Whiteboarding is a critical part of the brainstorming and innovation process. It serves as a tool to visualize, actualize, and realize the full potential of your ideas. With remote work opportunities taking hold across the country, whiteboarding has transitioned from a traditional collaobration activity to a popular digital blueprint. Virtual whiteboards have become inherent parts of the online workspace, and if you use them often, it’s important to understand some effective techniques.

In this article, we will outline some important exercises that help both provide direction to general brainstorming sessions and to specified virtual whiteboard instances. Whether you are using Fresco, Mural, or some other virtual whiteboard, these practices should help engage your team.

Exercises

Virtual whiteboards are shared workspaces that people operate through in order to collaborate from anywhere. They provide a ton of features that teams can use to increase the collaborative potential of their workspace. In order to maximize your collaborative potential, however, you need to properly implement exercises to engage your team. Below we will outline some practices you an implement with your team to get the most out of your virtual whiteboarding sessions.

Exercise #1 → Implement Structure

Providing structure is a key technique to maximize the use of virtual whiteboards, and thankfully, visual collaboration tools inherently emphasize structure as part of their program. It can be easy to overlook structure as an intrinsic part of whiteboarding, and because of this it’s even more important to take it into consideration.

There are multiple different ways you can implement structure on virtual whiteboards. They range from different teams operating side by side to using specific pre-made templates in order to guide your team’s collaboration. Not only are you able to use pre-made templates, but you can also create your own in order to fit the most unique scenarios. Implementing meaningful structure creates an environment of direction and creativity, and gives people solid guidelines to help focus their contributions. Especially when working virtually these markers are very important. By giving people guideposts to their collaboration you support the entire team’s ability to work together and focus on the task at hand, something that can get easily lost in virtual collaboration instances.

It may seem inherent, but taking the structure of your virtual whiteboarding instance into consideration helps your collaboration take on real meaning and align specifically with your values.

Exercise #2 → Clarify Goals and Expectations

It also might seem inherent to collaboration and brainstorming exercises, but virtually it can make a huge difference to emphasize the goals and values you’re reaching for. 

Often during traditional collaboration instances, especially if you are working with a core team very frequently, you can easily skip past basic things. Transitioning to a virtual space, however, changes how your team operates and understands each other. This means that the fundamentals can easily get lost when collaborating virtually. It’s even harder to keep everyone aligned and engaged when working on a virtual whiteboard, so emphasizing your teams specific goals and expectations is vital.

Making an active effort to attach all of your contributions to examples or overarching goals is a practice that centralizes people’s thought processes and keeps your team focused on the task at hand. Doing this by writing goals on your board to remind people of the tasks, or by connecting each idea or contribution to a possible goal helps people think hard about what they’re trying to accomplish and narrow their focus directly to this effort.

Clarifying goals, like implementing structure, is something that is so inherent to traditional collaboration that it could get lost in the scuffle of virtual whiteboards. Transitioning to a virtual workspace can be very difficult and you have to make sure to acknowledge all of the important aspects that make up your collaboration. Acvitvely engaging your goal with every contribution you make is a great way to do this and helps keep your team on track.

Exercise #3 → Incognito Collaboration

Collaboration in general can often rely on the contributions of the few rather than the many. This is a common issue not only with traditional whiteboards but with virtual whiteboards as well. When using a traditional whiteboard this can be difficult to combat, especially when you rely on these contributions in order to keep moving forward. Transitioning to a virtual setting does not eliminate the issue either, and often people feel less compelled to participate online than they would in person. It is critical that you work hard to engage your entire team in order to get the most out of your collaboration.

Virtual whiteboards have taken this into consideration and have developed a way for people’s voices to be heard through the crowd. Most virtual whiteboards have an incognito feature, which allows everyone to collaborate without others being able to see their work. Where the strategy of clarifying expectations and goals is meant to narrow people’s ideas towards the goal, allowing people to make incognito contributions allows everyone to expand their minds and implement free thinking into collaboration. Everyone involved is able to think freely and contribute in that same ideal, and it allows people who normally struggle to get their ideas through to freely add and contribute.

Using incognito collaboration, even for a short period, may seem strange to some teams hoping to build successful brainstorming, but it really allowsd people to express themselves and collaborate freely. By creating an environment of free thinking and open collaboration, using incognito collaboration modes is a virtual whiteboard technique that is worth a try.

Exercise #4 → Be prepared for Follow Through

One of the most critical aspects of collaboration that virtual whiteboarding lacks is the ability to easily and quickly follow through to a workflow, template, or next steps. This isn’t as important to emphasize when whiteboarding in person because it is easy to quickly transition when you are in the same room collaborating with your team. Being in the same workspace allows you to quickly move from one workflow to another with your entire team present, and can even be just an extension of your collaboration session.

Image Source: Vantage Circle

When working virtually, however, transitioning your team to the next steps can be more cumbersome than it usually is in person, so it’s important to prepare for your follow-through in advance. Virtual whiteboards often grant the ability to pivot between templates easily or incorporate follow-through activities so that organizing your next steps becomes an inherent part of your brainstorming flow.

When you prioritize your next steps it also gives people a north star to guide their activity. Preparing your follow through allows people to know where they’re going after they finish the task at hand, which helps provide a holistic aspect to collaboration. Preparation on a virtual whiteboard is incredible easy too, so prioritizing this frequently can make it a seamless addition to your collaboration session.

Conclusion

These exercises and best practices should help you and your team collaborate freely and increase the productivity of your virtual whiteboarding sessions. Virtual whiteboards hold immense collaborative potential and by implementing these simple practices/exercises you can utilize them better than ever. Knowing how to best implement virtual whiteboards is critical when working remotely, and hopefully, this guide helps do just that.

###

This article was a guest post authored by Paul VanZandt, Founder at Fresco.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

Whiteboarding is a critical part of the brainstorming and innovation process. It serves as a tool to visualize, actualize, and realize the full potential of your ideas. With remote work opportunities taking hold across the country, whiteboarding has transitioned from a traditional collaobration activity to a popular digital blueprint. Virtual whiteboards have become inherent parts of the online workspace, and if you use them often, it’s important to understand some effective techniques.

In this article, we will outline some important exercises that help both provide direction to general brainstorming sessions and to specified virtual whiteboard instances. Whether you are using Fresco, Mural, or some other virtual whiteboard, these practices should help engage your team.

Exercises

Virtual whiteboards are shared workspaces that people operate through in order to collaborate from anywhere. They provide a ton of features that teams can use to increase the collaborative potential of their workspace. In order to maximize your collaborative potential, however, you need to properly implement exercises to engage your team. Below we will outline some practices you an implement with your team to get the most out of your virtual whiteboarding sessions.

Exercise #1 → Implement Structure

Providing structure is a key technique to maximize the use of virtual whiteboards, and thankfully, visual collaboration tools inherently emphasize structure as part of their program. It can be easy to overlook structure as an intrinsic part of whiteboarding, and because of this it’s even more important to take it into consideration.

There are multiple different ways you can implement structure on virtual whiteboards. They range from different teams operating side by side to using specific pre-made templates in order to guide your team’s collaboration. Not only are you able to use pre-made templates, but you can also create your own in order to fit the most unique scenarios. Implementing meaningful structure creates an environment of direction and creativity, and gives people solid guidelines to help focus their contributions. Especially when working virtually these markers are very important. By giving people guideposts to their collaboration you support the entire team’s ability to work together and focus on the task at hand, something that can get easily lost in virtual collaboration instances.

It may seem inherent, but taking the structure of your virtual whiteboarding instance into consideration helps your collaboration take on real meaning and align specifically with your values.

Exercise #2 → Clarify Goals and Expectations

It also might seem inherent to collaboration and brainstorming exercises, but virtually it can make a huge difference to emphasize the goals and values you’re reaching for. 

Often during traditional collaboration instances, especially if you are working with a core team very frequently, you can easily skip past basic things. Transitioning to a virtual space, however, changes how your team operates and understands each other. This means that the fundamentals can easily get lost when collaborating virtually. It’s even harder to keep everyone aligned and engaged when working on a virtual whiteboard, so emphasizing your teams specific goals and expectations is vital.

Making an active effort to attach all of your contributions to examples or overarching goals is a practice that centralizes people’s thought processes and keeps your team focused on the task at hand. Doing this by writing goals on your board to remind people of the tasks, or by connecting each idea or contribution to a possible goal helps people think hard about what they’re trying to accomplish and narrow their focus directly to this effort.

Clarifying goals, like implementing structure, is something that is so inherent to traditional collaboration that it could get lost in the scuffle of virtual whiteboards. Transitioning to a virtual workspace can be very difficult and you have to make sure to acknowledge all of the important aspects that make up your collaboration. Acvitvely engaging your goal with every contribution you make is a great way to do this and helps keep your team on track.

Exercise #3 → Incognito Collaboration

Collaboration in general can often rely on the contributions of the few rather than the many. This is a common issue not only with traditional whiteboards but with virtual whiteboards as well. When using a traditional whiteboard this can be difficult to combat, especially when you rely on these contributions in order to keep moving forward. Transitioning to a virtual setting does not eliminate the issue either, and often people feel less compelled to participate online than they would in person. It is critical that you work hard to engage your entire team in order to get the most out of your collaboration.

Virtual whiteboards have taken this into consideration and have developed a way for people’s voices to be heard through the crowd. Most virtual whiteboards have an incognito feature, which allows everyone to collaborate without others being able to see their work. Where the strategy of clarifying expectations and goals is meant to narrow people’s ideas towards the goal, allowing people to make incognito contributions allows everyone to expand their minds and implement free thinking into collaboration. Everyone involved is able to think freely and contribute in that same ideal, and it allows people who normally struggle to get their ideas through to freely add and contribute.

Using incognito collaboration, even for a short period, may seem strange to some teams hoping to build successful brainstorming, but it really allowsd people to express themselves and collaborate freely. By creating an environment of free thinking and open collaboration, using incognito collaboration modes is a virtual whiteboard technique that is worth a try.

Exercise #4 → Be prepared for Follow Through

One of the most critical aspects of collaboration that virtual whiteboarding lacks is the ability to easily and quickly follow through to a workflow, template, or next steps. This isn’t as important to emphasize when whiteboarding in person because it is easy to quickly transition when you are in the same room collaborating with your team. Being in the same workspace allows you to quickly move from one workflow to another with your entire team present, and can even be just an extension of your collaboration session.

Image Source: Vantage Circle

When working virtually, however, transitioning your team to the next steps can be more cumbersome than it usually is in person, so it’s important to prepare for your follow-through in advance. Virtual whiteboards often grant the ability to pivot between templates easily or incorporate follow-through activities so that organizing your next steps becomes an inherent part of your brainstorming flow.

When you prioritize your next steps it also gives people a north star to guide their activity. Preparing your follow through allows people to know where they’re going after they finish the task at hand, which helps provide a holistic aspect to collaboration. Preparation on a virtual whiteboard is incredible easy too, so prioritizing this frequently can make it a seamless addition to your collaboration session.

Conclusion

These exercises and best practices should help you and your team collaborate freely and increase the productivity of your virtual whiteboarding sessions. Virtual whiteboards hold immense collaborative potential and by implementing these simple practices/exercises you can utilize them better than ever. Knowing how to best implement virtual whiteboards is critical when working remotely, and hopefully, this guide helps do just that.

###

This article was a guest post authored by Paul VanZandt, Founder at Fresco.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

Whiteboarding is a critical part of the brainstorming and innovation process. It serves as a tool to visualize, actualize, and realize the full potential of your ideas. With remote work opportunities taking hold across the country, whiteboarding has transitioned from a traditional collaobration activity to a popular digital blueprint. Virtual whiteboards have become inherent parts of the online workspace, and if you use them often, it’s important to understand some effective techniques.

In this article, we will outline some important exercises that help both provide direction to general brainstorming sessions and to specified virtual whiteboard instances. Whether you are using Fresco, Mural, or some other virtual whiteboard, these practices should help engage your team.

Exercises

Virtual whiteboards are shared workspaces that people operate through in order to collaborate from anywhere. They provide a ton of features that teams can use to increase the collaborative potential of their workspace. In order to maximize your collaborative potential, however, you need to properly implement exercises to engage your team. Below we will outline some practices you an implement with your team to get the most out of your virtual whiteboarding sessions.

Exercise #1 → Implement Structure

Providing structure is a key technique to maximize the use of virtual whiteboards, and thankfully, visual collaboration tools inherently emphasize structure as part of their program. It can be easy to overlook structure as an intrinsic part of whiteboarding, and because of this it’s even more important to take it into consideration.

There are multiple different ways you can implement structure on virtual whiteboards. They range from different teams operating side by side to using specific pre-made templates in order to guide your team’s collaboration. Not only are you able to use pre-made templates, but you can also create your own in order to fit the most unique scenarios. Implementing meaningful structure creates an environment of direction and creativity, and gives people solid guidelines to help focus their contributions. Especially when working virtually these markers are very important. By giving people guideposts to their collaboration you support the entire team’s ability to work together and focus on the task at hand, something that can get easily lost in virtual collaboration instances.

It may seem inherent, but taking the structure of your virtual whiteboarding instance into consideration helps your collaboration take on real meaning and align specifically with your values.

Exercise #2 → Clarify Goals and Expectations

It also might seem inherent to collaboration and brainstorming exercises, but virtually it can make a huge difference to emphasize the goals and values you’re reaching for. 

Often during traditional collaboration instances, especially if you are working with a core team very frequently, you can easily skip past basic things. Transitioning to a virtual space, however, changes how your team operates and understands each other. This means that the fundamentals can easily get lost when collaborating virtually. It’s even harder to keep everyone aligned and engaged when working on a virtual whiteboard, so emphasizing your teams specific goals and expectations is vital.

Making an active effort to attach all of your contributions to examples or overarching goals is a practice that centralizes people’s thought processes and keeps your team focused on the task at hand. Doing this by writing goals on your board to remind people of the tasks, or by connecting each idea or contribution to a possible goal helps people think hard about what they’re trying to accomplish and narrow their focus directly to this effort.

Clarifying goals, like implementing structure, is something that is so inherent to traditional collaboration that it could get lost in the scuffle of virtual whiteboards. Transitioning to a virtual workspace can be very difficult and you have to make sure to acknowledge all of the important aspects that make up your collaboration. Acvitvely engaging your goal with every contribution you make is a great way to do this and helps keep your team on track.

Exercise #3 → Incognito Collaboration

Collaboration in general can often rely on the contributions of the few rather than the many. This is a common issue not only with traditional whiteboards but with virtual whiteboards as well. When using a traditional whiteboard this can be difficult to combat, especially when you rely on these contributions in order to keep moving forward. Transitioning to a virtual setting does not eliminate the issue either, and often people feel less compelled to participate online than they would in person. It is critical that you work hard to engage your entire team in order to get the most out of your collaboration.

Virtual whiteboards have taken this into consideration and have developed a way for people’s voices to be heard through the crowd. Most virtual whiteboards have an incognito feature, which allows everyone to collaborate without others being able to see their work. Where the strategy of clarifying expectations and goals is meant to narrow people’s ideas towards the goal, allowing people to make incognito contributions allows everyone to expand their minds and implement free thinking into collaboration. Everyone involved is able to think freely and contribute in that same ideal, and it allows people who normally struggle to get their ideas through to freely add and contribute.

Using incognito collaboration, even for a short period, may seem strange to some teams hoping to build successful brainstorming, but it really allowsd people to express themselves and collaborate freely. By creating an environment of free thinking and open collaboration, using incognito collaboration modes is a virtual whiteboard technique that is worth a try.

Exercise #4 → Be prepared for Follow Through

One of the most critical aspects of collaboration that virtual whiteboarding lacks is the ability to easily and quickly follow through to a workflow, template, or next steps. This isn’t as important to emphasize when whiteboarding in person because it is easy to quickly transition when you are in the same room collaborating with your team. Being in the same workspace allows you to quickly move from one workflow to another with your entire team present, and can even be just an extension of your collaboration session.

Image Source: Vantage Circle

When working virtually, however, transitioning your team to the next steps can be more cumbersome than it usually is in person, so it’s important to prepare for your follow-through in advance. Virtual whiteboards often grant the ability to pivot between templates easily or incorporate follow-through activities so that organizing your next steps becomes an inherent part of your brainstorming flow.

When you prioritize your next steps it also gives people a north star to guide their activity. Preparing your follow through allows people to know where they’re going after they finish the task at hand, which helps provide a holistic aspect to collaboration. Preparation on a virtual whiteboard is incredible easy too, so prioritizing this frequently can make it a seamless addition to your collaboration session.

Conclusion

These exercises and best practices should help you and your team collaborate freely and increase the productivity of your virtual whiteboarding sessions. Virtual whiteboards hold immense collaborative potential and by implementing these simple practices/exercises you can utilize them better than ever. Knowing how to best implement virtual whiteboards is critical when working remotely, and hopefully, this guide helps do just that.

###

This article was a guest post authored by Paul VanZandt, Founder at Fresco.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo