Ever since I started Ideasicle in 2010 I have been fascinated by the power of virtual ideation. My theory going in was that if I could give clients access to incredibly brilliant creative Experts working in teams then we’d pile on the value. I was right, to the testament of countless past clients. But what I now wondered is, to what extent does the virtual model itself have its own power independent of the Experts plugged into it?

To answer that question I tried an experiment with Ideasicle friend, Arnold Worldwide (and the last agency at which I worked before Ideasicle), to test the mettle of virtual. Arnold had an assignment from a client and wanted to not only put their creative department on it, but parallel path that creative development with Ideasicle, and with a twist. 

The twist being, we used the Ideasicle virtual model, but did not use Ideasicle’s Experts. Arnold instead wanted to tap talent across several different functions outside of Creative.


I managed the entire process from beginning to end like I would with any Ideasicle project. I on-boarded the team of four Arnoldites - coached them on what to expect, the rules of engagement (there aren’t many), etc. - and then prepared the written creative brief, created the video brief to kick off the session and monitored the ideation strategically while also contributing my own ideas (I can’t help myself).

All consistent with any typical Ideasicle project. But I was at the team’s mercy from there.

And the team did not disappoint. 

Within five days the Arnold team generated roughly fifty different ideas. We ended up presenting to the Arnold creative team sixteen of our favorites. None were entirely fleshed out, but expressed well enough to “get” the idea for further development. Of the sixteen, four ended up getting presented to the client. Not a bad hit rate.

Arnold Global CEO, Pam Hamlin said, of the experience

“We are always exploring new ways of working and approaches to generating great ideas quickly and efficiently. At Arnold, we believe creative thinking goes beyond the creative department, so we were excited to gather a small, smart, cross-capability team to partner with Will to test out Ideasicle’s virtual model. It was a really interesting opportunity, and one I think our people truly enjoyed.”

The success of this experiment proves that the virtual model itself has its own power independent of the Experts plugged into it. The model is time-deferred so participants can post ideas as they occur in real life and not only when behind a desk. Everyone is reduced to a typeface so no one is louder than the next. The teams can work together and build on each other's ideas no matter where they are physically. No meetings, just ideas. And it's just plain fun. Click here for a deeper dive on virtual's virtues.

The quality of ideas being most important, of course, it’s still worth noting that, according to our lead contact/client, New Business Director, Erin Moeller, the team at Arnold really enjoyed the virtual-ideation experience. Some quotes from the team:

“I loved the process - collaborative, fast and efficient!”


“Good way to get to good ideas without breaking for meetings.”


“With a traditional brainstorm, it’s a meeting and it ends and you stop thinking about it. With the virtual model we were thinking about ideas in all the in-between moments of our day and posting them on the fly.”


Despite virtual model, creativity is still a very human endeavor.

I happen to believe that the Ideasicle virtual model is the best way to tap into human potential in a concentrated way. And the more creative the people participating, the better the output. I have world-class creative talent at Ideasicle and that reality increases the odds of success for sure, and is entirely worth our full fare.

However, judging from this little experiment with Arnold, the model itself can be deployed quickly and more cheaply if you just add Experts.

Your own.

Now, who would you include in your team of four were you to deploy Ideasicle? Fun to think about, right? Email me tb


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