Working virtually has become increasingly common over the past several years, but especially since the start of the pandemic. Suddenly businesses have been forced to figure out how to foster effective, dynamic, creative collaboration over virtual platforms. Navigating the many technology tools out there, and figuring out how to use them with your team can be a challenge. Here are a few examples of tools that can support your collaboration efforts. These virtual collaboration tools can increase productivity and also foster a healthy work culture.
GroupMap is an online brainstorming tool for meetings, workshops, conferences, classrooms, and events. It captures individual thinking first and then reveals the group perspective, all in real-time.
The GroupMap workflow starts with various templates. For example, you can choose from SWOT analysis, the Ansoff matrix, and group mind mapping. It then facilitates effective discussions with even more options! These include breakout sessions, polling, anonymity settings, and time limits on providing feedback. Next, it helps the team narrow down to the best ideas through group participation of rating, voting, scoring, etc. Finally, it shares the outcomes through creative reports, which can be downloaded in several formats.
GroupMap has a 14-day free trial, after which you can choose between a $20/mnth or $60/mnth option. The difference between the two is the number of participants and the level of support from the GroupMap team. They also provide a custom option for organizations that need more.
Mural is a digital workspace designed specifically for visual collaboration. Similar to GroupMap, they have templates for brainstorming and ideation, meetings and workshops, strategy and planning, design research and analysis, and client engagements. Mural provides flexible features, allowing for customization within the platform.
You can read more in this blog about our own experience with Mural, where we used it during our work with the Manitoba Government Department of Agriculture and Resource Development.
There is quite a range with Mural. You can choose from:
- a free version that has the basics;
- a $10/mnth version that includes unlimited murals, privacy controls, and in-app chat and email support;
- an $18/mnth option that adds on integrations, guided onboarding, and
- a flexible membership model; and then a bespoke option for larger or more complex setups.
3. Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere allows you to capture feedback instantly during virtual meetings, classes, workshops, or events. This feedback can be captured through multiple-choice, open-ended, or yes/no questions. The results are ready in real-time and can be shared immediately with the participants in the form of charts, graphs, word clouds, etc.
We have used Poll Everywhere in several client workshops ranging in size from 5 participants to 20, most recently for one of our clients in Africa, Villgro Africa. It was a great way to receive, organize, and communicate responses from their team quickly and clearly.
We used Poll Everywhere’s word cloud feature with our client A Different Booklist Cultural Centre to help brainstorm the brand’s personality traits. The more times a word is submitted, the larger it gets, so it was a great way to visualize the traits the team thought best represented the company.
This platform allows you to incorporate information-gathering tools into existing presentation decks and results in actionable team insights. You can also send survey links in advance if the questions require more thought.
Poll Everywhere offers an option for a free version, with a maximum audience size of 25. The paid versions range from $12 to $84 per month (billed annually) and allow a max audience of 700, provide higher levels of support, and include more customized reporting.
Kahoot! is an interactive platform that aims to invite participation from all attendees of a workshop or meeting. It can be used for trainings, events, and presentations and is designed to naturally give everyone a voice. One of its primary goals is to build relationships between co-workers, whether they work remotely or in the office.
This platform became quite popular in the early days of the pandemic for providing games that could be enjoyed virtually with a group as a replacement for in-person gatherings. Although their “Kahoot! at work” platform has a clean, professional look, it also has a slightly more playful feel.
Kahoot! has four different options, ranging from $17 to $59 per month, with each level allowing more flexibility in terms of the number of participants, customization, and group management tools. They are in the process of launching a premium offer that will go live in January 2022.
It is safe to say we are all looking for ways to spice up our Zoom meetings and enable effective and fun collaboration as we kick off the 2022 work year! Hope that this list of cool tools helps your collaboration efforts. What are some of the virtual collaboration tools that you are using to drive your collab efforts?