I tend to leave a trail of giant whiteboards wherever I go. The giant whiteboard is one of the most important instruments in an information firm.
Whiteboards are colorful and communicative. They’re democratic. Anybody can really get up, grab a marker, and really go at it. They’re raw.
They’re just awesome.
I use them to collaborate. I use them to present problems, solutions, and opportunities. The eraser is a memory hole. Any mistake, any exploration, any avenue is open and correctable.
Powerpoint. Ah yes, powerpoint.
Powerpoint is an awesome visual medium. It’s great in that it really doesn’t command anybody being presented at to do anything. People sit there and you point at them. Powerfully.
Powerpoint has uses. In context. It’s a very good presentation medium. It is not a collaborative medium. How could it possibly be a collaborative medium? The ending has already been determined. Any interruption by a presentee sets up a conflict between the presenter, who wants to complete what is a coherent sequence of thoughts, and the presentee – who usually wants to collaborate.
Meetings intended to solve a problem among multiple people with different points of view ought to be structured around a whiteboard. Meetings intended to present a complex idea ought to be structured around a presentation. This clear delineation is likely to really generate better results over time.
Someday, when I can really get away with it, I’ll tailor all presentations to a giant whiteboard or interactive VR.
In the meantime, that’s our reality.