Research conducted in partnership with Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group, involving 9,000 managers and employees from firms across 15 European countries, revealed that: “It’s a challenge to feel connected, confident and communicate effectively with the team, and we know from a lot of research that creativity and innovation largely happen through collaboration.” A healthy team culture is achieved when employees feel motivated to be creative and productive.
But, how do you implement this type of work environment when employees are unable to get together in the office for a good, old-fashioned creative brainstorming session?
Fortunately, there are a number of effective strategies you can implement within your teams now to ensure you can harness that collaborative mentality, and motivate your team to produce creative work, at a distance.
Ensure an effective briefing process
According to Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency, providing a clear creative brief, a day or two before an online brainstorming sessions, is key because it “allows people to digest the information, do research and come armed with questions along with any potential thought starters that can start the brainstorm out with a burst of energy.”
Download a helpful creative brief checklist
Use virtual whiteboards for collaboration
Traditional brainstorming whiteboards are found to actually limit creativity because often one individual is responsible for recording all thoughts, whereas virtual whiteboards allow everyone to contribute, show and record their ideas. Visual collaboration in a virtual space also means you can loop in other team members who may work in different country offices. You could even use this process to encourage healthy competition, circling the ‘winning ideas’ on the virtual whiteboard and challenging your team to suggest better ideas.
Here are a few virtual whiteboards we recommend checking out:
Encourage individual work
Grace Judson, a leadership consultant, advises that you provide your team with limited solo brainstorming time, using a ripple effect: The first team member starts and is given five minutes to write out their ideas. Once they are done, the second team member goes, either coming up with new ideas or using the ideas of the previous team member as inspiration, still on the five-minute clock. This continues until all team members have contributed and then the results are up for discussion.
Equip your team with a helpful brainstorming activity sheet
For many, the best way to tackle those Monday morning blues is to grab hold of a big cup of coffee. And, for us, giving our team tools to help get their creative juices flowing while working from home, is the equivalent to a shot of espresso. Which is why we’ve developed a free, downloadable, Idea Generation Workbook<!> that you can share with your team today – either for them to complete alone or for you to work through it with them.
This sheet offers a few out-of-the-box ideas for brainstorming effectively, as well as formal processes they can follow to keep them focused and motivated. Before long, your team will be producing such good work, and solving every problem thrown at them, you will have forgotten remote working was ever a struggle in the first place.
Ready to see your team’s innovative thinking thrive?
Get your free Idea Generation Workbook here.