So what are you and your employees doing over for lunch? Catching up on emails? Idly surfing the net? Frantically running personal errands? To all these, we say, Meh.
We and a lot of others just don’t think any of these qualify as ‘refreshment’ or ‘renewal’ or ‘resetting’ your energy levels to take on the afternoon. While your inner Puritan is hammering away at your work ethic, goading you into getting a jump on chores or more work, your inner creative in the other side of your brain is begging for nourishment—and a break.
That’s why we’re so intrigued by the ‘genius lunch’ concept—and what how many different ways adapting this idea could benefit small business owners and employees. But first—
As we go about doing our jobs, we’re focused on the tasks at hand. To accomplish those tasks, we’re working primarily with information related to the specific business or sector, the tasks themselves and/or our particular area of expertise. There’s not a lot of time to wander aimlessly through information that isn’t useful for the immediate job.
At the same time, most if not all jobs involve coming up with an idea or some kind of problem-solving at some point. Ideas and solutions often come from unexpected or unknown sources. Frequently it’s a matter of connecting some seemingly unrelated dots. And the foundation that allows this to happen is one in which there’s a continual free flow of all kinds of information.
Getting the job done and maintaining a fertile creative environment seem a bit contradictory. But there are ways to interject some fresh perspective and information into the workplace. One company has come up with a ‘genius’ way to do just this. Fahrenheit 212, described as an ‘innovative consultancy,’ holds regular ‘genius lunches’, which feature interesting guests sharing any and every conceivable kind of information.
The lunches apparently grew out of the basic curiosity of staffers wanting to share diverse background information among themselves. But since its inception, topics in the lunch series have veered from pirates to pianos to chocolate, just to name a few. And while intended to be fun and not necessarily intended to be directly related to work, the steady influx of such diverse ideas and information has, according to staffers, influenced the work and made them smarter.
OK, so this is a firm that’s in the business of ideas. But no matter: Every small business, from retailers to restaurants to automotive services to salons, cannot help but benefit from learning new and diverse information. And you don’t have to be in New York City (or any other major city) to tap into the ‘genius’ all around you.
So consider adapting the ‘genius lunch’ concept to your own business. To get started, take a look at the online ‘genius lunch’ platform. Here are a few additional suggestions:
- Go slowly at first, maybe once a month.
- Don’t make them mandatory—this is supposed to be fun, after all.
- Make sure guests invited in are wildly diverse and completely unrelated to your business, products and services.
- Get input from employees on guests to invite. Make a list; have them vote.
- Think about springing for lunch to launch your own ‘genius lunch’ series and maybe periodically after that. But brown bagging also works.
This is a fun, easy way to take a timeout mid-day; bring employees together; infuse the workplace with a bit of fresh thinking; and have fun. And you just never know where that next idea will come from.
Image courtesy of David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net