September 20, 2018
Sue Heilbronner

The Relationship Between Space and Creativity

My favorite meeting or event space -- yours to rent in Boulder, Colorado.

“Where can I find a large, wide open, bright, beautiful meeting space for an offsite team or company meeting that calls for collaboration and creativity?”

I asked myself this question for years. The birth of our new Leadership Camp HQ in Boulder, Colorado, has proved to be a stellar solution.

Before this, here were my options, and here’s why they failed:

  • OPTION: I could do this meeting in my office.  FAIL: My team would feel distracted by colleagues, the desks and other conference room furniture would make things feel too tight for creativity.
  • OPTION: I could do this meeting in a hotel conference room.  SUCK: Not only do those rooms usually feel sterile, but I’d end up with a substantial room reservation fee and the need to navigate food and beverage minimums that made the day expensive for food and beverage I might not even like. In short, overly formal and rife with bad lukewarm coffee in giant urns.
  • OPTION: I could do this meeting at one of my team member’s homes.  SUCK: No white boards, projector, supplies that make creative meetings sing.
  • OPTION: I could rent a vacation home in the mountains, and we could make this a retreat.  PSEUDO-FAIL: Well, this option doesn’t full suck because of the beautiful immersion part of it, the logistical weaknesses of  “someone’s home” option are still present, and navigating food for a group with varying dietary preferences in a vacation home is doable (with a personal chef, for example), but much more expensive and tough to organize.
  • OPTION: I could rent a conference room in a nifty co-working space.  PSEUDO-FAIL: Okay, this option also doesn’t suck. We did this many times with very good outcomes, diligent and caring staff, and great facilities. But, it felt less than optimal to have other people walking around outside of the conference room. The privacy compromise took a toll on intimacy, focus, and freedom.

After years of trying all of these options, my partner in facilitation Leah Pearlman and I decided to try an experiment. We were in a fortunate position to be a able to do something a little daring... We rented a 3,000 square foot wide open space on the second floor of a stunning historic building right in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world — Boulder, Colorado.

We chose this space to be the Headquarters for Leadership Camp — a series of public, paid leadership training events we host every month or two that focus on bringing radically more authenticity and connection to leaders, teams and companies. We also host our monthly Conscious Leadership Forum meetings here. We will host the MergeLane 2018 Funderator here. I also host client companies and coaching clients here. We hosted a Category Design workshop for a dynamic, mid-sized Denver tech company here (pictured below). We imagined we’d create other events to support causes we cared about — like our LIFEraising party for the Kidney Curious, coming up in November.

We have done all of these things, and here’s what we’ve learned:

This is, hands down, one of the best physical spaces for a creative or strategic team meeting that I’ve ever seen. I know it is true, because I’ve had the opportunity to create these experiences again and again with others in our Leadership Camp HQ. I’ve also attended or facilitated similar meetings in at least 75 other locations in my career.

Category Design Workshop

So here we are, six months into our two-year experiment horizon, and we are exploring ways to make it sustainable beyond our two-year lease. Our idea? Offer this space to you for your gatherings of all kinds.

If your next meeting or offsite calls for a setting that fosters maximum innovation and fun, read more about our event and meeting space rentals.

Exercise: Creativity

We are big on the belief that Conscious Leadership is a key driver of curiosity and innovation. This week’s exercise is about tuning in to what you can do to intentionally create opportunities for curiosity and creative thinking.

Think of a few instances from the past that felt like moments of peak creativity for you (and perhaps a colleague or your team). Jot down the circumstances. Who was there? What were the physical environs (location, furniture, inside/outside)? Were you using devices? Eating a meal? Moving?

Reflecting on the above, see if you can find a few themes of circumstances that contribute to your creativity. Can you try to create those features more intentionally in the next week at a time when creativity would be of service in your work or personal life?


Learn more about renting our space for meetings, events, retreats, or offsites in Boulder.

Sue Heilbronner

Co-founder MergeLane & Leadership Camp, coach, speaker, advisor, conscious leadership trainer.

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