[LINK] Environment department used 30 sheets of paper per person per day

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Wed Jan 28 09:34:50 AEDT 2009

On 28/01/2009, at 9:06 AM, Jon Seymour wrote:

>> Why are you
>> printing out papers for meetings, when everyone has a netbook
>> computer and the meeting room is electronically equipped?

My daily work involves bringing people together to do just what you  
describe above (and thus avoiding the use of paper).

For the first time in three years, a new client made a request that  
I've never heard before: please bring your meeting technology, and  
show *visible evidence* that you have a backup system which can work  
if the computers fail (i.e. butcher's paper). Since the collaborative  
systems that I use has never failed, it was a most unusual request,  
and surprising given our record in delivering such services. As  
expected, the paper that I brought to the event was left unused.

However, paperless meetings are not always possible (though we find  
that they are almost all of the time) - we get a small and  
undiminishing amount of resistance from those who prefer to have paper  
to scribble on, or refer to as the meeting or event progresses.

There is something more visually compelling about an idea scrawled on  
paper and passed around manually which doesn't always work in the  
digital realm. Granted, there is an equally compelling case for the  
opposite (where an idea added to a collaborative digital system is  
shared across screens), but the beauty of the pen and paper method is  
that it is more readily distributed to a select group, and is more  
easily digested by some.

In my experience, an ideal meeting would involve everyone present (or  
virtually present) having two laptops (not notebooks - screens not big  
enough) each, and using one for the meeting system, and the other for  
reference material - and a system which would allow them all to share  
either screen with others, or to at least share the reference screen  
with whoever they choose. Each laptop would need to have a screen of  
A4 size, and as sharp and as bright as an A4 sheet of paper, and each  
would be touch-assisted, and with an external keyboard for typing.

But back to the main issue: it's clear that the paperless office will  
never exist, but how we choose to make best use of what is available  
will dictate how we work.


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