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Meetings: a mountain of waste



“Dull”

“Frustrating”

“Pointless”

“Chaotic”


These words describe meetings where intelligent people with knowledge, ability and creativity gather together, spin their wheels and hit brick walls.


Again and again this happens with no one untangling the mess.


If you have the courage, determination and tenacity to transform these meetings into places of rigour, courage and creativity, look at the data.


Start by questioning:


What happens in a brilliant meeting?


When I’m in a brilliant meeting aiming at innovation and creativity, ideas and questions flow at a rate of knots.


💡 Ideas. Having multiple, diverse ideas is key to challenging the status quo. Letting people know that the meeting is all about creativity and thinking differently gives them permission to say whatever ideas spring to mind even when the detail is cloudy. Unconventional ideas, even when extreme, spark discussion and more innovation. 


The meeting is a success when we generate at least as many ideas as there are participants. 


Not everyone is expected to have ideas. Sharing thoughts and cultivating curiosity together stimulates ideas. It doesn’t matter who the idea comes from.


Questions. During innovation and ideation, questions come up as we identify assumptions. A lack of questions can indicate many things including a lack of engagement, lack of understanding and lack of confidence.


We look for at least one question for every two participants, an indication that assumptions are being identified.


What if we fail?

Failure to meet these targets is an opportunity to learn.


We learn through questions.


Does everyone understand the problem we’re looking to solve?

Does everyone have the opportunity to contribute?

Do participants feel safe to share both far-out and obvious ideas and questions?

Is the problem big enough for this effort?

Are the right people invited?


Collaborating on the data leads to meetings becoming places of rigour, courage and creativity.


Caveat alert: this data is focused on what’s happening during the meeting rather than what happens as a result of the meeting. Data for outcomes is a different kettle of fish.


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