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The Filament Blog


We all suffer from a profound case of “Idea Surplus Disorder” at Filament — and we think that’s a good thing. Here are some of those ideas we’d like to share with you.



Monday Morning Meeting

Welcome to our first edition of Filament's Monday Morning Meeting:  our once weekly mix of ideas, suggestions, and links that will help make your meetings matter.

I'm finally back home with the Filament team after bringing some facilitation and visual creativity to a week-long, 2000+ person conference in Washington DC.  As I was replaying our role in supporting an otherwise traditional conference, I stumbled upon this article about how we've reached "peak complexity" (and why it sucks).

The author argues that we've reached "peak complexity," which he defines as the unwieldy mix of old- and new-world systems, and takes us to task for innovating at the edges of an experience instead of at its core:

Technology can either be applied at the core or at the edge, and a generation of leaders, consciously or unconsciously, has placed it in new units, in innovation labs and all manner of bit-sized chunks at the periphery. The new has actually been marginalized, as if it’s a way of thinking that could threaten them. New thinking has been something to process, not a new core of opportunity to ideate around. It’s as if managing a slow decline into their retirement was their aim, not unleashing potential to propel their businesses into the future.

Nowhere is this truer than in the traditional conference experience. We've got slick conference apps that tell us where to go so we can sit passively and watch someone read her PowerPoint slides. We pick up some vendor-branded high-tech swag and put it in our ugly conference bag. Even the "networking" events where we hope to connect with our peers after a long day of sessions are uncomfortable for introverts.

At Filament, we're changing this. We're building meetings, retreats, and conferences that put connection first. We're just getting started, but we'd love for you to join us on the ride.

One Quick Tip:

Stop sending calendar invites for hour-long meetings.  Instead, schedule your meetings for 47 minutes. It makes it hard for people to stack meetings back-to-back and -- if you end on time (or even early) -- you'll give your attendees back 13 minutes for them to get some "real" work done.

Five Links:

  1.  Read about how "Flash Teams" can deliver on-demand work from groups of strangers so long as they share a managed, common purpose and have clear roles. There are lessons in this emerging field for building teams to solve problems in conferences, meetings, or retreats. 
  2. Trying to get a team to make better decisions?  Dim the lights, watch a clock and drink lots of water.
  3. Speaking of teams, this NYT article shares some counterintuitive lessons learned at Google. Hint: It is all about the norms.
  4. The Paper-Clip Strategy might be an interesting visual way to motivate a team (or a group of teams competing with one another) to do something measurable -- like coming up with a hundred ideas.
  5. We're really impressed with what Viv and Johnnie are doing with Action Storming & Unhurried Conversations.

See you again next Monday!