A blog post about a meeting
I confess. It’s a blog post about a Library Innovation Group meeting. Potentially very dull. I’m sharing this in order to expose:
- the processes we went through
- why I decided on each approach
- what we got out of it
My turn to Chair
In the Library Innovation Group we’ve established a rolling chairperson set-up to spread the load around and give everyone who wants to a chance to direct the format and the agenda of our meetings. I’ve chaired formal meetings before, but I didn’t want to chair Innovation Group the same way. I’ve found at times that formal meetings can encourage people to be passive. I wanted to try to push our thinking about our brand forward a bit, and get some content for the blog.
When the format of meetings aren’t established it gives us some freedom to show our personalities (for better or worse!). I decided I wanted to do something fun, and maybe a bit of challenge for the group. After all, the Innovation Group members tend to like a laugh or two during meetings. I like thinking visually, and am interested to see how a creative activity, like drawing, acting and imagining, could give us different results from our meeting.
I devised three activities:
1. Innovation Pictionary
I admit, I LOVE this game. I devised this simple activity to get everyone thinking visually about our brand, and use our scribblings as a springboard for a logo design.
We generated a good smattering of post-its, which got us in the ‘innovation mood’.
This game (as it always does) revealed how our minds work, sometimes in synergy with each other, and sometimes completely laterally! Not everyone considers themselves ‘good at drawing’, but nevertheless we picked out some concepts and visual cues which formed a brief for the logo.
Out of this, we decided our logo should incorporate a green arrow to symbolise forward movement and change.
Although not everyone loves Pictionary as much as I do, and we didn’t nail our visual identity straight away, I for one found the process got us thinking together – creatively and visually.
This activity was a fairly standard discussion and ‘brainstorming’ about what and who the blog is for. The main difference was that the question challenged each participant to tell the group what they could write about, i.e. imagine themselves writing a blog post. Rather than asking ‘what shall we put on the blog?’, I tried to push people out of passivity into a sense of commitment. Though some members were not keen to commit fingers to keyboard straightaway, we managed to generate a good list of potential topics, which could form the editorial plan for our blog.
What we could write about:
- Successes and failures
- Things done
- Horizon scanning / revolution things?
- Technical solutions
- Opinion pieces
- Mad ideas
3. Pretending to be agents
We needed to write biographies for the blog to introduce ourselves. My ideas here was to have some fun, and hopefully get the biogs written there and then, instead of passing on another action from another meeting.
Although we had fun explaining why we chose to join the group (QOTD: ‘I didn’t realise I had a choice!’) and pretending to be each other’s agents, in the end most of the biogs were considered pretty bland and samey when written down. In a subsequent meeting we’ve decided to go back to composing our own biographies in the way we prefer. Was the activity a failure? Maybe, yes. But we don’t mind a bit of that.