How To Inspire Creative Breakthroughs via Online Collaborations

Online Collaborations

As online collaborations work continues to become the norm for the average office worker, a creative agency has to ask: how do you keep the creative solutions flowing? As meetings move from boardrooms to video calls, keeping the collaboration spirit fueled is hard. People tend to work best when face-to-face, so what practices can achieve a creative breakthrough? 

Creative breakthroughs aren’t impossible to achieve with online collaboration, but it does require more mindfulness. Here are some techniques a creative agency could employ to keep the creativity flowing. 

Combine Convergent and Divergent Brainstorming

When the creative team is in its brainstorming phase, there’s plenty of ideas tossed around. Whether you’re brainstorming a rollout, how to grow your business, or what the next product should be, there are two different ways your ideas can come out: convergently and divergently. 

In convergent thinking, ideas are working towards a central point. One member of the team might suggest an improvement for your client-capture model. Another team member processes hones that idea into an actionable step for the team to take. As the conversation continues, the team comes up with a plan to solve their problem. 

Meanwhile, divergent thinking is when ideas spread out across a selection of possibilities. One team member suggests that you improve the client-capture model, and then everyone else starts suggesting the different solutions. By the time the brainstorming session is done, you have multiple avenues to solve your problem. 

Encouraging convergent and divergent thinking allows a team to work together on a problem and explore ways that the problem can be solved. Ask the team to come up with other ways to solve problems if they get fixated on one solution. Likewise, reign them in if the team gets lost in possibilities. A balance of these two approaches is more likely to lead to the best outcome. 

Embrace Tension to Improve Ideas

While it may not seem like it, creative collaborations require some tension. The tension happens naturally as the thinking patterns mentioned earlier play out. 

As the team tries to transition from divergent to convergent thinking, they will have to decide which possibility to explore. Conversations about efficiency, effectiveness, and so forth will happen before a decision is finalized. This kind of tension should be encouraged. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should be looking to have the team argue all the time. Too much tension can lead to toxicity and resentment. So, it will fall to the team leader to come up with some way to balance this tension with some method to keep the conversation going. Whether this comes down to the team leader making a final call, asking team members to simmer down, or some other resolution will be up to the team leader and the project on hand. 

Create Projects Everyone Participates In

Online collaborations will require some crosstalk between departments. The marketing team might have a great idea to get a message out, but the technical team might not believe the message is accurate about the product or service. Communication between the departments in a company is essential in an online setting. 

To facilitate this communication, some companies have collaborative projects that different teams work on together. Newsletters, blogs, and social media posts are common choices for these projects. Projects that stay internal to the company, like company email blasts, are another great way to get teams talking. 

These kinds of projects require not only that different teams work together, but also report what they find to other parts of the company. By letting different teams know what’s going on, the chance for collaborations increases. Motivated team members can reach out to others and get conversations rolling. Overall, it could lead to the next big project. 

Have the Right Tools for Your Creative Agency

The tools are important for all parts of a business, but this is especially true for online collaboration. To make sure that teams communicate and work at the level they want to, it’s important to integrate online collaborations platforms. In other words, the tools each team uses need to talk to one another. 

If a marketing team works in their silo and has no way to share with the technical or customer service folks, then the marketing team has no way of knowing if what they are making is true or worthwhile. 

The tools will vary from business to business. It comes down to the managers and team leaders to ensure that information and conversation flows. They need to do so with the people and the online tools they use. 


The key to inspiring creative solutions when working online is mindfulness. There’s a lot in face-to-face conversations that we take for granted that don’t translate as well into an online platform. Team leaders and managers have to make sure that they encourage collaborations and teamwork to keep folks from isolating themselves into their online silos.