Lateral learning is key to breakthrough thinking.
When you are faced with repetition and echo chambers in a profession, it is crucial to step laterally outside of your bubble to gain key insights. Those insights often lead to breakthrough advances in your work. Recently we were offered the chance to be a part of a design process for a local school district. The goal was to re-design their early learning schools (Pre-K through 2) and in doing so, leverage all of the current game-changing data on early childhood learning.
One usually doesn’t equate schools and events (well, there are bake sales and proms and sports, we guess). What drew us in were all the parallels between our work as program designers for conferences, marketing efforts, training programs and the like, and the learning that takes place at schools. Work groups. Quiet spaces. Flexible design. Storytelling. Makerspaces. Emotional fluctuations. We gained an incredible amount of insight into these areas just being a part of the process. Insight that is already changing how we view our clients’ environmental designs for events.
Another major takeaway we weren’t quite expecting was the emphasis participants had on ensuring the school building itself would help build community. Our work with organizations helps them build their “tribes.” Key to that are truly identifiable spaces that speak to a community in real, meaningful ways. Our profession often takes for granted spatial design in events - looking for path of least resistance or speed of install. Creating a community-inspired space can lead to a greater event ROI.
Watching the design process unfold over several weeks, we felt greatly affirmed by that process. In all of our client training programs, things like inclusivity, perspective building and process play key roles in more durable outcomes. We got to experience those as a participant finally. And they work. Extremely well.
Learning is constant. Lifetime training is now a necessity. Find your spots for lateral learning. Take them. Fully engage. Let it inform your steps forward. We did and we learned as much as this next generation of kids in their new buildings will.