But it’s worth noting that the specific process you use isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is the mindset in which you approach the work. The most important part of the “design dinner party” is the party, not the process. This is something we’ve been harping on for quite a while: the power of fun. The best way to generate a new idea, or begin the design of a new product or process is to stop working and start playing.
The difference between work and play is only in your mind. And the best work gets done when it feels like play. Sounds obvious, right? But the hard part is actually making your work feel like play, and even harder is getting others to play along with you. But if Tom Sawyer could do it, surely you can too.
Tom turned a fence-painting chore into a party for his friends, and the fence got painted while everyone had a good time. It never felt like work.
He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while â€“ plenty of company â€“ and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it!
In having a party, you bring booze (which helps get people to drop their guard), you remove the icky office environment (which helps people think like people, not robots), and you make fun be the objective of the day (which means the best ideas get room to breathe).
But a party is a special occasion, and if you follow the design dinner party model, you’ll only get to have fun at work once a quarter. And that would suck serious ass.
But take heart. It’s not the booze or the bar that matters. It’s your approach to your work. So:
What if your office environment felt more like the kinds of places you go for fun?
What if your meetings felt more like the gatherings you have with your friends?
What if your relationships with coworkers and clients and customers felt more like those you have with the people you love?