Frans Johansson wrote an incredible book called, The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures. The point that he makes excruciatingly clear is that, quite often, inspired ideas come from the unlikeliest of places.
Here’s an example from Johansson: “Volvo has delved into a new, fascinating, and intersectional, initiative. The car company’s vision is to develop a collision safety system for automobiles based on the African grasshopper’s ability to not collide when it flies in swarms.” And another, “advanced technology from NASA was used to give Speedo’s LZR Racer swimsuit extraordinary qualities.”
The examples are endless.
I would venture to say that the reason these intersections are so incredible, is that they are so unexpected. And the reason they are so innovative, is because they are so singular. And these two characteristics: unexpected and singular, cause the people who find them and then put them into action to succeed. Because they are the only people who have made the connection and then, critically, the leap.
This is what innovators do, right? They think of things that no one else has ever thought of.
What if you could give that opportunity to your meeting attendees?
I think you can, and I think there are several ways to do it. Here’s one: speakers.
If your attendees are…
- …doctors, don’t bring in a world-renowned doctor. Bring in a trapeeze artist to talk about his story, to discuss how he handles the pressure of life threatening situations.
- …customer service reps, don’t bring in the best customer service company in the world. Bring in a best-selling author to share her experience with communicating authentically.
- …leaders, don’t bring in a former President. Bring in a school teacher to illustrate how she made a lifelong impact on 23 six-year-olds.
Give them something seemingly disconnected and let them do the math. Ask their minds to move. When someone hands you the answer, you plug and play, no thinking necessary. When someone offers you insight, your inspired mind does everything it can to make it your own.
Image credit: Shane Robinson