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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 #65


Good morning! After taking a week off for Labor Day, the Monday Morning Meeting is back! Did you miss us?

Building on a great summer, we’re rolling up our sleeves to prepare for a busy fall. Here are few things on our plate before winter arrives: delivering these three workshops in Toronto and Phoenix, creating a new strategy model for a local school district, facilitating a two-day collaboration workshop for a Fortune 500 client’s second-largest customer, putting the finishing touches on a “workshop in a box” that’s already been piloted globally, and building a facilitation workbook to support a soon-to-be-released book.

We also just created something simple we hope you like: a video collecting 30+ “bits of advice, best practices, or lessons learned the hard way” from a conference we just attended. Let us know if you have an event coming up where some “wisdom capture” might be useful.


If you follow us on Instagram, you know we post testimonials every Tuesday, but here’s one I couldn’t wait to share. It wasn’t sent to us, but rather forwarded by the sponsor of a Meeting Design Workshop we hosted earlier this year. It is lightly edited to preserve the anonymity of the sender:

I always considered my meetings to be purposeful, deliberate and always ending with next steps/responsibilities.

I went into the Filament workshop openminded not knowing what to expect but looking for nuggets of insights and perhaps even tools to use when having a meeting. What I didn’t expect was to walk out with a shift in perspective and a tool to drive an even more purposeful engagement.

I had decided to use my new insights/tools for my upcoming Strategy Planning Workshop. There would be a lot to gain if successful and a lot to lose if not. The long and short is that this first-ever workshop was a SUCCESS!

The meeting prep [ I learned in the Filament workshop] ensured that I had considered and thought through the meeting, engagements, flow. . . everything! Seriously, a game-changer. As a result of this meeting, there is more holistic team collaboration.

Attendees said that they can’t believe this hasn’t happened before and that they want to come to town for it next year.

YAY!!! We now have full team participation. Thank you so much for letting me participate.


How many agreements do you need to reach consensus in your organization? It might be more than you think:

When we try to reach an agreement in our meetings, the number of actual agreements that need to take place rises exponentially as more people are added to the group. With two people, you need one agreement for unanimity. With four people, you need six agreements. With a group of ten, forty-five agreements must be made to come to a consensus on anything.

From the “that idea is so crazy, it just might work!” file: an audio podcast on mime. I learned the astronauts were taught mime in case their communication devices failed?

I found this interesting take on “Services as Software” in Rob May’s InsideAI newsletter:

Everyone knows SaaS stands for software-as-a-service. The term came from the delivery and billing model that allowed users to just pay a fee and access software on a remote cloud computer, rather than buy and install in on their own servers.  I was thinking about it this week as I realized many of the successful companies I know in the AI space are selling "services as software.”

What does this mean?  It means they sell you a task that is traditionally done by a human and then augment or replace the human with software.  You need task X done?  We do it at half price.  How do we do it at half price?  We scale our people by replacing many of their tasks with software. 

Why books don’t work (and what we can do about it):

Books are “surprisingly bad at conveying knowledge.” Read a non-fiction book, and within a few days or weeks you will have forgotten all but a few key points. Our basic error is to think that complex knowledge can be relayed efficiently just by means of words on a page. No. To take in information you need to read slowly, think deeply, take notes; return later to the book, revise it, test yourself or have others test you. This is the scholarly method, and it does work; but it has no part in the standard reading model.

Stop focusing on “great” and concentrate on “good enough” instead:

Good enough is a lot more probable than great. Good enough is a lot less angstful than great. And, the reality is that good enough over and again is precisely how you become great to begin with. Go big or go home and you often end up home. Go small, steady, and consistent over time and you end up with something big.

Love your AirPods? What signal does wearing them send to others?

AirPods are changing our behaviour, and not generally for the better. “They visually signal the wearer’s choice to perpetually relegate the immediate environment to the background. They create a soft but recognisable obstacle to personal interaction. They express potential distractedness in a sustained and effortless manner. You don’t have to look down at a screen to convey that your mind might be elsewhere. AirPods efficiently communicate your refusal to pretend to be fully present.

Finally, as we look to grow our team, Ed Catmull’s advice from Creativity, Inc. has been front of mind for me:

If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.


”If things were simple, word would have got around.” — Jacques Derrida

“Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos.” — Francis Ford Coppola

"Always be prepared to think that experts are stupid. They often are." — Jane Jacobs

"We’ve all learned to answer email on Sundays, but none of us has learned to go to the movies on Monday afternoon.” — Ricardo Semler

”Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none is undeservedly remembered.”
— W.H. Auden