Many of us are used to generating our best ideas by tapping the creativity of a group of colleagues…in the same room with a whiteboard, flipchart, or sticky notes. The interpersonal dynamics and these tactile tools help make something magical happen in the brainstorming process.
How do we get the same result with a virtual team? Our Workforce Communication team needed to generate a bunch of ideas for our business this summer. Here’s how we did it:
1. Set up the question in advance. We emailed everyone a simple description of the topic.
2. Gathered via video conference so we could see each others’ faces…the next best thing to being there these days.
3. Followed ground rules such as no judging ideas, one person speaks at a time, build on others’ ideas, be positive, etc.
4. Gave ourselves one hour max. Spend too much time and you often end up criticizing or repeating ideas.
5. Took verbatim notes so we didn’t need to discuss ideas in-depth.
6. Facilitated a round-robin and gave everyone the option to pass.
7. Prioritized the ideas…everyone “voted” on their top three via the chat function in Google Meets.
In the end, everyone’s voice was heard, and we had three pages of prioritized ideas. The session was deemed successful! Easy peasy! Want more? Here’s a 10-minute read on the topic from Harvard Business Review.