I’ve always loved to sketch at work, either on the whiteboard, or my preference on an A3 pad around a table. The A3 pad is perfect, because it’s large enough for complex diagrams and unlike a whiteboard infinitely scalable, or at least as scalable as the size of the table. I’m renowned for always grabbing a stack of A3 paper whenever I have a meeting, but it’s not always been this way.
Back in the earliest days of Tablets (10 years ago) I had a TC1000 Tablet from Compaq (now HP), soon replaced by a TC1100 and it was a wonderful device, in many ways unequalled today. It was small and light and came with a pen and Wacom Digitiser, which allowed me to sketch on it. It was easy to generate many pages of sketches and switch between them and display them on a big screen with a projector. At about the same size of the iPad for sketching the pen made it vastly superior. Nothing comes close today, current Wacom equipped Tablets are either too large or small or don’t have the right mix of software.
I’m still looking for a small, light, A4 sized Wacom equipped Tablet, but until I find one, I’ll continue to enjoy the free flow and exchange of ideas that paper delivers. I’m amazed it’s taken us so long to get back to where we were all those years ago.
I had the opportunity to put my love of sketching into action today as Mark and I were together at Preston, working our way through a good stack of paper as we sketched out the shape of the next version of our organisation and some of the key roles within it. Paper allowed us to both develop ideas in parallel and easily reference previous ideas as we spread the sheets out in front of us. To get this same capability electronically would have cost several thousand pounds and required a dedicated room, not an arbitrary table. A quick snap of the smartphone camera allowed us to archive and share our work.
One of my favourite things about sketching is the ability to very rapidly try out lots of ways of communicating a complex or difficult to understand concept, most of course are rubbish, but normally I can quickly iterate to something that’s worth capturing in PowerPoint. Without this rapid prototyping I’s spend 2-3 times longer.
It’s a great way to work, but it still left me completely exhausted, sore and too tired to drive, but I’d parked down by the river again so I got to take a relaxing walk, stopped at Caffe Nero for a bit of time relaxing before the final half of the walk to the car.