Management: Costing the Conferences

Businessmen are always talking about ways to end that chronic corporate ailment, the time-wasting conference. Now Danish Engineer Søren T. Lyngsø 46, head of a Copenhagen-based industrial instrument firm, has come forward with a conference-room conversation stopper: a sort of electronic tote board that reminds company staffers that talk is far from cheap.

Based on Lyngsø's conviction that at least "half the time spent in executive conferences is unproductive," his $650 "Econometer" continually informs conferees of the rising amount of company treasure, in terms of salaries, expended as meetings go on and on. Programmed with the salaries of the participants,...

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