Friday, September 03, 2010

Immersion Experiences

In this article at, Donna Sturgess argues that immersion experiences are highly valuable for executives. From time to time, they should get out of the office and go experience how another industry works. Here's an excerpt from Sturgess' article:

Choosing an immersion should be based on what you can learn from worlds outside of your industry. Taking a one-day glass-blowing class illuminates decision-making and process thinking for a team. Attending a Nascar race for a day puts you up close and personal with mass-market consumers and grass-roots promotions. Putting in a full workday on an organic farm makes sustainability issues real for business leaders. Taking a physical deep dive in storytelling at the Tenement Museum in Manhattan stimulates the power of story to connect to customers. You will be surprised at how the learning and novelty of the physical experience triggers conductive thinking to germinate into unrestrained innovation for your business.

While I would definitely attest to the value of immersion experiences, I would offer one important caveat. An immersion experience must be well-designed so that the executive team understands the purpose/objectives up front and then works together to translate and adapt lessons for their own business on the back end. The team also needs some help so that they know what to look for and what to think about as they go about the immersion experience. If not, then the executives may just have a "fun day" and perhaps some stimulating conversation, but they won't necessarily mine the experience fully for its true value in surfacing new ideas for their business.

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