Summary: Humans don't always take the time to think and plan very well. That does not mean we can’t think about our goals and how we want to go about achieving them. This meetup is an attempt to prompt strategic thinking.
Tags: Repeatable, Investment, Highly Experimental. (Highly Experimental here means that things like this have been run, but I haven’t actually ever run a meetup following these exact steps. Lots of variations on it exist and I don’t have any strong opinions on which is best.)
Purpose: Humans are capable of strategic thinking and problem solving, we just don’t do it automatically. The purpose of this meetup is to prompt people to actually think about what they want and how to get it.
Materials: Some way of keeping time is required, such as a kitchen timer or a smartphone with a timer app. Having a bunch of pencil, paper, and writing surfaces may be useful for the participants and is recommended. Some people might want to use devices like laptops or cell phones; I suggest if you want to use one that you turn the wifi off.
Announcement Text: Humans are not automatically strategic.
We do not always take time to think through what we want to achieve and how we plan to achieve that. It isn’t a factory default setting in people to consider how our plans might go wrong, or whether this is really what we want. That can work out for us, especially when what we want to do is a normal, expected thing that most people set out to do and succeed at.
Many of us aren’t living normal, expected life paths. Today, we’re going to take some time to sit and reason about our goals and do deliberately what we might not do automatically.
Explain the following steps to the group, then run the timer as everyone goes through the steps. (If you want to adjust the questions asked or the way people group together, go ahead! Just plan that beforehand and have a different script to read off of.) If someone is unsure what time span they should be planning for, the recommendation is to plan for the next quarter, aka the next three months. That said, if it makes more sense for a participant to plan around the next ten years or the next two weeks, that’s fine.
All told, this should take you a little over an hour to go through. Expect sorting, getting people's attention, and "one more minute" requests to add very roughly around fifteen minutes.
Notes: Lots of variations on the questions, groupings, or time scale are worth trying. In general, this is a pretty personal exercise and it’s fine if different people at the same meetup are doing things differently. I do strongly recommend sticking to the timers though.
Credits: This is transparently inspired by “Humans are not automatically strategic” by Anna Salamon.