We all strive for creative collaboration in our teams what few of us know, however, is that we have to design for it to happen. While hybrid meetings seem like the ultimate challenge to drive creative collaboration amongst the on-site and remote workforce, it is not a lost cause. A well-defined target, a clear meeting structure as well as engaging tools and a strategy on how to include those connecting remotely, add up to the game changer in the process of innovation.
This blog article recaps the main arguments from a LinkedIn Live with Penny Pullan (Creative Collaboration Expert) and Barbara Covarrubias Venegas (Founder #virtualspacehero) about how to drive creative collaboration in hybrid teams.
Penny Pullan is a creative collaboration expert working with leaders and teams who are grappling with the challenges of our new world, to enhance collaboration and effectiveness across dispersed and hybrid teams.
Over the last twenty years, Penny has built and rolled out her Virtual Leadership model globally, along with collaboration tools and techniques. Her latest book ‘Making Workshops Work: Creative Collaboration for Our Time’, launched in July 2021, reached number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic on Amazon.
Connect with Penny on LinkedIn here
🎯 What are the pain points of creative collaboration in hybrid teams?
You would think that having had a lot of virtual meetings over the last two years of the pandemic would have given us the ability to know how to design those in a creative and engaging way – unfortunately, this is not true yet. More than ever, we are faced with the challenge of harmoniously connecting on-site and remote workforce, expecting them to come up with innovative ideas and solutions while not even sharing the same room. So, is creative collaboration in hybrid teams just a lost cause? Luckily the answer is NO.
“It is all about designing for collaboration.”
🪄 What are the “magic six statements for clarity” and how can they help us set up a creative meeting?
As the name already suggests, the “magic six statements for clarity” translate to six rules to be used in meetings in order to clarify the meeting targets and design for a successful experience.
✨We are here to
Every good meeting starts with having a clear what it is about.“We are here to” shortly describes the high-level goal of the meeting.
✨Today we will
Knowing why we are in a meeting is great but not enough, we also have to do some expectation management with our participants.“Today we will” inform participants about the main objectives which meet the purpose of the meeting.
Let`s make sure we are not getting lost on the way. “Our plan” shows the planned agenda of the meeting.
✨Who is doing what
What role am I expected to take in this meeting? By clarifying “Who is doing what” clear responsibilities within the meeting are assigned.
✨How do we work together
What is needed to collaborate effectively and successfully? “How do we work together” is about clarifying the general work set-up and establishing group norms (e.g., one conversation at a time)
What are the next steps? “What`s next” defines the process of how actions get captured & who is doing what by when.
💡What are elements & tools for creative collaboration among hybrid teams?
There are numerous tools that can be used to design for collaboration.
The golden rule is simple, choose the appropriate activities for the different stages of your workshop.
Let`s have a look at what that could look like:
➡️Stage 1: Getting started
For the first stage of the workshop and to get the participants started visual templates like the magic six statements for clarity, as described above, can be a great element to use.
➡️Stage 2: Idea Generation/Problem-solving
Life drawing on shared whiteboards like Mural, Miro or Collaboard can be a great way to build things together as a team.
➡️Stage 3:Consensus/ Decision Making
Interactive tools like Mentimeter allow you to do polls, quizzes, and word Clouds and in this way drive the active participation of participants in decision-making processes.
➡️Stage 4:Closing & Commitment
Besides a short wrap-up, meetings should close with a clear vision of the next steps and who is doing what and by when. Participants’ remarks can be verbally shared or written out on a sticky note and posted on a board for team members to read on their way out. Last but not least, meeting minutes ensure that everyone keeps informed and on the same page.
🔗How to ensure you include remote colleagues properly?
We know for a fact that people connecting remotely in hybrid meetings tend to be at a disadvantage compared to their on-site colleagues. This however is partly due to the fact that our face plays a crucial role in connecting with others, an experience that is not quite the same when happening through a camera.
Here are some tips on how to include your remote colleagues:
✅Get a buddy
Coupling up an on-site with a remote worker can be a great strategy to give voice to the person connecting virtually. It fosters not only a sense of belonging within the group but also promotes collaboration.
✅Practice “Remote first”
“Remote first” describes the scenario of letting remote people share their opinions first. The practice of “Remote first” can be a great way to counteract the lack of inclusion the remote workforce often suffers.
✅Follow up with remote employees regularly
Let’s not forget that people love routine, regular calls can be a powerful means of keeping remote employees motivated and engaged.
✅Set up channels for chat and collaboration
Zoom breakout rooms are a great way for employees to chat virtually or have a virtual lunch or coffee break. A shared Slack channel on the other hand allows employees to recognize the contributions of their peers, share their ideas or collaborate.
🔎How can learning transfer be assessed in hybrid meetings?
No doubt- questions are key when assessing learning transfer in hybrid meetings.
🗨️How are you going to apply this?
🗨️What´s your perspective on that?
🗨️What have you taken in today?
Ask your hybrid team members questions and let them find the answers in the meeting.
Lastly, and in order to guarantee that learnings are applied we must not forget that commitment to action is the hardest step.
Mobilize and motivate your team members to be committed to applying their newly acquired knowledge.