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At the Warp Institute's third meetup, in the autumn of 2016, we threw ourselves down a cliff. Not literally, but it felt like that when I in front of the audience forbade them to be negative during the whole meetup.
We had Johan Norberg there and he would talk about his then latest book Progress: Ten reasons to look forward to the future. Before Johan we pitched ideas we had, and in the mingling afterward, we would discuss these.
Usually, in such scenarios people come up with problems: Have you thought about this problem? How are you going to solve this? Do you think it will be possible to ..? And so on. We wanted to avoid that for once. Of course, you have to think about problems and obstacles with a new idea, but it does not have to come first in the process.
"Problems, you can think about those for the other 23 hours ..."
Therefore, I stood there in front of the audience, discretely sweating. Not allowing negative opinions could really backfire. Some could be infuriated, get up and leave. Others might start protesting.
"You have 23 other hours this day to think about problems and mistakes, but this hour we will only think about possibilities. If you want to whine, you can do it when you get home," I said with a twinkle in my eye and hoped it would go forward.
You can usually tell if an audience buys into something, and especially if they don't. This particular audience nodded, smiled, and seemed to accept my injunction. Relieved, we carried on with our program for the evening.
Problems obscure the view
When I went home I was elated. The idea I pitched and then discussed with some during the mingling had come several steps forward. Instead of talking about problems, we had just talked about opportunities. As a result, my idea had developed significantly during the evening. I had not devoted my thinking power to solving potential problems, but instead to taking the idea forward.
In the evaluation of the meetup (where people were allowed to be negative) the audience was super happy. Several described how, like me, they went home filled with optimism and faith in the future.
Since then, we have always had that rule at our meetups, we have started a Facebook group where you can only be positive and when we run workshops with companies and organizations.
Let's warp 2022
Now we say "warp a meeting."
Of course, you can't always walk around and exclusively think of opportunities. All new projects, innovations, and companies encounter problems and obstacles. If you can list some of these before they occur, much is gained. But the focus on problems often comes naturally to us, we do not have to make an effort to come up with obstacles. However, we often have to make an effort to focus on opportunities. Therefore, it is good to "warp a meeting."
By doing so, you get a broader view of the vision, of the dream, of the positive you can achieve. It is from there that you get the energy to go from idea to reality and have the strength to solve problems along the way.
If you want a more creative 2022, you should warp some meetings at work. Also, give yourself time to warp your own thoughts.
Have a warpey New Year!