Tips For Brainstorming With Remote Teams

Traditional brainstorming sessions often involve team members gathered around a table, throwing out ideas and jotting thoughts on colorful sticky notes. In an age of remote work, brainstorming sessions look different. You no longer have all your team members in one room together to bounce ideas and hash things out collaboratively.

However, according to executive leadership coach Lolly Daskal, you can still accomplish great things with remote brainstorming. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Daskal’s top tips for better brainstorming with a remote team.

Clearly state the purpose for brainstorming. Why are you bringing people together for a virtual brainstorm? It may seem crystal clear to you, but it’s easy for different assumptions and expectations to develop when your team members work remotely. Daskal says you should make sure everyone understands what you are trying to accomplish. You should also think about the individuals you want to include in the brainstorm. According to Daskal, you get the best results with a diverse group. This is because brainstorming is all about combining knowledge and skills.

Allow time for private thinking. To make the most of a virtual brainstorm session, Daskal recommends giving people time to generate ideas in advance. Don’t just kick off a video call and invite your team members to toss out their ideas. This is a sure way to limit creativity since people in groups tend to think as a group. Before the session, ask each employee or small group to contribute their initial ideas to you via email so you can capture them before your employees start to influence one another’s thinking.

Share the initial ideas with everyone. After you receive thoughts from individuals or small groups, put them into a list but keep the ideas anonymous. Then share the compilation with everyone so they can consider other ideas before you bring the group together, says Daskal.

Consider other perspectives. When you review the initial list of ideas, think about another area of expertise that might help the cause. Perhaps there is a voice that is missing. According to Daskal, when you slow down the process, you give yourself a chance to include other voices. This normally wouldn’t be possible with traditional brainstorming.

Bring everyone together. Now it’s time to get everyone together virtually to discuss the most promising ideas and begin planning for next steps. While this approach might feel like you are taking energy away from around-the-table brainstorming, Daskal says it allows you to benefit from a wider range of voices and ideas.

Whether you host formal brainstorming sessions annually or more often, remember that you don’t need to gather everyone face to face to reap the benefits. In fact, by taking an approach of gathering ideas in advance and then opening the floor for discussion, you might see such encouraging results that you never go back to traditional in-person brainstorming again.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lolly Daskal, founder and CEO of Lead From Within, is one of the world’s most sought-after executive leadership coaches. Huffington Post named her “The Most Inspiring Woman in the World.”

filed under September 2020
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