I’m in Sydney where I’ve just hosted a little gathering with Matt Moore which we called Walking and Talking. We wanted to host something informal where we wouldn’t feel under pressure to deliver on any important-sounding deliverables and could play with different meeting formats.
We ended up gathering outside the Opera House and then wandered into the Botanical Gardens. As things fell out, we spent the morning there mixing a bit of chat and reflection with a series of improv games. As the weather gradually cooled, we wandered up to the Art Gallery NSW for lunch. After that, and more general chat about life, the universe and everything, I suggested we break into smaller groups (pairs and threes) and share some of the challenges and big questions we were wrestling with or puzzling over in our lives at the moment, and then wander around the galleries. With the general aim of seeing what the art offered us by way of insight or exploration. This was probably the biggest highlight of the day for me.
We then gathered again for another general chat where all sorts of themes and cross currents emerged. I think everyone found the day had a theme and spine that emerged over time, without being forecast in advance.
One of many things that was emphasised for me is this: just how dull, as well as costly, most corporate meeting spaces are. Another, maybe several, groups of 10 or so people were no doubt meeting somewhere else in the city. Quite likely in the well carpeted but windowless basement of a pricey hotel, round a boring boardroom table, in front of a projector, powerpoint show and flipchart with post it notes. Our venues were much more inspiring and costs us nothing.
They probably had a purposeful agenda and quite possibly a carefully calculated schedule to stick to with the aim of being highly productive. I think we managed to be highly productive with none of that contrivance.