If your office is like most modern workplaces, you and your team confer virtually regularly. You may even hold brainstorming sessions virtually, allowing your staff to come together creatively, no matter where they're located.
While great from a convenience perspective, virtual brainstorming sessions can take some time. This is especially true for teams used to doing things in person. Fortunately, the following tips can help you get more out of virtual sessions, ensuring your workplace can remain productive and creative.
Foster Supportive Feedback
Feedback is crucial to any productive brainstorming session but it must be supportive. For instance, instead of harshly critiquing a person's offering, you should offer constructive criticism to help develop the idea.
Similarly, your staff should take the same approach regarding critiques. Harsh words can stop a staff member in their tracks and prevent them from ever contributing again. On the other hand, constructive supportive criticism can help a person grow their ideas.
Create An Inclusive Environment
Inclusivity is crucial at all workplaces, ensuring employees feel at ease and at home within their profession. Inclusivity also offers benefits when it comes to office creativity, as it helps you get the opinions and perspectives of multiple people.
The best workplaces and organizations feature various voices from diverse backgrounds and experiences. You should also encourage the whole team to speak out and contribute freely, regardless of their background or skill level. If you notice that the same people contribute to brainstorming sessions, encourage other staff members to join.
Set Agendas and Goals
Creativity is vital when brainstorming, but you must still get some work done. As a result, establishing an agenda and setting goals can greatly benefit sessions by keeping ideas flowing nicely. When it comes to the agenda, make sure each staff member has a copy of the agenda before each session so they can prepare adequately.
As for goals, they can vary according to the specific details of your business. Goals can be as simple as coming up with a certain number of ideas during each brainstorming meeting. You may also set a goal of getting each staff member to contribute to every session.
You can also employ alternative brainstorming methods while talking through new ideas. For instance, ask your staff to present a picture or graphic during the next meeting that best represents a new idea or concept. You can request that they share a song that accomplishes the same goal.
Group games are also great for getting the juices flowing. Consider playing an impromptu game of charades at your next virtual meeting, during which staff members can draw representations of their new idea and allow others to guess what it is. Games also enhance employee bonding, which makes for a stronger team.
Celebrate New Ideas
Introducing new ideas at work can be challenging, especially for staff members unaccustomed to brainstorming. As a result, you and your team must take time to encourage new ideas and celebrate them.
This involves "thinking outside the box," which can be difficult at work. To get the creative juices flowing, ask each staff member to introduce one new idea during each session, no matter how bold or off-the-wall. Even if the idea doesn't turn out to be a winner, it may spur creativity in other areas.
Most importantly, encourage all staff members to jump in with their ideas. Creating a supportive environment where everyone's ideas receive equal respect and attention will make your brainstorming sessions more fruitful and creative.