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).

You can enable an open workshop during your workshop. All you need to do is to open the “Access to workshop” menu via the “Invitation” button on the workspace bottom left:

How to enable an open workshop

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

You can copy and paste the link 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

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!


[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 .