Why companies hire creative meeting spaces

Bogdan Manta

We have been operating Creative Point Meeting Rooms for 2 years now. A question that we frequently receive is “Why do companies hire creative meeting rooms when they have large spaces internally?”

To answer this question we decided to interview Bogdan Manta, one of our most loyal customers. Bodgan runs the company The Essential Workshops and calls himself a rustiologist. (he takes the rust away from people’s facilitation, negotiation, public speaking and overall communication skills). He has over 17 years of experience in the event & Show production industry and holds a bachelor in Psychology, one In Economics and a Master in Business Communications.

Bogdan Manta facilitating: Elevate your professional self

Do you have a physical office? 

I do have an office which is my home, but I don’t spend a lot of time at home. I come from many years of corporate, so if I stay too much with myself that’s a big challenge for me. I like being surrounded by people. But it depends on the people.

That’s why the so-called co-working spaces never work for me. When there are too many people that are talking together and on different subjects I find it challenging, because I can focus on them all and listen to them, rather than focusing on what I have to do. 

Why co-working spaces don’t work for you? 

I realised I’m a highly sensitive person, an HSP. I perceive stimuli like sounds, noises at higher levels than most people. Around 17% of the humans are HSPs, most of them don’t know it. When I hear topics that are not related to what I do, I get distracted and I cannot focus on what I do. I become curious about what other people say and that prevents me from focusing on my own work. I cannot be effective in any of those offices. 

It is very different from a corporate environment because at a business we were at least talking about the same subject. We were in a way connected with each other.

What main attributes that you are searching in a meeting room?

From the workshop: Elevate your professional self at Creative Point

I’m all about the physical context. The physical context is fundamentally important for any sort of interaction and connection with people. Unfortunately, most people ignore the physical context and only focus on saving money on their event that they will use for offering coffee / tea or some snacks for free during their event. Although, coffee and tea are only a tiny part of the physical context.

How does a meeting space contribute to the success of a training / workshop? 

From the workshop: Elevate your professional self

I plays a fundamental contribution and I can reason that with my 17 years of productions and events experience. If you have people in a meeting space for more than an hour or facilitate a full day workshop then this meeting space becomes their home. Mood, focus and attention span are closely related to the event space.

Colors, smell, as well as technical details and ease of use are equally important. The final touch is the people that are hosting your event. Those are elements that so many people ignore unfortunately. It’s the reason that many events and workshops do not deliver the expected results. 

If you do not provide a warm environment for participants to feel comfortable, then you kill your own or workshop or event production. 

Every small detail matters. Having the right tools and the right smell.

What do you see In your audience that proves this added value?

Some people will never express it as they don’t get it until you point it out to them. What happens with people is that they perceive something subconsciously and they don’t realise it until someone mentions it. Then they will have this “aha” moment and will start noticing the amazing venue that they are at.

Sometimes people just feel very comfortable and they cannot explain why. They will tributes this feeling to the workshop, the people and the content. Once you tell them that the space is actually another reason, they will totally acknowledge it. 

What is your recommendation for teams looking for a creative meeting room?

First of all the warm on the space. 

People are animals and as animals we always look for a comfortable inhabitat. That has never changed throughout the history of mankind. 

When you bring a group of people together you need to release a certain type of neurotransmitters. One of them being oxytocin which is the bonding neurotransmitter. 

This can be released with effective storytelling but also because of a creative physical space. Oxytocin will not be released cannot be released in a cold venue. 

The warmth of the Creative Point for example with all the little details, like the deodorant in the bathroom, makes such a fundamental difference just because it creates this homey relaxed environment. 

It is very normal for someone to sweat in a stressful situation. They might not even understand it but other people will. That combined with smell can immediately kill productivity. 

When people smell sweat, they produce different neurotransmitters and they will want to get away from that so instead of creating a bonding experience you creates a runaway experience.

What type of workshops do you run at Creative Point? 

I run  a couple of different workshops for companies and individuals. Some of them are: 

  • Elevate your professional self
  • How to Deliver Impactful Presentations
  • Intensive Workshop on Impactful Communications
  • Negotiations Lab

For more details you can visit Bogdan’s website or facebook page. 

https://www.tew.academy/

https://www.facebook.com/the.essential.workshops

UX Design & Machine Learning – The insider Talk with Technology Experts

Happy to announce our second event with Pedro Marques, senior Product Designer at Adyen.

Pedro has extensive experience in UX design from multiple disciplines. Product design, data driven A/B testing, AI & Machine Learning are some of the unique skillset that Pedro has obtained over his years of experience in the industry. He is also a globally known keynote speaker.

More about Pedro? You can visit his personal site -> https://www.pedromarques.io/

The main objective is a meaningful conversation that drives real value for the participants. Thus we are sharing a soft agenda since we want to be flexible and adjust it based on the questions we will receive during the event.

Common questions to be answered during this event:

– What is there to design in AI?
– Do I need to know data science?
– What is the role design plays in ML?
– Where to start and what to study

Attendees will receive a sli.do link in their Meetup accounts to add their own questions and vote for existing ones. (Check your spam emails as they are sent from Meetup servers which usually ends up in Spam)

Agenda
————-
6:15pm – You can arrive at the venue
6:30pm – Kickstart the discussion
7:15pm – 15′ break
7:30pm – Continue discussion based on your questions
8:15pm – Wrap up, round of feedback on the session
————-
8:30pm – Networking drinks in the area (Optional)

Location
————
Creative Point Meeting Space -> www.creativepoint.nl
The event will be facilitated by Tomasz Pieta

Payment
————
You can pay via PayPal or cash during your arrival at the venue

Learn High-Fidelity Prototyping with Figma and Principle

Details

*Sharpen your Interaction Design skills*

Do you want to design interactive, animated interfaces and app or website prototypes?

Principle is a fantastic prototyping tool and really handy especially for those moments when you want to create a high fidelity animation in a short time.

In this course, I will teach you the tips and tricks of Drivers, Components, Events, Scrolls and Animate.

For the final project, we will design an iOS app to book a Safari Tour using Figma and Principle.

Currently, Figma and Principle are one of the most sought after design tools for UI/UX design! See for yourself how fascinating the design of interactions really is!

Design your own, spectacular presentations on Behance, Dribbble and level up your portfolio!

– Designing & layer organization in Figma
– Principle Interface & Tools
– UI Micro-interactions in Principle for mac
– Working with Drivers and Events
– Handling components in Principle
– Working with Multiple screens
– Advanced Animation
– Figma & Principle tips & tricks
– Practical projects

*Limited seats available – 20 participants only, Hurry and RSVP*

Join me, let’s create amazing experiences together.

Tickets available

Product Manager – The Insider Talks with Technology Experts

Details

In this first, kickstart session we invited Saurav Roy, Product Manager at Booking.com.

During this session with Saurav, we will discuss the skillset and specific knowledge required to get a job as a PM and further grow in the role. Everyone’s case is a little different thus those events will be always in small groups.
Our main objective is a meaningful conversation that drive real value for the participants.

Common questions to be answered during this event:

– I want to move to a PM role but have no experience, where should I start?
– What are the core responsibilities of a PM?
– Should I consider startups or mid-level/big companies?
– How to prepare for PM interviews? Specific examples?
– What does the growth path look like for a PM?
– What are the main set of skills you need to succeed in the role?
– What specializations are possible in a PM role?
– Does a PM have to be a people manager?

Attendees will receive a sli.do link to add their own questions and vote for existing ones.

Attendees will also receive a link to the presentation containing information material and resources regarding the Product Manager role.

Agenda
————-
12:30pm – You can arrive at the venue
1:00pm – Kickstart the discussion (top 5 most questions from sli.do)
2:00pm – 10′ break
2:15pm – Continue discussion based on your questions
3:00pm – Wrap up, round of feedback
————-
3:30pm – Networking drinks in the area (Optional)

Tickets available at: https://www.meetup.com/Knowledge-Sharing-with-Technology-Experts-Series/events/264749060/

A year of learnings operating a meeting space in Amsterdam

Meeting space in Amsterdam

WoW, time really flies! Almost a year running a meeting space in Amsterdam

Our Creative Point meeting space, a dream that became a life objective and finally an achievement. It’s been less than a year that creative point opened its doors to companies and individuals in Amsterdam who look for an inspiring space to host their personal project, meeting, presentation or gathering. We created a meeting space open to anyone who wants to communicate, connect, inspire, educate, evolve, TO CREATE… A cozy meeting room that goes beyond the basics giving you the opportunity to build the ideal set up for your event.

Being a host in a meeting space with such a diverse audience

Creative workshop at our meeting venue

The Greek hospitality running into our blood combined with our love for cozy decoration will definitely make you feel like home! We have already hosted teams from a wide variety of companies, not only located in Amsterdam but also in other European countries. Watching our “baby” growing day by day, after all the research and the effort we had made until the day of our very first booking, makes us more than happy and passionate to offer our clients the best experience in our space.

Group meetings and all these full house workshops with participants from all over the world, not only gave us the opportunity to spread the word but also get a feedback in order to become better. Some of the most frequent corporate companies that choose Creative Point for their meetings, training or team building days are Rituals Cosmetics, PVH, Tom Tomand Nike. Each of them have made use of our space for totally different purposes and everyone left with a big smile on their faces! That’s our reward!

Looking forward for 2019…

Creating loyal members is one of our targets for 2019 and we hope that you will be one of them! Our message is clear.

We believe that our guests should leave with the best impressions looking forward to their next productive meeting in our space!

Maybe it’s the time for you to feel it… reserve the day and promise you won’t regret it! Still thinking about it?

Come over our place to see by yourself if that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Creating an offline user experience – Meeting spaces in Amsterdam

Creative Point Meeting space

I have never created anything tangible in my life, like a physical product… For quite some time we were thinking with Nadia Sideri (my partner for the past 6 years) to unveil our entrepreneurial character and do something fun. Something that could inspire us and foster our creativity. We spent hours and hours chatting in our living room with the company of red wine. Finally taking into consideration various ideas from friends we made the decision to start Creative Point. We were going to create a meeting space for brainstormings, design sprints, workshops and team activities. We wanted to offer a room where teams can feel productive and inspired.

By the time that we were completing this project I realised how much online knowledge, could be actually reused on offline experiences.

How to validate your offline idea

Besides some face to face discussions we needed more data and evidence that there is a demand in Amsterdam for off site meeting spaces.

Thinking as a UX designer the first question to ask is:

What problem are we solving? What’s the possible impact if we offer a solution?

Besides being a customer in multiple off-site venues, identifying weaknesses and improvements points we still needed to verify this demand and check the supply. Data are preventing us from our own biases while excited with an idea. That’s why it’s important to collect data before you invest effort and money. One of the easiest validation methods was to investigate the meeting spaces marketplaces. And there are lots of them!

Deskbookers meeting venue marketplace

The Office operators

Berlin bases Spacebase

Meetingsbooker another marketplace for meeting spaces

Those are just some of the meeting venues out there.

Deciding on the Minimum Viable Product

When you imagine a perfect meeting space your imagination can go very wild, and your budget will follow. This is where the nightmare began, as we were trying to identify the necessary elements in order to have a functional and operational meeting space. Endless discussions and hours of dispute with Nadia. Every single item that we want to add to Creative Point became a topic of argumentation:

  • Change the floor or not
  • Meeting table or multiple tables
  • Dining table or just a chill out area
  • TV or projector

You get the point. We also had great design consultancy from Irix architects although we were changing decisions all the time. What can I do? The restless mind of a UX designer…

The friction was created because of lack of input. The project looked simple until we figured out the level of detail that it needs.

Some UX tricks will work on any product not only for the web

Gather feedback from a diverse audience

We need more people Nadia! Before we kill each other in the process, let’s get more people and brainstorm about it..

We created an event calling friends that have attended multiple off-site meetings and brainstormings. We needed to collect feedback for a space that at that moment looked like sh…t!!

People arrived and we got to work right away. Observing and taking notes from the expressions that my friends were making while imagining the perfect meeting space and thinking out loud. Expressions like:

  • The garden would be amazing
  • I would love to have a chill out sofa here
  • I imagine leaving my jacket, and then this place would call me to drink a coffee
  • Would be great to have a place to drink a coffee as soon as you arrive, without entering the main meeting area
  • I would love to chill with my team and have lunch in this place

The feedback is great although completely different from how Nadia and I imagined it. I could even see Nadia’s expression of disappointment that we need to change and rethink how to approach this offsite meeting experience.

We hadn’t bought anything at that point, but we’d spent a decent amount of time researching and bookmarking our favorite things. Delete and start over…

Create an offline real prototype

How do you prototype a meeting space? The idea comes from my beloved friend and super smart UX designer Pedro Marques. He suggested the concept of cutting big pieces of carton boards(we had some of those there) into the real dimensions, spreading them on the floor pretending it’s the real furniture! I kissed the guy! That’s just brilliant.

We started cutting and putting pieces together and after an hour we could really feel the space. Was incredible to observe that everyone were walking around not even stepping on the carton boards as if they were real furniture.

I actually started believing that we are on the right path to create a cool user experience for our customers.

Create a priority list to breakdown the project

The reason why you need to prioritise is because you don’t have the time to implement everything perfectly and the project will always be bigger than you initially thought. This is where my friend Renato Cesar is a master.

The project from it’s beginning to be open and bookable is huge. Task prioritisation is of the essence to prevent you from driving yourself nuts but also rewarding you for every little step that you accomplish. Trello board was our best friend in prioritising and assigning the tasks.

Think of the real user experience

This is the most exciting part of the journey. This was the part were you start thinking as a UX designer and who is your customer.

What are the jobs to be done at Creative Point?

Imagine a team of 7 people entering your facilities to do a brainstorming meeting. Now don’t think as the host, but as the customer! While putting on post its all the jobs to be done by a customer, you actually create your product roadmap.

  1. It’s raining outside… I need my umbrella today. Fancy, as soon as I arrived at Creative Point they had a place to put my umbrella.
  2. Where can I leave this backpack? Oh, there it is, right next to the entrance where I can hang my jacket as well. I can even see the cakes and the warm coffee. Looking forward to it!
  3. What a cool concept. They have a map with pins. I will add my pin since I am waiting for the coffee to brew.

Launch a BETA version to collect feedback

Our Trello board was very close to completion. This is where we created our kickstart event, inviting some of the smartest people I know for a team off-site. From professionals in Banking, Sports Apparel to Technology our audience was perfectly diverse.

By the time that people arrived, I started observing where they sit, how they move and what particular corner of the meeting space they found interesting.

Everyone enjoyed coffee and breakfast and then Renato Cesar started with the “Game of personalities”. With an agile coaching activity that everyone enjoyed and can reflect upon it. It was important to create an activity that our audience will enjoy and remember. The 1,5 hour session ended with gathering feedback regarding the meeting space.

The feedback was overwhelming and our excitement sky rocketed, finishing the session and knowing our strengths and putting all the improvement points and weaknesses in our Trello board.

I feel blessed to have people that are honest and never hesitate to give constructive feedback. Feedback is gift and that’s why I accepted various types of feedback in that session. Understanding what’s important requires a certain level of humbleness as most likely the feedback will contradict what you considered important.

Don’t neglect the details! They do matter

Nadia Sideri had one of those brilliant ideas to think of all the toiletries essential for women. I would never think about it and never even saw them in the bathroom. Our two female participants saw the toiletries and added them as one of our strengths. That was an easy win when you have a girl like Nadia next to you!

A good user experience is something that you feel without explaining it

Reflecting back to the journey

We would have never made Creative Point as it is now without proactively asking for feedback from experts. We would complete the project but now I know that it’s a great experience for teams to be inspired because it was created based on the user needs.

We used every skill that we developed over the past years to complete this project. Learnings from working in constructions with my father, waiter as a student and then the web industry. Details like tracking events with google analytics, generating leads and even cutting and painting the meeting tables. We wanted to utilise our learnings and make Creative Point a really nice user experience.

Reflecting to the past 3 months, even though the journey was sometimes rough, challenging and frustrating I would do it all over again. Among others it was mostly fun, exciting and the greatest reward are the things that we learned.

Sofia Garefi your photos are just amazing. Thank you once again!