By Toya Dilles | April 22, 2020

Organizing a digital brainstorm: how to use digital tools to their fullest

Corona shook up everyone’s way on how we work. Some were or are better prepared than others. But where in the beginning it was difficult sometimes to align, people are becoming more and more digital savvy to organize their work.

Now, most of you are settled in their ways, we’d like to take it up a notch and focus on an activity that is one of our core activities at the Co.Station Innovation team: Collective brainstorming.

Many has been said and written about individual brainstorming versus in group, but here we focus specifically on how to leverage your collective intelligence with other colleagues/partners/clients…

A practical guide on how to tackle your first digital brainstorm:

  • Define: Just like a regular brainstorm, first, ask yourself what is the common goal? What do you wish to get out of it? When do you consider this a successful session? Even ask yourself if it is necessary to organize a collective brainstorm or is there another way to achieve what you wish to attain? Define your goals. This will also determine the kind of tool(s) you are looking for.
  • Dare to ask: Check with your network what kind of brainstorming tools they use and what their experience is. 

In our earlier blog our residents and us already mentioned some of them which you could use. 

A much used one in brainstorming is the so-called digital whiteboard. Miro and Mural are classics, but is also one we are using right now. 

But again: depending on the goal of your session, your tool can be another one.

  • Pick and prepare: Choose your preferred tool(s) and prepare already some content for testing. Depending on the goal of the brainstorm, you can find open source canvasses readily available on the internet. Everything from a PESTLE to a Personae canvas or storyboard…it’s all there at the tip of your fingers.
  • Trial and error: Keep a dry run with your team before deciding on a solution (and stick to it). Also, make sure that the different tools you are using are coworking with each other, but try to keep it to a minimum. For example, organize a test Zoom meeting with a link to mural where your colleagues can play around with the whiteboard canvasses you’ve set up.
  • Plan: prepare a clear agenda, just like you would do in real life. Biggest difference? Don’t do it for more than half a day and foresee a coffee break here and there. 

You are not working from home. You keep on working from home during a crisis. Small difference, huge impact on your energy levels!

  • Communication is key!: Keep your communication to the attendees clear and concise. Tell them very clearly which tools will be used for what and ask them to test them out already. You can set up a test environment before for them to play around with the tool
  • Check Check Check: just like the Flemish government asks us to do, triple check if something is not going to plan. Ask a colleague to be (technical) backup for when things would go wrong and people can contact this help line while you can continue to focus on the content.
  • Let it go: Things can go wrong or will go wrong. That’s ok. Be flexible. It’s new to a lot of us. But stay focused. Stick to the planning and you will achieve in no time some nice ideas and projects

Let us know if you have other useful tips or when you’ve organized one. Always happy to connect!

If you wish to be part of our collective sessions or one of our ecosystems, give us a shout via email