Today's Wall Street Journal reports on the efforts by companies to promote encounters and chance interactions - to spur on collaboration, information sharing and creative exchanges.
At the techie-end of the spectrum, there are wacky concepts in development: a floral settings that tip if someone's hogging the conversation, a kiosk that matches employees with common interests for lunches, and voting doors forcing employees to opt one way or another on a dichotomous question.
Of all the ideas described, we like the approach of National Public Radio best. According to WSJ, six times each year, people from across different teams volunteer to come together over two days to jam ideas.
But as WSJ observes, most companies are "still really primitive at this," according to workplace interaction researcher Greg Lindsay, a visiting scholar at New York University. "They compress people in the same space, put in a coffee machine and just hope that something good happens."
MeetingKeg and IdeaKeg go some distance to solving the need to design in serendipity. If like NPR, you've got two full days to fill, IdeaKeg Single or IdeaKeg21 will get your spontaneous group thinking creatively, quickly.
If time is tighter or the groups you want to bring together are smaller, IdeaKeg Single or MeetingKeg provide effective entry points.
When using KILN's Kegs with our process guides, your people can be assured that the process won't be a free-for-all and that the loudest voices in the room won't dominate. And there won't be any intrusive floral displays, awkward lunches or annoying forced choices.
So stop crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, and give people the means to talk across the tribes.