My friend Mark is like Oprah (if Oprah were tall with a red faux-hawk and beard)….he’s always on top of the latest trends and helps those around him discover things they would like. He has what the Japanese (and Seth Godin) refer to as Otaku. His Otaku has shifted over the years of our friendship from music, to beer, at one time fine dining and cocktails…. Lately, he’s been into marketing theory, tapping experts like Simon Sinek, Gary Vaynerchuk, Steve Jobs and more. Like the obsessions that came before, he’s jumped in head first.
A couple months ago he came to me with an idea. It wasn’t just a process improvement or a cool new app that he had discovered….he wanted to share this Otaku with his circle of influence (people he’s responsible for leading but don’t report to him). Like any corporation, we have no shortage of meetings where we shove people in a room and attempt to make decisions. He saw a need to get people together in a casual manner to simply share ideas, enjoy each-other’s company and potentially learn something from experts in our trade.
Out of this concept, he created a “bizarro happy hour” where we drink coffee instead of beer, eat doughnuts instead of hot wings and trade inspirational ideas rather than war stories from the week. He calls it the “Morning Happy Hour”
What you need for your own Morning Happy Hour:
- One Hour (we prefer Monday morning…everyone’s really fresh from the weekend and the momentum carries through the week)
- A gathering space (we use a room with a projector and a decent sound system so we can easily watch a quick video)
- A short, inspirational video (TED is a fantastic place to start….thousands of inspirational stories in under 16 minutes)
- Your circle of influence (Try to limit the size…it’s best when everyone has a chance to talk. When the room gets crowded, encourage others to start their own happy hour!)
- Coffee and breakfast items (always a good draw)
Today’s session was fantastic…we heard from GE’s CMO, Beth Comstock, about innovation and instigation. She had three tips for bringing innovative ideas to the foreground in a large company (GE has 45K engineers and 5K marketers….I’m sure these same 3 steps will apply in companies of all sizes):
- Tell a good story
- Come with a little insight/research
- Passion always wins
I immediately posted these three rules in our shared workspace and it’s been fun to hear the discussion around the office today. Are you simply managing your day to day tasks or is there something you can do to inspire your circle of influence on a regular basis?