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The IdeaPad

Innovation is THE buzz word in nearly every organization today, from major corporations to small non-profits. As meeting planners, we’re faced with this big question: Where do we send a team that needs to be more innovative?

To innovate, teams need to think differently, which means finding a space that feels different. Innovators also need to generate ideas. That means finding an inspiring space specially designed for idea generation. Finally, innovation requires presentations and data. That means a space fully equipped for business.

Luckily, this very place is tucked away in Stillwater, MN. It’s called IdeaPad, and it may be just the ticket to your team’s success. The design and feel of the IdeaPad immediately conveys a sense of possibility. It’s also 1,600 square feet of pure functionality with all the technological comforts of the office. To top it all off, it boasts an attentive event staff that’s fully dedicated to your meeting.

Jim Link, owner and creator of the IdeaPad, has been in the idea-generation business since 1994. Tired of the sameness of meeting rooms, he designed the IdeaPad 15 years ago as a place for his clients to get away and be inspired to think differently. As word of the space spread, Jim opened it up to other companies and now runs it full-time as a meeting space. Since its opening, similar creative meeting venues have popped up in major cities across the country. The IdeaPad is the first of its kind in Minnesota and one of the first in the world.

Part of the magic of the IdeaPad is its setting. Stillwater, MN is a picturesque, historic river town located just outside of St. Paul on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border of the St. Croix River, with many unique shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants. It’s only thirty minutes from MSP Airport and the Mall of America. Known as the wedding capital of Minnesota, Stillwater is one of those unique locations where you feel like you’ve gotten away, without having to leave the city.

The IdeaPad itself is located on the second floor of a 115-year-old brick building on Stillwater’s historic Main Street. The soft color scheme of the walls, the white brick, the original wood floors, ­­the 14’ high tin ceilings and abundance of natural lighting make the space feel both energizing and comfortable. Taken all together, there is an immediate sense that “this meeting will be different” upon entering.

The IdeaPad can seat up to 30, though most meetings are in the 6 to 24 people range. It has a mix of seating types – counter, standard and casual – which contributes to the unique feel of the space. These can be configured for training, ideations, presentations, or board-style meetings.

  • The main part of the room features a group of three specially designed kitchen island tables with casters, each paired with counter-height upholstered stools. The comfortable stools also swivel, allowing you to move as you sit. Each kitchen island table seats up to six people and can be linked together to create larger pods or form a longer board-style table.

  • Three expandable round/oval wood tables with four chairs facilitate small group breakouts.

  • There’s also space in the rear of the room with two sofas and occasional chairs when it’s necessary for a group of up to ten to break away from the main group, or for just a change of pace.

  • Finally, a private 12’ x 12’ space in the corner of the room accommodates those who need to break away for a quick phone call.

What about equipment you might ask? While the space is designed for creativity, it’s equipped for business. You’ll find everything you need: high-def projector, a 12-foot-wide screen, sound system, wireless internet, laptop remote, four easels, rolling whiteboards, tack-able idea boards and a printer. And, those pens, markers, flip chart pads, Post-it® Notes and other basic office supplies? All there…and at no additional cost to you.

And, what about food & beverage? Food is catered in and billed at cost. The IdeaPad’s event staff works with a wide range of vendors in Stillwater to provide your meal planning needs. If your preference is to leave the premises for lunch, the event staff will coordinate reservations and table space for you.

The IdeaPad features a simple pricing structure with no “nickel and diming” and no surprises. One price includes all AV, all meeting supplies and free beverages. Yep, you heard that right! No more paying $4 for a bottled water. All tea, coffee, pop, and water (even LaCroix) are free, with continuous replenishment throughout the day.

Do your guests need overnight accommodations? Stillwater has four hotels and nearly 200 hotel rooms within easy walking distance of the IdeaPad. The brand-new boutique hotel, Lora, is right across the street. Guests of the IdeaPad receive a preferred rate at the Lora.

Put it all together and the IdeaPad is the perfect venue for a group that needs to feel and think differently.

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For additional information on the IdeaPad and its rate structure, contact Janet Link, Event Planner at 651.398.3750 |

Visit a 360 tour of the IdeaPad.

Prepared by Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings. “


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