10 Benefits of Online Problem Solving

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Can online problem solving be better than in-person? If you know what you're doing…

10 Benefits of Online Problem Solving

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Susan Robertson, CEO of Sharpen Innovation and instructor at Harvard, spoke at this year’s FourSight Forum for FourSight Certified Facilitators. She identified ten surprising ways that online problem solving can beat in-person, even in the best of times.

1. Get the right people in the “room"

Online meetings eliminate the geographic barrier of who can attend. That means you can bring the right people to the table, not just the people right next door. In this year’s Forum, we had people dialing in from the US, Ireland, Israel, UK, Belgium, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

2. Record the session

One FourSight facilitator in Australia slept through the event. No problem. We recorded this year’s Forum on Zoom without a videographer or a sound crew. We did it with the press of a button (and everyone’s permission).

3. More incubation time

In a live session, the brainstorming is over when the meeting is over. Research shows that creative thinking doesn’t work that way. Good ideas take time. Ideas often happen on the drive home, in the shower or on a walk. Robertson explains, “The time factor of how much time clients are willing to spend out of their own office in a workshop has always forced us to compress into as little time as possible which means no time is left for incubation.” These days, Robertson likes to schedule multiple shorter meetings over several days. “Now, you can have all the incubation time you want… I find that I like it better. The clients like it better.”


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You know you're a...

The 2020 FourSight Forum went virtual. Russ Schoen, Chief

Collaboration Officer at FourSight, hosted the activity

"You know you're a..." Here's what attendees came up with.


You know you are a high Clarifier when...

You say, "Wait, let me research that."

You ask, "What do you mean by the question?"

You can't stop asking questions.

Ideators drive you nuts.

You can't go deep enough.


You know you are a high Ideator when...

You can never find your keys.

You over commit. 

You smile when you ideate.

Clarifiers start rolling their eyes.

Can't stop, can't stop with the ideas.


You know you are a high Developer when...

Any inconsistencies bug you.

You have more than one sock drawer.

You have the energy to keep thinking of improvements.

You measure twice. 

You excel at grammar.


You know you are a high Implementer when...

You miss the instructions.

Your to-do list is 1 item long. 

It's already done.

Ready, fire, aim.

You make lists after you have done things just to check them off. 


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