For me, as a school teacher, I started with chalk boards. I had at one time a room with chalkboards that went around 1/2 the walls. The kids in my class would always accuse me of trying to fill the boards. I wasn’t but I often managed to fill them all the way around. Why? Ideas flow when you are standing in front of a chalkboard or whiteboard. I have a great IoT/CPS device. Automated whiteboard capture, the Whiteboard as a Service. Walk into the room and the whiteboard prompts you- do you want to save my content!
I have used the “eBeam” and other electronic boards over the years. They are all interesting. Recently however with the explosion of low cost small projectors and the release of the iPad pro and the Surface Book (and Surface Hub) I’ve begun wondering. You see the change occurred about 5 years ago. The explosion of online meetings changed not only how people interact with whiteboards but also the flexibility of the whiteboard itself.
Now I can interact with people virtually anywhere in the world. I am not limited by the reality of a physical whiteboard. First off I can as I have for the past few years make my whiteboard electronic. But I as now have the option to not even use the wall based whiteboard. I can use the iPad or the Surface as my meeting device.
Whiteboards have a natural limit. You can one, two and sometimes with larger ones three people writing on the whiteboard at once. With an online meeting all people presenting can interact with the virtual whiteboard. The sharing process becomes bra doer. You still have limits (who can draw and who can watch) but everyone can step up to the whiteboard and share ideas.
Back in 2005 one of my very first blog posts was a poem about meetings. I talked about dancing bears with colored pens. The reality of a whiteboard and a meeting is whomever has the pen has the floor. The meeting is dominated by that person. I can tell you I worked with people that would dominate the entire hour and we would end up stuck on the first item on the agenda. Then once that happened the entire meeting would be captured. Normally a few notes and a picture of the whiteboard.
With live meetings or web meetings you now have the option to record, to actually solve two problems at once. You play the web meeting back to the dancing bear so they hear how little they let other people talk. You also play back the meeting so that there is no potential “I didn’t say that.”
Beyond that the other side is that the whiteboard remains always digital. Now sharing is a lot easier. If you miss a meeting you can replay it. You don’t have to stand in front of a whiteboard and ask 4090 questions about what does that mean? Why is the number 42 circled? Why are Jim’s name and Bob’s name on the board? Did they get detention?
There was a great device several years ago that allowed you to have a more interactive meeting. One to many was easier with that device in the middle of the conference table. Now, with the iPad and Surface as tools the one to many to one meeting becomes much easier.
My next push is for people to stop putting 200 words on a slide. If you have more than 10 words, its not a slide it’s a whitepaper. Talk to the graphic not words.