Trebuchet Group Grows in Strength with the Right Online Brainstorm Tool

Trebuchet Group Online Meetings

Providing clarity and confidence for leaders 

Trebuchet Group clients

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From Face-to-Face to Online Meetings 

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

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

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

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

 

The Search for the right Online Brainstorm Tool

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

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

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

GroupMap Online Brainstorm Tool in Lucid Meetings

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

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

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

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

 

Working with GroupMap 

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

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

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

The team explained their remote meetings and workshops process:

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Effort online brainstorm tool
Example of an Impact Effort Map

 

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

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

 

Online Brainstorm Tool Gets Tick of Approval 

Trebuchet Group Goes Online

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to try GroupMap as an online brainstorm tool? 

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

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

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

Brainstorming Culture a win at Little  

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

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

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

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

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

 

Online Brainstorming Solution to overcome tyranny of distance  

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

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

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

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

 

Brainstorming & collaborative cultures maintained through online innovations 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Five offices contribute to never-ending online brainstorming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Discover and lead new innovations for competitive edge 

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

  • Opportunity for all to contribute comfortably:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to try GroupMap for FREE? 

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

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

telescope-advisers

david-clarke-virtual-event-facilitator

Executive events for fast-growth companies 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pandemic pushed for executive event to go virtual

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

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

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

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

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

 

Creating a global virtual executive event in 3 days & counting

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

GroupMap the right choice for virtual events!

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

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

voting-virtual-event
GroupMap for voting on ideas

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

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

Benefits of digital facilitation fully realised

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We 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.