Distant Brainstorming Periods: Attempt These Nice Instruments and Techniques
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the business world has been working from home since March 2020. While some companies have returned to some level of personal collaboration, many have stayed and will remain remote in the near future. According to an intermedia survey, 57% of small businesses Expect to stay away restrictions even after the end of the pandemic.
In the days leading up to the pandemic, companies occasionally attempted remote collaboration. Many months later, we’ve got to the point where companies need to consider how to brainstorm and work together in a distant “new normal”.
How can you connect with employees to generate new ideas, launch new initiatives, pursue new strategies, and build the future of your business in an isolated world? Working remotely doesn’t have to derail your brainstorming. In fact, it is now more important than ever to use brainstorming to think creatively about the future of your business.
Why online brainstorming is important right now
Brainstorming helps generate new ideas and empowers employees in your company, especially in these disjointed times. By its nature, brainstorming is a collaborative activity designed to foster community and collaboration between teams that may be lacking right now.
Brainstorming towards a common goal allows you to engage multiple stakeholders and reflect on the key challenges facing your business. The global economy is in decline, small businesses are closing every day and the future is bleak amid this pandemic. Brainstorming could be one of the best ways to think creatively about how to navigate these troubled times and how to thrive into the future.
Unfortunately, remote brainstorms present some challenges. When people are not in the same room together, they may feel less accountable and less inclined to participate. Choppy internet connections can cut people off when they speak. Illustrating points is difficult without the presence of a whiteboard or other visual aids and cues. Even the lack of body language can make distant brainstorms feel stilted and noncommittal.
Because of this, we have identified a few points to keep in mind when conducting brainstorming sessions.
How to conduct effective remote brainstorming sessions
1. Use the right technology
Remote success begins and ends with technology. Technology is vital to strong communication, project management, operations, and every other aspect of your business. Of course, it’s a crucial element of good brainstorming sessions.
While many companies are making great use of video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Meet, they don’t cover all of your brainstorming needs. An effective brainstorming session requires taking notes.
An online whiteboard is a helpful tool here. Tools such as Whiteboard Fox, Conceptboard and MURAL offer virtual whiteboards in real time that brainstorming participants can contribute to at the same time. As long as contributors have a Wi-Fi connection, they can add notes, pictures, text, drawings, or other elements to illustrate an idea or point. You would likely use a whiteboard during a personal brainstorming session. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it remotely.
Also, if you have video conferencing while using the whiteboard, make sure all cameras are turned on. Research shows that facial expressions and body language make up 55% of communicationSo having a video gives you an instant insight into how people feel based on their reactions to certain ideas.
2. Distribute an agenda
Nobody wants to sit around for an hour and occasionally throw out an idea just to leave a meeting feeling like nothing has been achieved. Before each meeting, you should send a comprehensive agenda with the planned meetings.
For a brainstorming session, your agenda should contain the general topic and purpose of the meeting a few days in advance and invite participants to share any topics they would like to cover in the meeting. When the meeting starts, you will have a few more detailed ideas to explore as a starting point for your meeting.
Additionally, agendas provide a way for attendees to prepare for the meeting and let them know that you appreciate and appreciate their contributions. This is critical to a successful remote operation.
3. Include everyone
When it comes to making attendees feel valued, inclusion is critical to a good brainstorming session. All participants in a brainstorming session should feel they have a real stake in the problem they want to solve or the goal they want to achieve.
Don’t create groups so big that people feel like there is no point in being there. A great brainstorming group consists of four to eight people made up of team leaders and key managers. Also, consider inviting a few people who are not as fully informed about the problem you are trying to solve. You will have a limited idea of what tilt be done to give them a fresher perspective and possibly to offer more innovative solutions.
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4. Create a positive environment
Brainstorming sessions should be collaborative, which means inclusive. This can be a challenge in remote situations. Some people may be muted, others may have cameras turned off, and others may go out of their way to share every idea that comes to mind.
To create a positive environment, participants need to be reminded that there are no bad ideas and that no one has all the solutions. Relief is difficult in a personal setting. In a remote setting, be ready to check in with attendees to make sure everyone is up to date and participating. That doesn’t mean getting them in place with difficult questions, but when you hear a point that falls under the expertise of a quieter participant, steer the conversation their way to see if they can add something.
5. Try different styles
You may be surprised to learn that there are dozens of different methods for brainstorming. Not every type works for all groups and all problems. Trying out different brainstorming methods can be a great way to find out what works best for your remote team and helps keep things interesting.
Of course, let the team know in advance of the meeting if you want to create a mind map, brain write, do a SCAMPER, do a quick brainstorming, or any other process. If users are not familiar with the method you have chosen, consider giving an introduction to the brainstorming style. Invite them to ask clarifying questions.
Working remotely alone every day can be lonely. Confusing brainstorming styles can be a productive way to get people excited about work.
6. Be transparent and open to feedback
After all, every team and problem is unique. Not every brainstorming session will be perfect. There will be days when you feel like you are wasting time and there will be moments when you will wonder if your team is fully checked out. Very few companies have experience of being completely remote. We will all find out together, which means that you as a manager have to be transparent about challenges and be open to feedback.
Allow attendees to comment on the meeting either in the last few minutes of the allotted time or privately in a poll or personal message after the meeting. Use their inputs to make improvements if needed, and don’t give up due to an unproductive brainstorming session.
The final result
Running remote brainstorming sessions is not easy. Careful planning and adequate moderation is required to keep participants engaged, updated, and accountable. However, if you use the right technology, keep groups small, and hold action-oriented, agenda-centered meetings, you are in the right shape to conduct high quality brainstorms. Hopefully this guide will help you succeed.
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