Blog / Appropriate Technology

My end product is a 3-ring binder with a 4 (printed) page word document consisting of 3 columns – and about 100 pages of printed and highlighted text as reference material.  Very old school – and it took longer to produce than electronic drag-and-drop.  Along the way, I used my laptop, a calculator, the printer, a hole punch, and a highlighter. I printed each page and walked to the printer and back to my office to put it in my binder. Most of my younger colleagues will be rolling their eyes by now, and I have to confess that I thought I had lost the lessons of the past decade about office automation and using technology to eliminate mundane tasks.With the task complete, I have taken the time reflect on why I instinctively used the old ways to compile my notes. It has very little to do with technology and everything to do with thought and careful selection. With a 1 inch binder as my final storage media, I was forced think what documents told the story I wanted to tell. The act of printing, hole-punching, and placing in the binder allowed me time to consider each selection.  The act of highlighting key phrases helped to confirm my choice. I even shredded a few and chose a few others.

The tendency with electronic storage is to use it indiscriminately. Why do we take a 1000 holiday pictures? Simply because we can of course. Without question, an electronic equivalent of my presentation would contain 5 times the number of documents. But I doubt there would be any more relevant information; just more noise. There is wisdom in the phrase Less is More.

And when it comes time to attend the meeting, I just have to open my binder; no power cords, no laptop login, no USB sticks, and no corrupt files.

I’m all for using technology to streamline business operations and increase accuracy. But there are times when technology becomes an impediment.  So, I suggest some thought before embarking on your next business assignment; consider the advantages of all available methods.Now, with a few glue sticks and a pair of scissors …


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