New evaluation technique “Effort/Benefit” available for IdeaClouds!

Are you a cost engineer wanting to evaluate ideas for cost savings? Do you work in a continuous improvement team wanting to prioritize ideas for improvement? With IdeaClouds, you now have a new evaluation technique to rate the efforts and benefits of your ideas together with your team.

Do your ideas have the potential for improvement or new products?

If you want to know whether your generated ideas have a high potential for improvement or new products, you should evaluate the effort to realize the idea and the benefit of the idea. This evaluation method is especially suitable for value analysts, continuous improvement process coordinators, and Agile teams.

The informative results chart enables you to the ideas your team should pursue further at a glance – ideas that can be implemented quickly, bringing great added value.

Speed up your decision-making process

With this appropriate evaluation method you will speed up your team’s decision making, saving endless discussions in your meetings.

You no longer need to use inappropriate scoring methods, such as points or thumbs-up, because such methods create a bias in the decision-making process.

How to use the “Effort/Benefit” evaluation method

When you create your workshop, you can select the “Effort/Benefit” evaluation method under “Advanced Workshop Settings”.

We hope our new template will be beneficial for your next retrospective session and enable you to receive added feedback from your team. 👍

Start workshops faster and simplify participation

Do you want to make a team decision quickly but do not have time to prepare the participants’ invitation beforehand? Do you want to brainstorm and prioritize tasks spontaneously in a meeting with your colleagues? This is now even easier with IdeaClouds.

You need to start the session and share the link with the participants via chat or email. Participants can join immediately – even without registration!

How to use the new feature to allow participants access to your workshop

In the workshop, click the icon in the left bottom corner to invite participants:

As a facilitator you can choose between three workshop access options that you can change at any time during the workshop:

1) Only invited users can join

This variant is suitable if you want full control and to grant access workshop access for certain users only. You enter the email address of each participant and click on “Send invitations”. IdeaClouds will invite all participants via email including a link to the workshop. In the invitation, participants who do not already have an IdeaClouds account will get the credentials for a free account.

Benefits:

  • You can manage access to your workshop in a controlled way.
  • Participants can identify each other by the name they entered as well as by their email address.
  • Participants can find the workshop under “My Workshops” in their IdeaClouds account and do not have to save or bookmark the workshop link separately.
  • Authorship information in the case of non-anonymous workshops is preserved provided the author’s account exists.

2) Registered users with a link can join

You can choose this option if you want to ensure that the participants are registered beforehand; for instance, when they are required to import results from other IdeaClouds sessions. Moreover, with this access type you can identify participants by their (validated) email addresses. You can simply share the link with the participants, e.g., via chat message, email, or calendar entry.

Benefits:

  • Where there are many potential participants in a workshop and most already have an IdeaClouds account, entering all their email addresses can be time consuming. This is no longer required using this type of access. All participants that do not yet have an account, need to register.
  • Participants can be identified by their email address.
  • For asynchronous participation: An infinite number of users can participate one after the other. Only simultaneous participation is limited depending on your license plan (e.g., up to 20 participants).
  • Authorship information in the case of non-anonymous workshops is preserved provided the author’s account exists.

3) Anyone with a link can join

If you choose this setting, anyone you send the link to via chat message, email, or calendar entry can join, even without an IdeaClouds account. All they need to do is enter their name. IdeaClouds can therefore be used spontaneously in any online meeting, e.g., for short brainstorming sessions and quick decision-making.

Benefits:

  • Participants do not need to register to participate.
  • The facilitator needs only to share the link, saving the effort of entering email addresses.
  • For asynchronous participation: An infinite number of users can participate one after the other. Only simultaneous participation is limited depending om your license plan (e.g., up to 20 participants).
  • Authorship information in case of non-anonymous workshops is cleaned up after 30 days to preserve privacy.

Note: This variant is not recommended for sessions that extend over several days or weeks, because unregistered participants are only temporarily created as users in IdeaClouds.

Start workshops faster thanks to a trimmed start page

The participant’s invitation has been moved within the workshop workspace. As a result, the workshop now starts with only one step. Within the workshop workspace, the moderator can change the workshop access rights at any time (see the three variants above). Start your workshop in only one step: “Enter topic” and start by “Create workshop”.

We hope our new access feature will be beneficial for your next meetings or workshops, producing better, faster results. 👍

New retrospective template released.

Are you a SCRUM master or a member of an agile team? Our new template helps you to conduct efficient retrospective sessions.

Templates based on facilitation cards vs. templates based on background images.

The new retrospective template is based on three facilitation cards, each of which assigned to a color category (Start, Stop or Continue):

The old retrospective template is deprecated and will be removed soon. It is based on a fixed background image with three graphical columns (positive feedback, suggestions for improvements, and other comments):

Drawbacks of templates based on background images:
  • The workspace in the columns is limited.
  • The template cannot be modified or customized as it is a fixed graphical background image. It cannot be used as a template for other retrospective methods.
  • The assignment of the idea cards to one of the three columns is purely graphical. The results, therefore, cannot be exported in data-based formats like Excel because otherwise the assignment will be lost.
Benefits of templates based on facilitation cards:
  • Facilitation cards can be moved around on the IdeaClouds workspace. This means that you are not restricted to one column when assigning the cards to a category. You can freely use the entire area of the workspace.
  • The template can be customized as it allows you to modify facilitation cards, colors, and categories. You can use this template as an example for other retrospective templates e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad.
  • The assignment is semantic instead of graphical: The assignment to a category is based on data (category and color). These results can be exported in data-based formats like Excel.
How to start a retrospective meeting:
  1. Go to Start new workshop page.
  2. Enter topic, e.g. retrospective meeting.
  3. Click on the Next button.
  4. Open Advanced workshop settings.
  5. Choose teamwork technique Retrospective.
  6. Start workshop.
Create idea cards and assign them to a category:
  1. Double-click on the IdeaClouds workspace to create a new idea card.
  2. Enter your idea and a title.
  3. Assign the card to the corresponding category:

Something else you should know:

The new template is just an example of how to use a retrospective method with IdeaClouds. You can use your own customized retrospective method instead.

Just edit the default facilitation cards and categories to switch to another retrospective method e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad. Open the category menu and click on the pen icon to edit the categories:

We hope our new template will be beneficial for your next retrospective session and you will receive more feedback from your team. 👍

New “Permissions” feature released!

There are currently two permissions that you can use as a facilitator (more permissions will follow!): Lock facilitation cards and Block card creation.

When should you use permissions?

Who hasn’t experienced this scenario: As a facilitator, you laboriously prepare a template on the IdeaClouds workspace. The facilitation cards are arranged to your liking, and then the participants enter the workshop. Everything gets mixed up: The participants move the cards and write ideas on them.

After the brainstorming part of the workshop, the facilitator asks the participants to come to an end and to stop creating any more ideas. However, there is always one participant who continues to work, dragging out the meeting unnecessarily.

Benefits of Lock facilitation cards permission:
  • Facilitators can keep the facilitation cards arranged on the IdeaClouds workspace by preventing the participants from mixing up the cards.
  • Because participants cannot move the facilitation cards, they do not have to worry about accidentally destroying the arrangement of the facilitation cards.
Benefits of Block card creation permission:
  • Facilitators can stop the work of participants to adhere to the meeting time schedule, or if enough contributions have already been collected, to bring the team brainstorming to an end.
  • Participants can more easily keep to the allocated meeting time. No one is embarrassed by being a latecomer.

How to lock and unlock facilitation cards:

Facilitation cards are locked by default. Only the facilitators can lock and unlock the facilitation cards on the workspace. Proceed as follows if you want to unlock facilitation cards:

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Lock facilitation cards button.
  3. All facilitation cards are now unlocked for participants.
  4. To lock the facilitation cards again, click on the same button.

If the facilitation cards are locked, the participants cannot drag or edit them. A notification will appear if a participant tries to modify a locked facilitation card:

How to block card creation:

Only the facilitator can block card creation.

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Block card creation button.
  3. Participants can now not create new idea cards.
  4. To allow card creation again, click on the same button.

If card creation is blocked, the participants cannot create new idea cards on the workspace. A notification will appear if a participant tries to create new idea cards:

We trust these features will be useful for your next IdeaClouds facilitation. Happy brainstorming! 🙂

New “Open workshops” feature released!

We have released a new feature for our digital workshop tool (IdeaClouds) – open workshops! This new functionality is not just about access; it enables totally new use cases and improves your digital workshop experience!

When should you use them?

We recommend using open workshops if one or more of the following scenarios apply:

  • You do not know precisely who within a larger audience (e.g. communities, the public) will join your workshop
  • There is a high number of potential participants, but you know that only a fraction of them will attend.
  • You need to create a workshop quickly (e.g. during a web conference).
  • You are interested in working with more than the allowed number of participants asynchronously (e.g. to increase the audience for the evaluation of cards).
  • Strict restrictions for access to certain participants are not necessary.
  • The participants already have IdeaClouds accounts or can join via Single-Sign-On (SSO).

How do you start an open workshop?

You can enable open workshops on the start page while configuring your workshop. All you need to do is sliding the first option in the “Participants” section:

Open workshop setting in IdeaClouds

By choosing this option, you will no longer need to enter the email addresses of the participants.

After starting the workshop, you can copy and paste the link from your browser address bar and send it to the participants of your workshop via email, chat, or through a calendar entry! All registered IdeaClouds users will be able to access the workshop through this link.

How do you work in open workshops?

For facilitators:

  • You can free seats by removing participants that are currently online by clicking on the “X” icon on the avatar of the participant.
  • You will only be able see whether participants have completed their task while they are in the workshop.
  • As you may know, because of “social loafing” and awareness issues, only a limited number of participants are permitted to work synchronously in the same workshop. This number depends on your license plan. Now, with open workshops, there is no limit to asynchronous participation.

For participants:

  • Unlike private workshops, open workshops only allow you to see the avatar of the facilitator and of participants that are currently online.
  • IdeaClouds tells you when the limit for simultaneous participants for the open workshop has been reached. In this case, you would not be able to access the workshop. You would need to try accessing it later or asking the facilitator to free one or more seats (see above).

Something else you should know.

  • As you won’t be entering any email addresses, you will personally need to send the browser link via mailing list, calendar entry, chat, or other means.
  • For enterprise users: since the workshop is open within your platform, all registered users of your platform will have access to it. If your platform has additional access rules (e.g. IP or domain restrictions), those will still apply.

Future teaching of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship

Both society and the economy are going through a substantial period of change, which is driven mainly by digital transformation, globalization, new working paradigms, and the global demand for sustainable business models.

These changes will influence the success factors of future innovations and, in turn, may require different skills, technologies, and methodologies to drive them.

In the Erasmus+ EU project VISION, a consortium consisting of partners in innovation, research, and industry will envision the future of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship (CIE). As a result, they will investigate which aspects related to CIE will be critical in the future.

What will the requirements be for fostering innovation in organizations?
How will technology influence learning formats?
What skills will be more, or less, in demand in the future?
What will be the interplay between IT/machines and humans? What can educators derive from this new distribution of work?

  • What will the requirements be for fostering innovation in organizations?
  • How will technology influence learning formats?
  • What skills will be more, or less, in demand in the future?
  • How will IT/machines and humans interact? What can educators derive from this new distribution of work?

These questions, along with many more, will be tackled by more than 120 innovation experts worldwide during the project. Most importantly, they will contribute to the co-creation of a possible future scenario and propose possible impacts on future education.

In the future, educators can make use of new devices and technology to teach CIE.
In the future, educators can make use of new devices and technology to teach CIE.

The VISION project consortium:

The VISION project partners are located in various EU countries; as a result, they rely on digital collaboration. Therefore, we at Perceptos also contribute to the project by providing our digital workshop platform IdeaClouds, and facilitation services for the co-creation, development, and consolidation of the future vision of CIE.

Activities of VISION will be shared on the project web page, webinars, podcasts, and social media, as well as at on-site conferences, e.g., ISPIM.

If you want to get involved in helping to create the vision of future education for CIE , join us!

Project Number: 612537-EPP-1-2019-1-SI-EPPKA2-KA
Project Duration: January 2020 – December 2021

Meetings am Standort China trotz Coronavirus?

Der Umgang mit dem in China entdeckten Coronavirus bestimmt längst auch den Arbeitsalltag in vielen Unternehmen. Unternehmen stoppen Geschäftsreisen nach China und empfehlen die Arbeit im Home-Office, um die Ansteckungsgefahr für ihre Mitarbeiter zu reduzieren.

Meetings fallen wegen Ansteckungsgefahr aus.

Meetings vor Ort sind dadurch nicht mehr möglich. Sie fallen aus oder müssen virtuell durchgeführt werden – für einen noch unbestimmten Zeitraum (es ist noch nicht absehbar, wann und wie die Kontrolle über das Virus erlangt werden kann).

Das bedeutet, dass Kolleginnen und Kollegen der Standorte in China nicht oder nur sehr eingeschränkt in Meetings zur Ideengenerierung, Problemlösung und Prozessoptimierung einbezogen werden können. Dadurch fehlt deren Input und Expertise. Ergebnisse werden nicht rechtzeitig oder nicht in der gewünschten Qualität abgeliefert. Projekte verzögern sich und zusätzliche Kosten entstehen.

Wir möchten Sie gerne dabei unterstützen, trotz dieser Umstände die gewünschten Ergebnisse im Team zu erzielen – ohne dafür nach China reisen oder das Home-Office verlassen zu müssen.

Unsere Lösung IdeaClouds verwandelt Ihre (Web-)Meetings in “digitale Workshops”. Sie können standortübergreifend auf einem Online-Whiteboard zusammenarbeiten und schneller Ergebnisse erzielen als mit Skype, Webex und Co.

Retrospektive-Meeting mit IdeaClouds

Wenn Sie möchten, können wir Ihren Anwendungsfall gemeinsam in einem kostenlosen Online-Workshop ausprobieren (max. 1h).

Schreiben Sie uns einfach eine kurze E-Mail: workshop@ideaclouds.net

How talking kills your web meetings

“Hello? Hello? Is someone there? I can hear you! Can you hear me? No? Yes? Are you speaking?”

This is how most web or phone meetings usually start. There is probably no worse setting than a web conference to explore different solutions to a challenge. Why?

  • Some participants cannot enter the conference for technical reasons.
  • Most of the participants lean back and do other things instead of focusing on the meeting.
  • Some participants speak all the time, while others are reluctant to speak.
  • The results of the meeting are often very poor since only a few participants can actively contribute.
Web meetings become ineffective if people talk too much instead of focusing on idea generation.

There are certain experts out there, who always emphasize the need for communication during teamwork. While in some situations a lively conversation may be beneficial, talking is the main killer of web meetings, especially when they take place online through web conferences.

These experts (“I’ve facilitated millions of workshops; I know what I’m doing.”) are sometimes more interested in selling their facilitation services than achieving results. However, research in the 1980s has already shown that oral brainstorming is very ineffective (e.g. Diehl and Strobe [1]).

The major reason for this was identified as a type of process loss called production blocking. Production blocking occurs when several participants want to talk and contribute at the same time but cannot do so because someone else is speaking. Researchers have demonstrated that this process loss accounts for a very high percentage of the performance variance in brainstorming meetings. In effect, participants block each other out when expressing their ideas through voice.

Furthermore, other side effects of voice communication such as dominance, pressure, and fear of criticism are responsible for a significant decrease in team performance during brainstorming and idea-generation meetings.

We at perceptos collected a vast number of journal and conferences articles about those effects. In addition, we conducted our own similar studies during our research at the Technical University of Munich, which confirm the previous findings.

To summarize:

  • Excessive talking kills the performance of your web meetings. Avoid communication overhead (unnecessary chatter). Only speak when necessary, such as when you need explanations.
  • Use methods other than voice to brainstorm. Paper or dedicated brainstorming tools both outperform, by far, the popular group discussion method for idea generation.
  • If neither pen nor brainstorming tools are available (which is unlikely), let people work alone first and then collect and sort the ideas at the end of the meeting. Even that is better than talking, according to research. [2]

Try these suggestions out with your team at your next meeting and save yourself the cost of external facilitators!

References

[1] Diehl, Michael & Stroebe, Wolfgang. (1987). Productivity Loss In Brainstorming Groups: Toward the Solution of a Riddle. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53. 497-509. 

[2] Gallupe, R. Brent et al. (1991) Unblocking brainstorms. The Journal of applied psychology 76 1. 137-42 .