How to run brainstorming sessions remotely

When the whole team is in the same room, brainstorming is easy: all you need is paper, pens and post-its. Everyone is energised by each other, and ideas are born easily.

How to run brainstorming sessions remotely

If you are remote, the brainstorming risks turning into a silent meeting. But with a little preparation, you can generate ideas just as well as offline.

Rules for an online brainstorming session

Explain the rules clearly: no criticism or evaluation of others' statements, the focus is not on the quality but on the quantity of ideas, and your colleagues' ideas can be combined and improved.Set a time limit for each stage. If this is not done, the brainstorming session may take many hours.Moderate the conversation. It is best if one person does this. It is best if one person does it. He or she needs to control that each participant has the same amount of time to speak and to make sure that the rules are followed.Capture all ideas. It doesn't matter if you like or dislike them. Even the most absurd idea can give rise to something new and interesting.Remember that an effective brainstorming session should not bring you a bunch of creative ideas. It should give you concrete actions to solve a problem.How to prepare for a brainstorming sessionFormulate the brainstorming topic so that it sets the right direction for the participants. It is good if the topic starts with a question. For example, "What topics could we choose for articles to be useful to our readers?" An effective brainstorming session should lead to concrete actions to solve the problem.Invite a team. It is best to select participants so that they are on the same level. Inviting the CEO, for example, is not a good idea, because everyone will agree with him. At the same time, all participants should be aware of the problem for which you are brainstorming. Better if it directly affects their work. If the problem doesn't affect anyone but you, you can brainstorm alone.
Format the venue. You can use Miro so that everyone can work at the same time. Miro is an online platform for teamwork, where you can write down ideas and vote for the best ones as a team.

Immediately before the brainstorming session, have a warm-up session. The warm-up should include:

any word games;games to stimulate creative thinking;any kind of check-in on a distracting topic;any small brainstorming session for solving a minor problem.

What brainstorming sessions are available?

Classic brainstorming. The whole team generates ideas according to the given topic for 15-30 minutes. There are two options:

Everyone can raise their hand and speak up. The moderator makes sure the rules are followed and records the ideas.Everyone writes down the ideas on cards in the same space.

Then group the same ideas together and vote as a team for the best ones.

Reverse brainstorming. The whole team answers the question: how do you cause a problem and make it worse instead of solving it? Here, as in a classic brainstorming session, participants can take turns speaking up or writing out ideas on cards.

Brainwriting. First, each participant writes down three ideas in five minutes. The ideas can be totally absurd, this is welcome. When the time is up, you must hand your list to another participant. Then everyone is given five minutes again for three ideas. Swap the lists until everyone has their original list. After that, group similar ideas from all the lists and vote.

"Yes, and". Ask one participant to come up with an idea. The next person completes it by starting the sentence with 'Yes, and'. Everyone should speak up. Write out the ideas with all the improvements and vote.

Word storm. Set a timer for ten minutes. Write down one word that relates to the main goal. Participants take turns naming the associations and the moderator should record all the words. Continue until time runs out. Next ask the participants to read through the whole cloud of associations and come up with three ideas each based on them. Write them down and then vote for the best ones.

How to vote for the best ideas

Unlimited: each participant may cast any number of votes for different ideas.Restricted: each participant may cast one to three votes.Tagging: the team assigns each idea one of the hashtags: #wow, #now, #how , #no. It takes a little longer, but you'll know immediately what to do with each idea.Which brainstorming option to chooseOne participant: Brainstorm backwards, Wordstorm. You can use the classic Brainstorm, but in the "100 ideas" format: don't stop until you have written exactly 100 ideas. The first 30 will be on the surface, but the rest may be interesting.

Three participants: the same + 'Yes, and'.

Six participants: all the same + brainwriting.

More than eight participants: any option, but divide the group into subgroups of no more than eight people.

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