The reason Virtual Brainstorming Is Better for Innovation


A brainstorming session is a fantastic opportunity to test new ideas. As a contributor on your own to brainstorming, you’ve likely been involved in several brainstorms and led your group as a new employee. In an area with your team, throw your ideas on the table and observe what can stick.

All levels of leaders use this strategy to foster creativity. However, over the last two years, since work has moved to remote locations, numerous managers have attempted to duplicate this experience online, employing traditional brainstorming techniques despite the need for proof that they yield positive outcomes.

The issue is, what is the best method to think more effectively about working from an environment that is remote or hybrid?

Fortunately, the answer to this question is “yes.” Extensive studies show that in terms of innovation, hybrid or remote teams can beat teams in person by adopting the best practices regarding collaboration and digital communication. However, according to my experience, even experienced and new leaders need help to adjust due to mistakes in judgment and mental biases, which cause them to ignore new ideas and instead opt for more traditional methods.

If you’re an executive in the ever-changing working environment, Do not be a victim of this trap. It’s time to acknowledge that traditional brainstorming sessions require overhauls. Let’s take the time to look at the things that aren’t working and the reasons behind them.

The Issue with Traditional Brainstorming

In-person the process of synchronous brainstorming is a popular method for innovation. It involves groups of up to eight people gathered in an area to think of innovative solutions to a selected issue. Research in the field of behavioral science defines the advantages of brainstorming with online brainstorming tools in two different ways.

  • Synergy ideas shared by one person may stimulate, motivate and spark thoughts in others.
  • Social facilitation: Collaborating to attain a common goal can encourage all group members.

These advantages, however, have their drawbacks. One of them could be producing blocking, which is used to describe a scenario in which someone has an innovative idea lost in the crowd because most people are focused on a different subject. This situation may be familiar to those who identify as introverts. Introverts tend to think more in quiet settings, either when they are alone or with another individual. Therefore, it can be difficult to disrupt the conversation and make their thoughts heard.

People who prefer optimism over pessimism could also have a difficult time here. The optimistic tend to process information verbally and spit-balling ideas quickly and easily. Conversely, pessimists typically process their thoughts internally. Before stating others, they may be compelled to consider and examine it for weaknesses.

Pessimists, and even younger employees, can be profoundly affected by anxiety about evaluating or fear of sharing their ideas due to fear of what colleagues will think of them. Even though they are instructed to discuss “off-the-wall” ideas in brainstorming sessions, many people are afraid of being considered out of place. We all know how difficult it is to overcome our inherent tendency to be viewed as out of line.

In the end, various research studies have shown that although traditional brainstorming can be a powerful instrument for improving team unity and collaboration, it’s less effective in generating creativity. Even more so, when we attempt to replicate a traditional brainstorming session on the internet, we forfeit all the energy and positive effects of meeting in person and also have all the disadvantages.

Create Way to Virtual Brainstorming

If you’re discouraged due to the research, don’t be. The fields of behavioral economics and study in psychology provide a similarly positive solution to virtual brainstorming.

A study that compared virtual and in-person brainstorming groups revealed that groups that met in person were more comfortable brainstorming and were more enjoyable engaging in it. However, the study showed that virtual groups generated more fantastic ideas. This is, of course, the primary purpose of brainstorming. Another study confirms the findings and states that the bigger the in-person group, the more innovative ideas per person, while the reverse is true for brainstorming in virtual environments. Similar research shows that virtual spaces provide an improved experience for the group while balancing the needs of introverts and extroverts, optimists and pessimists, and those with lower and higher status.

Ultimately, the virtual brainstorming method is more effective for creativity and people.