These last few months, we’ve conducted more remote workshops than ever before. We understand that in-person workshops generate more ideas on average than those conducted online, and from experience, we’ve found that those ideas are generally more original and creative when implemented in the same physical space.
People are more likely to pay attention and participate in in-person meetings, and as a facilitator, having everyone in the same place is considerably easier to manage and move forward. However, this past year has forced us all to change the way we think about workshopping.
But should we also consider the long-term? For a moment, imagine that there is no pandemic. While the in-person workshops may never be completely matched, today’s digital meeting and collaboration tools have made it possible to replicate an experience that is 100% online.
Tools and Onboarding ?️
A big part of taking our workshops remote has been selecting from the many digital collaboration tools available. From the get-go, we recognised the importance of understanding which technologies are available to us and the value of selecting the right tools for our needs.
Our Chosen Tool Set
Seemingly everybody’s online video conferencing tool of choice! With a rising number of people working remotely, Zoom has become a staple software on many devices.
To us, Miro felt the most natural and easiest whiteboarding tool to onboard clients. Miro’s many templates also make collaborating much more efficient. From both a participant and a facilitation standpoint, it contains pretty much everything we need, straight out of the box.
Basecamp is incredibly user friendly, and much easier to communicate versus conventional emails. There are quite literally hundreds of project management tools on the market, but we’ve settled on the one that we feel covers all bases.
However, as intuitive as these tools are, there is still a learning curve. What traditionally makes workshops so appealing is how easy it is for anyone to take part. Therefore we’ve restructured our workshop onboarding exercises in order to consider varying user technical ability, to create a familiarity with our chosen tools and to ensure that technical frustrations and impromptu setbacks don’t put a dent into the rhythm and flow of our sessions.
We’ve found that an inclusive, pre-planned onboarding can make our clients feel more valued and is usually the best way to gain their full confidence. Onboarding is vital, regardless of whether we’re conducting workshops remotely or in-person, but a structured remote onboarding in particular, we feel is the key to acclimating our clients comfortably into their roles and establishing a team that is committed to the success of the workshop.
Partnering With More People Than Ever ?
Remote workshopping has enabled us to greatly expand our client reach. We’re now conducting workshops with clients all over the world, because we’ve polished our online workshopping processes to the point that our clients have absolute confidence in their effectiveness.
Logistically, remote workshops are far more scalable and substantially cheaper for all involved. Research shows that digital collaboration tools such as Mural or Miro saved companies more than 70% on travel to in-person workshops in 2018, totalling over $16M. So, it’s fair to assume that even before we were thrust into a pandemic, the industry was already looking to the future.
Looking Ahead ?
As we enter the New Year we’re hoping that we can, at some point, resume normal service and continue to deliver in-person workshops. However, there’s no denying that remote workshops are very much part of who we are as a company moving forward.
With tools such as Miro at our disposal, there is no imposed structure. Workspaces have an infinite, empty canvas on which participants can truly explore their creativity. We’ve found that remote workshops can enable as much creative freedom as in-person workshops, and indeed, freedoms that in-person workshops just don’t have.
We’re always learning from our experiences here at PixelTree and are passionate about evolving and adapting our processes to suit our client needs and making the “new normal” work for you.
To give you a flavour of what the future of remote workshopping at PixelTree looks like, we’ll be taking our Usabilitree event online in the coming months. We’ll shortly be hosting a webinar that celebrates virtual collaboration and provides you with the insight you need to ideate and conceptualise faster than ever before!