Lucid Meetings uses GroupMap to deliver best online collaboration

Lucid meetings online meetings

Successful meetings everyday!

Lucid Meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

The search for an online collaboration tool

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

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

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

Hitting the sweet spot with a group collaboration tool 

GroupMap online collaboration tool

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

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

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

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

Using GroupMap for collaborative brainstorming courses 

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

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

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

Lucid Meetings GroupMap

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

GroupMap online Collaboration Tool at play

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

Online collaboration tool with GroupMapGroupMap with Lucid Meetings

A solution for meeting facilitators 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting with GroupMap

Want to try GroupMap as an online collaboration tool? 

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

Trebuchet Group Grows in Strength with the Right Online Brainstorm Tool

Trebuchet Group Online Meetings

Providing clarity and confidence for leaders 

Trebuchet Group clients

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

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

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

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

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

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


From Face-to-Face to Online Meetings 

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

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

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

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


The Search for the right Online Brainstorm Tool

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

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

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

GroupMap Online Brainstorm Tool in Lucid Meetings

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

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

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

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


Working with GroupMap 

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

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

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

The team explained their remote meetings and workshops process:

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Effort online brainstorm tool
Example of an Impact Effort Map


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

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


Online Brainstorm Tool Gets Tick of Approval 

Trebuchet Group Goes Online


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Want to try GroupMap as an online brainstorm tool? 

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

5 activities for creating engaging workshops with impact

Creating engaging workshops is hard work, with research showing that our capacity for attention is lower than a goldfish!

In addition to this, the digital noise around us can be so loud that only something almost extreme can get through, that we expect so much more from movies, a brand or products to get our attention. 

Likewise, we expect no less from our trainers and/or facilitators. 

Here at GroupMap, creating innovation to make workshops, meetings and ideas more collaborative, engaging and have impact excites us. 

When you need the most creative ideas, honest answers or innovative solutions, GroupMap lets you create anonymous brainstorming sessions. Individual (or silent) brainstorming means that everyone can add their ideas and concepts without being influenced by others, including the boss! 

Share inspirations, pictures, hand-drawn images or notes without fear, production blocks or bias.

Here’s five activities suggestions using our workshop tools to more effectively facilitate amazing conversations!


Activity 1: Set your team culture to start an engaging workshop 

Start your workshop by setting and validating your team culture. This means getting shared agreement on expectations, objectives and also the ever so important house rules! 

You can easily do this using the Team Canvas ready to use template in GroupMap. The team canvas has been developed to create team alignment, minimize conflict and build a productive culture. 

Engaging workshops with team canvas

Activity 2: Define problems  

Have you ever heard of the saying that a problem defined is half solved? Create engaging workshops with impact by getting participants to brainstorm through solutions, ideas, and alternatives to defined problems. 

Then engage them even more by asking participants to rank and decide on the best possible outcomes. 

GroupMap’s Problem Solving template can help guide a group from defining a problem to deciding on solutions and measuring results. You can then use dot votes to indicate the key points in each step. 

Define problems
A simple 5 step approach that takes people from problem definition through to solutions.

Activity 3: Use the impact effort matrix

Once you have brainstormed solutions to the defined problem/s, you can further engage workshop participants by getting them involved in the process of prioritising ideas and actions based on impact and effort 

GroupMap’s Impact Effort Matrix template is a time saving technique that helps your team prioritize what to do next. 

Here you can rank activities to discover quick wins through to major projects. 

Define impact for engaging workshops
Prioritise projects and initiatives based on impact and effort.

Activity 4: Risk mapping and stakeholder mapping 

Once you and your workshop participants have prioritized actions, you might need to look through what are the risks associated with each action and which stakeholders do you need to consider with each action. 

We recommend creating engaging workshops in this phase by using two methods:

  • Map risks: position risks based on likelihood and impact. Using our template you can dot vote on key risks and decide how actions can be taken. The results here can be used to develop a risk management plan. 
  • Map your stakeholders : improve your communication strategy by deciding who you need to monitor and who you need to manage closely. You can do this easily using our Stakeholder Map template. 


Activity 5: End an engaging workshop with a retrospective 

At the end of your workshop, it’s important to get feedback on what they think was great and what can be improved. It also helps with recording what needs to be done next (aka an action list) and what still needs to be addressed. 

Using a template such as the WRAP retrospective in GroupMap you can use a technique or game that helps your participants form original ideas by sharing what their Wishes are for an ideal sprint, their Appreciation of what has happened, any Risks they foresee and Puzzles that remain unsolved. 

WRAP up an engaging workshop
Reflect on what went well for the meeting as well as what you could do to improve next time.

Try these five activities with GroupMap today!

Want to try these five inspirations to create more engaging workshops with impact at your next workshop? 

You can today with 14 days free trial. 

Also, check out some of our 60+ group decision-making templates, some of which we’ve mentioned here.

Top 3 Metrics To Measure Your Workshop Success

GroupMap brainstorming

Everyday, tens of thousands of workshops are being run around the world in companies, organisations and workplaces, to explore a specific topic, transfer knowledge, solve identified problems or create something new.

Through GroupMap’s work and knowledge centre, we know that many workshop facilitators are keen to measure the impact of the workshops they organise and run. There are many positive reasons to measure a workshop success:

  • If your workshops are funded, good measurements can convince funders to maintain and support the work that you do.
  • Encourage people to attend and feel satisfied that the work that you are doing with your workshops is worthwhile and making a positive difference,
  • Allow you to compare workshops over time and show improvement or the need for adapting the workshop to be more successful for the intended audience.
  • Gives you a way to improve practice, and deliver more value for clients and participants.
  • Helps to engage the audience and to give the audience a sense of agency.

In this post, we will look at three types of workshop success metrics that gives you a good measure of the workshops you run! We’ll then show you how to use GroupMap’s Survey feature to collect these easily.

1. Workshop specific metrics 

workshop metrics

Each workshop topic will come with its own sets of success metrics based on the topic at hand – i.e. what we want participants to learn – through to the structure and content of the workshop. These metrics measure the outcomes and goals of the workshop itself.

Some questions include:

  • How much more knowledge or understanding have you gained from the workshop in comparison to before you started?
  • What do we believe is our return on time invested for this meeting? Was it worth our time?
  • Were there any topics you thought should have been covered in the workshop that was not?
  • What can be improved in terms of helping you understand the information or reach the outcomes?
  • How well do we think we achieved the goal of the workshop today?

2. Individual goal setting metrics 

individual goal metrics

Another way to measure the success of your workshops is by inviting each participant to set goals of what they would like to achieve, personally / individually, by being part of the workshop, and seeing if they achieved these by the end of your delivery. 

These individual metrics can also be used when participants walk away from the workshops with a concrete plan of action of what else they might want to learn, discover, or practice as a result. 

Here are some individual goal setting questions that can get your participants thinking about what they want to see/get by being part of your workshop:

  • What are the top 3 things I would like to achieve from attending this workshop & did I achieve them?
  • What has this workshop made me realize I need to in terms of [professional growth, personal goals]?
  • What important lessons can I bring back to my colleagues and organization from the workshop?

3. Good workshop leadership & facilitation metrics

facilitator metrics

Our recent case study conversations with workshop facilitators David Clark (of Telescope Advisers) and Dr Zakhar Maletyski (of Water Harmony Global Initiative) have shown us again the importance of having good leadership to run workshops.

Good workshop leadership is the ability to be able to encourage brainstorming and discussions, make everyone feel comfortable to participate and share their ideas, while making sure everything is on schedule and on time. 

For us, measuring good leadership is one of the most important workshop metrics and something that you can ask your participants for feedback. Questions you can ask include:

  • Did your workshop facilitator keep the workshop running smoothly and on time?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being excellent, how would you rate your facilitator’s skills in making sure the workshop was engaging and interesting? 
  • What advice would you like to share with your facilitator to make the workshop better led?
  • What did you enjoy most from your workshop facilitation?

Gathering & collecting success metrics from your workshop

There are many ways to gather all of the above metrics for your workshop. The most common way to do this is of course via a survey. 

There are also many ways and digital tools available to collect your survey, from paper based directly after your face-to-face workshop or a follow-up email using Survey Monkey, Google Forms or many other survey services out there. 

If you’re already using GroupMap’s templates, maps and features to run an online brainstorming session for your workshop, then why not take advantage of the survey functionality to keep your participants in the same space and using a tool they’re already familiar with?

How to create a quick survey for your meeting

  1. In your map or meeting template, browse to the side menu to CUSTOMISE YOUR MAP.
  2. Then ADD A STEP called Survey

    workshop metrics survey

  3. Choose your questions type based on the type of metric you want to capture. SAVE CHANGES and you are now ready to go.

survey in groupmap

Ready to get the most out of your next virtual workshop?

Get in touch or try GroupMap FREE with a 14 day trial today! 

Strategy And Time-saving Tips For Your Next Continuous Improvement Meeting.

Having a Continuous Improvement Process mindset is essential in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  One has to be intuitive enough to deal with the intricacies of systems, people, policies and processes whilst still driving change, collaboration and innovation across functions.

As Continuous Improvement Manager for a Food Manufacturing company or almost 8 years, “Patti” helps teams kick start projects in the right direction, run deep dives into project scope and unpacks the complex business landscape from production to waste management using a range of facilitated activities as part of her team meetings.

With specializations in Lean Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain Optimization, Coaching, Goods Manufacturing Practice, and Team Building, she uses Six Sigma and continuous improvement methods to provide measurable and sustainable improvements across behavioural, systems, process and regulatory processes. 

We reached out to Patti to understand more about how she used GroupMap and to get ideas about what was and was not working for her. With her permission, we’ve been able to share extracts of that interview below. 



What kind of team-based activities and meetings do you run?


I run project startup and kick-off meetings to help make sure that people are aligned and working on the right solution from the very beginning. This includes defining objectives and deliverables for projects and helping them clearly define them.

Examples of this process include Stakeholder Maps, Risk Maps and tactical shutdown protocols. From a strategic planning process, we might use SWOT Analysis as well as group ratings of strategies for decision making. 

In terms of reflective practice, this includes the 4L’s, starfish retrospectives and MoSCoW (Must, Should, Could, Won’t) to name a few.  We would take our teams through a process to share what they have learned from our projects and decide on what we needed to start doing, stop doing, keep doing as well as what we needed to do more or less of. 

At the last meeting, for example, we had 22 people in a team, who come up with 74 action items based on what we had shared from our initial learning and brainstorming event.

In terms of more ad hoc event, we would use the Impact Effort Matrix to help prioritize our different strategies or projects or develop a continuous improvement plan based on cycle periods. This is a really great way to help teams see the larger picture and to help plan and prioritize our activities overall as well as making sure people across areas are aligned.


What are some of the practices you use as a CI (Continuous Improvement) Manager?

As a CI Manager, one of my key roles is to clearly define problem statements by understanding the scope of the project. For example, when a vision or goal starts to form, I lead them by breaking down the project into what it IS and what it IS NOT. It sounds simple enough but it can lead to some great discussion so it is a great way to manage project scope and to help the team better crystalize and visualize it.

When troubleshooting, I like using a mind map with a root cause that branches out with 5 WHYs to allow people to find root causes of issues and to be able to see the flow-on impacts. The flexibility of being able to add multiple root causes and then have as many WHYs as needed enables every team member to really understand the problem. You identify the original concern and then you can start to deep dive as far as needed to get to the root cause, without being limited or confirming specifically to 5.


For prioritizing ideas, I use Rate by Impact vs Implementation matrix with the team to help prioritize which activities we should focus on, the sequence and how we need to allocate our time and resources. 

The means that we would take the action items that were seen to have the highest {positive} impact on the project with the least barriers to implement as our low hanging fruit and put those into action first. We could then do deep-dive discussions over the remaining items as well as filter out the items that would have the least {positive} impact and would be the hardest to implement.



What are some of your “Go-to” questions when talking to your team?


I would say that my top 5 would generally be questions like…


  •       What are our main objectives and deliverables?
  •       What are things that are a must-have versus nice to have?
  •       Who are we doing this for?
  •       What does success look like for us?
  •       How do we do this and how much should we do?


In terms of how we run sessions, we might start with a little ice breaker as a meet and greet and to get the team started with the session. We then decide on key objectives based on what has been given to us by our Principals and flesh out the expected deliverables required. This helps us determine the scope of the activities. 

Following this, we are able to break down requirements for certain key requirements to reduce risk and remove uncertainty as well as looking for any constraints that might impede on our program. 

Finally, we go through an exercise looking at the interrelations between processes or other projects that would otherwise impact the time, budget or quality of the project.


What have been some of your experience using GroupMap with your team so far?


Having facilitated a range of activities for the past 20 years, I was shocked when I realized I was still using the same old process. Sticky notes and markers can only go so far and using online meeting facilitation tools like GroupMap has made my facilitation process easier and quicker. One of the attendees at my workshop came up and said he was so happy because on the plane ride home he would actually get to watch a movie because the work had been done and he didn’t have to re-write notes and ideas from photographs of post-it notes.

There has been a BIG increase in participation of members and ideas produced. At the end of each event, we generate PDFs and excel files for each group map and then share them with the project owners for easier review of their brainstorming activity. It feels like we may be getting 25% more ideas when using GroupMap compared to traditional brainstorming methods.

My colleagues are super positive too. One said, my team and I are absolutely loving this tool! Today I put together some new templates based on some problem-solving models including a 5 Why MindMap and a Cause and Effect Diagram. We are piloting the use of GroupMap to help our root cause analysis structure.“  

Another said, “GroupMap has added an incredible amount of value to our manufacturing facility. I am looking forward to finding even more ways to incorporate it in our processes.”


What would be your top 3 tips as a to other users of GroupMap?


  1. Create as many templates as possible to save time!
  2. Import ideas from map to map and arrange them differently to generate a new conversation. Don’t waste time retyping the same information over and over.
  3. Push your creativity, look at what processes you can bring into GroupMap to make the process of problem-solving or continuous improvement more effective. It is a HUGE time saver.


This article has been anonymized at the client’s request. All practices, outcomes and feedback was shared through a series of interviews, emails and meeting evaluations.



Get Started Now


Ready to use some continuous improvement strategies with your team? Try GroupMap for your next meeting or workshop. . Log in, Start a 14 day free trial or contact us for more information.

Online Brainstorming Tools for Engaging Workshops – Talk versus Tech.

Technology versus Talk- The right balance for effective brainstorming meetings

Is using technology in group activities a conversation killer or can it improve the quality and speed of exchange? Online workshop and business planning tools that allow social collaboration in the workplace remove manual collation but does that now mean we have to operate in a cone of silence? Using sticky notes may be simple and “fun”, but are highly inefficient and manual.

We sometimes hear that a workshop that is full of noise and energy with, it’s of people talking and sharing ideas is fantastic. “This is working so well. Everybody is talking! This is great!” Of course, the extroverts love it… it’s their chance to pulpit their views and declare their thoughts. Yet this type of behaviour can be detrimental to the whole process. Meanwhile, the more thoughtful and observational introverts, the technicians, and the thinkers are given the task of being scribe.

Bringing in technology is often seen as a danger. “We can’t do that…nobody will talk. Nobody will learn and nobody will get a chance to voice their opinions.”  These statements suggest that the art of silence, contemplation, and reflection is a non-productive exercise. Say that to nearly 40% of the population (including business) who are introverts and world leaders like Gandhi, Churchill, and Bill Gates who proclaim their need for solitude. The creative process is often nook based, bean bagged, and chin tapping (as opposed to chin-wagging). In fact, they let their fingers do the talking.

We are often inspired by others externally but learn and reflect internally. Of course, sitting together in complete silence seems just as unnatural. Many of us lie somewhere within this spectrum and draw our inspiration from both what’s around us and what’s inside us.

” Creating a successful workshop is a balanced mix of chatter and capture. 
So what’s the right mix?”

GroupMap has been used in collaborative meetings ranging from workforce issues, improving education, innovation in government, and delivering better business outcomes. Here are 3-time box formats that we have seen work well based on the challenge you face.

The challenge: Complex problems, no right answers
Example question: What’s the world coming to?
The format: Great keynote, lots of pre-reading and preparation, individual lightning speeches, debating and open floor discussion, small group sharing, and capturing of ideas and concerns.
How can technology help: Capture diversity of opinions, look for common issues or concerns. It removes the ego and provides an open and low-risk environment for people to put in their views which creates great fodder for planning and considering perspectives.
Chatter: 50%
Capture: 50%

The challenge: Common problems, lots of “right” answers
Example: What should we focus on in the next 12 months?
The format: Open forum workshops, short keynote, creativity-based activities, small group idea generation, showcasing results, group prioritisation based on audience generated responses.
How can technology help: Fast capturing of issues, peer stimulated idea sharing, group filtering, and consensual decision making.
Chatter: 70%
Capture: 30%

The challenge
: Common problems, a few “right” answers

Examples: Who are our stakeholders in this project?
The format: Focus is on whole group inquiry and confirmation, getting buy-in and action. Brainstorm execution strategies and have small groups discuss and capture potential barriers and solutions.
How can technology help: Used to quickly capture the current landscape and then prioritize key action points based on agreed strategies.
Chatter: 30%
Capture :70%

Do you agree with this mix? What’s your experience and how has technology helped you facilitate better group activities?

Group facilitation technology was never designed to takeover conversation, and it should never be the focal point. It’s part of the reason why we say we are creating conversation maps! If anything it helps to draw the conversation in and focus it on key issues. Once the initial novelty of technology settles, the focus should always be on what the group produces online brainstorming tools or group response tools.


Innovative Group Response System Used as Scenario Planning Software to Explore the Future of Australia’s Health

Curtin Research Group uses innovative group response system and scenario planning software to explore the future of Health in Australia

What is the future of Health in Australia in 2022?

To answer this question, Professor Dawn Foreman and her fellow co-facilitators led a national cohort of health professionals in a scenario planning workshop, commissioned through the Department of Health. Their goal was to introduce brainstorming techniques and scenario planning tools for groups to identify group generated responses as to which factors would impact the Health of Australian citizens in 2022 and its impact on Interprofessional practice and education. (IPP and IPE).

Chiri 2

Electronic brainstorming through GroupMap technology was used to facilitate group ideation around the question what would be the key influences on health in 20 years time. Getting everyone’s contribution and perspectives from key stakeholders across the sector was vital to ensure that the participants were engaged and owned the process, and to build consensus within the group.

Team electronic brainstorming was done through iPads. Ideas were instantly shared, consolidated, merged and shown to everyone to allow more time for discussion. GroupMap provided a means for electronic brainstorming on ipads which facilitated collaboration within the group quickly and easily. Team facilitators could see what the individual teams thought and contrast this against the consensus within the room. By making sure that the group was generating, plotting and consolidating the ideas helped to ensure that this workshop belonged to them. GroupMap was also selected for its innovative and novel approach to ensure that the group was exposed to new technology.

Chiri 6

90 participants used GroupMap to generate over 136 ideas using a mind mapping format which were then culled back into the top 6. These top 6 were then taken into a 2D (XY) axis chart and plotted against the level of uncertainty and the level of importance. The influences that were the most uncertain and most important could then be used to create the framework for scenarios in the future.

We created our own scenario for you to explore. What would be your ideas for an ideal future in health care? Add your ideas.

Great result for CHIRI, but also for the participants with two thirds saying they could use GroupMap in their own organisations. It was great to see the health professionals moving towards collaborative technology and practice. The results of the workshop were then published and reported back to the Department of Health for further policy planning.

Professor Dawn Foreman currently works with Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) and is planning to use GroupMap as a scenario planning and online brainstorming tool in future scenario planning workshops.

Chiri 4

Here are some of our tips on how to use GroupMap for effective group brainstorming:

  • GroupMap is an online and live group brainstorming tool – Ditch the powerpoints as instructions on the day and use a training / play map to get people into the mood and to break the ice.
  • Make it Visible – Keeping the GroupMap up on a big screen in the room let’s everyone get a sense of “where everyone is at” and what they are thinking and how it’s changing over time.
  • Pull the group back together – go through the groupmap to elicit discussion and further debate. (You can lock the map if you want to pause changes)
  • Reiterate, reiterate – Don’t be scared of giving the group another go. After discussion, it’s interesting to see how people and teams change (or don’t change) their minds. No manual collation means you have more time to make revisions on the go
  • Ask teams to compare their maps against the group – ask them why they agreed with certains ideas and also why they might have disagreed.
  • Explore the “grey” zone – A great feature of GroupMap is that it shows those ideas where there is contention between the group. This might appear as ideas which had equal Yes and No votes or where they are all plotted together tightly in a cluster on a 2D chart. This is a great area for stimulating discussion.

We hope you find these ideas for better group brainstorming useful when planning your next session.

Is Group Brainstorming Really a Complete Waste of Time?

Imagine this.

You are that meeting which just seems to go on forever. People have been talking but there is no sign of a decision being made in the near future. The quiet team members have been watching the more outspoken, and at the end of it all, the manager says that should put a few things down and reconvene. As you leave, you think “That was a bloody waste of time!” Sounds familiar? You are not alone. While brainstorming remains a key part of meetings, traditional methods are fraught with dysfunction. It’s no wonder that the average office worker spends 61% of their meeting time writing emails or searching for information.

The costs of a bad meeting

With 1/3 of the 11 million meetings held every day considered unproductive by American Workers (Romano & Nunamaker), of which 5% are specifically related to brainstorming online or face to face, that equates to a staggering $1.154Bn in meeting costs. Closer to home, each meeting you hold is a factor of each person’s salary multiplied by the amount of time spent. Every time you have to “meet again” this simply doubles the cost. While electronic meeting tools and online brainstorming software exist, some still revert to manual processes like sticky notes and butchers’ paper in an attempt to create engagement. Beyond just the material costs and manual work, the time lag and the context shift form part of the hidden costs of ineffective meetings.

The good and bad of group brainstorms

Alex Osborn touted that group brainstorming produces 50% more results than individual brainstorming, grounding them in the following principles.
  • Initially, no judgement or criticism is allowed
  • Go first for quantity of ideas
  • Prioritize the most unusual or original
  • Combine and refine ideas
However, since the 1950s additional research has demonstrated that the effects of groupthink, reticence, dominance, anchoring and just the basic lack of focus impede on the effectiveness of group brainstorming. Chamorro-Premuzic, in his article “Why Group Brainstorming is a Waste of Time”, adds the issues of social loafing, social anxiety, regression to the mean and production blocking. Despite this, he states the benefit distributed expertise and improving buy-in and subsequent implementation by everyone in the team due to its democratic style. Finally, one of the key issues is the lack of decision making – or where the decision is not well evidenced or hidden in some minute resolution. Given this, we need to add to the best way to brainstorm list.

The potential of online collaboration brainstorming software

Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” wrote in the New York Times that: “The only exception to group brainstorming’s’ dismal record is electronic brainstorming, where large groups outperform individuals; and the larger the group the better. The protection of the screen mitigates many problems with group work. It’s a place where we can be alone together – and this is precisely what gives it power.” Online brainstorming can be a way to set the scene, measure engagement, democratize decision making, and allow everyone to contribute equally with results published in real-time. These tools can be integrated into online meeting tools or video conferences to create even better outcomes.

Tips for a great team brainstorming meeting

Here’s a quick mental checklist for a productive, effective team meeting – ready?
  • We are clear about the objectives and goals.
  • We have invited the right people to solve the problem.
  • We have a basic structure to follow through.
  • We have the logistics (tech, food, room etc) organised.
  • We know how the meeting will be facilitated.
  • There are relevant decision points during our meeting.
  • We have a follow-up point after the meeting.


For those using GroupMap for real-time collaborative online brainstorming, check out our infographic below on getting the best out of your sessions.[vc_row padding=”0″][vc_column][mk_padding_divider][vc_column_text align=”center”]Want more ideas to make your next meeting fun, quirky or creative? Join in and contribute to this GroupMap below or check out our infographic.

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Meeting facilitation tools to give quiet team members a voice

When it comes to effective team decision making and group brainstorming, it seems to be hindered by those who shout the loudest that get the most attention, even in the digital space. As an extrovert, my (wrong) approach has always been that introverts are just broken extroverts. They need to learn to speak up, think faster and just learn how to fit in with the way we get our teams to brainstorm and generate ideas.

Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” highlights that Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverts.  While extroverts recharge around other people and process their thoughts out loud introverts generally recharge on their own and process thoughts internally, sharing only when they have reached conclusions. Blend this into the traditional ways team generate ideas, brainstorm and make decisions, means that team decision making is skewed to those who speak the most, the loudest or the last.

This was really evident in one of the companies I led where in our management meetings, we would make decisions and regularly the day after the same team member would come back with an email expressing why they didn’t agree or had a different perspective. It was frustrating not just because they clearly weren’t behind the decision, but because they often had very valuable reasons that would have really helped the decision-making process – had they just given that input the day before when we were making the decision.

From Cain’s perspective, the team member in question was an introvert who processed his thoughts differently to the other members of the team. What we needed to do was find a different way to get his contribution into our brainstorming sessions. As Cain says “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

“Introverts are not broken extroverts”

Quiet, shy, introverted people are some of the best thinkers we have in our organisations and we need to find ways to help get their input. GroupMap is one of the meeting facilitation tools that helped me with this. The facilitation process can be customised to our needs – but most importantly it gave each individual their own thinking space – which can then be combined to reveal the group perspective in real time. As an online tool – it also means – people can be given time before the group session to add what they are thinking so it can be captured in that quiet place – rather than only by speaking up in a group meeting.

The bite is this. 40% of our workforce is actually considered to be introverts. That is a significant percentage of our team that we must recognize in order to truly get the results we want. For the collaborative leader, the skills needed to bring everyone into the conversation are key. Greater participation and engagement in the decision-making process can be improved by considering the way we capture and share ideas and solutions to problems.

How 150 people solved a wicked problem using an innovative audience response system.

The problem with large groups is that usually, you have to break up into smaller groups, scribble on sticky notes and butcher’s papers. The scribe never writes down what you said and the person who is the nominated speaker tends to say what they want.

Using polling may be a choice but that certainly won’t work for an innovation workshop and the chances of ideas being seen at the bottom of a discussion board or in a series of tweets are minimal.

So how do you get 150 brilliant minds to solve a wicked problem?

Fortunately, the committee of the Public Sector Innovation Conference realized that a little innovative technology for group brainstorming and consensus building was needed to get the most out of the workforce on the day. (See their review here)

Facilitated by Innovation Culture, the group was tasked to solve a wicked problem around 6 areas in the public sector. They had to come up with some ideas, ranked against urgency and impact, and present the findings to the panel of Director Generals on the same day. We’ve shared some tips and learning below.

GroupMap event workhsop software audience response system

Map 1
The practice mindmap – Gift ideas

Each team was asked to come up with ideas for presents that they would like to receive. As ideas of gifts floated around the room as suggestions, people who saw a fit that they wanted to would add it to their map. In under 5 minutes, we had a shopping list ranked in order of demand.

Map 2
The practice 2D chart – Rank the gifts

The top gifts were then ranked against cost versus the perceived level of “coolness” associated with that gift. This showed how the teams’ vote on ideas influenced the overall ranking of the gift in the group’s response.

Map 3
Creating a Focus Goal – How Might we

To stimulate some creative thinking, the question was asked about potential opportunities. The key words chosen to start the sentence was How Might We… Groups were asked to come up with ways to complete that sentence.

Map 4
Develop a SMART goal

Each Department was then asked to write a SMART goal for their area which would then be shared with others. There was no voting required, but it quickly generated a list of all goals and provided some practice for goal setting.

Map 5
Innovation perspectives – Idea generation around 6 perspectives

With some goals now developed, the group was asked to come up with ideas that could be implemented to meet some of these goals. Teams were asked to put their ideas against 6 different perspectives such as processes and systems, skills and knowledge, and collaboration and partnerships. Over 50 unique ideas were generated on the day, of which the top 6 were identified.

Map 6
Rank the top initiatives (2D Chart)

The top 6 ideas were then visually ranked by the group against the following criteria:

Level of value – what value will it provide to the government, community, and industry.
Level of impact – what level of impact will it have on the outcomes against the other ideas.

As an outcome, 3 clear standout initiatives were presented back to the panel. Arguments were presented as to the viability of the initiatives and the Panel used the level of support for each idea to gauge the energy of the room and what people wanted.

So here are our top 5 tips for effective large group brainstorming and creating audience engagement.

1. Have a practice map or two – it takes away the fear of having to get it right the first time and it makes for a great ice breaker if you have an interesting or fun topic. Gifts are great, but you can also try movie stars, books, food, and songs.

2. Follow brainstorming rules… at first. Allow for a number of ideas without judgment. Let one thought stimulate others and provide an anonymous free-flowing environment for ideas to come to life. Everyone has a voice, so give everyone the opportunity.

3. Allow the 4 D’s – Debate, deliberation, discussion, and deliberate dissent are all needed to then go through the ideas on their own merit. Group brainstorming has been said to be ineffective without the ability to cull and work through ideas. ( This means being able to reject suggestions or delete ideas in GroupMap!)

4.Pick technology that fits the audience – If you want a long detailed narrative, then use discussion boards. If you simply want a tally, then polling suits. But if you want innovative ideation and collaboration then make sure your technology is simple to use, encourages social engagement but without distraction, and shows what the group has built together, in real-time.

5.Manage GroupThink and the dominant participants – You know the problem. You’ve built a collaborative environment with shared ideas and consensus. You then get that one person who decides that their opinion or idea should supersede the entire group’s view. And, they will make a point of it. Thank them for their input, capture their feedback, and then move on graciously.

Public Sector Innovation Conference is an annual conference managed by the Institute of Public Administration in Australia and was jointly run by the Innovation Centre of WA. Its goal is to increase collaboration across government departments and to foster improved communication and innovative outcomes.

GroupMap is an online audience response tool that allows large group brainstorming and consensus buildings. Ideas are suggested in turn to manage information overload and are rotated for equal air time. We make things fast but fair. It is an effective tool for group ideation and decision-making for workshops, conferences, and classrooms.