The Soulard Idea Market is set for August 8, 2006 at the Lucas School House.
Who Should Come: If you are a blogger, lawyer, entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, designer, webmaster, writer, artist, salesperson, technologist, or _____________, I think you’ll enjoy the Soulard Idea Market. I only ask that you be passionate about sharing ideas and helping others. Everything else will take care of itself.
The Agenda: Well, there really is no “Agenda” as I’d like to have the Idea Market be the kind of place where people can bring their business problems, issues, questions, and (of course) ideas and share them with other innovative, creative, and generous folks. Think of this first event as sort of a “beta test” for a new type of networking/brainstorming social club that just happens to take place at a private happy hour in a cool, hip place. There is at least a 70% chance that this agenda will change, or even be ignored when we all show up, but for now, here’s how I see things happening:
5:30 – 6:00 Bar Opens, Attendees Arrive, Initial Brainstorming. In the last several LexThink!(R) events and private retreats I’ve done, we’ve posted provocative questions on large Post-It Notes all around the facility. When attendees arrive, they’ll be given a marker and a pad of smaller, half-page Post-It’s and asked to walk around and contribute their thoughts and answer the questions posted. This works wonders to get the creative juices flowing and opens up attendees to sharing other ideas the rest of the event.
6:00 – 6:30 Introductions. Idea Speed-Dating. I want to take a page from speed dating events: Attendees will have thirty minutes (broken up in much smaller chunks) to meet as many other attendees as possible and share the most compelling idea they’ve heard, best book they’ve read, most interesting person they’ve met, or most difficult problem they’ve faced in the past year.
6:30 – 6:45 Break.
6:45 – 7:30 Open Space Problem Solving. If any attendees are facing a particularly vexing business problem, and would like the group’s help to solve it, they can announce the problem (or post it on the wall) and any attendees who’d like to help can break up into small discussion groups to brainstorm solutions. Alternatively, anyone with a topic they’d like to discuss can also announce it here and interested people can join the discussion.
7:30 – 7:45 Break.
7:45 – 8:30 Open Space Idea Sharing. This is just like the Open Space Problem Solving session, except we’ll focus on new ideas.
8:30 Unreasonable Request Time. One of the three most compelling ideas I’ve stumbled across while blogging is Lisa Haneberg’s Unreasonable Requests. In short, we often have things we’d like to ask others for, but are afraid to ask. I’m going to ask everyone to write down an unreasonable request, post it on the wall with their name and phone number, and anyone who wants to grant the request can do so. Because the requests are, by definition, “unreasonable,” I don’t expect many to be granted — so everyone who gets one granted will be totally surprised.
8:30 – ??.?? Cocktails on the Patio (or elsewhere). We’ll stick around the School House as long as they’ll let us, but anyone who wants to continue their discussions after we’re politely asked to leave can do so at one of about 30 Soulard bars/restaurants that are within walking distance.
The Food/The Drink: I’m looking for a sponsor for the food. I want to have appetizers at least, although several Black Thorn pizzas would certainly fit the bill. The School House will have a full cash bar open for the duration of the event.
The Cost: Right now, I’m shooting for FREE. If I can’t find a food sponsor, it might be $5.00–10.00 per person.
The Space: The Lucas School House is one of the coolest spaces I’ve found in St. Louis. It is a hybrid space, with plenty of space for discussion, along with a stage and state-of-the-art audio/video capabilities. There’s also wifi, of course. Here are some pictures of the downstairs and upstairs spaces.
Did I mention there’s a full bar? The address is 1246 Gravois Avenue, St. Louis, MO (Map).
How To Attend: We’ll have room for around fifty people for our first event. If you’ve e-mailed me before, I hope I’ve sent you a link to sign up at a site I’ve set up for the event. If you’d like to come, and haven’t gotten an e-mail from me, you can sign up here.
Any Questions? E-mail me at Matt@LexThink.com or call my cell phone at 618–407–3241.
I look forward to meeting all of you.