New Way of Working – Key Insights from a global ideation campaign

At the onset of the COVID-19 situation, we decided to engage clients, friends, associates, and anyone else that was interested in large online ideation to understanding more about what is needed to work online and to find an early indication of what might be or become the new normal. We wanted to find a new way of working

We decided to launch the ideation a New Way of Working using our network, our platform for ideation, and our methodology. It is run 100% online.

In situations like this, there is no manual or training program, so it makes sense to use an explorative approach. We have to investigate and engage as many people as possible in that work. Ideation techniques, especially open ideation, is a way to engage a large group of people in the development of a solution. By getting insights and ideas from a large diverse group, the end result can be a lot more impactful and less intuitive than what a singel problem solver or small group could come up with. Ideation is often depicted as a funnel where we start with many ideas that are killed one after the other until one great idea remains. In real situations, that is not how it actually works. The process is actually nonlinear!

New Way of Working is a showcase for what can be done using ideation and nonlinear thinking to get real insights around how to find a new way of working. The invited audience interacts with a WordPress front end (linked to our ideation platform) and leaves ideas that later are used in an online hackathon format. In New Way of Working we have specifically asked the participants for their best advice around working from home. New Ways of working really showcases how ideation works in a real situation where we do not know everything, and where the process is highly nonlinear by nature.

For New Ways of Working we started out the ideation with four themes based on desk research and some qualified guesses based on the limited experience we had from lock-down situations. The themes were: Remote Management, Home Office, Collaboration and Adapting Process.

After having the first flow of ideas to the system it has become clear that the major themes for New Way Of Working are not those four. Using clustering across all four areas it becomes clear that the problem space of New Ways of working is better described using three other themes or “clusters”. The three clusters are Managing yourself, Managing your team, and technical advice for video interaction. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense, but we were not able to foresee these themes when we started the ideation. This is part of what we call non-linear ideation. One could imagine starting ideation without the four original areas. That will, however, broaden the scope of ideation too much and it will also make it hard for people to ideate (= leave ideas) or even worse, have them leave ideas far outside of the scope of what we are looking for. A situation like that can easily create false expectations for what can be achieved. Constraining the area of ideation is typically a necessity if we want to get a good idea flow, and by doing that ideas will fall into or outside defined buckets, and clustering can start reimaging what you are really looking for.

In upcoming blog posts we will elaborate more on how to use ideation to solve real and hard business problems. We will also look at which problems to focus on and how to make ideation truly work (key: it is not just the tool).

Below are some tidbits and information around the three new clusters from ways of working. More to come here later. Please jump into New Way of working and continue to explore and drive the non-linear process with us.

New way of working insight 1: Managing Yourself

  • An interesting idea around managing yourself comes from Martin Hoffmitz, you can read it here and comment or leave more ideas.
  • One way of interacting and expanding is to also look for adjacent insight such as input from a real expert on managing yourself when isolated from the world comes from an Astronaut – read the article here.
  • For a real deep dive into best practice, HBR has a bundled book to really dig deep into the art of self-motivation.

At the end of the day, this is the inspiration and the path is still not known, we simply do not know what lock-downs do to us. Maybe you can find some ideas from documentaries and experiences of prisoners of war, or from criminal history. Who knows? It is your creativeness and explorative mind we need.

New way of working insight 2: Manage your team

  • On the team management side, there are a number of interesting ideas, some self-learned in the initial few days of the crisis, here from Leonardo Oliviera.
  • For a real deep dive, HBR released this free article not too long ago, read it here.

But again, this is old news and we are in a new situation. Maybe you should have a look at the movie Up in The Air for best practice on how to fire someone online?  Sounds scary and crazy, yes – but it is outside the existing normal we will find clues for the new normal. Thought provocative and extreme will lead to new paths.

Call to action

Join us in the first online hackathon in cracking the nut on how to find new way of working.

Go to and comment, rank and/or leave your ideas.

Tips from the coach

Use the following playbook for creativity when you react to the questions and the ideas in New Way of working.