'There is no better situation, than seeing each other's eyes and use your brains while interacting at the same place at the same time'. This is what I hear regularly as feedback from my colleague facilitators and clients. However, nowadays there are free online applications available, which can be used while brainstorming at different places at the same time.
Try our video maker at Animoto.
Recently I applied Spiderscribe.net in one of my training courses about 'Facilitation Methods'. Spiderscribe can be used in the combination with skype (teleconferencing) for doing:
- a brainstorm workshop with postes
- creative brainstorming using mindmap applications
Impressions of the Training Facilitation Methods with online tools at animoto:
Advantages online brainstorming
Online brainstorming provides the following advantages:
- You can do it at a distance with a group of people online at the same time;
- The software of spiderscribe is user friendly, for free and easy applicable;
- The lay-out is professional
- Participants' ideas stay anonymous. Since the f2f handwriting and f2f interaction is not visible, participants are not hindered by hierarchy or pre-assumptions about people in the group;
- By seeing ideas of other people at the virtual wall, participants are stimulated to gain insights for new ideas
- There is no f2f interaction, although there are possibilities to support the brainstorm with webcams connections through Bigmarker or Google+;
- Participants can get blocked in their brainstorming process by seeing the ideas of others;
- The facilitator does not have control at the participants. It is not clear if they participate or do other things during the brainstorming phase;
- A group size of 5 - 8 participants is the optimal group size for doing online brainstorming sessions. In a f2f setting, brainstorming can be done with 5 - 50 participants.
Potential for online facilitation
Online brainstorming has great potential. More and more free software and user friendly brainstorm applications become available. Spiderscribe is excellent!
In the training Facilitation Methods which I conduced on behalf of the Hendrik Kreamer Institute on the 9th and 10th January, 2012 the participants (a group of Young Professional Researchers) responded enthousiastically. 'It is easy to learn', 'Intuitive and applicable for long distance communication'.
If you are interested on how to become an online facilitator, consult Faciliteeronline.nl