"Just about all our best ideas come out of everybody getting together, sparking off each other, and creating a shared understanding of what the key challenges are and how best to meet those challenges."

So says CodeBlue's MD Ken Davis this week, when explaining why he has a national staff conference every year and other meet-ups for staff from all his offices. If you think your company is too busy to take a couple of days out and have the team work on some new ideas, think again.

It is particularly tricky for NZ businesses with overseas offices to keep everyone connected and on song - it is interesting to hear from Janine Hall of Escape Haven about the multi-office groups she has coming to her resorts in Bali and Byron Bay. An ex-corporate woman, she knows the value of a staff bonding sessions. A trip away somewhere nice can be a good staff retention tool, she says.

John Campbell of digital advertising technology company, Gopher would love to have company get togethers with his Jakarta and Auckland offices but the cost is prohibitive at the moment and so they use Skype and Google Hangout for regular contact as well as exchanging staff from time to time.


The reason for this week's business theme came about when I interviewed Terry Nicholas, of Nicholas Associates, the accounting firm which launched a new subsidiary online business, Firstmate, earlier in the year. He told me he and his staff had come up with the idea on a company retreat in Queenstown. He tells the complete story in his column this week.

And if you think your company can't afford it, take a leaf out of Waking Giants' book. They had a great brainstorming session during afternoon tea at the Langham after the first year of business.

Next week: The characteristics or the DNA of an entrepreneur is something which has fascinated many business schools around the world. At this week's Morgo conference, the event designed purely for entrepreneurs, I will see these people up close and find out what makes them tick.