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Ideas aren't always built in the boardroom

Dad has always insisted that the best ideas come when you roll up your sleeves and step out of the office.

Lately, I’ve been thinking back to my childhood and how my brother Sam and I got to witness this style of idea creation first-hand as we grew up at the same time as the Virgin brand. I have such strong memories of Dad bringing some of his more wild dreams to life from the houseboat we grew up on in London.

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He built the incredible story of Virgin while we were right there playing at his feet or brightening up important business documents with pencils and crayon - a family business through and through.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that the meetings Sam and I frequently interrupted were with the likes of Mick Jagger and Janet Jackson.

Image from the Branson Family

I learned a lot from witnessing this very relaxed approach to conducting business. By stepping out of the boardroom and into a more laidback, personal or creative setting you allow a different set of ideas come to life.

This approach takes away the hierarchy and pressure of a serious meeting and instead creates an environment where everyone feels their voice can be heard and all ideas are welcome.

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I liken this approach to a family dinner table discussion. Growing up, we were taught that all voices are equal and we were actively encouraged to formulate our own attitudes and opinions about anything from politics to business and everything in between.

Sam and I gained a lot of confidence from this daily ritual and the firm validation that our opinions mattered. Now that I have a family of my own, Freddie and I work hard to make family dinner discussions part of our daily routine too.

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You truly never know when or where your next great idea might come from next. From a houseboat to the dinner table, if it’s anything like the Virgin story, the chances are it won’t be in the boardroom.

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