29. May 2020

Wanted: Inspiring collaborative remote workshops

Are you suffering from "Zoom-Fatigue", too? Not being able to gather physically with people is, for me, a tremendous loss in life. I find it extremely re-energizing when people engage together, creating a social space that allows them to expand and transform insights, perspectives and experiences. Each time I am fascinated again what energy can unfold when people collectively think together in one room. Particularly in a business context, when a group gathers for more than a day, and the number of participants goes above 15. So, what is needed to create a virtual space that inspires such a spirit? is a question that moves me, as we face increasingly distributed and remote workforces.

Is it possible to transfer the relational and collaborative experiences of a 2-day management retreat in the virtual space? How to build trust among participants, collaboration and co-creation, collective thinking and learning – without physical touch?

The most useful advice I have found so far stems from design thinkers: the UX community. For example, I came across this charming and inspiring guide for what to consider when planning a remote collaborative workshop. It describes the main shortcomings when interacting in a virtual space and consequently how to prepare, run and follow up a remote workshop that aims for a collaborative experience. It includes how to create an environment of safety and trust among participants and how to spice up your session with little creative interventions that keep people engaged. For example, ask people to sketch their ideas with pens and paper and let them hold it up to the camera, or deliver them the coffee break snack that they would enjoy in a physical workshop to their home. Not surprisingly, it’s all about thorough preparation.

And what’s your advice? What’s your advice and experience in creating large group virtual collaborative settings that go beyond conference settings? Please feel welcome to share!

Dr. Eva Bilhuber
Dr. Eva Bilhuber
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