky enough to have a rooftop space in your office building, then you really should make the most of it. On a clear day, this is a great place to hold a meeting. The different location will be an actual breath of fresh air for staff members and a healthy change that can result in some intriguing new ideas being thrown back and forth.
Why it works…We’ve spoken in previous blogs about how a change in scenery can promote productivity, and the same goes for the concept of a rooftop meeting. You might just be surprised at how sitting ‘outside of the box’ results in staff thinking outside of it too.
Nobody likes being stuck indoors in sunny weather. If you haven’t got a rooftop to enjoy, hosting your meeting in a local park is another great way to get out the office and promote fresh thinking, plus if you add a picnic basket of goodies (doughnuts, bagels, cold pizza etc.) you can make a real event out of the occasion.
Why it works…Everyone enjoys and benefits from a break from their routine. This can give team members a little shake up while creating a thoroughly different dynamic that can help you map out new initiatives without the anxieties of the office environment.
Join the Club
Meeting clients/colleagues on golf courses is a (badly) ageing stereotype. But crazy golf courses? Now you’re talking. The perfect chance to invite the unexpected into your meeting, holding your pow-wow while taking on slightly-mad golfing obstacles can also add a competitive element to proceedings that encourages healthy debate about the issues at hand.
Why it works…Aside from the serotonin-level-raising exercise that comes with walking, the gamification of a meeting can also work wonders for productivity. A concept that massive brands like Nike, eBay, Adobe and Spotify use to great effect.
Important meetings should be marked as such. But that doesn’t mean they have to be tense affairs. Companies like Speakers.co.uk allow you to book celebrity guests for your meeting that can bring a sense of star power into the room and allow someone new to take the spotlight. But you don’t need to bring in a ‘sleb’. Local heroes, business leaders, team players, can all add insight and value to your cause.
Why it works…It’s hard to argue with success in any field. People that have done great things or overcome great obstacles, can give listeners a sense of “If they can do it, I can do it!”. Learning from someone with real insight, knowledge and vision can add to your arsenal and help improve your own skill set. No company knows everything, bringing in outside knowledge can only be a positive and hopefully inspire your team.
One of the best times to hold a creative meeting is after a Company Away Day. Your staff will still be enthused by the brilliant team-building activities they’ve just experienced and with great teamwork, comes great brainstorming. Most importantly, they can put the lessons they’ve learned through the various games and challenges to good use immediately, creating a positive link between their actions and results.
Why it works… Team building activities engender positive communication between colleagues, which is crucial to any productive meeting. At no point will this be more evident than after a Company Away Day. Find out how we can help you plan yours today.
Nope, we haven’t gone mad, and yes, we’re about to give you a reason to hold your meeting in your favourite after-work pub. It’s a fabulous way to break down the barriers that can sometimes develop in the office. You can establish a no-alcohol rule if you like, what’s important is that colleagues are talking to one another and before you know it, they could find themselves swapping exciting new ideas about how to make what happens inside the workplace better.
Why it works…The after-work pub is probably somewhere your staff associate positive feelings. Meaning that you could find them approaching the matters at hand with the same enthusiasm they normally approach the bar.
The Ballet Box
The Ballet Box is more a referendum of ideas. Staff can anonymously submit their suggestions for change, new initiatives and approaches to work in the office. Then, once everyone’s handed in their ‘ballot papers’, you can discuss the ideas with the group as a whole. But make sure it stays positive, if people feel their ideas are shot down they’ll be less likely to contribute in the future.
Why it works…More conservative staff will often keep what are potentially fantastic ideas to themselves in the workplace because of a fear of failure or embarrassment. The Ballot Box removes this roadblock and instead invites left-field thinking as colleagues take a fearless approach instead. You can also add a reward for any winning ideas, that way people will be more likely to contribute.
Eat ‘n’ Meet
Keeping the work/food balance is crucial in the office. Hangry colleagues are unproductive colleagues, so asking staff members to each bring a ‘mezze’ style food to share in meetings is a great way to add an extra element of fun. The informal atmosphere created can be just what’s needed to produce quality work.
Why it works…Bringing a physical contribution to the meeting ups colleagues’ stakes in terms of their overall involvement in the session. If they feel invested from the start, they’re more likely to prepare diligently and make more meaningful suggestions by the finish.
Ask for the Worst Idea
Sometimes, colleagues can be so fixated on coming up with a good contribution to a meeting, that they lose sight of the task at hand completely. So, flip the session on it’s head by asking your staff members what the worst idea is. It might seem counterintuitive, but this method can result in an abundance of creative thinking. It’s extremely possible that down in the depths, you might just strike a gold mine of inspiration.
Why it works…Asking for the worst idea in the room removes the filter of self-criticism. With this gone, colleagues can feel free to come up with their zaniest, most ‘out there’ ideas without worrying about looking silly.