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August 04, 2005

Creative space -- funkified meeting

Recently my association held a meeting with some volunteer leaders where we addressed a somewhat controversial topic. Because our office space had already been booked for another function, I started looking for an off-site meeting location a few months ago. I had been reading about C3, a nonprofit creativity incubator with "funkified" (their word, not mine) meeting space. I checked into it, liked what I saw and booked the space.

During the meeting, although our voices were sometimes in competition with passing coal trains (and the beverage service was simply go get a Coke out of the fridge), in hindsight the informal, creative space turned out to be a blessing. Because the topic of discussion was potentially divisive, the relaxed, neutral setting made the discussion seem less polarized, more productive. Moral of the story?

Skirted 8 foot round banquet hall tables = the enemy

2 comments:

Chris Bailey said...

Great story and example. Too often we overlook location as a means of creating successful meetings. While it might be a cost savings to just bring groups in the office (even have staff retreats there), the benefits of going offsite can be powerful. Nothing like a new environment to help explore our assumptions and perspectives.

Thanks for the reminder. We're talking about having a staff retreat later in the year. I'll bring your story as a prime example of how it can make sense to find a 'funky' space.

Ben said...

We held a full staff retreat at a country club last year. A little stiff and stuffy for our crew. C3 would have been perfect -- but it wasn't open yet. Maybe next year...