Innovations: Creatively on the move with the Mural IT tool

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Virtual exchange can also be fruitful and offers good opportunities to share ideas or experiences. The online tool Mural was used to show what is possible.

The fact that successful and creative collaboration is possible virtually, even in times of pandemic, was demonstrated by the exchange of experiences "Innovation: using the IT tool Mural to exploit the opportunities of digital collaboration for creativity" on 9 March 2021. This online event was mainly attended by innovation managers and representatives from management and HR. According to a survey conducted during the event, most participants have not yet used the Mural software. However, many hope that it will provide impetus for the virtual exchange of ideas and expect the focused work on various issues to result in a more efficient exchange than is the case with face-to-face events.

Normally, innovation workshops thrive on the active exchange of ideas among the participants. For example, separate creativity rooms are set up in companies to promote the creativity of individuals using a wide variety of tools. In addition, face-to-face workshops offer the advantage of being able to exchange ideas more easily verbally and to come up with new ideas while "chatting" in the coffee corner or having a snack together during the workshop break.

Implementing virtual exchanges successfully

Nevertheless, virtual exchanges can also be fruitful. As in a face-to-face workshop, the IT tool Mural can be used to exchange ideas by "sticking" Post-its and then prioritizing them. Beyond these basics of idea exchange, further templates can be integrated to further intensify the exchange of experiences. Depending on the IT tool used, various "templates" are already integrated into the program. In order to contribute to the emergence of new ideas, own templates can be integrated in Mural - or comparable IT tools - for example. In contrast to face-to-face events, it is easier to integrate - planned or spontaneous - illustrations, sketches or films.

Online creativity: pros and cons

Virtual meetings can also lead to cooperation between groups that would otherwise not have met within the framework of a presence event due to a lack of physical proximity or other reasons.According to one participant, such meetings can help to overcome "silos" and facilitate the exchange of ideas across departments. On the other hand, according to another participant, the humour that may be conducive to creative exchanges is not as present in virtual meetings. One participant stated that a possible further obstacle to the company-wide or cross-company dissemination of such software could be the lack of acceptance or even aversion to an online tool. As a result, only IT-savvy participants would participate in the exchange of ideas.

When using software, care must always be taken to ensure that data security is guaranteed and complies with European directives. In this context, the country in which the server is located also plays a role. This must be checked especially in the case of sensitive data. Conclusion: Depending on the software and the general conditions, the exchange of information on really innovative topics should possibly take place in the classical rather than virtual format again.

Organizer

The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by the VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).