In a Virgin blog Take note, it’s time to take notes Richard Branson claims that note taking is one of his favorite pastimes. Says Branson, “I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas (or more importantly, other people’s) as soon as they came to me. Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments – if we hadn’t opened our notebooks, they would never have happened.” Sir Richard plainly adds that “If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room.”
Collecting ideas during a meeting
I concur. Personally, I wouldn’t know how to keep track of all the ideas that come up during the many meetings in which I participate – except for taking notes. And I’ve learnt it the hard way, because – as Richard Branson states – there are so many opportunities to forget new ideas once you step out of the meeting room.
Admittedly, it does require some discipline to take notes during meetings (which may explain that I have seen less people doing it over the years). Especially if you want to have the information easily searchable afterwards, note taking isn’t all that obvious. But with the advent of note taking apps such as Evernote and OneNote, it has become easier for me – at least when it comes to organizing the ideas I collect during meetings.
Working on a meeting’s live handouts
But I’ve always felt something is still missing with that. Whether you like a PowerPoint presentation or not, the fact is: a good presentation provides you with an excellent framework to which you can add notes and ideas. I’ve therefore always had the idea it would be so nice to directly add notes to what I like to call “a meeting’s live handouts”.
I used to do something similar in the past, adding remarks to paper handouts I received during a meeting. And I’ve always liked that, because it gives so much more value to both the handouts and the notes. It’s one of these things that I consider to be in the “One plus one equals three” league (even if I’ve struggled quite a few times to find back my paper notes).
So many people struggled with this
Now the problem with this has always been it’s very rare to get paper handouts upfront. And in those cases where I did get them upfront, they proved to be mostly outdated even before the meeting started. That’s why I’ve always secretly dreamt of a solution that allows me to work directly on any meeting’s live handouts, and enrich it with the ideas that are developed and shared during the meeting.
I wouldn’t bring this up if I were the only living person struggling with these issues. In fact, a lot of the people with whom I have been in meetings are convinced that presentation contents and personal notes would have so much more value to them if they could be combined into easy to manage digital content.