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



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. 

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. 

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. 


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. [This meant] 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… [There has been] 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 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, “[By] 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 ( 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.

Government EMRC Council Uses Innovative Approach for Solutions Based Workshop

Collaborating with four local government authorities, the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council sought public feedback to brainstorm ideas around 15 themes using innovative technology including visualisation tools and group response systems at their inaugural solutions driven workshop-Business Insights.

EMRC Chief Executive Officer Peter Schneider said that EMRC is committed to innovation and continuous improvement. “Engaging with our key stakeholders through this workshop is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that commitment,” said Mr Schneider.


The concept of seeking public feedback into government policy is not new, but the approach meant that more voices could be heard, discussed and documented, supported by evidence from the hands of the participants who could vote and comment on other ideas.


Over 300 responses were then grouped to reveal the top 15 key issues.

A live workshop to allow networking, discussion, and debate are then being facilitated, with delegate responses being captured and revealed in real-time using GroupMap, a collaborative online brainstorming tool. Key themes include business development, technology, human resources, and government regulations. Delegates will be invited to pair up, find their topic of key interest, and then brainstorm solutions. Using a web-based application and i-pads means that delegates can circulate around the room with ease, adding value along the way.
“It’s important for everyone to have their say, and that all ideas have equal air time.” says Jeremy Lu, Co-founder of GroupMap. “Ideas are shared in turn which aims to inspire more creative and shared problem-solving.” Delegates will have the opportunity to stand side by side with local government representatives from each of the local authorities, as well as with the regional council. “Through employing the use of GroupMap, EMRC hopes to encourage greater involvement by the business community and heighten the engagement experience,” said Mr. Schneider. The results of the brainstorming workshop will be shared with Economic Development officers to drive decision thinking and for project and initiative planning.

The Business Insights Workshop is an EMRC project in conjunction with four of its member Councils, the Town of Bassendean, City of Bayswater, City of Belmont, and City of Swan. Together, the Councils will host the workshop aimed at understanding the major challenges that SME’s are currently facing in the region and collaboratively discuss how these challenges can be overcome.

How Meeting Professionals Engage their Audience – Workshop ideas.

People use online voting to find the best ideas from brainstorming

Using a digital facilitation tool can take your event from a drab, random hodgepodge of conversations that nobody remembers to an interactive, engaging real-time experience. See how this group of meeting organizers did it.

GEVMExchange, hosted by GlobalSignIn at the American Club, Singapore hosted over 100 meeting professionals and event leaders who came together to share the latest trends and to highlight some of the key issues facing event planners. Speakers and topics included:

  • Ben Glynn from Emarsys and Andy Choi from Whispir talking about marketing automation and the need for personalization of messaging.

  • SiddarthDAs sharing an inspiring story about Earth Hour and how a small team executes on events being run globally.

  • Raven Chai from UX Consulting talking about human-centric event design and principles of design.

  • Ken Hickson from SESA sharing updates on ISO standards and sustainability tips.

  • Rachel Siah from BRCKTS with her learnings of venturing into social media.

Capturing key themes through opportunities, challenges and ideas

As part of the conference, GroupMap captured what people thought were future opportunities, challenges and ideas. Based on what was being discussed and shared that day, the wider group could then prioritise the top issues for further discussion.

Next, delegates were given the opportunity to brainstorm and add ideas throughout the day on their mobile, tablet or laptop. The final session was an interactive breakout session for small group discussion. This was a great way to make the workshop more interactive and to make sure that topics were driven by consensus.

Using Dot Voting to generate group consensus

To do this, delegates were asked to digitally dot vote on the top 5 themes that they are most interested in.

Event organizers could see the audience votes in real-time and displayed this on the screen, with one of them commenting “this is like the stock exchange” as topics that were popular floated to the top and were displayed larger.

Using GroupMap as a digital facilitation tool meant the results were collated in real time and were a visual representation of what the audience most wanted in the room.

Audience uses online dot voting to decide on the most important topics to them.

Guest speakers were then invited to facilitate the discussion on the 4 topics in groups.

1. Social media use cases and examples of viral videos and content for meetings.

2. Automation, marketing, and outreach tools.

3. Use of event technology and sustainability concepts in event planning.

4. Audience engagement.

Taking brainstorming online and to the edge.

Going one step further, a map was created to ask people to take brainstorming to the edge using the concept of Edgestorming – from the book Disciplined Dreaming. This thinking style is used by Cirque du Soleil to create memorable events that are buzz-worthy and create word of mouth. The goal is to take creativity all the way to the “edge”, rather than simply sticking to the status quo.

The question was what you could do to make your event outrageously…

  • Big

  • Small

  • Loud

  • Soft

  • Expensive

  • Cheap

  • Strong

  • Fast

Great ideas for various workshops generated through group brainstorming.

GroupMap was the online brainstorming and group response tool used to gather audience insights and voting for key topics at the conference for event and meeting professionals.

Ideas ranged from organising a surprise flash mob to lightning talks to an event harpist! Check out the GroupMap results below.

Veelmal Gungadin, CEO of GlobalSignIn said…..

Engaging the audience to judge the winning corporate learning videos

If you are thinking of a great way to engage the audience then check out how this event organizer turned people’s smartphones and tablets into more than just another audience polling device.

Event organizers of the LearnX conference wanted the audience to decide on the Platinum, Gold and Silver winners of the Best E-Learning training video for 2015.  They had shortlisted the finalists but wanted to crowdsource the final outcome.  But with over 120 people in the room, 4 judging criteria and a ticking clock, the challenge was to collate all that data in real time and announce the places.

Rob Clarke, Founder and Chair of LearnX Foundation -LearnX is always on the lookout for ways to demonstrate cutting edge technologies in the world of learning. We are excited to let you know that we will be using GroupMap for delegates at the Awards to help judge the finalists in the Best E-Learning Video Category.

Here’s how they made the magic happen.

The committee decided on the 4 judging criteria and it was up to the corporate learning teams to pitch and play their videos to a live crowd of peers.  As the crowd watched on, they would enter their ratings using sliders on their device.

After the final videos played, there was a final discussion and deliberation. The final placements were then displayed in real time – showing the spread and combined totals over everyone’s voting.

Participants could also comment on their scores, give feedback to teams and justify their rankings.  This means that the teams were not just getting the opinions of 3 judges but the collective mind and wisdom of the crowd.

This was one of the most valuable items for the teams and far more meaningful than just the traditional loudness of applause method. Having direct comments and feedback from the audience meant that the team could learn what people loved and thought could potentially be areas for improvement in the future.

Our congratulations to all of the finalists and a big thank you to the wonderful audience who used GroupMap as their judging software for this event.  It was great to see in real time all the engagement, thoughts and comments from people for the teams!

LearnX is the E-learning and Training industry association which runs meetings and conferences which recognises the industry top performance such as Best learning services, best new technology implementation, best eLearning design and best learning project.  Each year industry speakers share and showcase their projects and 2015 was the inaugural year in which they used innovative technology to engage crowd participation.

A Critical Thinking Exercise – Which would you rather battle?

See how this simple exercise had over 100 people brainstorming and voting on the best arguments. Industry professionals meet VET teachers to bring currency to the curriculum.

Ask yourself this.  Which would you rather battle?

1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

This was the question posed to attendees of the Industry Currency day where over 110 VET teachers were asked to share and debate their views using GroupMap as their audience response system. This professional development session was focused on ways to improve critical thinking skills – a key learning outcome for 21st-century learning in any curriculum.

perth industry forum groupmap

Each person was asked to pick a side initially. Working in small groups, they then added arguments to be shared more widely as part of the collaborative learning exercise. Here are some of the ideas they came up with.

With the opposing views  captured, this became the perfect fodder for a healthy debate. But we wanted to take it one step further to work out which arguments were the strongest.


Use of voting techniques to identify logical fallacies

Using the concepts of logical fallacies (flaws in logic) and the simple like/dislike buttons, people voted up the arguments that they felt best made their case.  The best and strongest arguments would then float to the top and the results shown. The goal was to focus on the strongest arguments put forward by the each side.

Running through the ideas allowed people to comment and to support and challenge what was being said by their peers. This form of collective learning certainly isn’t something you could do with simple polling.

The group discussed the arguments presented and considered the impact this had on their position on the matter. Whilst a hypothetical discussion, it highlights the importance of forming a good argument free from logical flaws.

Hosted by Training Council (FAPSTC) and held at Curtin University, the Industry engagement forum provided a technology driver environment for the VET sector to interact with speakers and industry representatives. More than 40% of year 12 students undertaking a VET qualification in 2014.  The event was an outstanding success.

“Alison Sweet, event organizer from FAPSTAC said: “Teachers can gain insights to help them take industry intelligence and embed it into their classrooms, creating relevant, authentic and innovative environments.”

Part of the session also included an interactive industry Q&A powered by GroupMap. “We wanted to lead by example, “ said Sweet, “and make the most of collaboration tools like GroupMap. It allows audience members to ask questions to presenters as they have them, engaging those that might not be comfortable asking questions in a large group forum. The workshop organizers could see any unanswered questions posed by the group on GroupMap and could respond to them. Teachers could see group brainstorming technology in practice making it easier to implement strategies to engage students in the classroom.”

Additional sessions included test running a new social media platform called FauxBook, insights into careers in business, finance, and technology from Microsoft and BankWest, and industry updates from a panel of industry speakers.


Ready to try your own critical thinking exercises?

Here are 5 tips to consider to help students become independent learners.

  1. Set examples that do not have a straightforward answer.

    These are your non-Google”able” items that challenge the student ability to examine perceptions, inferences and conclusions. “Which is better? Oranges or bananas?
  2. Start and end with “Why”.

    This is a clear sign that people are engaging in thinking.  A simple technique is to ask Why 5 times so you really drill down into the basic logic.

  3. Aren’t questions great?

    Learning stops at an answer and thinking starts with a question.  A Socratic style and deliberate questioning with the group will get those neurons firing.

  4. Engage in visual thinking.

    In this blog example, we used a 2 column list just to represent opposing views. Additional options such as Plus, Minus Interesting, 6 thinking hats, or a collaborative mind map provide different thinking activities. The use of space with graphic organizers helps to organize thoughts and to make it easier to see what the thinking is in the room.
  5. Give them time to think.

    Want to avoid that awkward silence when you ask a large group a question? Critical thinking exercises require a little introspection and processing time. Give people a chance to brainstorm individually first (yes, this is a feature in GroupMap).  They can then share more broadly and with confidence with the wider group.

If you would like to watch a quick critical thinking exercise in action, please watch the below video.

Judging software used to find the best student start ups

Just Start IT, an innovative learning program designed to ignite student creativity, is an 18-week inter-school program of student teams made up of Hackers, Hawkers, and Hipsters how to create a Technology Start-Up. GroupMap was used as the judging software solution for the night.

There were more than 200 teams participating in the program for 2015 from 32 different schools across Perth, Australia. The students were introduced to their mentors who helped them dive right into the process of creating a business that solves real-world problems. With their eyes on the finals; everyone was working together to build their solutions using the lean canvas template. It was exciting to see which problems the student start-ups were addressing and their incredible solutions.

The ten finalist student startups included :

Bit Transaction– an Escrow payment solution for Bitcoin. Bitcoin is like cash but for the internet, with the ability to revolutionize the payment industry. Bitcoin has sparked plenty of interest from many power figures including Al Gore, Peter Thiel, and Bill Gates. The problem for Bitcoin spenders is the security of not knowing if they would receive their purchase or not.

“We believe Bitcoins greatest potential is as a global payment network, by providing an escrow payment solution for bitcoin, we will change the way you pay online”.
– Aiden Gatani

CrapMap-Australia’s best locator is an application allowing the citizens of Perth the ability to report and review public toilets to the council for maintenance. Their application allows users to discover the cleanest, closest public toilets near you.

Dear Dad– creates different packs to deal with the awkward situation of father-daughter relationships when it comes to the conversations of puberty and relationships. They created a demo pack for the night and described a range of alternative Dear Dad spin-offs.

After months of sleepless nights and early mornings, the student startups pitched their ideas to a crowd of 200 and 9 judges who were all wanting to listen to the bright ideas from the youth in their community.



finalists for juding

The judges used GroupMap as a judging platform to provide feedback to each team and to rate their pitches on a scale based on how they sizzled or fizzled. As each student startup pitched their idea, each judge rated them directly on the judging platform, capturing comments and asking questions. Judges included Paul Hodder from Bell Potter, Tony Panetta from DataCom, Michelle Sanford from Microsoft, and Walter Green from Waitta/iAwards.

Here’s a snippet from one of the judges:

What the judges had to say

Judging was made easy and in real-time. Each student startup was entered directly into GroupMap as a judging software for the night. Each judge’s ranking was combined to give the overall scores and placement of the teams. The list would reorder itself according to the final ratings so that all the teams were ranked from 1 to 10. A team that sizzled meant that they had the right market, the right team and had validated their idea well. Judges simply used their mobile, laptop or table to rate their scores.

student start up business contest

The final winning team was Team Getcha – a social media application that solves the problem of receiving unwanted gifts by allowing you take photos of the things you want and allowing your friends to buy this for you. It blended business advertising, social media as part of this “wedding list” style application.

judging software used to rank winning team

The event organizers were provided with the final list of ranked participants as well as individual reports that could be shared with the student startups to provide them with feedback from the judging panel. The winning team was awarded a $5,000 cash prize and the top 2 teams were also given the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the national iAwards. Two other teams also took out the prizes for innovation.

Best of luck to each of the student teams as they head off on their entrepreneurial journey.
See what the organizers had to say below:

We created a GroupMap to use as judging software perfect to the needs of our evening, allowing our judges to listen to the pitches and rate the pitches by filling a toolbar. The judges were also able to enter valuable feedback that they could share with each other via the map throughout the evening. This allowed quick and silent collaboration that was vital to the process. GroupMap also creates feedback reports to us the program leaders to be able to take back to the teams after the event for discussion. This type of feedback for teams that we are taking to market is invaluable.

GroupMap is a fantastic collaboration tool that we want to build permanently into our program. It allows endless collaboration, giving even the most quiet person a voice. I think of GroupMap as The Voice of Collaboration, and could not recommend it more highly.

Lainey Weiser
Just Start It

Community engagement to brainstorm a Science Centre

The mission of the Rockville Science Centre is to inspire a lifelong passion to explore science, cultivate a sense of inquiry, and promote how science impacts everyday life. Following a feasibility study, the Centre was awarded a grant to develop the science centre.  On March 31, they announced the community engagement initiative to gather input have hosted a series of brainstorm sessions to involve the members of the community in planning the new facility. Using the tag line ” Imagine Our Future”, the events connected businesses, citizens, scientists and Zumba enthusiasts to generate ideas to conceptualize Rockville Science Centre 2.0.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said “Every year we get a little bit closer to an actual brick-and-mortar building which I think is exactly what we need. All along the way every year, the Science Center has gotten stronger and more engaged and bigger in terms of the people you are bringing in and the activities that you are providing. It’s a huge asset to the City of Rockville and to the County at large.” “When we have a facility, we want you to say, ‘Yeah, I worked on that idea’, because then we will have reached our goals.”
Tracy Dovea key driver of this initiative wrote in this article –  

“RSC does not want to recreate the “don’t touch” model of learning. The RSC will have a didactic – even Socratic – method of teaching and learning based on what the community has been able to input. This would be a centre of continuous learning with the goal of reinventing its content on a regular basis.”

RSC needs the community to build on these ideas to create the Center. Attendees will go beyond whiteboards and sticky notes by using the cutting-edge GroupMap software to collect ideas. 

There will be several tables – each one with a different topic. Participants will be encouraged to pick a table – or start their own! The Big Board up front will display in real time what each table is doing as the community puts together the 0’s and 1’s of the Center. ” said Tracey Dove.

Members of the public including scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers, parents, and children were invited to attend a series of brainstorming sessions to share ideas.  In fact, their official line reaches out to teachers, parents, children, accountants architects, zoologists, and Zumba enthusiasts! Participants were asked to pick a topic which included:
  • Facility
  • Outreach
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Content and
  • Programs
Ideas are captured in real-time and displayed on the board at the front of the room.  Following discussions these ideas were then translated into the development of the overall business plan, creating the vision for launching the vibrant science facility to connect with the community in the region. This form of strategy means that community engagement is both transparent, efficient, and in real-time – perfect for any resource-constrained organisation seeking to maximise its productivity.

Jeremy Lu (Co-Founder) and School Business Manager for Science at Curtin University said, “We are delighted that GroupMap technology has such a positive impact in the community especially promoting science awareness and education.”

Programs conducted by the Centre include Science Cafes sessions at a local restaurant, a robotics program including the FIRST Tech Challenge to develop and test robots in challenges, exploration trips off the beaten track, as well as their camps and fairs that bring the community together.

The Rockville Science Center is just one great example of how online brainstorming tools can be used to solve problems and execute on a community engagement strategy to work towards common goals.   You can see their full article on Communities and Education and if you would like further information,  please contact Tracy Dove:

(Images Courtesy of Rockville Science Centre)