Fourteen adults from 8 different countries are standing in the four corners of a sandbox in a children’s playground. Coloured sheets of paper are strewn all over the sand, kept down by little hillocks because the wind is strong and chilly. At the command of a fifteenth colleague, they all run around until they have swapped corners. It looks like a scene from a madhouse – in fact, they are figuring out how to best market Meeting Design services.
“Time to send in your scores,” shouts Eric de Groot. He is referring to people’s subjective vote (on a scale from 1 to 10) expressing how “authentic” the experience was they had over the previous hour. After two days, the averages per hour produce an “authenticity graph” with meaningful peaks and troughs, connected to the activities participants had at that time.
Just two activities that characterize the 2017 edition of the Meeting Design Practicum. On behalf of MindMeeting, Eric cuddled his brainchild for the second year in a row, inviting thirty professionals from all over the globe for 2 days of experiments. They all came to Barcelona and Lloret de Mar in Spain, to subject themselves to a series of unique and sometimes unsettling experiences.
The Meeting Design Practicum is a living laboratory. In it, participants test formats, experiences, activities and content. The point is to learn more about what would work in the design of meetings, and what wouldn’t.
The Practicum is not about satisfying participants hospitality-wise. Not at all. “Raw and rebellious” are two key words Eric uses to describe its spirit. In the sense that in order to find out what works to influence the behaviours of human beings in large groups, you have to try things and feel them yourselves. Some experiments produce enthusiastic reactions; others openly fail. That doesn’t matter: the learning is in the shared assessment of why you obtain one or the other outcome.
In the course of the next couple of weeks, we are proud to share three blogs from Practicum participants: Lalit Chadha from India, Adrian Segar from the US and Pairry Chiang from Taiwan. Each of them shares a unique peak into what happened in their lives during two extremely intense days with thirty totally committed professionals.
Enjoy the read and tell us what kind of experiments you conduct to help your profession along!
Mike van der Vijver, Managing Partner of MindMeeting.