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20 reasons you should take your work and innovative thinking to a café

Tuesday 01-11-2011 - 00:00

On one hand, organisations want structures, maps, models, guidelines and systems. On the other hand, that’s all too often the stuff that squashes innovation, driving it underground or out of the door. Well, if you’re going out of the door anyway, I think a visit to the café is the answer.

1. It somehow doesn’t feel like work.

2. It’s a nice break from the library, bedroom or office.

3. You don’t have an office.

4. Easy access to caffeine.

5. If you have a home office, you appreciate the fact that — in a café — there are no interruptions from your friends/partner/roommate who rarely think they are interrupting you when they stick their head round the door and begin their conversation with something like “I’m not interrupting you, am I?”

6. The act of travelling from your office to a café gets the creative juices flowing.

7. Muffins.

8. You get a whole bunch of unexpected inputs that change your perspective for the moment – snatches of conversation, songs on the radio, odd posters on the wall and the like.

9. There are no distracting tasks to default to, ie cleaning your desk, filing, tossing paper clips at your friends etc.

10. The people in your office want you to talk in hushed tones and require you to appear busier than you really are.

11. Being waited on by the café staff puts you in the mode of ‘things coming to you’ without much effort.

12. You focus on your most creative and innovative projects.

13. It feels good to be part of a community — even if the community disbands after your third cappuccino.

14. Old patterns are interrupted. New patterns emerge.

15. You like the authenticity of your responses when the geek at the next table, peeking up from his Mac, asks what you’re working on.

16. It’s like having a focus group at your beck and call. You can ask anyone for their opinion and they’ll give it, no strings attached.

17. If you work at home, it’s just a matter of time before your friend or partner asks you to move a piece of furniture or clean the bathroom.

18. It brings out the artist and poet in you.

19. If you go back to the same café again and again, you develop trusting relationships with the other regulars and staff — sharing enthusiasm, feedback, and cookies.

20. If anything breaks, someone else has to fix it.

Any other reasons I missed?

Remember what Einstein said: “Not everything that can be counted counts; not everything that counts can be counted.”

A café may not appear to be a place of work, but remember that JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a café!

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