09/09/21

Sparking Creativity in the Virtual World

By Sophie Connolly

For a team used to gathering creative minds together in a room to ideate new marketing campaigns, designs and content, switching to Zoom for such sessions meant we had to think differently to get our juices flowing. 

Luckily for us, this virtual world didn’t present a barrier; in fact, it only led us to think outside the box even more as we collaborate with both our colleagues around the world and external partners. 

Although in-person workshops aren’t disappearing for good any time soon, organising them online can allow more people to join at short notice – so there’s perhaps more participants to brainstorm together than before! Thinking of running one yourself? We’ve got some handy tips that will help you host with confidence and get the best end results.

1) Keep things clear

Just because a meeting or workshop is online doesn’t mean it doesn’t need an agenda and timeline. By stating what the session will involve and how much time is allocated per section right at the beginning, participants will be more likely to organise their time wisely and create the best outcomes!

Take a GIPHY workshop below that we ran with our Nordic brand, foodora, for example. The introduction clearly shows what guests could expect from the 1.5h call and which tasks need the most attention (in this case, there was only one task, but you can see from the 50 min time slot that it is the most important part of the call!). 

GIPHY workshop agenda

We recommend always allowing a bit of extra time in case an exercise overruns or there are any technical issues – WiFi can be unreliable, after all!

2) Ensure the exercises work virtually 

In real life, it’s easy to divide participants into groups and give them endless choices on how they can create and present their ideas. In the past we’ve seen our teammates film short commercials in the office kitchens, take to the streets to be inspired and present by acting their ideas out. 

But without the props of whiteboards, A3 paper and projector to present on, it may feel like a difficult feat to create outcomes that present well – especially when you’re relying on a strong internet connection to liaise with your teammates. Taking this into account, it’s crucial that your exercise ideas can be completed and shared in an easy way for everyone to get involved. 

A good way to guide your guests is by creating templates of what the end result should be – this will save them time and give more focus to the fun stuff! A strong brief of the objectives and deliverables, plus relevant examples will also prove useful when the clock is ticking.

3) Keep the groups even

It’s all fine and well having templates for designs ready for each team, but with no designer in the group how can the magic happen? 

When allocating participants into groups, triple check that each one has the same number of people (if possible!) and that each person can bring their own skills to the table.

Group moodboard

A mix of roles means all areas will be covered and nothing will be left amiss, and by distributing different elements of the tasks, things can run simultaneously rather than focusing on one area at a time. 

4) Utilise fun online tools

It doesn’t have to be all spreadsheets and slides; there are more exciting ways to spark creativity! Some online tools lend themselves perfectly to specific exercises – take ice breakers, for example. Google’s Jamboard is the closest you can get to real-life post-it notes in virtual form; users can simply add their thoughts, ideas or answers to the board for others to see and to be presented at the end!

Want to do real-time polls, quizzes or Q&As? Mentimeter is the go-to tool for this! Using one code, you can link it to your Google Slides, or create a presentation on the website itself, and watch as people’s answers are automatically arranged on the screen to show results and insights.

There’s also miro, a virtual whiteboard where multiple people can draw, write and add their ideas for others to see. This is a great tool to channel your artistic side, or simply mix things up a little rather than writing all ideas out.

Virtual whiteboard tool miro

All set? Amazing – we hope we’ve inspired you for your next virtual working session!