A few years ago, I would have said that I get inspired by what I see or what I read – products, buildings, stage performances, or books. Now I increasingly become inspired by the people I am with.

Meetings get a bad press. Tough-talking executives claim to hate meetings. I know a chief executive who says that he never lets any meeting last longer than half a hour, because he removes the chairs from the meeting room. And it is true that most meetings don’t get you very far. Many are a waste of space – or time – or both.

But sometimes, not very often, just now and again, a meeting with three or four people – usually colleagues, sometimes clients too – does produce remarkable results. It is genuinely inspirational in the sense that it produces solutions to problems that everybody had previously thought unsolvable.

Nobody really knows who produces the solution – it’s genuinely consensual, collegiate and inspirational. In my new company, Saffron, meetings like that are happening more and more often, and I love it. It really inspires me.

Wally Olins


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