As many of us have been working remotely for a while now, we're getting used to alternative methods of fulfilling our work tasks. However, some processes are more difficult to transpose to this 'new normal' than others, and brainstorming is one of these.
Where we once sat in a room and worked things out collectively, now we bounce concepts off one other via email and uncomfortable video conferences.
What if I were to tell you that remote brainstorming has the potential to achieve incredible results?
Here's an effective strategy to help you get the most out of your remote brainstorming sessions:
Step 1: Be specific when explaining the issue
Working remotely can more easily lead to misunderstandings. Even if you feel you're oversimplifying things, begin by carefully communicating the problem you want to address so everyone has the same information.
Step 2: Discover the best problem-solvers on the team
Brainstorming harnesses a range of knowledge and abilities, and it works best in diverse groups. Determine whom you want to attend and notify them – but don't bring everyone together just yet. You must keep them separate until the following step is completed.
Step 3: Allow time for everyone to digest alone or in small groups
Give everyone time to analyse the situation alone or in small groups before bringing the entire group together. Allow each person or small group to send you their initial thoughts in writing so that you may record them before the group begins to influence one another's thinking.
Step 4: Present the whole list of preliminary solutions to the group
After everyone has had an opportunity to send you some initial ideas, combine them into a single document without indicating who came up with which one.
Step 5: Inviting a voice that isn't being heard is a great way to start
After reviewing the list of preliminary ideas, you may discover that another point of view or level of expertise is required. This staggered technique allows you to incorporate those perspectives, which would not be heard with conventional brainstorming.
Step 6: Gather the entire group
After you've given everyone time to process the information and you've had time to finalise the group, gather everybody together to debate the most promising ideas and progress towards an agreement.
TAKEAWAY: This fresh approach to collaboration and brainstorming, which allows for a broader range of perspectives and ideas to explore, can be so effective that you'll never want to go back to the old way!