Ideas are rarely built in a boardroom.
A boardroom is a place of CYA, one-upmanship, committees, factions, spreadsheets, cost allocation analysis, and financial statements.
A boardroom is ties, suits, starched collars, wingtips, multiple chairs that are hardly ever comfortable, massive tables which ensure friction.
At one startup I worked at when the founders gleefully told me they had purchased a proper boardroom conference room setup, I knew our days were numbered.
The best ideas come when you step out of the office.
For me, it could be a walkabout, on a chairlift, watching a documentary, listening to jazz, seeing world-class art, or behind the wheel.
One time on a drive through the Virginia countryside I had conjured such a brilliant idea it cost me a speeding ticket.
I was so in the zone, DJ Doran: Monuments blasting from the sound system, high on Red Bull and PayDay.
There it was - boom - a brilliant idea literally speeding across my mind.
The state trooper was unfazed at my sensational out of the boardroom idea generation tool, he told me to slow down and pay a fine.
What's your idea generation tool?
By stepping out of the boardroom and into a more realistic, actual #IRL situation, and awe-inspiring setting, you allow yourself the freedom to generate new ideas.
Boardrooms are all about hierarchy, who sits where, who can speak when, status, seniority, and pressure to maintain a serious meeting vibe.
Far more important to find an environment and develop a culture where everyone feels safe to be heard and unfamiliar concepts are welcome.
I grew up with an active family dinner table discussion.
Growing up, we had to go around the table and announce five things we learned that day.
This taught me that regardless of age or station all voices at that table were equal and we were encouraged to share ideas and concepts from politics to sport from business to culture - frankly anything.
The exercise wasn't about the content, but about the ability and freedom to recognize and share ideas.
It's hard to know when or where your next great idea might come. But stepping out and embracing life around me has been a positive tool to generate new ideas.
From a walkabout on the shores of the Potomac River or a drive on VA State Route 20, chances are for me, it won’t be in a bored room.
Marc A. Ross is an advisor and connector working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and thought leaders make better connections and better communications. He is the founder of Caracal Global, the advisory firm helping global policy experts make better communications.