Using online chat tools like Zoom for brainstorming

If one thing has benefitted from the global coronavirus pandemic it’s online tools like Zoom, Team and GoToMeeting. They’ve become an integral part of daily working life and have even started to appear on our TV screens in a wide range of commercials by the likes of Santander and Halifax Building Society.

But rather than just use these online chat tools for daily catch-ups and to present reports, presentations or keep up with colleagues, there are also some cute ways that you can use them to generate ideas and stimulate thought to keep people motivated, engaged and creative juices flowing.

Oh, and for the PC brigade out there, we know you’re not allowed to use the word ‘brainstorming’ any more, thought showers are now what they’re called, but we still think brainstorming sounds better!

Anyway, here’s a few things you can do.

Pass & Build… giving everyone an equal opportunity to share ideas

This technique works best when there are three or more people on the call, and it’s a simple game and to begin you all need several pieces of paper in front of you and a thick black pen and of course a challenge that you want to find a solution for. Start off by distilling your challenge into something like this:

How can we incentivise our customers to choose us rather than our competitors?
or
What ways can we use to encourage people to holiday or visit with us again?
or
How can we make get employees motivated at work with so many challenges at home?

You each then write an idea down on your piece of paper, then one person holds their idea up to share with others. Then, everyone else on the call writes down an idea inspired by that one. essentially building on it and making it better… and only positive responses are allowed, no one is allowed to criticise the idea.

Once that idea has been built on the next person holds up their new idea and the same thing happens again. Everyone builds on this idea by writing something down and sharing with everyone else. Thereby everyone equally contributes an idea and everyone gets a chance to build on each other’s idea – helping everyone feel emotionally invested in each idea and building a strong sense of teamwork.

Under Pressure… using time to get the brain focussed

You’ll need a stopwatch and again a set of challenges or a challenge you want to overcome. One person on the call will take the role of quizmaster (this should ideally be the most senior person on the call, as usually in brainstorming this person can overpower the others).

The quizmaster then asks the team to answer a challenge but this time everyone is under a sixty second time limit… the time pressure should focus the mind. They then each present their idea to the quizmaster who then follows this up by asking the challenge again in a different several times. Here’s how you can ask the same question in different ways as a guide:

Way 1: How can we encourage people to purchase from us?
Way 2: People are buying more from our competitors than from us, how can we stop them?
Way 3: People are shopping online but aren’t coming to our online store, what ways can we encourage them to do so?

Then to finish, everyone on the call turns the tables on the quizmaster and puts them under pressure with the same questions.

These are just a few of the ways we have to help you generate ideas here at OTB. If you’d like to practice some of the ones here or discover more, simply give our Managing Partner Jo a call on: 0113 216 2820 ir email: joanne.waddington@otbagency.co.uk

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