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The best way to develop new ideas at work

Adam Kingl, executive director of learning solutions at London Business School, has studied teams and consulted with managers at more than 120 companies, across a range of industries, from pharmaceuticals to retailing to banking. “When it comes to innovation or solving complex problems, virtual teams often get better and faster results,” he says. “And that is true whether you’re looking at teams in different office locations around the world, or teams that simply have some members telecommuting from home.”

The key, Kingl says, is to brainstorm using a technique some companies call an “idea jam.” Instead of a teleconference or conference call that brings everyone together (no matter what time zone they may be in), an idea jam poses a question or describes a problem and then gives the whole team a chance to weigh in online, typically over a 48-hour period, via a message board or chat room.

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