I downloaded this menu of standard meeting room layouts from a hotel where a strategic thinking session had been scheduled. Quite frankly nearly all of these layouts could be big inhibitors to innovative thinking. Put people in a conventional room arrangement, and you foster conventional thinking.
What can you do? Work with the hotel (ahead of time, ideally) to come up with a room layout that's anything but standard:
- Avoid lines of tables & chairs, especially parallel and perpendicular to walls
- Get round or square tables and arrange them randomly
- Scatter work areas
- Get a room that has way more space per person than the hotel recommends
All of these steps create a space for people to think, interact, walk around, and innovate!