Genuinely groundbreaking ideas, innovations, and new businesses are rarely born in the executive suite or corporate breakout room. When David Packard and William Hewlett got together to start the company that would go on to become HP they didn’t meet in a conference room with flipcharts or a whiteboard, they met in Packard‘s parent’s garage. There they tinkered and soldered, and laughed and talked, and soon they had knocked out an oscilloscope they would sell to Disney. HP was born out of a garage, as were Apple, Google and many more. Bunches of enthusiastic kids riffing and playing with ideas, unconstrained by having to get it right or look good.
Microsoft was born in a rented motel room, Facebook and Dell in college dorms, and Twitter outside in a park.
Perhaps the most common places though that great ideas and business start are coffee shops. In 1688 a group of sailors, hucksters, and ship owners started to congregate at the newly opened Lloyds Coffee House on the east side of the City of London to share ideas and news about the boats coming in and out of the docks on the way to the recently discovered New World. The group grew and grew and over 300 years later it is now what is known as Lloyds of London – the largest maritime insurer in the world. A few years later another group of young chancers met in a coffee shop a mile west to share business tips – that group evolved into what is now the London Stock Exchange. Ever since the coffee first came in from the Middle East new ideas and thinking have been spread through vibrant conversations in coffee shops. The funding for Paypal was secured over coffee in California and the first lines of code for Four Square were written on a free wireless network in a coffee shop in New York City.
Following in this tradition the SLP Café is a forum for innovative thinkers, leaders, practitioners, and those with a desire and mandate for change to share insight and ideas. It exists in three forms. We host open access meetings in interesting cafes and social spaces; we facilitate specialist conversations in similarly interesting venues; and we host online sharing via Twitter and other social media.
We are currently running SLP cafés on a number of issues that we see as important, pressing and emerging, including leading a conversation on Diversity; Building high performing joint ventures and alliances, especially between competitors and across cultures; The emerging disciplines of HSEQ; And the leadership capabilities required for the new and emerging challenges of the 21st Century. We are also developing a technology symposium looking at how new technologies and techniques can be used to foster collaboration, inclusion and innovation.
To find out more about our cafes and join in the conversation join the SLP Cafe linked in page
Also join the SLP Cafe on Twitter where we encourage you not only to subscribe but also to share your ideas, articles and links you think people will find useful
The SLP Café is a forum for innovative thinkers, leaders, practitioners, and those with a desire and mandate for change to share insight and ideas.