Just about driven crazy by rooms not optimized for visualization

But what this reflects is that people have not yet fully grasped the concept that a meeting room in which you cannot efficiently visualize (both on screen and by sticking things all over the walls) ddd dfkjdfkjdfkjdfsis simply not an effective meeting room in today's world. In a wacky way the Popes got onto this approach centuries ago. While in Rome I took the obligatory tour of the Vatican and was struck as I walked through the apartments of former Popes by how much they seemed to be into visualization. They squeezed paintings of biblical and historical scenes onto every last square inch of their walls and ceiling space! The best way to describe what's going on with the visuals in the Sistine Chapel is that it's 'busy'. One very cool corridor in the Vatican Museum was called the Gallery of Maps. It was painted in the 1580s and it was lined with massive paintings of maps of Italy and Europe - a sort of modern day Google Earth. They even had 'street view' type blow-ups of some of the towns. I presume the Popes wandered up and down with a billiard cue and pointed out towns of strategic importance in the various military campaigns that were run over the centuries.

But back to today's meetings! Meetings should be about two things - talking and visualizing that talk. The problem with talk on its own is that its just that - just talk - unless it's captured in some way. You get some lovely moments in meetings when the talk encapsulates vast amounts sophisticated strategic thinking. But the danger is that that those beautiful strategic insights just vaporize when people leave the roo



220px-0_Italie_-_Corse_-_Sardaigne_-_Galleria_delle_carte_geografiche


But what this reflects is that people have not yet fully grasped the concept that a meeting room in which you cannot efficiently visualize (both on screen and by sticking things all over the walls) is simply not an effective meeting room in today's world. In a wacky way the Popes got onto this approach centuries ago. While in Rome I took the obligatory tour of the Vatican and was struck as I walked through the apartments of former Popes by how much they seemed to be into visualization. They squeezed paintings of biblical and historical scenes onto every last square inch of their walls and ceiling space! The best way to describe what's going on with the visuals in the Sistine Chapel is that it's 'busy'. One very cool corridor in the Vatican Museum was called the Gallery of Maps. It was painted in the 1580s and it was lined with massive paintings of maps of Italy and Europe - a sort of modern day Google Earth. They even had 'street view' type blow-ups of some of the towns. I presume the Popes wandered up and down with a billiard cue and pointed out towns of strategic importance in the various military campaigns that were run over the centuries.

But back to today's meetings! Meetings should be about two things - talking and visualizing that talk. The problem with talk on its own is that its just that - just talk - unless it's captured in some way. You get some lovely moments in meetings when the talk encapsulates vast amounts sophisticated strategic thinking. But the danger is that that those beautiful strategic insights just vaporize when people leave the roo

In my view if you're not exploiting visualization to its maximum as your major representational tool when running meetings your living in last century. The whole thrust of the DoView approach is to push the visualization envelop out to its boundary and then some. The underlying philosophy is really simple - 'a picture's worth a thousand words'. But it's often a challenge to implement this in practice in the vast variety of meeting rooms we all end up working in. 

I always try to warn the people I'm going to work with that it's essential that the meeting room we use is optimized for visualization. Paradoxically the best set-up for this also happens to be the simplest. You just need a large white wall in the meeting room and you can throw your data projector onto a table and you're away. Having a 'short throw' projector also helps because it can generate a relatively large image on the wall without needing to be a long distance from it. From my point of view the scariest rooms are actually the most modern - one's with glass on all sides and flat screens. The screens are totally state-of-the-art but they deliver you just a fraction of the screen real estate you can get with a simple old data projector on a large wall.

I walked into a meeting room in Indonesia the other day when running some DoView training with the Indonesian Government and my heart sunk as I saw the size of the screen I had to work with. Fortunately the organizers had provided a number of datashows which we were planning to use for small group work. Because of their efficient IT people, we were able to daisy-chain these so that the same image could appear on three screens - hence everyone could cluster around one of these screens and see the DoView models we were building.

A week later I was in a room in Rome which was, as you would expect of anything in Italy, about the most tasteful and beautiful meeting room I've ever been in and fortunately the screen size this time was manageable. However the issue here was related to the beauty of the room! In addition to the data projected version of the DoView, we also needed to blue tac up a large-sized printed version of the whole DoView as we progressively built it. There were issues with one of the walls which we couldn't blue tac onto without it losing its paint. Again the support staff were great and we found a way around it. 

But what this reflects is that people have not yet fully grasped the concept that a meeting room in which you cannot efficiently visualize (both on screen and by sticking things all over the walls) is simply not an effective meeting room in today's world. In a wacky way the Popes got onto this approach centuries ago. While in Rome I took the obligatory tour of the Vatican and was struck as I walked through the apartments of former Popes by how much they seemed to be into visualization. They squeezed paintings of biblical and historical scenes onto every last square inch of their walls and ceiling space! The best way to describe what's going on with the visuals in the Sistine Chapel is that it's 'busy'. One very cool corridor in the Vatican Museum was called the Gallery of Maps. It was painted in the 1580s and it was lined with massive paintings of maps of Italy and Europe - a sort of modern day Google Earth. They even had 'street view' type blow-ups of some of the towns. I presume the Popes wandered up and down with a billiard cue and pointed out towns of strategic importance in the various military campaigns that were run over the centuries.

220px-0_Italie_-_Corse_-_Sardaigne_-_Galleria_delle_carte_geografiche

One of the maps from the Vatican Gallery of Maps (source Wikipedia)

But back to today's meetings! Meetings should be about two things - talking and visualizing that talk. The problem with talk on its own is that its just that - just talk - unless it's captured in some way. You get some lovely moments in meetings when the talk encapsulates vast amounts sophisticated strategic thinking. But the danger is that that those beautiful strategic insights just vaporize when people leave the room. 

The traditional approach has been to get someone to take notes in the meeting and then write them up as either Minutes or within plans or strategies of some sort. But the problem is that this fatally separates the process of thinking from the process representation of that thinking. The thinking comes out in the talk, but it's captured and represented in something that may take weeks to appear and which people no longer have the time or even the inclination to read. 

The DoView philosophy is to get what's in people's heads out of their heads and in real-time to get it up into a visual model that's taking shape on the wall in front of them at the same time as they speak. And it's essential that it's a visual model they can immediately start to manipulate and argue about. The visualization of the model is an integral part of the thinking process itself.  That's why DoView was specifically designed from the ground up as a real-time visualization tool for meetings rather than being drawing software. We were sick of the normal 'here's my slide of my diagram but you won't be able to read it' comment you get.

The standard modular page in DoView is optimized for all the text being readable in a normal sized room at the resolution of a normal data projector; DoView provides just enough options for the facilitator to be able to use it in real-time while still facilitating the meeting; there's no dramatic break between a presentation and editing mode which breaks the concentration of the participants as they create, and own, 'their' model on the wall. See here for more info on the difference between DoView and standard drawing software. 

So, obviously people like me who are obsessed with the power of visualization are going to be banging up against non-visually-optimized rooms for some time to come. But hopefully as more people get to experience the magic of real-time visualization while they are doing their thinking in the meeting room,  people who plan room design will get with the program and optimize meeting rooms for their visualization in addition to their talking function.