Tag Archives: brainstorming

When meeting face to face isn't better

Have you ever done affinity diagramming? That’s the brainstorming exercise in which each participant in a conference room is given a pad of sticky notes and asked to write as many ideas as possible about an issue or solutions to a problem on them, one idea per sheet. After a few minutes, the meeting facilitator invites participants to arrange their notes on a board or a wall, placing similar ideas together. After a few minutes of elbowing and toe stomping and dropped bits of paper, the stickies end up clumped together and some major answers emerge. It’s a very powerful technique for thinking as a team. Continue reading

Whiteboarding for Virtual Teams

One of the most useful things I have learned leading teams is that pictures are a very effective way to help people understand complex ideas. I am sure you have all heard that there are auditory learners and visual learners, but in my experience, a good visual is much better than audio for most people. I have been in countless meetings where a discussion goes on and on with no apparent conclusion or convergence toward an answer until someone goes up to the board and draws a picture of the ‘situation’. The dynamics in the meeting immediately transform.  Understanding increases, more people are engaged to help draw the picture, and things get moving again. People need a way to form a mental image of complex problems, to connect abstract ideas with things they already understand. This is why drawing even a simple flow or relationship diagram can help people understand the most difficult concepts. Continue reading