Remote design at IBM: best practices for facilitation

Written by 
Annelise Schoups
March 30, 2017
A mural template for cross team ideation

Like most large enterprises, IBM’s success relies heavily on teams spread all around the globe. More important, their success relies on the ability of these distributed to effectively collaborate as well as they would in person. They still demand highly productive remote design meetings, as well as workshops and sessions focused on Design Thinking.

Perhaps no one knows this better than Jordan Shade and Eric Morrow, design coaches and facilitators at IBM. Eric, who is also a certified LUMA instructor, and Jordan help teams around the world implement best practices to facilitate engaging and productive remote design sessions, and they recently shared their secrets with us.

Watch the full webinar below:

Or click the image below to get the MURAL template:

Remote Design Template

5 Ways to Facilitate Remote Design Sessions

In the webinar, Eric and Jordan explored the results of a prior workshop that helped them to determine the appropriate timing for a Design Thinking workshop, as well as a MURAL template they use to help other facilitators run Design Thinking activities during remote meetings and workshops.

Remote Design Tips

In order to be successful, Eric and Jordan recommend:

  1. PREPARATION. Structure your exercises in advance in MURAL. Create a template that maps out each step the group should take. This will give overall transparency to the activity, as participants can see where they are headed and how to get there.
  2. ENGAGEMENT. Engage all participants. Give a lot of heads-down exercises for people to do individually. Then, have them read out their thoughts so everyone gets a chance to contribute.
  3. DIGITAL TRANSITION. When working in person, do the last exercise of the session digitally in MURAL. This will allow you to have continuity and momentum after the session.
  4. INTENTIONAL CONSTRAINTS. Timebox exercises. Set a time limit for each exercise. You can always add more time if needed. Also put in timed breaks - about one per hour.
  5. OPTIMIZE DURATION. Plan shorter sessions. Participants’ ability to join remotely for long periods of time decreases with remote teams.

Design with Mural

Here are the slides from Jordan and Eric's presentation:

Facilitating Remote Design Thinking: IBM Webinar from MURAL

With the support of technology, we’re seeing more and more instances in which remote does not necessarily mean isolated. Distributed teams, like those at IBM, are proving that effective remote collaboration is not only possible, it is almost essential.

Get started with these best practices or visit MURAL to create your own template.



About the authors

About the authors

Annelise Schoups

Annelise Schoups

Annelise is a writer and wanderer, passionate about storytelling and the spread of honest information.

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