5 Tips for Designing an Inclusive (Remote-Friendly) Brainstorming Session

Katy Mrvova
slido inclusive brainstorming session blog header

Designing a quality brainstorming session in a fully remote or a hybrid setup is no small feat.

More often than not, a few vocal individuals hijack the session to pitch their own ideas, while the rest of the team sit passively through the meeting and nod to the camera.

This kind of brainstorming isn’t really an asset to your team.

Having a good brainstorming session means involving each team member in a fruitful discussion and empowering everyone, online or in-person, to put their ideas forth.

Just imagine the potential that lies dormant in the minds of your colleagues. You can set it free!

Follow these 5 rules to design a truly inclusive brainstorming session that will help lead your team to uncover breakthrough ideas.

  1. Give everyone an equal chance to share their ideas
  2. Let your team think up ideas in advance
  3. Don’t forget about people who cannot attend
  4. Allow people to post their ideas anonymously
  5. Separate brainstorming time and discussion time

#1: Give everyone an equal chance to share their ideas

While outspoken people on your team might be perfectly comfortable with sharing their ideas out loud, others may not.

Your more introverted colleagues may be carrying incredible ideas inside their minds but lack the confidence to vocalize them.

Make it easier for them to contribute. Let them write down and submit their ideas into an interactive tool such as Slido open text polls.

This way, they will be much happier to share their ideas and join the discussion.

#2: Let your team think up ideas in advance

The brainstorming doesn’t necessarily have to start on the day you meet for the session. Allow your team some more time to think about their ideas.

If you’re using Slido, you can share a direct link with your team a few days before your brainstorming session so they can start posting their ideas in advance.

Brainstorming ideas via a Slido open text poll

Read also: How to Host More Inclusive Meetings: 15 Essential Tactics

#3: Don’t forget about people who cannot attend

Is your team spread all across the world? Then chances are, you won’t be able to find a time slot for your brainstorming that would suit everyone.

Show that you care about everyone’s input.

Invite the people who won’t be able to attend the meeting to post their ideas into a tool like Slido before the session (see the previous point).

This way, you’ll be able to address their ideas during the meeting and your colleagues will feel included in the discussion when they watch the recording later (don’t forget to press ‘Record’!).

#4: Allow people to post their ideas anonymously

Anonymity affords people more freedom to express themselves, be honest, and offer more unorthodox ideas they’d otherwise hesitate to voice out loud.

If you’re using a tech tool for crowdsourcing ideas from your team, pick one that allows people to stay anonymous if they wish to.

#5: Separate brainstorming time and discussion time

The reason why many great ideas remain undiscovered is a lack of structure and organization during the session.

Simply throwing ideas at each other and discussing them on the fly isn’t effective as it can prevent certain people from presenting their ideas. Moreover, hearing the incoming ideas from other colleagues may influence your team member’s creative thinking.

You can avoid this by asking your team to jot down their ideas individually before you start.

Set a topic and allow your team some quiet time to put down their thoughts – either on a piece of paper or, if you want to do it the smarter way, they can post them to Slido open text polls.

Alternatively, you can split your team into smaller groups, let them brainstorm ideas together, and then submit them to Slido.

Once everyone contributed, go through all the submitted ideas together. Ask people to upvote the ones they like, and encourage a discussion around the most favorite ones.

Over to you

Every idea matters. That’s an unlisted but the most important rule of them all.

Be sure to remind your people that no idea is silly, encourage them to get creative, and come up with as many ideas as they can think of. Even the smallest idea can drive a big discussion.

Are you ready to start running more effective and inclusive brainstorming sessions? We’ll be happy to give you a hand.

Contact us or sign up for free to see what Slido can do for you.

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