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Do Tech and Meetings Mix?

There comes a point when gadgets detract from meetings. Or does there?

This story appears in the January 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When managers at Adaptive Path looked around the room during meetings, they saw employees sneaking peeks at their BlackBerrys and surreptitiously surfing their smartphones. "It seemed like people would show up for meetings, but they were only halfway there," says co-founder and co-president Jesse James Garrett, 37. "They were distracted." Distraction was leading to delays at the experience strategy and design firm. Employees didn't catch the whole conversation, leaving managers to fill in the blanks and arrange multiple meetings to make basic decisions. By the spring of 2006, Adaptive Path's team decided that enough was enough: It prohibited from meetings where important decisions would be made, including board meetings.

The reaction was mixed. "Some people felt it was long overdue," says Garrett, "and for others, it forced such a shift in their behavior that it was hard to adjust."

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