I had some folks here at Mersive ask me how I describe the trend towards a more collaborative meeting culture. I started to describe the trends I’ve been seeing in both education and corporate enterprise that relate to more egalitarian, open, and ad-hoc collaboration processes. I was stopped, and the group re-posed the question,
“Yes, but what is this trend called?”
Well, as far as I know, it doesn’t go by a single name. I’ve head people refer to it as “Google-like” culture, “open design”, or “flat hierarchies”. None of those terms quite fit what I’ve been seeing… So, I’ve decided to give this shift in thinking a name – “Synergetic Meeting Culture”.
The main focus of all the initiatives I’ve seen is on creating new collaborative opportunities in the workplace, where they may not have been able to flourish before. Mostly, the focus of the trend is on meetings. This isn’t a surprise either, after all most decisions take place in meetings..and meetings seem to be where A LOT of productivity is lost and culture suffers.
Synergetic Meeting Culture is a trend seeking to improve collaboration.
This trend has a broad set of initiatives:
- Architecture and the workspace. Corporations and their designers are creating open floor plans, stand-up meeting tables, spaces for accidental encounters, and collaboration nooks.
- Collaboration Technology improvements. At the same time, these spaces are being populated by a new generation of collaboration platforms that focus on adhoc sharing from any device, distributed and shared control over the meeting logistics, and fast setup/tear down.
- Cultural shifts away from traditional meetings. When you combine the first two initiatives, this is almost natural. Meetings are no longer one person sharing a PowerPoint to a group of highly compensated employees for an hour. Instead, everyone is expected (and wants) to participate in collaborative discussions, rapid sharing of disparate data-sets, and a meeting that drives towards a common goal/decision and not the last slide in a deck.
When you look at the drivers behind the adoption of Synergetic Meeting Culture in the corporate enterprise, it is invariably productivity. In close second, is the desire to remain relevant to millenials who simply don’t problem solve linearly and require more collaboration (not to mention they simply won’t tolerate a work environment that embraces long meetings for meeting sake).
Adopters of Synergetic Meeting Culture have realized that meetings are more effective when they are held between three people who find an open display surface in an open corner in the office than a fully equipped, scheduled conference room. Synergetic Meeting Culture is about making meetings an integrated driver of your business, and not where you go to pause business.