Lean Coffee Table Takes Flight
Lean Coffee Table is an online tool for organised and effective collaboration, but that doesn’t mean it is restricted to only being collaborative online. We met with Tom Fitzpatrick, Director of Consultant Relations from Extreme Networks, who used the tool at the company’s annual in-person user conference, to drive engaging and insightful discussions.
Extreme Networks is global leader in networking. Each year, the company hosts a user conference to bring the broader community together to learn more about the company’s business strategy, products, and solutions.
A key element of the conference is to gather customers into different ‘Birds of a Feather’ sessions with their industry peers, where they talk through challenges and solutions. These sessions are highly interactive and require someone to capture ideas in the discussion and share to a common framework to encourage conversation and engagement. In previous years, this session was facilitated with sticky notes, whiteboards, and flip charts, which as you can imagine, came with constraints.
When Fitzpatrick was given the task of organising this year’s sessions, he wanted to lean into something more progressive and automated to simplify the process of planning and execution. After a recommendation from a customer, Fitzpatrick piloted Lean Coffee Table to take the place of the manually intensive process of stacking messy sticky notes and charts.
85 people attended Extreme’s Birds of a Feather sessions at CONNECT. Six different rooms were set up, where birds flocked according to their interest, ranging from State and Local Government, Higher education to Sports, Venues and Hospitality.
Attendees scanned a QR code at the doors and joined their chosen board through their mobile phone. They then added topics or questions to the board. After 15 minutes, participants voted on which topics they would like to discuss and then put their personal devices away. This allowed the participants to focus on the facilitator’s screen and one another for the time-boxed discussions. Once the timer ended, instead of the thumbs-up/down feature, the group raised their hands if they wanted to continue discussing the topic (alternatively, mobile devices could have been used again here to collect the votes). Meanwhile a ‘scribe’ captured all the attendees’ comments and actions on the shared board. The sessions ran smoothly, and after they had finished the Summary PDF was sent to all attendees.