The Slice

Innovative Brainstorming Techniques for Virtual Teams

February 2, 2024

Explore innovative brainstorming techniques for virtual teams to maximize productivity and promote varied and forward-thinking ideas.

When we think about the changes in our work lives, a big one that comes to mind is more people working together virtually. This wasn't as common before, but because of COVID-19, virtual teams have really taken off. This shift means that the places we work in have changed a lot, too—more remote work, flexible schedules, and less office time. That's forced businesses to really get creative with keeping their teams productive and efficient. And here's a little secret: it wasn't always easy, but I believe where there's a challenge, there's also an opportunity.

Now, I want to share something important with you. What's this all about? Brainstorming! This simple method can make a huge impact on a team's performance if used properly. Just imagine pairing an old-school practice like brainstorming with a modern way of working. Hey, isn't it a magical combination? It's like letting loose in a playground where everyone's thoughts matter, and new ideas are always welcome.

Let's talk about the heart of this topic: brainstorming techniques for virtual teams. The one thing I can promise? The next part won't just define each method but will show you how to use them in any situation, the benefits they bring, and the limitations you might face!

How to Pick the Right Tools

Picking just the right tool for group work is important to hosting effective online brainstorming sessions. A good choice boosts the flow of ideas, ups the engagement, and ramps up productivity in general.

Ever given Mural a try? It's an awesome workspace custom-made for team creativity. It lets everyone share their thoughts as they come up, leading to instant idea popping and immediate feedback.

And how about Miro? It boasts a super comprehensive whiteboard - awesome for teamwork without time limits. With work getting more and more global, teams often find themselves spread over different time zones. Miro tackles this problem head-on by offering flexible timing for everyone to pitch in.

These incredible tools make it easy for everyone to get their hands on shared knowledge. With more of us now working from home, they've actually become pretty much really important and most likely game-changers.

Don't underestimate how much power the right tool has in an effective brainstorming session. Teams need to think hard about the tool that fits best with how they work, including things like team size, the complexity of the idea, and how much interaction they want.

It's so important to really get what Mural and Miro have to offer. Besides creating a group-friendly atmosphere for effective brainstorming, they promote a wealth of varied and forward-thinking ideas. And keep in mind that the tool you go for is not a means to an end but something that makes groundbreaking ideas possible.

The key to a victorious brainstorming session is all about using innovative tools that boost team power.

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Brainstorming

Hey, do you know what sets synchronous and asynchronous brainstorming apart? It's all about timing! When I think of synchronous brainstorming, it feels like sitting in the same room with my team and tossing ideas around. We all talk at once, and it's so cool how immediate feedback can jump-start a unique idea or deep conversation.

Let's chat about another type, asynchronous brainstorming. This kind is all about flexibility! It's done online, and everyone can join in when it best fits their schedule. Does this method sound perfect for those who usually find themselves on the sidelines during big meetings? I definitely think so!

Have you thought about what happens when a team is spread all over the world in different time zones? With asynchronous brainstorming, there's no stress about scheduling meetings at inconvenient times. It just works out so that everyone can add their valuable ideas comfortably!

Now, synchronous brainstorming sure has its appeal with instant responses, but let's look at asynchronous sessions real quickly. See, the great thing about them is that they give people enough time to think things through. No quickfire responses, just thoughtful contributions that often turn out to be more original than fast-paced chats!

In my experience, asynchronous brainstorming takes the crown. It might lack the immediate feedback we all love, but it's got a lot going for it. Imagine virtual teams coming up with the most creative ideas - all because they're not boxed by time constraints or the rush of on-the-spot thought sharing! Can you see why I'm a fan of this method? It's just so rewarding in terms of flexibility, inclusivity, and the quality of ideas generated!

First, You'll Want to Set Some Ground Rules

Clearly, laying down rules before a virtual brainstorming session is important. It helps cultivate a respectful and clear space that's prime for coming up with new ideas. Clear expectations are set for every participant.

You might wonder what accomplishments these rules bring about.

A major key is inspiring everyone to take part. It's important for every team member to speak up and share their special ideas. You never know; the best idea might just come from you! So, it's important to create a safe and supportive environment where everyone feels confident to chip in.

Another big principle is holding back immediate criticism. Instead of instantly checking for the quality of an idea, brainstorming is for coming up with as many ideas as possible. Imagine a space where your ideas are free to grow on their own without fear of rejection. Here, negative feedback takes the back seat.

Here's an important insight - strange or uncommon ideas can kick-start creativity, leading to practical solutions.

But listen to this: encouraging every voice and keeping criticism to a minimum aren't the only stepping stones. More rules are needed - like making sure every participant really pays attention to their colleagues' thoughts. An open mind is really important to stop any dismissive attitudes that can block the flow of new ideas.

Announcing these rules at the start of your virtual meet sets a productive vibe. This rule-infused atmosphere fires up productivity and keeps your team focused.

So, ground rules act as a roadmap that paves the way for a successful brainstorming sesh. When you stick to them, you keep the creative fire burning and transform brainstorming get-togethers into hatching grounds for the most incredible ideas. These conditions, for sure, will power up your team's creative thinking!

Just like when my colleagues and I were brainstorming for a new project. We welcomed all ideas with open arms, gave time for everyone to share, ditched immediate criticism, and practiced active listening. This method proved fruitful as we came up with some revolutionary ideas that were highly successful.

The Power of Icebreakers

Icebreakers can make a real difference in virtual brainstorming meetings and help to get the creative juices flowing. Think about it: they pull us all together, shifting our minds from "me" to "us." Isn't that something?

Take the classic game "Two Truths and a Lie". I'm not only talking about telling tales and having fun. You get a peek into someone else's world when they share their truths and throw in a lie. It's building trust, one truth at a time, and preps us for the brainstorming to come.

But icebreakers do more than just "break the ice"! They actually keep the conversation moving and keep people active. Ever tried the "Zoom-In Game"? We squint and guess at a blurred picture, testing our creativity. It's like our brains are hitting the gym before a creativity marathon!

What about the vibe of our chat? Icebreakers can take care of that, too. We might need a chill icebreaker for a mellow mood before talking about tough topics. Say, a strange icebreaker - that could snap us back to focus when a serious chat is up next.

Choosing the right icebreaker isn't always easy, though. We have to think about the task at hand, team diversity, and the virtual setting. We're walking a tightrope - trying to strike a balance between fun, bonding, and mental stimulation.

In my experience, picking out a great icebreaker can be worth the effort. I once used a silly game to start a tense meeting, and it lightened the mood instantly. People relaxed; ideas started flowing.

So, let's wrap this up. Icebreakers can be just the spark your virtual team brainstorming needs. Making the right choice can make sure it's not only fun and trust-building but truly sets the stage for effective brainstorming!

Encouraging Varied Participation

Doesn't it make sense to listen to everyone on your team, from the intern to the big cheese? I think so, too! But here's the kicker - this is easier said than done.

We've got tools to help with this, like Miro and Stormboard. They're great because anyone can sling in their ideas anonymously. No names attached - no bias. Radical, huh? The result? Maybe the next killer app from the quietest voice in the room.

But wait! Won't we need to know who's speaking sometimes? Good point. Here's my take: let's create secure zones for our more introverted friends. Online platforms like Voicethread and Ideaflip are perfect for this. Now, they can pitch their fantastic concepts in private.

Think about this for a moment: does your team respect everyone's ideas, regardless of their job title? In my experience, people lower on the pecking order can offer plenty of fresh ideas. A Harvard Business Review study even backs this up.

Imagine this - office politics muzzling the best ideas because they're wary of criticism. Could anonymous idea-shares help dump this bias? Try it; you might find that everyone throws in their two cents, groupthink gets axed, and real, focused ideas surface from every team sector.

Let's be honest here: I'm not only talking about giving everyone a voice. It's about turning our workplace into a place where anyone can make waves, change the status quo, and truly affect innovation, no matter what their job title says.

Before we forget - inclusivity is a superhero in disguise! It doesn't only rack up a whole lot of ideas; it also digs deeper to pluck the gems. Never forget: everyone has the capacity to wow us with their brilliance. And it's our job to tap into and use these varied possibilities successfully. Promise me you'll keep that in mind. It could be the trick to making your team the best it can be.

Effective Use of Breakout Sessions

Do you know how important virtual breakout rooms can be in your online team meetings? They're super helpful for making sure everyone gets involved. But to use them well, you'll need a smart plan.

A good first step is keeping the groups small. Try for about 3-5 people per group. That way, everyone gets to throw their voice into the mix.

Remember to keep a tight watch on the clock, too. Limiting each talk topic to about ten minutes keeps things moving and on point.

Before you start the breakout sessions, you need to tell your team what they're doing and how to do it. It's a good idea to share the load by giving each member a job, like keeping time, jotting down notes, or leading the group. You'll see the group leader steering the talk while the note-taker and timer make sure the topic stays in focus and everyone keeps up with the schedule.

Did I tell you about that one time we used this method for our online team meeting? The results were amazing. Even though we didn't come across any earth-shattering ideas, the discussion was lively and engaging. It just goes to show that even a big group can have an intimate, productive conversation when we break it down.

And don't forget - what happens after the breakout session is as important as what happens during. Make sure to regroup in the main virtual room to summarize what each group talked about.

Technology can be your best helper in making these sessions interactive. Using tools like screen sharing, virtual whiteboards, or shared documents can add a fun twist to your conversation and spark some creativity.

You see, assigning individual tasks, making smaller discussion groups, and sparking creativity are what help make virtual breakout rooms a powerful tool. It's your turn now! Get the team ready, split them into groups, and start brainstorming. Let's see where virtual breakout rooms lead your team.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement

In simple words, feedback and constant improvement are key to coming up with great ideas online if we really think about it. Teams have to really think about how they did; one way to do this is through surveys where no one knows who said what. These surveys let everyone be totally honest and reveal improvements that could have been missed otherwise.

Groups should be able to identify what's necessary and where they can do better. In short, feedback given on the spot provides important information that helps shape how we brainstorm online in the future. After that comes the time to put it all together, and that's where online platforms truly shine. Their standout feature? They bring about quick, comprehensive changes without being limited by physical boundaries.

So, a cycle forms: brainstorm, get feedback, improve - repeat. Each new task is a chance to get better at this cycle. Checking things regularly stops them from getting stale and keeps strategies fresh and modern.

Just keep in mind that improvements don't just happen; they're a result of constant, steady work. Mix feedback that can be acted upon with gradual improvements, and you get a brainstorming space that's really productive. And the truth is, this development is like a long road trip towards better productivity and effectiveness.

At our company, Pizzatime, we live for this kind of innovative thinking. Building strong remote team bonds is part of who we are. We don't just offer a range of services, but we make sure to keep things fun. So whether it's spending time online over pizza, solving puzzling challenges, or just chilling together, every service meets different needs. I can tell you from my own experience that good team-building activities really boost team spirit and cooperation. So, ready for some effective virtual team building with Pizzatime? Get in touch today!

The Pizzatime Blog

The Slice

Thank you! Welcome to the list.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Some further reading



meals catered to thousands of companies across the globe

and thousands of other leading companies
Our team changed from being in the office to working from home permanently through the pandemic. So Pizzatime gives our team a reason to gather and have social time. We also use Pizzatime to get together for milestone celebrations. Everyone loves pizza, right!?!
Angela T
CL Underwriting Team Lead
Grange Insurance
It arrives at the time of the event, so everyone is sharing the same experience at the same time.
Mariuxi T
Field marketing specialist
It takes away the huge time consumption it normally would take if I had to place orders for everyone manually or if I had to send them all gift cards and expense everything, one by one.
Madison G
Executive Assistant
Pizza and coffee are everyone's love language and a great way to treat your employees, teams, or friends. Plus, Pizzatime makes the entire process SO easy! I couldn't recommend them enough!
Kim K
Administrative Assistant
General Mills
The best option to use when planning a virtual lunch for teams across multiple sites and locations.
Sherry S
Administrative Assistant
Capital One
A convenient way to order pizza for a group and save time. It’s great for virtual lunch and happy hour meetings with entertainment.
Loubna S
Executive Assistant

Mix it up with something new

Remote meetings are boring. Stimulate your team with a unique experience.

Explore Food & Drink