Breaking the Rules

Why is it when dining out, they never take the order for dessert at the same time as the starter and the main course? It’s a small but typical example of the ‘rules’ that govern our daily lives. I’m not talking about the laws of the land, but they may as well be. Rules such as these are everywhere; from the way business meetings are conducted, to having friends round. These rules seem to me to be one of the biggest constraints on creativity. They are so pernicious, we don’t even realise the impact they are having.

Bloom is a delightful restaurant in Malmo in Southern Sweden that I have had the pleasure of dining at on several occasions. Gone is the rule of dining that states you will be shown a menu or a wine list. Gone is the rule that asks you what you would like to eat. Instead, there is no choice over the menu or what to drink with it. It’s an amazingly liberating experience. No longer do you have to worry over whether you chose the right wine with the food, nor can you question whether you really would like the dish that’s being served. You only find out what it was after you have consumed it. By breaking the rules, they have created a unique and wonderful experience, which in the world of fine dining is quite an achievement.

By working out the rules of how business was conducted between supplier and customer, the team I was working with in the United States recently found themselves challenging some long held beliefs and instead opened the door on an amazing set of possibilities. It started by understanding the rules associated with consumption of a product, but the team broke my rules and instead focused on the way business was conducted.

So next time you find yourself ordering in a restaurant, break the rules, start with dessert and take it from there.

Dominic Irvine © Epiphanies LLP 2012 All rights asserted

If this has whetted your appetite, read about our ‘innovative’ experience with one of our clients, and more on creativity here.  Conduct your business meeting in a different way.