As a unit with distributed teams working in a Design Thinking mode, we needed to find a way to work collaboratively and creatively together, although not being in one location and time zone. And we found a solution: the Tele-Board! The Tele-Board is an electronic whiteboard that facilitates remote workshops for distributed teams.
Technical setup: The Tele-Board is the software that provides the electronic whiteboard. It runs in the cloud and all that everyone needs is a browser. Electronic post-it notes can also be created and sent to the whiteboard on a mobile device using a free app for Apple or Android devices. This gives participants the freedom to move around without being in front of the screen all the time.
Besides a conference call, it is worth setting up a video conference or using the web cam on your laptop to be able to see each other. For the Design Thinking remote D-Camp, I had 2 teams in the US connected with a Telepresence room which brought us virtually together at one table.
You can get an even better experience if you use one of the electronic physical boards that allows you to interact physically in front of a whiteboard. The physical board can be used to conduct any remote session more interactively by using it with any kind of software. More information see here.
My View: I personally used the Tele-Board in various workshops and projects, for example brainstorming workshops, virtual Design Thinking awareness sessions, or small end-to-end Design Thinking projects (2-5 days), virtual scrum meetings, virtual team meetings etc. The electronic whiteboard is the connecting element for everyone to concentrate on. Because it works so well, I even did a Design Thinking training (“D-Camp”) remotely with the Tele-Board.
The Tele-Board is now integrated in the openSAP Design Thinking course to better support the teams to work together virtually in a more visual and collaborative way.
Do you still use Powerpoint as a collaboration tool? With the Tele-Board, you actively involve your participants as co-creators instead of presenting something to them as consumers and this makes your virtual meeting more interactive, creative, as well as productive.
Are photos of brown paper and whiteboards your digital project documentation? In the Tele-Board, you always have a digital representation of your work without media gaps and can export this with a push of a button into Microsoft Word or Powerpoint for presentation purposes or create a mind map out of your topics. You also have the possibility to continuously work on something over a longer period of time as all your work is always available.
Is travel budget a restriction for you to come together in a workshop and create something collaboratively with a distributed team? The Tele-Board enables you to work synchronously across distances or asynchronously across different time zones on the same whiteboard.
Do you often use the coffee corner as a meeting room? With the Tele-Board, you have a fresh whiteboard available everywhere and any time, also in a coffee corner meeting or when working from home.
Would you like to work more visually without being a drawing expert? The Tele-Board gives you the possibility to work with post-its in different colors and can be used very flexibly for everything like collecting, clustering and structuring topics or ideas. You can use it in Design Thinking workshops as well as Scrum meetings, for brainstorming sessions, team meetings, concept creation or review meetings etc.