August 2012

Want Better Meetings? Try Taking Them OFFSITE

2012-08-22T17:38:48+00:00 Categories: create, grow, SandBlog, solve, think|Tags: , , , , , |

The three secrets to being more innovative and hosting better meetings are to…

  • involve the right PEOPLE,
  • choose and use the right PROCESS, and
  • hold your meeting in the right PLACE.

99% of the time, hosting your meeting at your offices is not the right place. You need to host it offsite.

Let me introduce you to… OFFSITE

OFFSITE Main Floor

OFFSITE is midtown Manhattan’s newest and most evocative venue for corporate meetings and private events. Designed and wired to inspire creativity and optimize productivity, OFFSITE was literally built from the ground up with the perfect gathering in mind.

From the state-of-the-art A/V system to the comfortable yet versatile decor, this sprawling, 3-story enclave offers the ideal backdrop for your next board meeting, brainstorming session, focus group, product launch or social event.

The Main Floor

Step off the streets of New York City onto OFFSITE’s Main Floor, which boasts a professionally designed living room space with comfortable seating for up to 60 guests.

OFFSITE Main Floor

Stylish furniture easily lends itself to custom configuration to ensure your meeting or event is arranged exactly how you envision it. Curtained room dividers allow for impromptu brainstorming and break-out sessions. With three huge LED TVs that can be seamlessly integrated, The Main Floor is as conducive to open conversation as it is for a celebration.

The Mezzanine

OFFSITE Mezzanine

Overlooking The Main Floor, OFFSITE’s Mezzanine features the conference room – reimagined. Designed to generate thought and discussion, white board walls engulf you on all sides to keep track of your team’s free-flowing ideas.
An ultra modern, ultra high-tech 30-person conference table lets you seamlessly connect your personal computer to big screen monitor and digital smart board – or any other TV throughout the space – to add visual panache to any presentation.

The Underground

OFFSITE Mezzanine

OFFSITE’s inspirational lower level, set along an urban Rio de Janeiro backdrop, offers adaptable classroom-style seating for 25 people and an 80” LED TV. This sophisticated think tank is a cooler, more casual place to hash out important ideas, hold a training session, participate in team building exercises, or simply celebrate.

Centrally located in the heart of midtown Manhattan at 52 West 39th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue), OFFSITE is right around the corner – or just a few subway stops away from anywhere in the city. OFFSITE is primed to host your next corporate meeting or private event.

Inspire. Brainstorm. Innovate. Celebrate. Go OFFSITE.

You may check out their website OFFSITEnyc.com visit their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter @goOFFSITE

Looking for a better meeting space, but not in NYC. Check out the Idea Sandbox list of meeting destinations from around the world!

February 2011

Idea Sandbox: Think Tank – 20,000 Leagues Under DC

2018-05-14T23:06:50+00:00 Categories: create, Destination, grow, solve, think|Tags: , , , |

Happy Birthday Jules Verne!

Thank goodness Jules pursued his passion for writing instead of law (for which he attended university). And, had a good publisher friend in Pierre-Jules Hetzel – who helped improve Verne’s writing.

My impressions of Jules Verne have come via Walt Disney, specifically the 1954 movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Submarine Voyage ride at Walt Disney World in Florida.

In my desire to build a the perfect space to brainstorm, “think tank” came to mind. And, if you’re going to build a think tank, what better location but a submarine.

Brainstorming 20,000 Leagues Under DC


[Click for Larger View]

The secret to brainstorming and strategy-building is a combination of gathering the right people, using the right process, in the right place.

The Idea Sandbox: Think Tank will be the right place. This is one of four spaces, designed – using art and science – for the sole purpose of creative thinking and strategy building.

Aboard Think Tank, is as far away as possible as you can get from the corporate board bored room and tan hotel conference rooms.

In this “right place” I will help you bring the right people, and will lead you through the right process… with the sum greater than the parts – the perfect brainstorms will take place.

This article provides a preview of Idea Sandbox (the place) I’m designing and plan to build in Alexandria, Virginia – just outside Washington, DC.

Idea Sandbox is the antidote to boring, uninspiring, and ineffective meeting spaces.

Idea Sandbox turns brains into idea machines!

The above image was completed today and will be included in my investor pitch materials. After all, without the image – asking someone to invest in a space where brainstorm in a submarine, tropical hideaway, genius lab, or explorer’s library may sound crazy!

Pick Your Place, On Purpose

2012-07-06T10:34:15+00:00 Categories: create, grow, SandBlog, solve, think|Tags: , , , , , |

The most up to date list of locations can be found on the Places page within Brainstorming Tools section.

You have to love when someone “makes your case” – that is – says or supports something you believe in as well.

Today’s post by Seth Godin makes the case that space matters.

This supports what I call the 3Ps of brainstorming and strategy meetings: people, process, and place. The most successful and productive meetings are a result of pulling together the right people, using the right process, hosted in the right place.

People and process? Most of us prepare for this. Being even more deliberate will improve our meetings. But the majority of us are way off when it comes to place.

We don’t consider the space. We don’t pick the place on purpose. When hosting an off-site, we get the space for free at the hotel where we book our rooms.

Conference space is provided when you buy the food package. Instead of booking rooms from people in the catering business, why not from people in the idea business? The strategy business? In your business?

Here is a partial list of places you can pick. Here in the US, in the UK, and some great spots in Holland. These are places that put the meeting and atmosphere first.

Purposeful Places

Destinations conducive for problem solving.

This list doesn’t include meeting space in hotel and convention centers. While they offer physical space, I have yet to find a hotel venue that is very inspirational.

North America

East Coast

Meet

(NYC, NY) – Dedicated space in New York where creative and business executives can gather to re-imagine their business.” Opened, 2008.

SoHoSoleil

(NYC, NY) – Offers many locations throughout the NYC area suited for meetings, photo shoots, videos and movie sets. Contact: 212-431-8224 or

Mid-America

Catalyst Ranch

(Chicago, IL) – Eva Niewiadomski’s place. Five rooms of fun. A well known – perhaps the most popular in the US – creative space for rent. Opened in 2002.

Eureka! Ranch

(Cincinnati, OH) – Doug Hall started with a mansion, and upgraded to a whole ranch. He has perfected the science of innovation. Opened in 1992.

Idea Loft

(Kansas City, MO) – Chuck Dymer’s PeopleWorks location. Because space matters.

Thinkubator

(Chicago, IL) Gerald Haman founded SolutionPeople a creativity and innovation training and development firm in 1989 and his creative meeting space – the Thinkubator.

SparkSpace

(Columbus, OH) – Mark Henson, chief imagination officer, offers space and programs to help businesses be more creative. He offers a great newsletter. And a surprise hidden on his voicemail system.
(Hint…. push "6"). Opened in 2000.

Canada

headspace

(Calgary, Alberta) – As the site reads… “Welcome to a different kind of creative thinking space. Headspace aids in the exchange of ideas by providing the most flexible, supportive meeting space in Calgary. By removing physical and organizational barriers, Headspace promotes dialogue, ignites collaboration and inspires creativity. The best thinking always happens when you’re in the right Headspace.” Opened in 2011.

United Kingdom

The Boardwalk

(Manchester, England) – a ‘light, airy, spacious, urban’ location. Managed by ?WhatIf!

The Old Laundry

(London, UK) – “At The Laundry you won’t find any hard backed chairs, grey Formica tables or migraine inducing florescent strip lights – we believe that to be the kind of setting which saps your creative energy.” Managed by ?WhatIf!

Europe

The Netherlands – Amsterdam

Heineken – The City

Book an inspiring room in the heart of Amsterdam. Heineken the City is the ideal location for a day of brainstorming, team building or meetings in inspiring surroundings. Our spaces each have a unique interior and their environment and offer you the newest in multi-media facilities. They have three rooms:

Hub Amsterdam

A membership-based work and meeting space. Located near Amsterdam’s Central Train Station. (No membership fee necessary). Hub has many locations across the world. (Click on “Go To Hub” from the site’s menu for other locations).

SPACES: Amsterdam

Spaces offers office space for rent in inspiring surroundings in Amsterdam. At Spaces you not only rent square meters, but supporting services of all kinds of your choosing, such a reception service, office equipment, technical assistance, and catering of your meeting. All at reasonable prices.  Spaces also has a restaurant, coffee bar and plenty of seating for an informal conversation. Rooms for small and large groups.

The Netherlands – Den Haag

Future Center – The Buitenhuis

Billed as an inspiring, creative, and innovative location to work on policy and organization issues.

(If you run a space I haven’t listed, I’ll be happy to include it in the Places section of Idea Sandbox.)

Below is Seth’s post today, in full.

The space matters

It might be a garage or a sunlit atrium, but the place you choose to do what you do has an impact on you.

More people get engaged in Paris in the springtime than on the 7 train in Queens. They just do. Something in the air, I guess.

Pay attention to where you have your brainstorming meetings. Don’t have them in the same conference room where you chew people out over missed quarterly earnings.

Pay attention to the noise and the smell and the crowd in the place where you’re trying to overcome being stuck. And as Paco Underhill has written, make the aisles of your store wide enough that shoppers can browse without getting their butts brushed by other shoppers.

Most of all, I think we can train ourselves to associate certain places with certain outcomes. There’s a reason they built those cathedrals. Pick your place, on purpose.