I am sure that at one point or another in one’s corporate career you will or have experienced some type of planning or strategizing “retreat”.
These retreats are usually off-site from the corporate walls so people can get away from all distractions and just focus on the company’s future and moving ahead (I have had the “pleasure” of experiencing many of these first hand). At these retreats top management and executives will spout rhetoric of the future like a fire and brimstone preacher, people fill up white boards with brainstorming sessions and at the end the result is usually some plans or next steps that everyone in the group believes will be innovative and move the company ahead of the competition (it’s almost like a cult brainwashing).
The problem I often see and have experienced with these retreats is that they do momentarily get everyone away from all the distractions of the office but when the retreat ends and everyone returns to the office they also unfortunately return those distractions as well. Time passes, the enthusiasm of the retreat wears off and all those well thought out plans begin to fade into the background of the corporate walls.
The best way I have ever been told envision innovation is not to think about it in terms of a processes or machine but a garden; Innovation like a garden should be continuous, year round and sometimes a real choir.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying these corporate retreats are bad or worthless but the retreat should be thought of as having a start and finish but rather a start – you plant the seed and no finish in site. Once the seed of innovation is planted it is now a daily choir or responsibility. You have to keep it alive and tend to it’s every need. You may toil daily, long and hard but the fruits of your labor are all yours to enjoy.
Here’s to innovating with a green thumb.