BY JACKIE MULLIGAN
Jackie, VP of education for the MPI U.K. & Ireland Chapter, is an entrepreneur, professional speaker,
writer and independent researcher with a successful track record in leading and presenting global
research. She co-owns and directs events for the largest games industry network in the North of
England and develops new business within and outside of the events industry. Contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (@JackieMulls).
I SPEND A LOT OF TIME AT MEE TINGS. I also
spend a lot of time thinking about creativity. Sometimes I do both at the same time!
Teresa Amabile, a well-published author
and acclaimed researcher on creativity,
claimed over 20 years ago that creativity
is a precursor to innovation and “the seed
of all innovation.” The good news is that
my research on the role of meetings in
stimulating creativity conducted at 10
meetings in the U.S. and Europe is showing that meetings can perform a signi;icant role in planting that seed.
Often companies will say that their
employees attend meetings to gain knowledge and establish contacts. They are
unlikely to say that they attend meetings
to get ideas. But it is their ability to capitalize on both knowledge and networks
found at meetings that can result in new
ideas and innovation. Goran Ekvall describes the way companies harness creative ideas and creative people as a company’s creative climate. The problem is
that what a company does with the outcomes from a meeting are often outside
the control of the meeting planner.
My research has focused on what
happens in meetings. I have conducted
research on creative outcomes internationally and can see some clear pointers
based on existing research as well as my
own research. These pointers to creativity
feel like common sense, in a way that the
best creative ideas often do. In reality, just
like the best ideas, they can be quite tricky
to put into practice and especially so
within the constraints of a one- or two-day conference. One of the most important and signi;icant ;indings is the impor-
THE SEED OF ALL
A well-thought-out meeting structure will help you fuel
your own creativity—and the creativity of your attendees.