Remote Workers June 9, 2020

6 systems that increase creativity in remote teams

Stefan Palios @StefanAllDay

Hey folks!

For my newsletter Remotely Inclined, I interview remote business leaders / executives. I've also interviewed over 250 entrepreneurs as a freelance journalist, and remote work has been a huge topic lately for obvious reasons.

One big issue I notice repeatedly coming up in my conversations is creativity when remote. It seems most remote entrepreneurs agree remote work is better for nearly everything... except collaboration and creativity.

In response, I just published this article: 6 Systems That Increase Creativity On Remote Teams.

I'll share the TLDR here, but there's a lot more context in the article if you want to try any of the systems in your organization (don't worry -- content is free).


System 1: Communication Triage

Key: Have single-use tools for different forms of communication - one for urgent work, one for non-urgent work, and one for social communication

System 2: Compass Calibration

Key: Every week, reiterate the company goals and how each department / team / project rolls up into and supports overall company mission, vision, and values, so the entire team feels connected to the mission and has the chance to clarify any misunderstandings.

System 3: The Golden Rule

Key: Don't have more than 6-7 decision makers in a meeting. If you need to get more feedback / perspectives, send a survey out before the meeting to capture opinions and send notes out after the meeting (or share the zoom recording).

System 4: Brainstorm, Homework, Brainstorm (BHB)

Key: Long video brainstorming meetings are exhausting. Instead, send agenda ahead of time, have a shorter brainstorming meeting, have everyone on the team think about the content + add ideas on their own time, and then reconvene to have the "second half" of your brainstorming meeting.

System 5: Key Issues Approach (KIA)

Key: Weekly, have everyone in the team share:

  • Blockers
  • Higlights
  • Lowlights
  • What's next

In the meeting, only talk about blockers and what's next, with a focus on unblocking issues and preparing a runway for what's next. Keep the highlights and lowlights written (in a Slack thread, for instance) -- it can be used for 1:1's later.

System 6: Humanity in Creativity

Key: People are not just employees, but people. Encourage emotional check ins, sharing non-work stories, and sharing the 'why' behind ideas (which often reveal something about how someone thinks or about their life experiences).

That's the TLDR, I hope it helps. The full step-by-step for each system is in the article: 6 Systems That Increase Creativity On Remote Teams