Online or f2f brainstorming?

'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.
Recently I applied 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
  • debates
  • creative brainstorming using mindmap applications
  • evaluations

Impressions of the Training Facilitation Methods with online tools at animoto:

Try our video maker 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

Disadvantages are:
  • 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 


  1. We are glad you liked
    We are working on improvements and plan to remove the "beta" from our app within weeks. Team

    1. Dear Team, thanks for your reply. Yes, I am looking forward to your improvements. Sofar, I am very pleased with your applications. Regards, Simon Koolwijk


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