In an earlier blog we discussed brainstorming. However, the focus was on in-person brainstorming. As more and more people work remotely, it’s time to discuss virtual brainstorming. While there are common themes throughout, we take a look at what three experts have to say about brainstorming in a remote environment. Finally, we provide an introduction to a free tool that can be used for virtual brainstorming.

Gleb Tsipurksy on Virtual Brainstorming

In this article from Quality Digest titled “Virtual Brainstorming Is an Innovation Advantage for Hybrid and Remote Teams,” read what Gleb Tsipursky has to say about virtual brainstorming.

After a discussion of traditional brainstorming, Gleb provides seven steps for virtual brainstorming.

Step 1: Initial Idea Generation
Step 2: Idea Cleanup
Step 3: Idea Evaluation
Step 4: Revised Idea Generation
Step 5: Cleanup of Revised Ideas
Step 6: Evaluation of Revised Ideas
Step 7: Meet to Discuss Ideas

You can access Gleb’s article here.

Benjamin Talin on Remote and Virtual Brainstorming

In an article titled “12 best tips and tools for remote and virtual brainstorming” Benjamin Talin gives tips for remote and virtual brainstorming.

Benjamin describes a process for virtual brainstorming, basic etiquette and rules, and tools for virtual brainstorming.

You can access Benjamin’s article:

Julia Youn and Nancy Settle-Murphy on Virtual Brainstorming and Creative Thinking

In a post titled Virtual Brainstorming: A New Approach to Creative Thinking authors Julia Young and Nancy Settle-Murphy ask and answer eight important questions when you’re considering virtual brainstorming.

· How well-understood is the problem to be solved?
· How quickly do you need a solution?
· What brainstorming techniques will work remotely?
· How can we hear from all participants?
· How many people need to participate simultaneously?
· How comfortable are participants in collaborating remotely?
· To what extent will different cultures affect participation?
· How will you transition from brainstorming to idea selection?

You can read the answers here.

Soren Kaplan on Running a Successful Virtual Brainstorm

In a short article from Inc. titled “How to Run a Successful Virtual Brainstorm in 5 Steps” Soren Kaplan offers guidance for your virtual brainstorming.

1. Get focused.
2. Define idea categories.
3. Create prioritization criteria
4. Confirm ground rules.
5. Create implementation teams.

You can read Soren’s suggested steps here.

A Totally Free Software Tools for Virtual Brainstorming

While our search for tools wasn’t exhaustive, we could only find one collaborative tool for brainstorming that remains totally free: IdeaBoardz.

In their blog, the University of Massachusetts gives a comprehensive review of IdeaBoardz. While their focus is class use, it is applicable to team brainstorming.

In this video, Matt Bergman introduces how to use IdeaBoardz.

Caveats: While there are free starter versions for many collaboration tools, they are limited in their use until you upgrade to a paid version. As a result, those were not included. We have not personally used IdeaBoardz as of the publication of this blog.