Worldwide globalization of the market has made person-to-person interviews more and more complicated due to the volume of employees, business trips and the internationalization of companies and, therefore, of teams. Despite this you shouldn’t let your productivity be affected, turn it around and look for alternatives to traditional methods.
New technologies can be your closest ally, both terms (internationalization and technological advancement) are great allies that feedback. Companies could not internationalize as fast as they do without the help of certain tools, in the same way, these tools wouldnâ€™t be useful if we didnâ€™t pretend to be continuously connected with other users.
What may we do if we need to work remotely? If your objective is to interact with people located in different places, we advise you to use virtual co-creation sessions.
What is a co-creation session?
It is a process whereby a group shares ideas, solves problems and makes decisions altogether, in order to achieve a common goal.
These sessions help us to detect problems or opportunities, have a look from a different point of view or solve difficult challenges. Thus, by taking into account our teamâ€™s view, we will win their acceptance and increase their commitment and consequent acceleration in the implementation process. Furthermore, the decisions made will be of higher quality because they take into account different points of view.
Roles of the members of the co-creation
In these sessions, there are two profiles, the facilitator and the participants.
The role of the facilitator is essential, he will take over the structure and leadership of the session to keep all the participants connected, guaranteeing an equitable interaction to build democratic spaces during the decision-making process.
Likewise, he will monitor the process so that the objectives are met on time and guarantee the sessionâ€™s operation while keeping all the participantsâ€™ energy.
But this gets a little tricky when these sessions must be carried out online, since communication may be affected.
Virtual co-creation sessionsâ€™ organization
Prepare your session as well as possible to prevent any setback. We recommend you to dive the preparation process in 3 steps:
Defines the necessary equipment and staff according to your goals.
In face-to-face co-creations, one facilitator per 12 participants is enough, but due to the extra difficulties of virtual co-creation, we advise you to be, at the list, 2 facilitators. Thus, each one will be able to play different roles, as a development manager or interlocutor, and as a technical manager.
You should also take into account how your dynamics will be developed. If itâ€™s going to be 100% remotely, where all members will meet in different places and connect individually. Or if it will be partially remote, where there will be a team gathered in the same place and connected to another team remotely. This last one is the most difficult to control, so the facilitator should strive for get all membersâ€™ participation.
At the same time, we must take into account aspects as the possible time difference between participants. In this case, it is recommended to rotate the schedule to favor all attendees equally. Or if the activities are going to be carried at the same or different time and its previous work.
2. Session design
Once we know the activities to develop, we will define the necessary tools that you may inform the participants about so they can get in touch with them. In the following list, you can find some tools to use according to your goals:
- To work with visual thinking, you will find Mural or Miro.
- If you want to share content, try Google Drive and Dropbox.
- The information and tasksâ€™ organization is a must, donâ€™t miss Trello either Basecamp.
- To ensure real-time communication Zoom, Skype and GoToMeeting are our favorite ones, but if there is no temporary coincidence, Slack and Whatsapp will be your best allies.
To ensure the correct development of the session, take into account factors as a common line of thought and rules to achieve every memberâ€™s participation, that is to say, build a group mentality around common values. The two golden rules to respect in every virtual or face-to-face co-creation are:
- Do not criticize othersâ€™ ideas, by doing it you will stop the participation and creativity of the members “If what I say is wrong, I wonâ€™t say anything”. Furthermore, listening and considering all the contributions you will promote their self-esteem.
- Maintain the “yes and …” mentality. Build on othersâ€™ ideas to come up with more robust and higher-value ones.
Achieve these goals finding a balance point between the divergence or generation of ideas, and the convergence, organization, filtering, evaluation and prioritization of these ideas. A tip to achieve it is to raise issues as a question: How? Why? This will enable arguments generation.
Our objective is to enhance all team members participation, thus an important factor is to estimate the necessary time for its correct running. Each participant will usually require 2 minutes for his intervention, but the more participants, the more time will be required, as well as if members do not know each other they will need to introduce themselves leading to an additional delay. To avoid delays, we recommend you to always consider additional time.br>
The last factor to consider is the control of the participants. We advise you to use the resources offered by the tools such as Zoom’s â€śSmall roomâ€ť which are small discussion groups where the facilitator can temporarily isolate certain members in a controlled way.
How to lead a virtual co-creation session?
Once you know the available tools and factors to take into account, let’s fix the session structure to speed its development.
1. Welcome and explanation of the goals and meeting structure
Introduce each facilitator in a dynamic and informal way, as by the use personal pictures that describe hobbies or personal aspects.
Likewise, allow participants to introduce themselves so you will make your first contact. For instance, you can do it using mural.co post-its. Thus, you will combine different tools which make an initial contact and boost the exercise.
2. Warm-up exercise
Once you know each other, do a warm-up exercise. You can propose a funny challenge to encourage participants (connected or not with the main topic of the session). When it is completed, spend 5 minutes to get feedback.
Itâ€™s time to launch the first challenge of the session, divergence or ideasâ€™ creation. You can use tools like brainstorming, lotus flower, images…
Once you have all the ideas, gather and evaluate them and vote the best among all the members.
Finally, evaluate the co-creation outcome and define the steps to take in the future according to the chosen ideas.
Tips and recommendations
To let the co-creation develop as it was planned, remember to:
- Make sure all the participants have a good quality connection, this will avoid to miss any information and the lack of participation or interaction.
- Ask attendees to enter with the camera and micro on so you can have a closer first contact, by the way non-verbal language will allow you to anticipate possible problems during the session.
- Prepare in advance the required formats, so that the participants can start using them and you can avoid technical problems.
- Clearly define the criterion for the selection to ensure the correct interpretation of the session.
Resorting to co-creation sessions will allow you to generate and optimize ideas quickly and efficiently thanks to the cooperation of your team members without space or time barriers.
If you are interested in incorporating co-creation sessions in your team, at Thinkers Co we accelerate the design of new business solutions to generate a positive impact in your organization.
Our specialized team will guide you along the process to facilitate and accelerate the development of agile work methodologies in your team, thus facing projects of high uncertainty. Discover our services and don’t wait any longer to incorporate new working methods.
Updated at 30/11/2020