What Happens at an Idea Exchange?
A few weeks ago, Croissant teamed up with our members of Green Room Creative to bring their Idea Exchange to our own community. When we first heard the concept of problem solving from a community stand point, it sounded exactly what we hoped to bring to Croissant members and fellow digital nomads.
Green Room Creative CEO and Croissant member, Ani, put it this way, “The purpose is to reimagine ‘networking,’ and put people in a space where they can collaborate, problem solve, and build genuine connections while they're in a space together.” Or as I liked to think of it: brainstorming meets networking without any awkwardness.
I had a personal goal in coming to the Idea Exchange too, and that was to break up my week from independent work for open collaboration. I had some big projects in mind, but I was lacking direction and, sadly, focus to make a dent in them.
How to Break the Ice
When I arrived into the conference room at Galvanize, the energy felt welcoming. I spoke to a few people, I had a glass of wine and snacked. There were also place cards for you to put your profession and write what you were looking for from the night. These definitely helped me break the ice to speak to people around me, who ranged from being recruiters, marketers, entertainment creatives, or entrepreneurs— both from Croissant and from Green Room Creative’s network.
It works because, well, Green Room Creative gets it. “Meeting interesting, like-minded people is crucial for progressing in your career and personal life,” Ani said, and his team encourages a diversity of perspectives to be present so that it's a space where people can interact with others outside of their traditional industry or niche. Also it just helps with discussion.
How Do You Solve an Issue Together?
To kick things off, Ani commanded the room and wrote a broad question on the white board, which in this case was, “What are your paint points as an entrepreneur/artist/creative/freelancer/etc.?” and we were all invited to write our answers around it. Then, we did a cursory scan as a group, and Ani encouraged us to dot-vote, meaning place a dot next to two answers that spoke to us as individuals.
Green Room Creative’s team proctored a quick discussion on some of the answers with the most and least amount of dots, then we broke into the smaller groups to discuss one of the top three answers further. Our choices were time management, planning our business’s direction, and failure. Because we got to choose which answer we wanted to approach, I felt like I got to bring my issues to a group of fresh perspective. I also felt like the smaller group ensured that we all got to speak our thoughts.
That’s part of the appeal of the Idea Exchange. “We want to deliver value to people by providing a space to get feedback on current problems you're experiencing, as well as meeting other people who might be the missing piece of your puzzle,” Ani said.
In my case, I brought some of my hesitancy on my big projects, and I got a lot of great support on testing new ideas.
Why Should I Go?
It’s a great way to meet other people from different professions and a way for me to tackle some of my own concerns as a digital nomad.
As I said, I had a few big ideas percolating and I really wanted fresh perspective, because sometimes I need an outlet to really just let loose and saying a few thoughts out loud helps me organize them mentally. The night gave me a renewed sense of focus and it really helped me center some of those scatterer brained ideas I had. I’d definitely go again.
Check out our newsletter or community board for the next Idea Exchange. We hope to see you there!