Research has shown that innovation within companies relies on serendipitous meetings between people who don’t normally interact.
We are four times as likely to communicate regularly with someone sitting six feet away from us as we are with someone 60 feet away.
Today’s invention is therefore a new way to engineer many more such meetings, without having to spend $5billion on a fancy new office.
Vending machines would be introduced with free drinks on board (preferably not those loaded with sugar, but caffeine is good).
When you grab a drink, using your identity card, the machine would sometimes provide a second one.
This will have printed on it (within the machine, in response to your card) the face, and a line of introduction to, a colleague in a different part of the company (as well as a map showing their location).
Employees would make their social networking and technical data available to the vending machine network within the business, so as to ensure that similar individuals weren’t being reintroduced to each other.
People would be both obligated and facilitated to walk to that person’s desk and give them the gift of a drink.
All cans would be recycled, since they bear the recipients’ faces.