One of the things I tend to miss most when I’m conducting an ideation workshop remotely is the ability to really easily sketch out an idea and show it to a teammate. If your remote team has been dealing with the same issue, there are four ways that you can start sharing sketches in your remote ideation workshop. The option that’s going to work best for your team depends on how often your team likes to sketch and how high your budget is. The first option and the cheapest is to just simply have your team sketching on physical paper and then holding it up to their webcam to share it with the rest of the team. This is a zero cost option and it also works really well if your team is frequently and unpredictably wanting to show sketches. I don’t have to open any other software other than my video conferencing software. I don’t need any other devices or materials other than paper and a pen. One downside, however, is that the quality is usually pretty low. Even if you have a recent MacBook like I do, you may still only have 720 P. This may only work well if you have your teammates doing rough sketches with a thick marker. This isn’t best for showing little details in the sketch. The second option is to have your teammates snap a photo of the sketch with their smartphone and then share it with the rest of the team via messaging app or slack. This is another no cost option since teammates probably already have a smartphone, the resolution will certainly be better than your webcam. But the downside here is that this approach does take 10 to 30 seconds each time. That won’t be a big problem if you aren’t sharing a lot of sketches in the ideation workshop. But if you are, a lot of these interruptions will start to get annoying.
A third option is to have each person have a document camera connected to their computer.
If you’re using a video conferencing tool like Zoom, you can easily switch the camera input from your webcam to the document camera. And then everyone in the workshop can see what you’re sketching as you draw it. It’s pretty seamless and not interruptive. The downside here is price. This is one of the less expensive document cameras available and the resolution and quality isn’t great. However, I’d say it’s good enough for sharing sketches. These document cameras often run upwards of one hundred dollars US. So price is definitely something to consider, since you might want to make sure that every team member has one of these. Finally, a fourth option is the most expensive. Each teammate has a tablet and a stylus for sketching. This approach will produce the cleanest, highest resolution sketches for sharing. There are lots of apps available for sketching. My favorite is procreate. It has this great smoothing feature which can clean up your sketches. If you like me, are not a natural artist. You might find that there isn’t just one solution that works best for everyone.
For example, maybe some of my teammates already have a tablet and stylus to use. Maybe I just need to send a document camera to a few of my teammates who don’t already have a tablet and who don’t need one for the rest of the work. Make sure to factor in how your team likes to eat together and how often you like to sketch and show each other those sketches when you’re making this choice.