The numbers and research don’t lie, most of our meetings suck. According to research by Gallup senior executives spend two days or more a week in meetings despite the fact that 67% of meetings are considered to be “failures”. I’d dare say that time would have significantly spiked in the last couple of weeks for most execs.

Anything that requires us to turn up and zone out is not just a waste of time but a waste of our creative potential, a waste of an opportunity to truly connect and collaborate.

You can’t write an article on improving meetings without quoting some scary stats. Steven Rolberg’s research states that…

62% of participants said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.

64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.

Poor meeting structures lead to low engagement and poor culture. If you want a more productive team who creates big ideas and gets stuck into creative problem solving, then you need to dedicate time to connection and heightening collaboration. The way to do that is to ensure you allocate time in your meeting to focus on culture, create an interactive experience and tie the jobs to be done back to the overall higher purpose and vision for the team.

Allocate time

In my experience this works best in the opening of the meeting. Dedicate 15 minutes at the beginning of your next team meeting and use this time to seek input from everyone who attends. This will help you stop your team feeling like passive participants and make them feel more like active contributors and idea makers.

Interactive experience

In a time like this where things are so uncertain, and people are experiencing high levels of change and stress

Some think of focusing on culture and engagement as nice things to do or the icing on the cake. We need to make the cake first sell it then we’ll think about ourselves later. Wrong. Instead, think of engagement and your culture as the cake tin. It’s what enables you to make the cake in the first place. Want a better cake? Then fix the holes in your tin.

So here’s 3 activities to get you started…

Method 1.


Grab your list of values. Select one each week or each meeting and ask the team to each come prepared with one or two ideas as to how that value can be represented in your next online meeting.

Collate the ideas, discuss and pick some nice easy ways that you all agree as a team you want to uphold over the next few weeks.

Use the next meeting to summarise what was agreed to and at the end of the meetings to a value check in. Take 2 mins to write down how you think it went. Keep experimenting and tweaking as you go.

Benefits: This activity requires everyone to do some pre-work before the meeting so they are already in the mindset that they will be required to contribute.

It helps your team focus on agreed to goals and decision making. There’s not one individual who makes the call but a group who are working together. Essentially you are working out your collaboration and team cohesion muscles.

Method 2.


Get participants to get and A4 piece of paper and a sharpie. Ask them to draw a picture 5 mins before they’re due to dial in that represents how they have been feeling that morning or day. You can have fun with this but just make sure the image is visible to everyone online. (Hence the sharpie instead of a pen). If the kids are at home grab a crayon if you have to. Then ask everyone to show their picture. If there is anyone who wants to share why they drew that picture. You’ll find some people are feeling great and some who might be feeling a little challenged that day could perhaps do with a phone call from someone who has some energy to give that day to support them. We’re all going through a lot so morning you might be on top of the world and afternoon you might need a pick me up.

Benefits: How many emails do you send each day? How many drawings do you do each day? By drawing an image, you are instantly activating new pathways in your brain. By opening new pathways, it allows you to interpret information differently and allow more critical thinking and creative problem solving.

Method 3.


Tell a story that represents someone demonstrating the values either within your organisations or serving a client.

Give recognition to someone who has helped deliver on a project or task. Then go a step further and ask them to explain how they managed to get all the work done or how they prioritised this job with everything else they had going on.

The more you can get other to recognise positive behaviours and not just outcomes the more you help them to realise that they too can deliver on their seemingly endless tasks and major projects.

Benefits: This builds trust within your team and it helps people feel valued for the work they do. Trusting one another is one of the most valuable commodities we possess, and it is vital to cohesive teamwork. By going the one step further and asking the recognised team member to explain ‘how’ they achieved what they did or how they prioritised means that others in the team can then see how they themselves can follow positive behaviours and processes for the same outcomes. This step also fosters transparency and avoids the ‘hold your cards close to your chest’ behaviour which fractures teams. Success breeds success.

Don’t forget that your workplace culture is your own. Develop your own rituals. You can adopt some of the above or go out on your own and create something unique to your organisation that can create a sense of comradery and belonging.

Experiment and improve. Question the outcome, structure, behaviours and necessity of every meeting. Was it necessary to all jump online? Did everyone need to be there. Could the same be achieved by simply heading onto a teams chat or slack. If it’s an important announcement does everyone need to login at that point in time or could you simply send a video Prime Minister style give everyone a chance to digest then come into an online meeting to discuss peoples thoughts and questions.

If you’d like more tips on how to bring your culture online get in touch. No pressure, no pitch.

Stay creative! Cheers, Liv

Innovation managers, chief innovation officers and head of innovation. These are all new titles becoming more commonplace as organisations realise the importance of developing new solutions and ideas for their markets. Often these roles are filled by someone with no previous experience in a formal innovation role but who have proven themselves and displayed abilities transferrable to driving new ideas across the organisation.

We have the top 3 tips for innovation managers.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

It would be a tough task to try and drive innovation alone and its one of the glorious aspects to your role. Who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session and being able to give people in the organisation a chance to have their ideas heard as well as being able to contribute to the next big thing that they’ll be working towards.

Implementing regular forums for collaboration will start things moving in the right direction. It’s important the wider team in the organisation understand the big picture and how important innovation is to the direction of your organisation. Start with an ‘introduction to innovation’ with examples of companies who have transformed themselves through new and innovative ideas. Then provide a summary of what you are trying to achieve, where the organisation sits currently and where it needs to get to in the next 6-12 months and then in the next 5-10 years. You want to gain your teams interest to ensure their future engagement.

Culture Club

You’ve made a good start. You’ve got the members of the organisation together and shared the big vision for the future but now the challenge is to keep up the momentum.

Examine your workplace culture. Chances are that if your organisation have made a specific role for driving innovation then there is a belief not only on the importance of new ideas but that there are areas for improvement in how they have done things in the past. Challenge the status quo and examine why it is that new ideas haven’t succeeded in the past or what improvements could be made on those that did succeed.

Develop an ecosystem that is built on being open to new ideas and open to one another. The acceptance and willingness to share new ideas must be cultivated and encouraged from all members of the organisation. Leaders should demonstrate productive leadership and model the behaviours of what they are trying to instil. Silicon Valley is an example of one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world and it’s these traits that promote the free flow of ideas and lay the grounds for so many success stories.

Seek Out New Methods

Try to view things differently. Examine other organisations who have successfully achieved what you are trying to do or look at different industries that you can learn from. In the global 2018 report “State of Innovation” by CB Insights it clearly states that one of the primary factors affecting innovation velocity is the insular view on how they will attack new developments. Rather than partnering or buying most organisations choose to build innovations themselves. “60% of companies say it takes a year or longer to create new products, with almost one-forth saying it takes over two years from ideation to launch.”

Look at the market and seriously consider partnerships or acquisitions that will help you accelerate your release date. Also, consider opportunities for co-design as you may find a partnering organisation with equal expectations for success who are embarking on the same or similar challenges. If managed correctly co-design and co-creation can ensure more efficient go to market timeframes and less risk.

If you have recently been appointed as an innovation manager congrats! We’d love to hear about your experiences for our research. Do you think we all have a little innovation manager inside of us? :O)

Thanks for reading! We love talking innovation so if you want to chat more contact us here.