If you thought that the sudden imperative in March 2020 to foster collaboration among remote individuals was challenging, just wait. Hybrid meetings, where some individuals are together (and expecting in-person dynamics) and others are remote (and absolutely needing virtual ways to engage) are even more challenging to make successful.

In our decade-plus in business, Brainzooming clients have requested that we facilitate strategy and innovation collaborations with in-person participants and others joining through phones, video conferences, a laptop computer moved around the room, and a robot navigated by the remote participant.

Hybrid collaboration setting

They all posed challenges for everyone. The main reason? None of these options offered a common platform for all participants to engage in the same way. While extended reality tools emerge all the time, they are still out of reach for most business collaborations.

Figuring out the right, readily accessible platform for hybrid collaboration is vital immediately. While our previous advice to clients was to avoid hybrid meetings because of the difficulties, that’s not practical now. Statistics and surveys show that remote work jumped from 10 percent to 50 percent of workers during the pandemic. Expectations are that 25 percent of workers will work remote permanently, with more working away from centralized offices on a part-time basis. This makes productive hybrid collaboration a mainstay for strategic and innovative success.

3 Keys for Developing Successful Hybrid Collaborations

What’s critical to making hybrid interactions engaging and productive? Here are three important elements:

  • A collaboration platform that puts participants on equal footing, disadvantaging neither remote nor in-person participants
  • A way for everyone to gain real-time visibility to the most important inputs and perspectives shared within the collaboration activities
  • Follow-up time for everyone to review, edit, and add to the individual and collective input on their own time

Designing Cross-Platform Activities

Within a hybrid collaborative meeting, there are other possibilities to vary activities for each group of participants:

  • Have in-person and remote participants collaborate separately. The key is for each group to address activities of equal importance and impact that are independent of the other group’s simultaneous contributions.
  • Create structure for the two groups to work in sequence. When the in-person and remote groups complete their work, the other group works with the output.
  • Provide a common format for each team to share overviews of work product. This helps strengthen understanding and the collaboration experience.

Yes, hybrid strategy meetings are possible. It’s crucial to address the extra thinking, planning, and coordination needed to make them productive and fun, ASAP.

A Proven, Ready-to-Go Hybrid Collaboration Option

We designed the Blast! online experience to address the challenges of hybrid meetings. Blast! is a facilitated collaboration where Brainzooming does everything to create the agenda, exercises, and structures that level the playing field for in-person and remote participants.

Based on your objectives, we can customize multiple Blast! experiences to move you through your entire strategic planning, innovation, or change management processes in a hybrid setting.

If you are focused and speed is vital, we offer standard, pre-tested Blast! events that are ready as fast as you are. Up to fifteen participants can easily collaborate and generate hundreds of possibilities within thirty minutes no matter where they are.

Blast! ensures that your most important meetings are engaging, successful, and results driven. Let’s chat about your collaboration challenges and ideas for accelerating strategy and innovation for your organization! – Mike Brown

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