We always talk about death by Power Point but after leaving a great consultancy firm, every company after used Power Point as a habit.  I had to then look at how to get people to veer away from whipping out the laptop and projector.  I was no longer a consultant with brown paper to chart and put up ideas.

Why do we use Powerpoint?

It’s a habit!  Just like any habit it can be limiting if we always do things the same way, we may always think the same and get similar results.  If we change the material we use to one that is more collaborative and even the medium the results could be a significant competitive advantage.

The best tool I then found was my pen!

If you have been a parent, and you have given a pen to your 2 year old, you know they take it and start doodling away.  The thoughts start to translate to scribbles in a page.



It is the same for an adult.  Try it instead of whipping out your slides; take a few pens and a blank pad.  Ask open questions:

  • Take me through what’s going on now, what are the business challenges and hand them the pen you would be surprised at the outcome.

As they go through pay attention to their thought process, and build upon their ideas this collaboration can bring many different alternatives.

  • What do you think some of the solutions could be?
  • What are the barriers that you are seeing?
  • Who are the key players there?  What do you need from them? What makes them tick?  What would make them successful?  What do they need?


As they gothrough the solutions, challenges and stakeholders again build upon the doodle and start to connect the dots.

Paper does not have to be the only material that is used.  My daughter’s Krippe (nursery) group had a session at Starbucks where they gave out free ceramic mug and pens.


What about a different medium?

Don’t even let the main content of this blog restrict you.   The medium does not have to by physical.  After spending a weekend with a group of disabled children where we produced a play, I came back to work with the challenge of mapping processes in 6 weeks.  I decided to try a different way, and tested it out with stakeholders to produce films.  4 film studios produced 32 movies or what actually were processes, that mapped the steps, identified risks, solutions and engaged people in a typically dry process of SAP.  This weekend I am back at university for a seminar on leadership, and I am using movies as a medium to demonstrate values and leadership. Keep doodling.

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