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 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

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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 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

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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 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 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

“ 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.”

 

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. 

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 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.

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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.  

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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

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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 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. 

 

Outcomes from student engagement in collaborative brainstorming.

Outcomes from student engagement in collaborative brainstorming

Educators in the 21st century know learning is enhanced by getting students to engage collaboratively, contribute ideas and to provide targeted, specific feedback from online brainstorming tools through to richer facilitated classroom discussions. The transition does not require a re-writing of curriculum, a redesign of tasks or having to spend copious amounts of time generating new content. It can be as simple as letting go of a control-oriented mindset to one that guides and helps students accelerate their own learning.

Moving from being the ‘sage on the stage’ to a flipped classroom where students become independent learners who work as a collaborative cohort has been the main benefit experienced by Sophie Giles from the University of Western Australia. Rather than having students simply sit and listen, she has been able to get 88 to 92% of students to actively contribute to learning outcomes with 300 students over a 3 year period. Getting such high levels of engagement has been shared by her colleagues and reflected in student evaluations.

Giles is the Head of the Department of Architecture, Landscape and Urban Design at the University of Western Australia. She has worked as an Architect on projects ranging from residential luxury fit-outs to renovations and extensions. She teachers in a blended learning classroom where students are challenged with applying ‘real-life’ codes to their current design projects, they are also given opportunities to contribute collaboratively. 

 

Students undertake four extensive site visits, in order to analyze, explore and evaluate a building. Then across the term, thoughts, images and resources would be added by each student, branching out from a central theme. The goal is to understand the construction of the building from practical features, relevant building codes, services provisions, through to material choices 

 

Student-centric teaching philosophy and collaborative mind mapping

As with any great educator, her goal is to engage students, allowing them to contribute and share ideas and to deepen their learning through interactivity and collaboration. Whilst Giles is an experienced Architect in the industry and could easily note the key features and design elements from a site visit, her goal to deliver a more student-centric, socialized, and engaged learning experience meant she had to find the right solution. “I used to define the top 10 terms from each site visit, prepare the material and then have to broadcast these as the ‘sage on the stage’.”

 

Image courtesy of Sophie Giles

“I wanted to increase contributions by all students,” Giles explains, “specifically the goal was to encourage much more detailed content, by many. an increased investment, by the students, in the co-creation of content.” This is a great way not just to get students engaged, but also deepen and socialize the learning experience.

 Giles uses a collaborative mind map format for students to share architectural content and to brainstorm online having conducted a site visit. She elaborates, “Importantly, for the architectural content, I needed the students to have the ability to upload images and files, so each ‘mind-map’ is a rich repository of co-created content. GroupMap does this better than any other platform.” As Giles shares, “we have an excellent digital platform and a place, outside of the tutorial room,  in which we all come together to contribute, synchronously and asynchronously.”


Giles has used GroupMap in the core unit ARCT4430 in the Master of Architecture for the last 3 years. “Each year has had around 100 participants. So over 300 students have created at least 30 separate mind-maps.” she highlights.”The ease of use for students, the clarity of the page and the ability for students to search for appropriate images to illustrate and communicate are really useful features… Very little resistance by students in immediately embracing the platform, as they could see how easy it was to use and the benefit they receive from contributing to help grow the content together.”

Forrest Hall, University of Western Australia. Kerry Hill Architects, construction by Jaxon

 

Now, rather than simply telling students what the top ten terms are Giles states that “now the students are contributing 50-100 terms together, curating these and learning from each other with such a level of engagement and appreciation” This 5x to 10x multiple in terms of familiarizing students with terminology, understandingand developing the vocabulary of the discipline all demonstrates the power of harnessing the wisdom of the crowd. 

Of course, it is important to give feedback to students, ensure accountability and to be able to differentiate between student contributions. Giles explains, “ I monitor the maps and comment on student contributions to validate them, as well as mention them in face to face settings during the lecture or tutorial if there are particular posts which are detailed and content-rich.” She continues, “the list of contributors in each map has also been really helpful to keep track of who has been active and engaged, and who has not.”Giles also appreciates how quick it is to use and set up which she says is “also another great benefit and remarkably helpful in the pre-term crush of preparation.” 

Insights into students brainstorming ideas online

Giles elaborates her observation as to  how students engage with GroupMap, “the timing of their posts, which have been in the hours directly after a site visit and prior to a lecture and tutorial the following day has given them each a reflective outlet that is not onerous to engage with.” She continues, ”often the students are posting or contributing at around 8-10pm and then the following day will then more deeply read through the other material that has been contributed, saving links, ‘liking’ or curating the mind-map. This double use reflection has remarkable benefits in the retention of this newly gained knowledge.” 

 

“The students then use their co-created ‘maps’ later in the semester to revise from and to draw on for further information in their own assessments. In the three years I have used GroupMap the contributions have always been voluntary by the students in the unit, but each year only 4-6% of students have not contributed anything, with the majority (88-92%) contributing to each of the maps across the semester. I am really appreciative of the strengthened learning that the GroupMap platform has availed to my 300 students over this time.” Giles explains.

Digital environments can have positive impacts on student creativity and idea generation but it does require guidance and structure to help proliferate and promote the process in a non-intrusive, but moderated fashion. Giles’s love of digital, online collaborative brainstorming ensures that students have a safe space to contribute and receive feedback allows for ideas to proliferate and for learning to be both visible to all and evident.

 

Image courtesy of Sophie Giles

By using the number of students in the cohort to each contribute on the remarkably easy to use Groupmap mind-map platform, the depth and scope of content each week grows enormously. When previously I would have selected and prepared the ‘top ten’ terms each week to broadcast, the students now contribute their own, coupled with links and images. This has increased the content by more than ten times, while being relatively quick and easy to use for the students. This is work I don’t need to do. 

For the students this increased content is then also about inclusion, engagement and investment through this co-created knowledge. My role in moderating the contributions is really easy and enjoyable and can be done synchronously or asynchronously while the students are posting.  

The contributions by all students, including those who in face-face classes have a much quieter presentation is really successful, with appreciation of each others contributions in a ‘safe-space’ digital platform, without any anxiety of a tutorial setting. I am so glad GroupMap has helped me to find these benefits to the students in their learning and their investment in co-creation. – Giles

 

Sophie Giles’s TIPS for building student engagement

  • You can easily scan the map for unread comments so it’s an excellent function to streamline moderation of pages and to give feedback.
  • Use the reports to gauge engagement in your student cohort. This will allow you to positive reinforce excellent contributions as well as put in strategies to address students who may not be engaging, struggling or lacking confidence.
  • Giving students the freedom to contribute their findings. They learn so much more when given the opportunity to develop and apply the knowledge to real life situations.
  • Creating maps is easy and a real time saver because students are in charge of co-creating content and it allows you to manage knowledge gaps rather than having to prepare content all the time.
  • Having an artefact of learning from a site visit and activity is a great reflective outlet as well as a useful revision piece for students to help them retain the newly gained knowledge.

Sophie Giles is the Head of Department (Architecture, Landscape Architecture + Urban Design) in the School of Design, coordinating and teaching in Design as well as Architectural Technology in the Master of Architecture. Sophie has worked in an award-winning Australian practice since registering as an architect, and is now a director of her own practice. In all of her work she is passionate about design and the realising of design in physical form.

Very much a ‘hands-on’ architect, she developed a Master of Architecture elective Built Work to enable final year students to construct 1:1 details, to understand ‘the great works’ in their physical form as well as their theoretical place. She was a member Australian team felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad for the Biennale di Venezia, 2014, working closely with the AIA. As a Fay Gale Fellow she was a visiting academic to ETH-Zurich and the Graduate Emtech Program at the Architectural Association in London.

In her recent sabbatical she has been researching tall-timber structures, structural optimisation to massively reduce material waste in construction as well establishing an open source multilingual construction glossary for increased internationalisation of the curriculum.  Her recent connections with academics, architects and engineers in China, Japan, Finland and the US will help in the capacity building of the School and community engagement of the University.

Learn more about the School of Design at the University of Western Australia.

Inspired? Create your own online brainstorming activity for your classroom.

Digital Graphic Organizers at Futures Thinking STEAM Workshop Activity

Having to attend yet another Professional Development day can feel a little lackluster. That’s something Jonathan Nalder, Director of FutureWe.org and Digital Learning Coach at St Peters Lutheran College seeks to change. He runs STEAM workshops that challenge the status quo. From introducing the Future Literacies Framework to practical learning activities and using collaborative online graphic organizers for brainstorming, Jonathan has a deep-rooted belief that education needs to prepare students for the future.

Professional Development Day Insights with FutureWe

We take an inside peek into a STEAM workshop presented by Jonathan and his Edunauts (As they called) at the National Education Summit where they explored the future of work. Attendees in the “Creativity” stream engaged with what might make jobs safe or doomed in the near future. GroupMap was used to engage the audience in collaborative brainstorming, discussion and reflection.

Workshop Scenario and objectives

The workshop goal was to help leaders implement teaching strategies to build student capacity to create their own job and be prepared for future vocations.  

Jonathan says he needed “a flexible solution for quick collaboration and group responses that would deliver impactful results both in the classroom for young adults, as well as a viable solution to use at a professional development day future leaders.” “What we need,” he continues” is to allow participants to record their answers, but then discuss and further analyze while seeing other people’s ideas and being able to interact by voting.”

This was the workshop scenario

“The date is now 2035. 30-70% of the jobs have been impacted by robotics and AI. Apps write their own code. Universal Basic Income has replaced the need for ‘work’ to define our lives. Humans are an interplanetary species. Biotech is regularly implanted at birth.”

Capturing group discussions in STEM workshops

People were presented with the scenario and asked to write down what jobs they thought were either safe or at risk of obsolescence. As each person talked and shared, they would write down jobs under each category. But unlike sticky notes and butchers paper, the results could be seen immediately on everyone’s screens. This made it easier to have a lively discussion about what each job. Setting up simple online graphic organizers help your workshop attendees easily share their thoughts in real time in a structured and organized way.

What seems like a straightforward question actually triggers a few reality checks and deep discussions and debates. As Jonathan explains, “ having the ability to make the session collaboration and interactive …, I was able to bring a more democratic approach to solving problems in the workshop resulting in a quick and effective consensus.” exclaims Jonathon.

 

Workshop participants brainstorming with online, digital graphic organizer GroupMap

To round up the exercise and to both add to the collective consciousness, jobs were searched and compared against a public opinion database and poll (willrobotstakemyjob.com). This site was based on a report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne called “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?” where 702 detailed occupations were processed through a Gaussian process classifier to estimate how susceptible jobs are to computerization.

Jobs that were traditionally great starters for teenagers such as Shop Assistants, Baristas (96%) and even Uber Drivers were at risk. Meanwhile, jobs that required the ‘personal touch’ such as mental health workers, teachers, and writers or professional judgment and skill such as Vets, programmers and lawyers (4%) were considered to be safe.

It is hard to argue at this stage that AI could ever replace the more subtle aspects of creativity and human-centered profession but it’s clear that as citizens of the new world, it will be less about manual tasks and repetition and more about collaboration and creation.

Jonathan shared one defining feature that made all the difference for him while encouraging open collaboration was being able to customize his graphic organizers for his workshop activities. 

“Having the preset templates for easy setup, and being able to make the collaboration interactive with voting… meant we could tweak the map to our needs”, Jonathan explains “It’s fast become a standard tool for supporting live interaction and it has allowed this to happen in a speedy way that fits in with what we are trying to achieve – promoting future-ready literacies that help people thrive in a fully digital era.”

The Future Literacies Framework

This process underpins the concept of FutureWe’s Be Future Ready Framework. It encourages activities and lessons that encourage students to explore, relate, design, deliver and share.

 

What stood out to us in the range of skill sets and tools that students need is the need to encourage students to have an open mind and a sense of agency. At the same time, they need to work in a team and understand the collective mindset. Their ability to think, expand their field of vision, give constructive feedback and collaborate and create with others is what would set them apart. Interestingly, these elements could arguably be what is missing in the robotics, artificial intelligence and other automation counterparts. 

Jonathan has now used it at over 6 conferences and events in Australia, USA and Asia and also incorporated collaborative brainstorming into his teaching and leadership practice at his school. “The feedback from the audience has been incredible,” says Jonathan. But beyond workshops, Jonathan has also used it with staff resource planning and professional development at his own school.

I have used GroupMap here at St Peters Lutheran College to gauge staff PD needs with a tiered survey.” explains Jonathan,” they could vote across three levels of support that they thought should be prioritized. We used the 50 responses to them guide our planning and resource allocation.” (Results blurred).

Setting up a GroupMap with audience voting.

We are super grateful to help support teachers managing the challenges of introducing STEM-based activities into their classroom through Jonathan’s workshops. We asked him for his tips for using GroupMap graphic organizers for brainstorming workshop activities. 

 

Jonathan’s tips for using GroupMap for your STEM Workshop activities

  • Ask questions that can’t be Google’d and provoke thought.
  • Play and explore how customizable the templates are, and don’t be afraid to contact the GroupMap team for further help as they are super helpful.
  • Having technology that doesn’t get in the way means you can now have live interactive discussions so allocate more time to that aspect.
  • It’s easy to set up and test your activity beforehand so there’s no reason not to. In fact, I even tweeted it out before and after the workshop.
  • Don’t forget the discussion and analysis of the ideas themselves. This is what builds collaboration and cross-pollination.

 

Want to see how Future-ready you are? Take the Future-Ready Survey now

Want to create graphic organizers for your workshop activity? Get in touch. or find out more.

GroupMap Used as a Group Brainstorming Tool Used to Address Future Employment

There are audience response systems and then there are audience “engagement” systems. Sadly, not all problems can be addressed with multiple choice answers.
By moving beyond the simple polling for, the National Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services were able to tackle some big issues facing student work experience and future employment. Here’s how they did it Over 110 Career Professionals were surveyed using GroupMap to identify and rank key barriers for student employment. This was compared to the student responses taken from international and domestic students at Curtin University Careers Centre. This was used to address the gap between student and employer expectations. By using online brainstorming and idea ranking software, the conference group was first asked to write what they thought were the main barriers for work experience and employment. iPads were used to capture responses, visually in real time. Individual unique responses were shared and then aggregated in real time for decision making. The Top 10 issues were identified using a collaborative mind map which used audience consensus and input to indicate consensus. These issues were then ranked against 2 main criteria on a GroupMap 2D chart comprising of: 1.Urgency – How quickly must the problem be addressed due to its impact on employment and work; 2.Influence – How much direct influence can the professional group have in addressing the issue, either directly or through advocacy The top 2 issues were identified based on its ranked position (Highest urgency and highest level of influence). This was done in real time, using the audience’s response to determine the final rankings. Delegates were then divided into 2 groups and set to task brainstorming potential solutions using GroupMap. There were some obvious benefits in using audience response technology:
  • Ideas were “real” and driven by the audience, not pre-made beforehand.
  • Seeing ideas from peers in real time helped stimulate even more thinking
  • Being able to brainstorm independently dramatically increased the number of ideas generated.
  • The choice of maps allowed the group to move from ideation to prioritisation.
  • Individuals could compare their own views to the person sitting next to them, as well as the group’s view.
  • Visual ranking managed information overload
  • Having a conversational map was an excellent tool for leading and focussing discussion on the top solutions on the day.
Delegates were provided with follow up access to maps for post conference deliberations. Over 25 potential actions were produced on the day for relevant institutions to consider in their own settings.

NAGCAS is Australia’s peak professional body for career development in the higher and tertiary education sectors. Results and findings, including a review of GroupMap can be seen in their 2013 March publication. GroupMap is an online group brainstorming and audience response tool that allows individuals to create and share unique responses which are then pulled together in real-time to show the group’s result.