"...encouraging people to mingle and ideas to flow"
It is interesting to look into the hospitality industry for the way it perceives trends in the needs of its customers and tests alternative settings to meet their objectives.
Today, the New York times notes –
As the line between office and social life continues to fade, with more people checking e-mail after dinner or texting friends between business meetings, hotels are taking the cue in redesigning their meeting rooms.
Multiple chains are transforming some of their traditional and somewhat antiseptic meeting rooms into more comfortable lounges aimed at encouraging people to mingle and ideas to flow.
It's a bit too bad that similar experimentation and development does not take place more easily in the places where it matters most – in the office.
(click image for link)