Like most smaller businesses, some members of our team have strategic and tactical responsibilities. Also like most smaller businesses, everyone has plenty to do so it is hard to find uninterrupted time to just think. This week I encouraged Daria, our editor, to spend a couple of hours out of the office (James, marketing and events manager is next). She came back with a list of seven ideas after spending time at the magazine rack at a Barnes and Nobles.
One of the ideas, putting page numbers on the "cover lines" on the magazine covers, is really very simple. (Our readers are busy so let's help them find stuff faster). Yet, we hadn't thought of it sitting in brainstorming sessions in the office.
As the list of dual responsibilities includes me (to a large extent), I schedule think sessions out of the office myself. In fact, I have been doing this for years. The idea for the Small Business Awards came from one of these sessions. It is now a marquis program for the tri-state area. I don't think I would have developed the idea in the office with the phone ringing, email and other distractions.
One more thing - I have found that these sessions are far more productive without a laptop (or at least without Internet).