What kind of meeting…?

What kind of meeting did you have today? Well, we scientists, we classify and structure everything, and when it comes to important meetings, my system involves three important types: a regular meeting, a pie-meeting, and a chocolate-pie-meeting.

Today we had a chocolate-pie-meeting, and that means it was very important, and very tricky.

The main topic of the meeting was the structural framework, one of the very cornerstones of the GeoConnect³d project. The goal was not to have a general discussion, we like each other enough to agree when vaguely talking about a structural framework. The goal of today was more fundamental: create the first draft of the framework and distil from that the methodology to create more.

Invited were all those with expertise in European and regional geology. This is also the group of geologists that by default disagree, sometimes violently. Admittedly, being the host and moderator of this meeting, I was a bit nervous when the door of the meeting room closed at 9:00, knowing well that white smoke was the only acceptable outcome at the latest by 17:00.

You may wonder where the chocolate-pie comes in. Well, those meetings will either take a turn for the worst, or for the best, but a chocolate-pie comes in handy in both situations. Reliable staff was therefore ordered to enter the meeting room at exactly 15:30 with a chocolate pie, regardless of how much disturbing silence or yelling might be coming from the other side of the door.

The science behind this system is actually quite simple. If by that time people are hugely depressed, or violently opposed, the best way to reset their minds is present them with something on which they agree. And who can disagree on the fact that a piece of chocolate pie is a good reason to interrupt a meeting?

If you do not immediately see my point, try to visualise a group of people, still red and overheated from the lingering argument, now starting to nod at each other and agreeing that this really is a good chocolate pie. The room goes quite, because everyone can pretend for a couple of minutes that they have their mouth full. This creates the right moment to carefully relaunch the debate in a more orderly fashion. If the first sentence spoken starts with ‘Maybe we should…’, then that usually means that not all hope is lost yet.

In the lower-left corner, you can just make out one of the empty plates. Chocolate-pie isn’t supposed to last… The whiteboard shows the very next actions that will result in the very first fault framework for GeoConnect³d.

But that is for meetings that go terribly wrong, which was not what happened today. It was a day of open and constructive debate, and things mostly falling into place, ending with enough agreement to call it a success and big step forward. Then, you do not simply want to thank people and send them home. Such people deserve to feel good, very good… so you serve them chocolate-pie.

Yes, a chocolate-pie meeting is not something to take lightly, and one that ends well, is a reason for celebration, so I’ve built that into the format.

A blog post with a lot of inside information of course does not allow for a lot of content. But to briefly make you curious about the structural framework: it now has a proper foundation, and it will be different in a very refreshing way. We can now confidently say that we will serve you geology in a way that is more comprehensive, more self-explaining, and easier to compile than the best paper maps.

Everybody left with a smiley face, and lots of energy and inspiration, so you normally should not have to wait too long to read here about a first example of the structural framework that GeoConnect³d will produce. So stay tuned, stay connected.

And yes, the pie was excellent, I had two pieces.

Kris Piessens (GSB)


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