Case Study: AHCWA Uses Interactive Tools to Facilitate Engaging Workshops

Setting the scene

Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) is the peak body for the 22 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and was looking to engage their delegates with interactive facilitation tools at their conference.

The conference involved sixteen wonderful presenters discussing subjects ranging from environmental health issues to sexual health and social issues. 12 engaging workshops over 2 days involved key stakeholders from healthcare professionals to community members to policymakers. GroupMap (workshop facilitation tool) captured thoughts, opinions, and potential solutions from over 250 participants in real-time. Read on to find out how.

How were the workshops run?

Each workshop began with a presentation and a short discussion involving the workshop issue. After discussion, the audience broke up into groups, with each table having a digital scribe to record thoughts and comments onto a private map.

Each table was able to contribute in real-time, as well as comment and vote on ideas they felt most strongly about. As participants did so, the results were displayed via projector for the whole room to see.

As the workshop progressed, it was great to see the culmination of the room’s ideas and audience response captured and displayed front and center. Participants brainstormed what issues currently exist, what are the gaps, what has worked well, and what needs to be done.

This ultimately culminated in a group discussion on concerns relevant to the group, with a range of possible solutions to propose to the government.

Top 5 takeaways for conference planners

  1. Driven by audience feedback

    Feedback from last year’s conference saw a need for more audience interaction and contribution and this was the driving force behind this year’s workshop structure. The engagement was semi-structured with a lightning presentation on a key topic, grouped table discussion which was captured, shared, and discuss with the whole group in real-time, followed by questions and comments from the room.

  2. Ask the right questions

    The questions you ask direct the minds of participants and guides discussion. In this case, the questions were focused on what are the existing gaps, and what solutions or steps should be taken. Clear and concise questions acted as signposts and made it difficult to wander off-topic.

  3. Using interactive workshop facilitation tools

    Collaboration is time consuming when people have to take turns speaking. Interactive facilitation tools  (in this case GroupMap) allowed workshops to rapidly collect and store ideas in order to dive right into the discussion. As ideas were shared on the big screen, all the views in the room could be seen and added to the goals of the event.

  4. Mix it up

    The conference also showcased a musical number from an Indigenous Youth Group, inspiring storytelling, and a plethora of different topics.

  5. Following through

    Often we go through all the hard work and forget to capitalize on our efforts. Collating all the sticky notes can be too daunting a task. As there were separate reports for each topic and workshop, this could then be easily reviewed and an action list created.

What was the reaction?

It was great to see everyone engaged and enjoying the workshop collaborations. Workshop facilitators were able to customize how the audience interacted with GroupMap (in this case mainly through voting on the most important ideas and issues) leading to a more effective and focused discussion. Having a real-time brainstorming tool allowed people to share their ideas and to have this captured in real-time.

Having concluded the interactive workshops it was time to wrap things up with a review of everyone’s comments and ideas. The facilitators printed off their reports during the morning tea break, and shortly after the group as a whole enjoyed each facilitator’s presentation on what workshop participants had to say about the issues at hand.

Looking for more?

Inspired to use GroupMap at your next conference? Start your free trial today, and if you need help or have any questions get in touch with us.

Lucid Meetings uses GroupMap to deliver best online collaboration

Lucid meetings online meetings

Successful meetings everyday!

Lucid Meetings

Lucid Meetings is an innovation meeting company, focussed on helping teams run successful meetings everyday. 

The Lucid Meetings team focuses on the underlying systems that make successful meetings a regular part of your organization’s culture – being agenda management reliable records. 

The organization’s educational programs also helps teams design and lead successful everyday business meetings. 

Elise Keith is the founder and CEO of Lucid Meetings and has been using GroupMap to enhance collaboration in public educational events and private training programs. 

“Lucid Meetings helps thousands of teams worldwide run successful meetings every day,” explained Elise.

“In 2020, Lucid Meetings was recognized as one of the top-10 global influencer brands on the topic of remote work and virtual meetings.” 

The search for an online collaboration tool

Elise had wanted to find an online collaboration tool to support brainstorming, sensemaking, and decision making activities for large groups. 

“The free tools I’ve used–like Google Slides or Jamboard-lack the features and power needed to make it easy for large groups to get right to work, through no fault in design because that’s not what they were built for,” commented Elise. 

“Many other visual collaboration and decision support tools require lots of setup, time during the workshop for training participants, or they don’t produce usable results you can work with later.” 

Hitting the sweet spot with a group collaboration tool 

GroupMap online collaboration tool

Elise found GroupMap when first researching online brainstorming and decision support software to integrate with Lucid Meetings platform in 2015. 

Her thorough research is well documented and initially looked at 25 tools for online brainstorming and decision making and has now been updated to 35 tools. 

“Five years later and after comparison to many, many others, GroupMap remains my favorite for most educational workshops,” said Elise. 

“In my opinion, GroupMap hits the sweet spot. Participants find it easy to use with minimal instructions, it supports the multi-step processes I need to run, and it gives me useful data afterward.” 

Using GroupMap for collaborative brainstorming courses 

Elise and the team at Lucid Meetings recently conducted a public, online event, exploring “Meeting Technology.” The event included a deep dive with Scott Wharton, the VP and General Manager of Logitech Video Collaboration. 

In this event, participants used the brainstorming functionality of GroupMap, a variation on polarities and a variation on nine windows. 

Online collaboration occurred in a GroupMap workspace that Elise had set up (see below) with three brainstorming sessions. 

Lucid Meetings GroupMap

A customisable template was used to create the three brainstorming sessions for this Lucid Meetings event – starting with a polarities exercise below. 

GroupMap online Collaboration Tool at play

This was then followed by a four and nine windows template where participants can type in their ideas, comment on others’ thoughts and also vote using the thumbs up functionality. 

Online collaboration tool with GroupMapGroupMap with Lucid Meetings

A solution for meeting facilitators 

Elise noted that the recent online event on “Meeting Technology” using GroupMap as an online tool brainstorming was well received. 

“After the event, several facilitators said they’d check it out, because it was slick.”

Elise also commented that GroupMap supported the focus on Lucid Meetings events, which are on the ideas and content, not the technology itself, 

“Most of my participants didn’t say anything about GroupMap at the event, which is actually perfect. When we use other tools, we often get many comments about either challenges they’re having, or remarks about how much work it looks like we did to set it all up.” 

“For public events, I don’t want my participants thinking and commenting about all the prep work I did, so I’m really grateful when the tech can disappear so they can do the work. I feel GroupMap achieves that.”

“In my private programs, we run a series of mini-workshops over the course of several months. GroupMap makes it easy for me to take content from an earlier session and build on it later. Brainstorms from one session turn into the content we sort and analyze in later sessions.”

“This makes it easy for everyone to see both how their ideas are evolving, but also to pick right back up from where we left off.”

As a meeting facilitator herself, Elise indicated that using GroupMap gives her access to easily harvestable and analyzable data. 

“I can also publish pretty maps, which enhance the post-event value.” 

Reporting with GroupMap

Want to try GroupMap as an online collaboration tool? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

GroupMap Helps ISACA – A Global IT Summit – Turn Virtual

ISACA Virtual Event

Introducing ISACA

ISACA (pronounced “eye-SOCK-uh”) is a global, professional organization for IT audit, security, governance, risk, and privacy professionals. For more than 50 years, ISACA has equipped individuals with knowledge, credentials, education, and community to help progress their careers and transform their organizations. 

The organization has more than 145,000 members worldwide, most of whom are affiliated with a local chapter. These 220 “little versions” of ISACA are located in more than 90 countries and are run entirely by volunteers who are elected by the members of their respective chapter. 

Megan Moritz is the Director of Global Volunteer Engagement at ISACA Global, headquartered in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, USA, and oversees the teams that interact and work with all ISACA volunteers, at the chapter and global levels. 

“The chapter relations team ensures the highest level of support is provided to these individuals, equipping them with the tools and resources they need to run their respective ISACA chapter.”

The need to move to a virtual event

ISACA Global Summit A Virtual Event

Every other year, ISACA invites more than 450 chapter leaders to attend its Global Leadership Summit (GLS) to help define the strategic vision for the organization. In 2020, due to the global pandemic, the event was held virtually. 

Despite going online, ISACA’s goals for GLS remained the same:

  • make the event as interactive and as much like an in-person event as possible; 
  • obtain input from attendees;
  • ensure the most impactful ideas rose to the top; and
  • share output with ISACA’s senior leadership team and Board of Directors.

To deliver the above goals, the facilitators of the event needed a tool that would assist with the facilitation process. 

“We were looking for something that would automate a lotif not allof the processes and were also brainstorming different methods/matrices we thought would work for this particular event.”

“We wanted the tool to be highly intuitive/easy to use, secure, and web-based, so people did not need to install anything on their computer.” 

GroupMap to support ISACA’s Virtual Event

Prior to making the decision to hold GLS virtually, ISACA had already planned to use GroupMap as an effective means of capturing data and quickly collating or elevating the information as they walked tables through a facilitated process. 

The team wanted to find an effective way to collect information that was easier and faster than what had been accomplished in the past via use of flip charts, Post-It notes, scrap paper, and emails. 

“Once we knew we the event was going to take place virtually, GroupMap still made perfect sense. We know it is not limited to a virtual setting, and we are excited to use it again at a future, in-person event.”

The ISACA team requested a demo with GroupMap to explore how it could be used for digital facilitation during GLS and were immediately impressed with the functionality and flexibility of the platform. 

Successful and Engaging Virtual Global Summit 

The ISACA team attributed GroupMap’s intuitive platformfeatures that promote efficiency and accuracy, along with the organization’s personalised serviceas winning elements to support ISACA’s first-ever virtual Global Leadership Summit (that was held in August 2020). 

Over 80 easy to use and customizable templates

“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to use the SOAR matrix, but after Jeremy [from GroupMap] shared all the other options, we started to think about how we could use two different matrices to achieve an even more impressive end result.” 

“We also thought, after three days of being in the SOAR matrix, people would be ready to move onto something different.”

The team used the How/Now/Wow matrix for the last two days of the virtual event, and found it to be just as user-friendly and intuitive as the SOAR matrix. 

soar-analysis

Download report in one click 

“The most impressive part of GroupMap came with all the report functionality. We were able to generate what we needed so quickly and efficiently, it was mind-boggling.”

Their team indicated that, from a feature perspective, GroupMap’s reporting capability was their favourite. 

Share Results GroupMap Virtual Event

Personalized and helpful service 

“The willingness of the GroupMap team to guide us through things, answer questionssometimes repeatedlyand take calls at odd hours, given that one facilitator was in Chicago and the other in Hawaii, was extraordinary.”

“But the most exceptional aspect of the experience was how the GroupMap team truly wanted to understand the entire process. They wanted to make sure GroupMap was not just a tool we used, but an experience people would remember. It was awesome!”

 

Strategic Results for ISACA

ISACA Global Summit

The team commented that having GroupMap as a digital facilitation tool meant the meeting facilitators could focus on preparing and running the virtual event. In addition, attendees knew the data they entered was going to be immediately visible. This saved everyone involved an immense amount of time and work after the event concluded. 

“Instead of requesting information via email, pestering people with reminders, and worrying about people forgetting to do things, we had all the data we needed as soon as the event concluded. The participants could see and feel that, as well, which made for a very powerful conclusion.”

GroupMap’s easily downloadable report feature meant that the 475 attendees of the virtual summit were able to develop and provide the senior leadership team and Board of Directors with detailed action plans for nine key initiatives.

“These important plans will be crucial information used by the ISACA Board of Directors during their strategic planning session on 21-22 September 2020.”

“Details of which action plans/strategic items were included in both the short- and longer-term planning will be shared during a GLS follow-up session in Q4 2020, to which all GLS participants will be invited.”

Want to try GroupMap as your virtual event solution? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today.

Trebuchet Group Grows in Strength with the Right Online Brainstorm Tool

Trebuchet Group Online Meetings

Providing clarity and confidence for leaders 

Trebuchet Group clients

Trebuchet Group is a purpose-based and management consulting firm with a head office in Colorado. 

Since 2002, hundreds of organizations and executive leaders have worked with Trebuchet Group to help their companies and teams get lasting results. 

Chris Hutchinson is the CEO of Trebuchet Group and plays an important role as a Facilitator, Meeting Designer, and Organizational Supporter. 

“We enable connection between team members so they can work together well. We help people dream within a framework exploring what they collectively want to achieve, avoid, and preserve in the future,” said Chris. 

Trebuchet Group provides the outcomes that their clients need by helping them explore ideas, then get aligned and make decisions. 

“We support teams in creating strategic plans to chart their business path forward into uncertain territory.”

 

From Face-to-Face to Online Meetings 

Trebuchet Group’s proven method of working together in person was challenged when COVID-19 hit and meeting face-to-face was not an option. Most of the work they did with other teams was  dependent on being able to be in the same room with groups of people. 

“One specific challenge we encountered this year was how to continue to support a project with the City of Fort Collins. We needed to gather where a community-based committee to advise the City on  on how and where they could provide services for people experiencing homelessness.” 

“This project was a collaboration with over 40 leaders from nonprofits, clergy, public health, business leaders, real estate professionals, human services and police in Northern Colorado. We had been meeting in person for six months before COVID-19 hit.”

Due to COVID-19, Trebuchet Group paused the group meetings for three months, but it quickly became obvious the group would not be able to return to in-person meetings in the near future. 

 

The Search for the right Online Brainstorm Tool

The Trebuchet Group team knew they needed to find a way for people to work together effectively online.   They  looked at several online brainstorm tools suggested by colleagues and through their own research before choosing GroupMap.

“We asked others and did online research to find tools that could help us in our work with teams. One article that was very helpful was a blog by Lucid Meetings.”

“We liked the combination of accessibility, functionality and reasonable price of GroupMap. We also loved how GroupMap mirrored many of the same processes and tools we use with groups in person. In many cases, the tool made the input and voting process quicker than in person.”

GroupMap Online Brainstorm Tool in Lucid Meetings

Other features Trebuchet Group like about their new online brainstorm tool include:

  • Standard templates that are customizable – “We have starting standard templates which we can customize to fit each engagement – even making changes in the middle of a meeting as needs arise. We also appreciate the ability to create our own templates.”

  • Ability to choose level of anonymity“This online brainstorm tool also gave us the ability to have anonymous inputs or not allowing for clients to share their inputs without worrying about their comments being attributed to them”

  • Downloadable reports“Finally, GroupMap makes our reporting easier – no more deciphering handwriting and keeping track of sticky notes after the meeting.”

 

Working with GroupMap 

“As an online brainstorm tool, GroupMap gave us the ability to help groups explore ideas and get aligned even while working remotely.”

Trebuchet Group usesumany capabilities in GroupMap – brainstorming, clumping ideas, and voting capabilities – to virtually engage with their clients. 

Their work continued online through the combined use of Zoom, GroupMap and Drive, bringing their community members back for the important Fort Collins project. 

The team explained their remote meetings and workshops process:

  1. Start with an icebreaker: To help participants get comfortable with the GroupMap tool, we created an initial icebreaker map where people could enter inputs and then vote on them.

  2. Breakout rooms for brainstorming: The team used small group breakouts where participants entered brainstormed ideas into a shared map. When everyone came back together into a large group, people asked questions about ideas from other groups, and then multi-voted on the ideas they liked best.

  3. Engage to discover the best idea:  Comments or thumbs up were used as a way for participants to add to or indicate support for an idea. The impact-effort maps were also helpful for people to assess which ideas would be most valuable to start with.

  4. Online voting functionality: Individual voting solved a problem the team faces in person where they mainly hear from the most vocal participants — using GroupMap voting allowed Trebuchet to aggregate the wisdom of all participants.

  5. Retrospectives: Trebuchet Group also used the maps at the end of meetings to capture what people would like to continue, start, and stop for the future meetings.

Impact Effort online brainstorm tool
Example of an Impact Effort Map

 

“Using GroupMap supported our facilitation of [Fort Collins] community group working together in spite of the limitation of the pandemic.”

“We were able to share ideas and align around what is most important for our recommendation for services for people experiencing homelessness in Fort Collins.”

 

Online Brainstorm Tool Gets Tick of Approval 

Trebuchet Group Goes Online

 

“Our clients love GroupMap. They are asking for help in using the online brainstorm tool with their own teams.” 

Trebuchet Group outlined some of the reasons behind their clients’ love for GroupMap:

  • Easy to use: “There is a small learning curve, and once people get up to speed the interactivity is vital.”

  • Promotes equity: “We also found introverts felt more comfortable sharing without the pressure of needing to interrupt or call attention to be heard.”

  • Creates a safe space: Partial anonymity helped at least one organization break through groupthink and allow people to be truly honest about difficult and sensitive issues.

“This tool supported our business success in the 2020 shift. Without it, we’d be in a very different place. As a result, our clients continue to experience success and high levels of engagement, despite working remotely.”

“We’ve heard from multiple clients that the meetings we use this tool in, ‘are the most productive online meetings this team has ever had.’” 

 

Want to try GroupMap as an online brainstorm tool? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online brainstorm tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

The Outside Develops Virtual Workshop To Help Organizations Move Forward

the-outside-team

The Outside’s forward movement

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/74140227738?pwd=cmRTUEM5MXZuSk43b3FaeDIzWlFDUT09

The Outside is a cohort of talented strategists, coaches, facilitators, evaluators and project leads who help set the stage for organizations to grow, change and find a way that benefits them most. 

The team is supported by an energetic back-end team, covering legal, branding, design, communications and administration.

The Outside is committed to supporting systems change with equity at the centre. “This means that issues of race, class, gender, and other issues of power are foundational to any systems change efforts The Outside takes on.  They do this with a range of international partners and clients. 

The Outside team uses three key interdependent elements to make their work successful and unique in the field of systems change and equity:

  1. Systems Change Strategy;
  2. Participatory Leadership; and 
  3. Developmental Evaluation + Prototyping. 

Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart are co-founders of The Outside and together, with their team, they’ve achieved many milestones, including:

“Our approach and business model has been developed over 20 years of working on the front line of significant change efforts. The Outside is not a service provider for the individual elements but a delivery partner in a combined approach for systems change.”

Tuesday Ryan-Hart
Tuesday Ryan-Hart
tim-merry
Tim Merry

The search for a virtual workshop solution

As a result of COVID-19, and the inability to deliver any in-person training, The Outside had to re-develop and deliver five virtual workshops on capacity building for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services Workforce Institute (NYC ACS WI), in June 2020.

The Outside virtual workshop with NYC Administration services

The Outside had been working to transform the Workforce Institute and make the child welfare system more equitable and responsive. To achieve this goal, they needed to deliver workshops was that allowed staff to:

  • get [re-]connected and see a bigger picture together, 
  • identify how we will work to support each other in a post-COVID world and,
  • to articulate some of the leadership to articulate some of the leadership opportunities that could be realized at the Workforce Institute at this challenging time. 

In combination with Zoom, The Outside was looking for a technology partner to help them deliver an engaging virtual workshop experience.

The group knew that they can do the strategic work online – with groups of almost any size – the challenge was to humanize the virtual workshops, bringing in the relationship / magic / synchronicity that happens when people meet face-to-face.

“We were looking to humanize and energize our online delivery. It was important to us to be able to create the conditions for participants to collaborate in iterative processes with each other.” 

GroupMap chosen as a virtual workshop tool 

The Outside knew that they had to be able to create powerful and practical virtual workshop at the centre of their delivery of systems change, rather than as an add on. 

The team immediately started researching platforms that would work with sophisticated and participatory process design and ended up landing on a shortlist of Stormz, Powernoodle or GroupMap

“GroupMap – Jeremy specifically – seemed to fit us really well. We deliberately look for a good fit to our mindset and approach as we talk to partners and team members. They must be curious, open, ready to learn and adapt and bring a strong skill set that meets our needs.”

“In addition to his obvious tech skills, understanding of process and general willingness to be in it with us figuring it out, it was also great that Jeremy was a point of contact. We want our team and delivery partners to reflect the type of diverse world we are working towards.”

“It also had to be simple to use. No big explanations, click here and it works. GroupMap gave us all of that! Great.”

Virtual workshop collaboration at its best!

The Outside used GroupMap to deliver a range of different processes and formats that accommodate the groups they worked with in a virtual workshop environment. 

This included breakouts, participants identifying, clustering themes and self organizing into work groups, presentation, open conversations, participants placing themselves on a model. 

In a face-to-face workshop, they would have taped out the model on the floor and asked participants to stand on it. The Outside were able to replicate this on GroupMap as an online workshop activity. 

“We used this methodology as a way to feed back from smaller breakouts and conversations and identify themes and outliers for the whole group to consider. We gave groups graphic templates to fill out to advance their work, sliders to identify where they stand on issues and proposed action plans.”

Tim Merry, co-founder of The Outside,  identified specific key features of GroupMap that made the platform highly suitable to turn face-to-face activities into online workshops that kept the human element of engagement:

  1. Collaborate anytime, anywhere: GroupMap allows The Outside’s clients to collaborate anytime, anywhere.

    When working with international clients, navigating multiple time zones, nationalities, backgrounds, beliefs, we rely on a platform that works with us. We are often diving into issues of equity – race, class, gender, power distribution.”

    “The platform we work with has to work fluidly for these types of topics to sustain momentum in an online space. If we do not address these topics in large scale systems change we will make lots of change but very little meaningful difference.” 
  2. Customised templates: Although GroupMap comes with 60 best practice templates, The Outside found the ability to build templates based on their models and experiences invaluable. This way they were able to recreate their online workshops with their own style and methodologies.

    GroupMap templates for virtual workshop

  3. Easy combination with other technology: Tim explained that one of his most favourite features is the ability to use GroupMap with other online meeting and workshop platforms such as Zoom.

    “While Zoom provides the personal break out rooms, GroupMap serves as the house in which to store our real-time thinking, ideas, and next steps.” 
  1. A GroupMap expert at hand: Having a GroupMap point of contact help adapt and design their online workshops on the fly have really benefited The Outside’s online workshops. “We were able to respond real time to changes in the direction driven by the group and our design expertise. I would recommend using a GroupMap facilitator to start with.” 

Achieving more than just online collaboration & client satisfaction 

The Outside were able to continue critical work during the COVID-19 full shut down with their partners and clients by using GroupMap to translate their face-to-face activities into online workshops. 

“Unbelievable really. We pivoted, we adapted and we came back with a solution that is GroupMap and got to work again.” 

The participants involved in The Outside’s online workshops were able to be highly engaged due to the ease of use of the GroupMap platform and various features – such as real time collaboration, ability to visually see outliers and themes and interact with each other’s ideas via comments, thumbs up or down and votes. 

Virtual workshop feature of GroupMap
Thumbs up or down voting feature in GroupMap

“The consistent feedback we receive is that people appreciate that GroupMap is user-friendly, and they really like the ability to collaborate and document in real-time. We also hear from folks that people appreciate seeing the bigger picture when we show group learning and aggregated themes / outliers and an ability to interact with each other’s posts through comments and likes, etc.” 

Lastly, The Outside identified that through GroupMap, they have been empowered to further their commitment to implement large scale systems change towards greater equity. 

“As a global consultancy we often fly all over the world burning carbon and contributing to climate change, while at the same time doing good work to help shift some of our most entrenched and stuck systems.”

“The irony is not lost on us. We had committed over the coming years to massively reduce our carbon footprint to get to a point of net zero carbon emissions. The shift to GroupMap has radically accelerated our ability to do that. What I had expected us to take 2 years to get to, we did it in two months! It has been a massive lift but a worthwhile one.”

“I believe we can now build a model going forward which will enable us to work globally and massively reduce the carbon footprint of our organization. Our team alone lives and works in 5 different countries – our clients are spread even further.”

Want to try GroupMap for your next online workshop? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today.

Patvocates Continues Cancer Advocacy Work with Online Brainstorming

patvocates

Patient Advocacy Group Looks Towards Online Brainstorming

jan-geissler-online-brainstorming-facilitator
Jan Geissler of Patvocates

The Patvocates Network is a consultancy, social enterprise and think tank on patient advocacy, health policy and patient engagement in medical research. 

The network believes that patients, carers, patient advocates and patient organisation representatives have unique knowledge and experiences to move towards truly patient-centered prevention, diagnosis treatment and care.

Patvocates works to make sure that patients have a seat at the table when healthcare decisions are taken.

The network is run by a team of leading pan-European patient advocates with extensive knowledge of pan-European healthcare systems, institutions, stakeholders, cultures and the pan-European patient community.

Jan Geissler is the CEO of Patvocates and one of the founding members of WECAN, the Workgroup of European Cancer Patient Advocacy Networks. 

“Patvocates provides unique insights, experience and connections in patient advocacy through to establish effective engagement frameworks, policies, processes and projects for patient advocacy groups, authorities, healthcare institutions and the private sector.”

 

The Move Towards Online Brainstorming & Virtual Meetings

digital solutions patcovates

The WECAN network consists of the 24 pan-European cancer patient advocacy umbrella organisations, with the leading patient advocates of these organisations spread all across Europe. 

The network usually does not have a budget to meet up in one place and conduct their brainstorming and advocacy work face-to-face. The COVID-19 pandemic also made travelling around Europe impossible.

However, the network still needed to meet to identify the challenges and impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients and patient organisations in terms of:

  • psychosocial and financial impact, 
  • patient management challenges, 
  • research-specific challenges and challenges of patient organisations.

“The network decided that brainstorming strategic discussions and prioritization needed to move to a virtual space.”

 

A Solution for engaging & flexible online meetings

WECAN-online-brainstorming-session

WECAN COVID Challenge session with GroupMap

To facilitate an online brainstorming session with WECAN beyond a teleconference, Jan looked at various digital tools. He also received a recommendation from GroupMap from his wider network.

“We then tested [GroupMap] and liked the flexibility to set up interactive brainstorming and mapping tools instantly for different purposes.”

“We ran a couple of tests in our community and really liked ease of set-up and use, so even those with little technical affinity were able to use it instantly.”

 

Ease of use & ability to contribute anytime, anywhere

Jan explained the process that the network used for their most recent online brainstorming using GroupMap

  1. Participants were first provided with a step by step guide on how to use GroupMap.
  2. The participants first defined the four pillars of impact of COVID-19 on patients and patient organisations and created these pillars using a custom map:
    • psychosocial and financial impact, 
    • patient management challenges, 
    • research-specific challenges and
    • challenges of patient organisations
  3. The facilitator then asked the leaders of the 24 patient umbrellas to brainstorm on the key issues in those four areas.
  4. The moderators then grouped, rephrased and rearranged the contributions.
  5. The community was then invited to rate all factors in terms of impact on their patient community. The ratings on GroupMap helped showcase the spread of opinions on each factor – whether the community agreed on the impact of that factor, or whether there was a wide spread of responses between very unimportant to very impactful. 

The simplicity of using GroupMap was a main benefit to the network as it made it easy for the patient community and WECAN’s Non-Government Organisations partners to use the digital tool. 

Jan also indicated that it was great to be able to continue the online brainstorm and add to it over a period of 14 days. This also helped to get the ideas and innovation from the key advocates who were not able to attend the set meeting times. 

Brainstorming with GroupMap
Brainstorming ideas under categories with GroupMap

“Ease of use, and the opportunity to use [Groupmap] asynchronously over a longer period of time – so people could either contribute during a teleconference or in the week after if they couldn’t make it – were benefits we all appreciated from using GroupMap for our online brainstorming.”

 

Focus on contribution & content

From WECAN’s perspective, the online brainstorming session allowed their network of 24 member organizations to still be able to work collaboratively to get data that informed their actions on how to improve cancer patient care in light of COVID-19 challenges. 

“Evidence-based advocacy, supporting our opinions with data that represents the opinion of our wide community, is a key tool we use, and GroupMap helps us to collect priorities and opinions in a well structured way in a very timely fashion.”

From the participants’ perspective, the overall feedback was that the GroupMap is really straightforward and easy to use. This resulted in removing technology barriers or fears. Instead everyone could focus on contribution and content.

rating online brainstorming ideas with GroupMap
Rating ideas with participants using GroupMap

“[GroupMap] really makes our advocacy work much easier at times where we can’t travel and meet, and where talking on a teleconference is just not enough.”

“It helps to interact in a well-structured way, complement and collect our ideas, and find out what is most important. I have not seen similar tools like this before which are so easy to use.”

 

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Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

GroupMap Open Space Virtual Methodology

groupmap open space live session

Introducing TFK Consulting  

Thomas Krecker of TK Consulting

TFK Consulting is a group coaching and changing advisers based in Hamburg, Germany, who provide their service via virtual workshops, digital facilitations and face-to-face meetings or events. 

Thomas Krecker is the Principal Consultant who has had extensive experience as an events manager and conference organizer. Thomas believes in the power of technology to help deliver a more sustainable, accessible and engaging event. 

He has been working with digital tools for team building since 1995, using them for online and offline facilitating. 

Thomas also co-creates and co-facilitate online workshops for consultants across various industries and disciplines, who want to continue with their existing service offerings and methodology without going too deep into the online world. 

“Good coaching is not reserved for companies and executives. Much of the technology used today in business… can, of course, be used for all human issues, regardless of the environment in which we are located.” 

Challenges with offline Open Space 

Having run many conferences, events and conducting coaching sessions for businesses and companies around the world, Thomas saw the increased importance of new methodologies.

The challenge Thomas saw when conducting traditional conferences face-to-face are:

    • They can be dysfunctional. Studies, including that by University of Utrecht (Stroebe, 2010) show that brainstorming in groups is less effective than thinking for yourself. Continued interruption, group dynamics, hierarchy, extroverted vs less extroverted leaders were some of the main reasons found that can block free thinking!
    • They can be inaccessible. Face to face events are expensive to run and have a time resource effect as well. This can influence attendees’ ability to attend and participate.
    • They can be admin heavy. Most of the breakout and workshop sessions still use flipcharts, pinboards and needles to capture feedback. This often needed to be typed up, transcribed, and translated – a heavy time investment.
    • They do not meet the demands of modern agile Teams

“In 2014, we wanted to program our own solution for better meetings. Since then I have been permanently screening the market for a solution.”

As a solution they combined the Open Space meeting methodology with the advantages of digital facilitation using GroupMap, tablets and beamer instead of pinboards and flipchart, creating instant anonymity, silent work and inspiration, exactly as the participants needed.

GroupMap Open Work Space on tablets

Open Space – often called Barcamp or a non-conference – is participant driven and less organizer-convener-driven. Participants would decide about the conference agenda themselves and are also free to join or leave every conference session, depending on what interests them most.

The next challenge was, to bring this format into the online world.

This process was driven by the conviction that the so-called “new normal” in workshops and team development will need to be a mixture of online and offline meetings. The latter was to be run based on a needs capacity, and as appropriate to the teams’ priorities, such as sustainability, time and money considerations. 

GroupMap Open Space as a solution 

“It turned out that transferring an Open Space into online using GroupMap was much easier than expected.”  

GroupMap Open Work Space Information Booth

Thomas and his team synchronized individual Zoom meetings with GroupMap by pinning the meeting address on the related map.  Each map was then turned into online “rooms” each with a descriptive image that made it feel like you were physically somewhere!

GroupMap Open Space by TK Consulting

For example, the “Foyer” was used not only as the first point of welcome or entrance to the “GroupMap Open Space” but also a teaser practice for writing on a map. Meanwhile the bar and the information counter became easy points for participants to return, get help or just chat outside the other sessions. 

GroupMap Open Work Space Foyer      GroupMap Open Work Space Bar

Being able to enter the rooms without a host’s permission lets you stroll through and join the sessions as you would like – similar to if it was a face to face event. 

“The experience and the idea of room matters a lot to the human brain. It gives orientation, security and inspiration. It adds “a feel” to the screen.” 

Virtual Open Space is a hit! 

According to Thomas, the “GroupMap Open Space” style is one of the most successful formats he has run.

“One of the major advantages of [GroupMap] is the simplicity and the Pinboard look and feel. Especially in online workshops, where same participants are still stressed and get sidetracked by technical issues, the simplicity cannot be overrated.” 

GroupMap Open Work Space Activity

Through GroupMap Open Space conference can be successfully run through combining the use of features such as:

    • The ability to create your own maps – GroupMap’s self customized template options allowed Thomas to transform many existing methodologies – such as many of the liberating structures, root cause analysis, ZRM (picture based resource evaluation), Ishikawa and many more – into the GroupMap templates. 
    • Rating functionality – the ability to rate in different dimensions for brainstorming sessions help to define and weigh each idea in the brainstorming session. 
    • Automatic reporting the ability to have all the information from every session downloadable, without having to transcribe and type up – is a time and resource saving. 
    • Create new maps and workspaces instantlythe ability to create new maps, add new workspaces and sessions while participants are working in other maps allowed for a very agile and responsive way of delivering conferences. 

Session Board Example

GroupMap build teams and encourages brainstorming 

“GroupMap is the core of team building and brainstorming for our customers, like Google or Microsoft is the core for the standard processes.”  

Thomas indicated that the feedback on “GroupMap Open Space” has been predominantly very good, with most participants being impressed by the speed and the platform’s ability to create a real “group feeling” online. 

“The best feedback I heard was from a group of 35 consultants who ended up using a GroupMap Open Space as a substitute for a personal meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They had doubts that a virtual open space would work. In the end, they came out with better and more results than in any physical meeting before.” 

Want to try GroupMap for your next online meeting? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

Webinar Digital Facilitation Techniques: Keeping Our Most Precious Resources Safe & Secure.

water-cyber-security

dr-zakhar-maletskyi-webinar-digital-facilitator

Leadership in water management via digital facilitation  

As a member of the Water Harmony Global Initiative (WHGI) and research group on Water, Environment, Sanitation and Health (WESH), Dr Zakhar Maletskyi runs global webinars and digital facilitation.

He takes on a facilitator role for both organisations and its related groups, managing workshops and webinars. These events are attended by global researchers, government officials, security experts, not for profit specialists. Together they brainstorm and develop solutions for challenges our world face when it comes to securing and protecting our most valuable natural resources. 

Some key facilitation highlights for Dr Maletskyi include:

  • The Water Harmony Global Initiative (WHGI)’s webinar to further the teaching of water related education globally, with participants attending from Africa, Asia, the EU and North America.
  • Interactive webinar to discuss the opportunities and threats that digital technologies bring to our water source.
  • Water, Society and Climate Change interactive workshop on “Solutions to water & climate change nexus.”
  •  SWARM+ Erasmus project workshop on Strengthening of master curricula in water resources management for the Western Balkans HEIs and stakeholders. 

“As a facilitator, my responsibilities are to drive group work through brainstorming and establish the most prudent solutions to water resource management issues that countries are facing globally.”

Challenges of running webinars & digital facilitation 

Webinar digital facilitation brings many benefits – the obvious ones being a wider, more global audience, time and cost savings from travels, physical venue bookings and materials. 

One of the main challenge of webinar digital facilitation for Dr Maletskyi is interaction, which covers a wide range of further challenges, including:

  • Lack of visual cues and feedback 
  • Lack of engagement 
  • How to build connection between participants
  • How to connect well as the facilitator

With so many digital facilitation options available as well, wading through to find one that presents solutions to all of the above can also be a challenge in itself. The goal was to find a simple visual tool that was process driven that could help engage interaction and collaboration centered around the key themes.

GroupMap creates successful webinar digital facilitation  

Dr Maletskyi came across GroupMap and has been using it to digitally facilitate important workshops and webinars around the world. 

Dr Maletskyi has used GroupMap with smaller groups of close colleagues, and also for webinars, one of which reached 251 participants.  The event targeted Managing risks form digitalisation in the water sector and was a 90 minute webinar session that involved presentations, interactive audience activities and a Q&A session with Panelists:

He explains that before starting up any GroupMap session, he would send participants a basic agenda as part of his PowerPoint presentations. 

In the agenda, Dr Maletskyi includes a brief tutorial on how to use GroupMap  – how to interact with the templates, and how to share ideas. He also used the Survey tool in GroupMap to get a sense of who was participating in the webinars.

webinar polling in groupmap
Webinar Polling

“I found GroupMap effective for my needs because not only was it a familiar tool but unlike other tools it allowed for a step by step process,” commented Dr Maletskyi.  

digital-facilitation-risk-management-workshop
Risk Management in GroupMap

“Other tools don’t provide the same level of interaction as GroupMap. It has a clear and concise process, from brainstorming to rating of opinions and ideas and finally the results. This is extremely useful with my groups.”

“This type of interaction hasn’t been replicated by any of the other tools that I have used.”

online-risk-assessment-workshop
Digital Facilitation Risk Assessment

 

Global water management in safe hands 

Dr Maletskyi shared how GroupMap allowed successful interaction with 251 global participants on managing cyber security threat on the water sector:

“It was easy to run the webinar thanks to the simple but effective features of the risk assessment template. The people voted on certain portions of the map for five risks. These were risks that would require management. All the votes organized the risk severity from most to least.”

“GroupMap can neatly organize the large volume of people brainstorming at once, allowing large amounts of information that doesn’t overwhelm the users and facilitators’ screens.” 

Dr Maletskyi commented that large webinar events that require interaction for its success would not have been possible without GroupMap. 

“I use GroupMap with many of the people I work with currently. I’ve had success with GroupMap for webinars and my university work. Now I encourage people who attend my lectures and webinars to use the tool.” 

The ability to gather global information and data in an organized and meaningful way results in time and money savings. It also means quality data could be shared, accessed and analysed more effectively. Action items could then also be added in real time to the top risks and reports generated for the webinar.

Want to try GroupMap for your next online meeting? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

Online Brainstorming Helps Little Diversified Architectural Consulting Sustain a Strong Culture Across Countries

little-online-brainstorm-culture-facilitator
Nikki Clinton and Rich Glenny of Little

Brainstorming Culture a win at Little  

Little Diversified Architectural Consulting (Little) is an international architecture and design firm, with five offices located across the US cities of Charlotte, Newport Beach, Orlando, Durham and Washington DC. 

Little is recognized for developing exceptional design solutions that generate business results in the workplace, the community and the healthcare and retail industries. 

They achieve this by providing results that go beyond the extra mile through combining expertise in architecture, engineering, interior architecture and additional, complimenting services such as land development, branded graphics and more.

Nikki Clinton and Rich Glenny are the facilitators at Little. One of their main focuses is to ensure that Little maintains a culture of brainstorming across all their office locations. 

“If you ask people at Little what keeps us excited about coming to work each day, you’ll hear repeatedly that it’s the people and the culture…Our culture is open, informal and collaborative and fun – all reflected in recognition of Little as a “#1 Best Place to work” on multiple occasions.” 

 

Online Brainstorming Solution to overcome tyranny of distance  

A successful collaborative and brainstorming culture has always been typically associated with a face to face, direct engagement between team members. 

Little’s greatest challenge was connecting large groups and people from its five different locations  whenever a large, firm-wide issue needed to be addressed.

In such a situation, brainstorming was limited to a small number of participants in a single location that excluded large numbers of employees.

Little’s other challenge was finding the right digital solution – amongst many that’s available – which needed to be user friendly and intuitive, so that everyone can feel like they can jump in and contribute, whether or not they had a lot of experience with technology.  

 

Brainstorming & collaborative cultures maintained through online innovations 

After much research and considering the options available, Little opted for a group collaborative mind mapping that allowed people to watch and add ideas in real time. 

Their focus was on the content rather than having too many features that would confuse and distract. Their goal was to have no more than a few minutes of training to familiarize participants with the purpose and process.

online brainstorm result
Little’s result from an online brainstorming session with teams across 5 offices

 

“There are a lot of online options that facilitate virtual brainstorm culture, but we did not find any that are as user friendly as GroupMap,” Nikki and Rich observed. 

“GroupMap’s ability to connect people from various locations and watch ideas being added to the mind map in real-time was what convinced us that GroupMap was the best option.”

“Ease of use, especially for first-time users, was also important as it allowed participants to join in with only a few minutes of training.”

Supported by other remote team, online collaboration and communications channels such as Slack and MS Teams, the Little team can now bring people from each office to build an overall sense of community.

 

Five offices contribute to never-ending online brainstorming

According to Nikki and Rich, GroupMap gave Little the opportunity to do something they could not do before – to have employees from all five offices online brainstorming together simultaneously with the ability to see everyone’s ideas. 

“Before GroupMap that was not an option. GroupMap also allowed us to keep our creative momentum going since we can always return to a brainstorm to add new ideas. The brainstorm, in effect, never really ends,” they said. 

little-virtual-brainstorm-results-with-groupmap
Little Response to using GroupMap

The Little team creatively used GroupMap to sustain and even enhance their brainstorming culture:

  • They ran an online ‘pre-brainstorm’ brainstorm using 2 or 3 team members to better “frame” the problem and what they wanted others in the team to do.

  • They also added a warm-up activity that gave new users a chance to trial and experiment in a safe way with the technology and to get comfortable with the format.

  • They added the “like” (thumbs up and thumbs down) and dot voting features to all of the virtual brainstorming process to help filter out where support from the team was the strongest, so that top ideas can be taken forward.

  • They mainly (95% of the time) used MindMap for brainstorming as it allowed participants to see snippets of information at a quick glance – almost like laying out index cards on a table – while still containing them in an organized structure.

    The team found that the Mind Map template was great for a lot of tasks beyond brainstorming. GroupMap was also used to storyboard presentations, take notes, and organize research.

  • They used the Surveys to get feedback in GroupMap right after the online brainstorming before participants moved on to their next task. With the feedback from the surveys, Little’s facilitators were able to constantly integrate and improve their process after each session.


Discover and lead new innovations for competitive edge 

Nikki and Rich shared some key results they see for their team’s culture – beyond maintaining an online brainstorming  – through the use of GroupMap:

  • Opportunity for all to contribute comfortably:

    “Because GroupMap is a more democratic method, the quieter, shy members enjoyed contributing just as freely as anyone else… We now have a way for everyone to come together and share ideas, from the CEO to the new hire….”
  • Connect remote teams better:

    “Other feedback we received was that using GroupMap helped employees forge new connections between offices. Fellow virtual brainstormers, who previously were separated by a long distance, could share ideas and get to know one another.”
  • Upvoted by many Little team members:

    An overwhelming majority of participants really enjoyed using GroupMap and have continued to be repeat users.”

But possibly, one of the important results for Little is an opportunity to discover, generate and lead with new ideas and innovation, providing them with a continued competitive edge, in an increasingly competitive market.

“And while the democratic nature of the participation provides for a great experience, giving everyone equal access also means that we have a better chance, as a company, of finding new breakthrough ideas that will help our clients achieve their goals.” 

 

Want to try GroupMap for FREE? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today. 

Virtual Executive Event with GroupMap- from analogue to digital in 3 days

telescope-advisers

david-clarke-virtual-event-facilitator

Executive events for fast-growth companies 

Telescope Advisers is a management consultancy based in Georgia, Atlanta, with a focus on creating value and impact for fast-growth companies. Since 2000, its principal consultant, David Clark, has helped businesses and organisations around the world to bring clarity, focus and alignment. 

David outlined some of key highlights of Telescope Advisers’ work: 

  • A five year strategy for a $150m extension of the North Carolina state health system;
  • Business planning and strategies for implementation for Habitat for Humanity’s world-wide country programs, which became the most requested service by the organisation.

To deliver these results, Telescope Adviser would conduct management workshops, executive events and retreats. 

“Telescope Adviser’s retreats typically involve plenary sessions before breaking into smaller workshop groups for brainstorming and detailed discussions, captured on white boards or flip charts that will then need to be recorded or transcribed” said David. 

 

Pandemic pushed for executive event to go virtual

David had planned, months in advance, for a four day executive event involving participants from Australia, South Africa and multiple cities across the U.S. 

However, the Friday before the event was due to begin, countries, including the U.S. imposed immediate travel restrictions as part of their COVID-19 plans.

“Obviously a face to face meeting became impossible and waiting for things to improve before holding the retreat was also not an option because it would have significantly impacted the project schedule of the organisation we were working with,” explained David. 

It was decided by all stakeholders involved that the event should go ahead and be delivered in a virtual executive event format. 

“Everyone agreed on videoconferencing to deliver the event, and Zoom was an obvious choice, but the question remained on how do we manage virtual collaborative discussions and decision making process?”  

 

Creating a global virtual executive event in 3 days & counting

On the same Friday that domestic and international travel were being grounded almost worldwide, David began a frantic search for an online tool that could support virtual executive meetings and events, allow for online collaboration and is easy for everyone – with different levels of technology competence – can use. 

David recalled that his search generated many options but many were discounted because they were either too confusing to set up or complicated to use. 

“Time was ticking before the virtual executive event was meant to start on the Monday, before I recalled reading about an online brainstorming tool called GroupMap in a blogpost,” said David.

“A quick Google search, a read on the GroupMap website and an intuitive quick demo personally from its CEO, Jeremy Lu, convinced me that this is the most suitable and supported tool to run my first virtual executive event.” 

GroupMap’s features of 60 brainstorming and decision making templates (called Maps) that can be easily customised, the ability to create own maps to align with Telescope Adviser’s objectives, expectations or preferred formats were big ticks for David. 

“I was completely sold on the software and when I presented my proposal to the stakeholders, they were happy to proceed virtually on the Monday using Zoom and GroupMap,” said David.

 

GroupMap the right choice for virtual events!

“As soon as the virtual executive event kicked off on Monday, I knew we had made the right choice by using GroupMap,” David commented. 

As team breakouts occurred after the plenary session, participants started using GroupMap for brainstorming. 

voting-virtual-event
GroupMap for voting on ideas

These GroupMap features helped kept the participants on track and importantly, engaged:

  • Ability to create Workspaces by group and day and controlling access so that participants will only be able to access the maps for each workshop. This ensured everybody was on the same page for each of the virtual workshops, eliminating any confusion. 
  • Ease of use for sharing and voting that allowed all participants to input their ideas, comments, suggestions individually or collaboratively before proceeding to online voting and deciding on actions.
  • Facilitator’s ability to customise the process in GroupMap on the fly, including when participants were busy with digital brainstorming and input into the maps, so that it is possible to quickly pivot based on the situation or discussions on the day.
  • All inputs captured automatically, so there was no need to manually record information or to be concerned about not capturing an idea or losing notes. 
  • Sorting functionality made it easier for representatives of each group to use reports of prioritised ideas, actions, timelines to present when the virtual plenary session resumed.

Benefits of digital facilitation fully realised

“GroupMap literally salvaged our virtual executive global event. We would not have been able to have our workshop nor accomplished as much without this tool,” said David. 

soar-analysis-virtual-event
GroupMap’s SOAR Analysis Template

The flexible and customisable capabilities of GroupMap allowed David to run a number of proven approaches, normally done face to face, delivered online effectively. Some of these include:

  • SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results) Analysis
  • ESVP (Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, or Prisoner) Retrospectives
  • Purpose Retrospectives
  • Understanding and Defining Purpose
  • Pitch a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
  • Impact on ideas
  • Core competencies

Using GroupMap also showed participants of the many positive benefits of digital facilitation:

  • Cost savings – As is expected with face-to-face events, there is considerable commitment of time and resources required prior and during the events. The booking of venues, travel, physical equipment hire – all adds up – and can be significantly reduced virtually.
  • Time savings – GroupMap’s automatic recording of ideas and discussions means no more hours of transcribing required!
  • Accessibility For organisations with tight travel budgets or resource constraints, GroupMap is a must-have for all virtual meetings. 

“We [Telescope Advisers and our stakeholders] have always envisioned a world connected through technology. Now we know it has arrived and we are ready for this new era with empowering online tools such as GroupMap” said David.

“Next up for me is to use the software for a whole workshop and stop playing around with sticky notes. I am now a big fan of GroupMap.”

 

Want to try GroupMap for FREE? 

Schedule a demo with a GroupMap team member at a day and time that suits you best or have a go of our easy to use, supported online collaboration tool for FREE for 14 days today.