Meetings can be made better

Organising a meeting that is productive and efficient for all participants is a fine art. What does that primarily involve in an age of qualified knowledge workers? Young management and design specialists have sought out trends and innovations on behalf of Konica Minolta.

One of the many pearls of office wisdom says that ‘life is too short for long meetings’ – and the employees and managers who get through too many meetings each week would probably add: ‘and my working week is, too’. But how can the quality of meetings be improved? How can they be designed in a more efficient and productive way? What motivation, ideas and technical tools can contribute to meeting participants being truly satisfied with the end results?

International motivation: a meeting of business and design management

The Konica Minolta Business Innovation Center (BIC) Europe has set itself the task of developing new ideas and offerings for the working world of the future, together with academic institutions, start-ups, innovation partners and customers in Europe. In this context, master’s students studying Design Management at IED Barcelona (Istituto Europeo di Design) have been entrusted by Konica Minolta BIC Europa with a piece of pioneering project work: three teams are to research the subject of ‘Improved Meeting Experience’ and develop ideas for the improvement of meetings within companies.

Wanted: innovations that improve meetings

As part of a holistic approach, a wide variety of innovations that can improve not only the meetings themselves, but also the perception of and experiences from the meetings that the participants have, are being sought. Aspects that are primarily relevant for highly qualified knowledge workers. The master’s students entrusted with the project came from different subject areas. Among other disciplines, communications designers, landscape architects and Web developers worked together in the specialist teams. Together, they put contemporary meeting experiences under the microscope, made interesting enquiries and tracked down various trends. Here is a small insight into the world of work and meetings in the future.

Impressions from the final presentations by the Design Management students at IED Barcelona

 Meetings of the future

With the right ideas and innovations, meetings are made anything but boring

Meeting culture problem mapping

Problem gathering: why are some business meetings efficient and others not?

Trends for meeting room designs

Rooms that are characterised by a healthy atmosphere and that radiate energetic signals to the mind and body have a future

Biophilic design for meeting rooms

Meeting rooms can be designed in a more natural way with lots of greenery and natural materials

Smart glass for meeting privacy

Productive meetings require concentrated participants: intelligent glass creates flexible room divisions and thus peace and privacy

Smart and automated analysis of meeting content

Exciting idea for the future – here is a prototype: meetings are recorded and directly analysed for keywords and content; the report is delivered together with this

Endless efficiency? The meeting trends of the future

In times of constantly optimised efficiency and the pressure of high expectations, more and more employees and managers feel tired, stressed and burnt out. There are often too many meetings – and all the rooms look the same. An important trend for the future is redesigning meeting rooms and furnishing them in such a way that people feel good there and can communicate well. Rooms that have a good, healthy atmosphere and radiate ‘energetic signals’ to the mind and body were sought and have been found. Colours, plants and materials play an important role in this: if meeting rooms are successfully designed in a more natural way, the participants have the simultaneous benefits of greater relaxation and concentration.

Relaxed productivity: feeling at home – but in a carefully planned way

Another interesting trend identified by the students was giving more space to sensory experiences in meetings. Thus, some team leaders plan the first meeting with a new group somewhere comfortable and relaxed, such as a nice cafe. Or with the experience of eating together and talking in a relaxed way – whether it is in a restaurant or provided in-house by a caterer – they ensure that paying attention to one another and working with each other is more successful from the start. Innovations such as intelligent glass that changes according to levels of light or temperature are one way to ensure more or less visibility of a meeting in an open-plan office as required.

Trends, tools and meeting technology of the future

The teams of young specialists also dealt with various technical tools: an exciting trend is the assessment of meetings through ‘real-time content analysis’ in order to better ensure that everyone stays on top of the subject. To this end, keywords and the most important results of a meeting are recorded and a report is generated automatically. Meeting participants who often ask themselves why they actually have to attend certain meetings even though only a fraction of the topics discussed relate to their job might love the idea of the ‘Your Turn’ app: in future, this could be used to ensure that each individual only sits in on the meetings where their attendance is genuinely required. Sounds good, right?

Life is too short for long meetings. Meetings can be made better. #jobwizards http://bit.ly/2nCNNDk

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