Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The rapid spread of COVID -19 is forcing governments around the world to shut down shops, restaurants, parks and bars, and in many countries, to place millions of citizens on lockdown until further notice. And with that, working from home has become the new normal for many offices across the globe. "With face-to-face interactions now increasingly difficult, and unlikely to be possible in the same way even after we get over the current crisis, we’re challenged to discover and utilize new ways of working" says Kal Joffres, Advisor, Strategic Innovation at UNDP.

At the Green Commodities Community, a global initiative of the UNDP Green Commodities Programme and the Good Growth Partnership to connect commodity practitioners and provide a safe space for them to share their knowledge and experience, we've been working for years to make virtual workshops, webinars and online sessions as engaging and participatory as possible.

Do you want to know more about how we run highly engaging online meetings? The secret of a successful online meeting is to create frequent opportunities for meaningful engagement, and reward attentive participation. Learn more about how to achieve this in our Green Commodities Community Online Meetings Knowledge Base and Virtual Productions Teams guidelines, two comprehensive sets of instructions on how to run effective online meetings and the production team you need to put together to succeed.

You can also watch here (only available with a UNDP sign-in) the recording of a short 1.5-hour workshop on taking workshops and conferences online with Kal Joffres, who teaches Design Across Borders at Stanford’s, a class on doing co-design and human-centred design with globally distributed teams, and Simon Cooper, Global Communications Lead for the UNDP Green Commodities Programme. If time is an issue, watch this short 12-minute interview instead:


Interview with Kal Joffres on Effective Online Meetings


These are our most recommended tools to conduct workshops and conferences online and doing co-design and human-centred design with colleagues around the world:

Zoom (the app includes polling, breakout rooms, and webinar features that you can enable from the Advanced Settings).
Mural and Miro for online collaboration. You can also conduct some of the same activities by editing PowerPoint slides together in Office 365 or Google Slides. 
Mentimeter, Kahoot!, and Slido for audience quizzes, word clouds, etc.

Learn more about the Green Commodoties Community here, and contact Simon Cooper at [email protected] or Matias Ferreira at [email protected] if you need more information or advice on how to make the most of your time and work online.