Technology continues to change how colleagues interact with each other. It is difficult to establish whether technological advancement has boosted team performance but one area has proven to have become more effective and that is ‘online brainstorming’. Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, has written an interesting article on this topic, published by Harvard Business Review.

Studies show that more high-quality ideas are generated in online sessions and that creative performance is increased by almost 50 %. Thomas Chamorrow-Premuzic gives three advantages of virtual brainstorming.

First, virtual brainstorming eliminates the process of dominant participants overshadowing modest participants. It also allows for many more participants to contribute ideas, whereas in traditional brainstorming any group larger than 6 tends to limit the value of the brainstorming.

Second, virtual brainstorming can be conducted based on anonymity and this means that ideas are judged more objectively. In traditional sessions, the process is biased and decisions are usually driven by a few powerful individuals. Politics do not feature when ideas are rated anonymously and without knowledge of the author.

Third, virtual sessions can increase the diversity of ideas. By preventing participants from being exposed to one another’s ideas during the idea-generation phase, virtual brainstorming encourages participants to offer a wider variety of ideas. It also provides an archive of ideas for the team to weigh in on later.

Janet Poot