Kenneth Falck's Blog

Innovation, nine to five

Posted on 2004-11-22 by Kenneth Falck


Does your calendar look like this?

08:30 Department meeting
10:00 Project X meeting
11:00 Time to innovate new things (over lunch)
13:00 Project Y meeting
15:00 Product presentation by subcontractor Z
17:00 Time to innovate new things
18:00 Go home

Since I work full-time in R&D, I'm starting to think this approach isn't promoting innovation. Is there maybe something wrong with the whole meeting-oriented work culture? Who says projects should be managed by having meetings?

Of course the meetings are a major method of communication and they also provide a necessary drive to make things happen. I guess the main problem is that when you have too many meetings with diverse people, your whole calendar becomes hopelessly scattered and there no longer exists sufficient, adjacent time to do the actual work, be it planning, designing or programming.

I'm starting to wonder that maybe R&D people should dedicate whole days or even weeks for pure R&D work. You would simply allocate an entire week for *real* work. Most projects can survive with bi-weekly meetings (if there is other communication to support them).

In fact, why not go a step further and declare an international convention of dividing time into real work and meetings. Weeks with odd numbers would be dedicated for real work only, and all meetings and other meta-work would be done during even weeks. How about that? :-)