Manage time expectations more realistically. It is important to overestimate the time participants need rather than underestimate. Running over feels slightly more intense when you are in front of a screen so allow for a 30 minute overrun to manage expectations. That way, you are allowing yourself extra time to get the most from your Online Ideation Session.
2. Setting Priorities
Manage priority setting with a video or email from senior leaders. Here they can discuss the importance of the online ideation work and how it replaces face-face workshops which normally involve additional travel time and longer days.
Setting up a specially dedicated online project management board will also provide teams with an overview of the ideation sessions and what is expected of them. Adding in the direct links to sessions, for example, reduces the confusion that virtual technologies bring.
3. Managing Energy
Consider splitting the online interaction time over 2-3 weeks.
Two days on, followed by a break of three to four days, then one to two more days as needed.
Group calls in the interim can help keep the process momentum up as needed and a visual ‘roadmap’ showing a progress update can be really motivating.
Splitting online ideation sessions is important as, according to a BBC Worklife report, “Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy.”
Send prework early (but not so early that people forget about it!). Three to five working days in advance is a good rule of thumb. You can also use your project management board and set a reminder and deadline.
Explore ways to encourage offline team prework with engaging worksheets too and ease online team-based ideation dynamics. Whiteboard functions on video conferencing software will also help when you split the team into small prework groups.
5. Engagement & Momentum
Start the platform with a total group kick-off call and consider quick daily touch points as needed with a roadmap review. That way, you are ensuring that the team feels supported and is reminded of expectations throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to follow up with highly insightful participants to allow for further probing and depth on key ideas. Short one-to-one sessions will work.
Below is a list of helpful tools that we suggest researching. For further advice and support on agile innovation during the Coronavirus Crisis, please see what services we have to offer here.