4 Innovative Asian Concepts to Inspire Meeting Planners

Pond in Japanese GardenEvent and meeting planners need to regularly come up with new ideas to keep meetings and events fresh and innovative. Always on the lookout for ideas from other cultures, an intriguing blog post on Mother Nature Network (MNN) with inspiring international cultural concepts immediately sparked my attention. Today, I'll look at how to incorporate the 4 from Asia into meetings.

  1. Kaizen - Japan: Never ending, continuous improvement through small incremental changes is an important Total Quality Management Concept (TQM). North American companies that have embraced TQM initiatives will be familiar with "kaizen."
    • Encourage team members to suggest small improvements during meetings and through a process for easily submitting suggestions (i.e. a board, box)
    • during meetings and team building, instead of waiting for brainstorming sessions, provide kaizen cards where attendees can jot down and submit ideas as they come to them
  2. Wabi-sabi - Japan : The opposite of "kaizen" wabi-sabi means involves embracing the imperfect, cracked, and worn.
    • during and after training and development, encourage participants to practice new skills even if their first attempts aren't perfect
    • encourage participants to explore older, tried and true approaches and don't always assume that something has to be brand new or innovative to be of value
    • reinforce the concept that ideas don't have to be perfectly formed to be put forward
  3. Golden Temple, JapanShinrin-yoku - Japan: Translated as "forest bathing," it means that spending time in the forest or other natural settings like gardens lowers stress and speeds healing
    • hold your meeting at a venue in the woods or a conservation area
    • wilderness survival team building is a perfect example of an approach that incorporates "Shinrin-yoku"
    • if it's too cold or rainy to spend time outdoors or not practical to have your meeting in the forest, put up photos or posters of wilderness areas and play music videos with wilderness scenery in the background during small group exercises

  1. Jugaad - India: An "innovative fix" or improvised solution in the face of challenging situations or adversity.
    • seize opportunities for improvised solutions as challenges crop up just prior to and during events
    • in meetings profile team members who have come up with innovative fixes and encourage others to follow their example

Here is the full MNN feature that inspired today's blog post.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week when I'll look at the other 3 concepts (from Europe).

For more inspiration from Asia, also read Asia: Amazing Activities for Team Events and Team Building, Not Your Standard Chicken Dish, and Business Meetings: 7 Alternatives to the Working Lunch on the Cvent Event Blog.

Photo Credits: Asia Team Building, Executive Oasis International

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