For those of you that have seen the walls of my office space, the first thing you will probably notice are my Post-it Self-Stick Wall Pads with numerous ideas and diagrams (some clear and some still in “ideavelopment”). Now I am not talking about your run of the mill 3M Post-it notes here (although I am a big fan of the 4×6 variety for brainstorming exercises and story cards). A few years ago, 3M released self stick 20×23 wall pads. They work just like your typical post-it notes in that they stick to everything fairly well without leaving any residue or bleed through. They go nicely hand in hand with my other favourite office product the Sharpie (as someone with a pretty large racing autograph collection, never ever trust a non-Sharpie – the cost savings is just not worth the loss in quality).
If you are looking for a non-technical improvement on the traditional white board, I highly recommend Post-it® Self-Stick Wall Pads.
Now, back to the wall pads. What really makes these wall pads so great is the relative ease of turning any wall (or surface) into an accessible writing environment. No longer are you limited to a fixed location white board or clunky flip chart stands (yeah even the ones on wheels). Due to their removable and re-mountable nature, the work that gets mapped out on them can easily become a very convenient take away for later review and/or converted into a more tech friendly media (e.g. sharepoint document, visio diagram, onenote document).
I have enjoyed numerous brainstorming sessions where we put up a wall pad and started mapping out our problems and ideas in free form. If we hit a block, we kept the pad on the wall for future inspiration. If we decided we went down the wrong path, a new wall pad took its place. When the idea was flushed out, the pad went on its merry way to become an implemented concept. If we got inspired on an unrelated topic, another pad came up to collect the parking lot items. When others would join in the fray, the pad would get moved to a space more accessible to those participating. The pad almost becomes the initial embodiment of the idea and sometimes you need that physical presences to tell you something can be real for it to get to the next level.
As much as technology has improved our day to day capabilities and significant access to information, I find that these wall pads are a reminder that not all technology has been able to provide the tactile solutions that we sometimes still yearn for. As much as the Kindle is an improvement on ebooks (I used to read my books using my iPaq and MSReader), a good solid book in your hands seems to be the tactile experience that make reading a book so enjoyable. As much as I love the convenient access to my diverse MP3 collection via my various technical gadgets, sometimes all I want is to hear the pop of the needle hitting an old 33.
Even though I can do all my brainstorming and group sessions using OneNote (especially if it is synced with SharePoint), sometimes the best solution is simply a good pen and a good piece of paper. Sometimes it is what is being written down that is most important, not the technology that stores and transmits it. Some of the best technical solutions and ideas have evolved from notes on a bar napkin. I choose to have my napkins slightly bigger and easily mounted on my wall. Until the tactile nature of technology is further enhanced, we will still struggle in our ellectronic collaborative spaces. Here is to flexible e-paper being interconnected with OneNote or a Wiki in the future.Recommended Links: