For 18 years, sparkspace has been providing creative spaces to hold off-site meetings. New facilitation offerings launched this month will help ensure it’s the best meeting ever.
Serving about 80 percent corporate clients and 20 percent other businesses and organizations that run the gamut of sizes and specialities, sparkspace Founder Mark Henson has seen a lot of meetings – some wonderfully executed, some that didn’t even have an agenda.
sparkspace has dabbled in programming and facilitation services before, but stepped back the last few years to focus on the space itself as Henson penned his book Ordinary Superpowers. After the book’s launch in April of 2017, Henson started looking for ways to incorporate more programming back into sparkspace’s offerings, meeting a latent demand from clients that wanted to do more than just have a meeting.
“How can we help them get more done while they are here?” Henson asks. “How can we help them have, what we call, their best meeting ever?”
Phase one was to introduce more team bonding (not building!) experiences.
“Most of teams that come here are already built, so it’s not really team building, we discovered that it’s really more about team bonding,” Henson say.
sparkspace developed partnerships with local organizations like Trapped Columbus and Hashtag Comedy to create fun experiences with the goal of helping teams interact more cohesively, build relationships and increase communication.
Phase two starts now with a trio of meeting facilitation offerings and a strategic new hire in Mike Clouse who will serve as the lead facilitator for sparkspace. Leveraging a background in educational training and coaching, “Part of reason we’re doing this now is because Mike was the right person, at the right time, in the right place to help make it happen right now,” Henson says.
Henson will facilitate a program based on his book coined the The Superpowered Team Retreat. The workshop will help individuals from a company’s team discover their superpowers and then collectively look at what it means for the group. How do they leverage each other’s individual superpowers to make the team better, stronger?
Clouse will facilitate The Fearlessly Engaged Teams Retreat. Individuals will identify their fears and develop the tools and techniques to overcome them and become fearlessly engaged. The workshop will help create a culture that promotes trust, engagement and open sharing.
Clouse will also facilitate custom events based on the specific goals of meeting organizers. Henson says a lot of meeting leaders don’t know how to remove obstacles to capture ideas; to really get from A to B. Custom facilitation can help leaders determine who even needs to be at a meeting and zero in on what the meeting should accomplish.
sparkspace approaches its facilitation offerings from the lens of a coach.
“It’s not training,” Henson says. “It’s not like taking a class where everybody learns the same thing and could spit out the same result at the end, it’s really very personal to every team.”
The participants do the heavy lifting with time and space built in to let things go where they need to go.
“It’s us introducing a framework for thinking and discussion and discovery,” Henson explains.
Follow-up coaching after the facilitation keeps the experience from living and dying the day of the meeting. Clouse says it’s more than helping the team, but providing its leader with a framework to continue to grow.
Businesses large or small, sparkspace’s meeting facilitation offerings appeal to its wide range of clients.
“It really is applicable across the spectrum,” Clouse says. “It boils down to creating trust and building interpersonal relationships.”
The desire to provide more than just a space to meet was part of Henson’s reflection on the future of sparkspace. While not direct competitors, there are more options for off-site meetings – coworking spaces, hotel conference centers, etc. Henson wants to provide not just space, but impact.
“We want to move from that transactional type of a business to a much more transformational type of a business where we’re actually helping these companies achieve something,” he says.
Photos provided by sparkspace.