A Path to Make the Lackluster Brainstorming Zoom Meetings Happier, more Productive and Rewarding

Zoom For Joy!

‘Who among us has not experienced a Zoom grid of awkward silence during a virtual brainstorm?’

‘A survey of 20,000 creatives suggests brainstorming is a giant waste of time’

As noted in today’s Quartz at Work Brief*, ‘Some experts believe that open-ended, idea-gathering meetings are better done virtually, but that isn’t exactly conclusive given the various distractions associated with working remotely. Who among us has not experienced a Zoom grid of awkward silence during a virtual brainstorm?

Dylan Field, the co-founder and CEO of Figma, says the answers lie in playfulness and clarity. “I think that when we’re in a state of play, we’re able to think more creatively, which often improves whatever work we’re doing,” says Field. More on this a bit later.

Photo: Amazon UK

‘For me, playfulness has been a sort of stress relief, pushing the limits of good sense.’

‘In this strange in-between time, half in, half out of lockdown, I now realise that cultivating a sense of the absurd might be crucial to weathering the uncertainty of the weeks and months to come. Silliness does not have to deny the gravity of the situation – but it can help you get through it.’

For now, lest we forget, I must say that I, for one, am in total agreement with Field. I had noted this, not long ago in a posting, In praise of the spirit of playfulness and silliness’

Then, in an earlier posting, In Praise of Laughter and Joy in these Dark and Uncertain Times' I had noted the wondrous physical and emotional benefits of letting go, being a bit silly and playful in all we do.

‘Laughter,’ theologian Karl Barth reminded us, ‘is the closest thing to the grace of God.’

‘Laughter has optimism embedded in it. It allows us to see that, while we are all human and we fail, we can change’ 

Now, reverting back to Field and his company’s tool, Figjam, which combines a multiplayer game mentality with a pared-down interface that evens the playing field for designers and non-designers alike.

FigJam is meant to be a brainstorm tool, a freeform place for teams to just hang out and try stuff together. Image: Figma

Not another brainstorming meeting.

‘Despite mounting evidence suggesting the futility of crowdsourcing creativity, the impulse to gather a team to kick around ideas remains an unassailable corporate ritual. Some experts believe that these types of open-ended meetings are better done virtually, but that isn’t exactly conclusive given the various distractions associated with working remotely. Who among us has not experienced a Zoom grid of awkward silence during a virtual brainstorm?

Figma, the developer of accessible, web-based design software, contends that there have been two key ingredients missing from typical brainstorming sessions: playfulness and parity. Its new virtual whiteboard, called Figjam, comes with interactive features designed to bring these elements back to meetings.

Dylan Field, the company’s co-founder and CEO, says he saw the clamor for a whiteboard tool came after watching Figma users hack their software to create their own collaboration spaces. Because Figma embraces the “multi-player” ethos, where several parties can create a design together on the fly, it already had built-in communication channels for remote teams to collaborate easily…’- Continue to read

*Today’s news: May 28, 2021

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Given what we have noted above, I believe it is very useful and helpful to recall and remember the GCGI Values:

The Values of the GCGI which we hold very dearly

We value caring and kindness                                 

We value passion and positive energy

We value service and volunteerism

We value simplicity and humility

We value trust, openness, and transparency

We value values-led education

We value harmony with nature

We value non-violent conflict resolution

We value interfaith, inter-civilisational and intergenerational dialogue

We value teamwork and collaboration

We value challenge and excellence

We value fun and play

We value curiosity and innovation

We value health and wellbeing

We value a sense of adventure

We value people, communities and cultures

We value friendship, cooperation and responsibility

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