September 22, 2022, Virtual Meeting | Remote Collaborative Workshops: Optimizing Creativity and Ideation When You’re Stuck Behind a Screen

Remote Collaborative Workshops: Optimizing Creativity and Ideation When You’re Stuck Behind a Screen

Collaborative workshops are central to Design Thinking and innovation practices. Workshops bring multi-disciplinary groups together for unique perspectives and support divergent thinking by allowing participants to think visually and build on each other’s ideas.

Of course, the global pandemic accelerated the need for many teams to conduct these sessions remotely. For better or worse, teams moved their in-person methods and protocols to the online environment. The good news is that there are some advantages to remote workshops. For example, online or asynchronous messaging in a workshop may make it easier for introverts to participate on a level playing field.

But, there are challenges as well. There are plenty of studies showing that remote work has its limitations, and this may impact the outcome of creative, collaborative working sessions. For example, what effect does not being able to see body language have on our ability to gauge reactions to an idea? If visual thinking is key to innovation, what is the implication of leveraging online tools versus good, old-fashioned tactile paper and pen, or whiteboard markers? How does screen fatigue affect our creativity? This presentation will take stock of our current collaborative ideation and workshop methods in the hybrid, remote environment we find ourselves in today.

The talk will explore the implications of moving in-person workshops online, present themes, best practices, and unique methods for remote Design Thinking activities. Heck, we might even try a little collaboration ourselves.


Michael Hawley

Michael Hawley

VP Experience Strategy & Research, Zero Degrees, Inc.
Adjunct Professor at Bentley University’s HFID program

Michael has spent the last 20+ years in UX, mostly as a consultant working with clients on their most strategic design initiatives. Michael is currently VP Experience Research and Strategy at ZeroDegrees, a nimble design studio that balances rigorous research with design to create beautiful, thoughtful digital experiences. Michael is an active member of the research and design management community, contributing as a speaker, author, and mentor.

Michael is based in the seacoast area of New Hampshire and was one of the founding members of the NHUXPA. He holds an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University and a BA from the University of Michigan. Outside work, you can find Michael in the mountains. Ask him about his recent experience thru-hiking the Long Trail of Vermont.


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