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I just had a conversation with a client about an upcoming 2-day Open Space. The group is composed lots of high-powered executives. As my contact put it, "there are undoubtedly people in the group who haven't taken their own notes in 40 years."
The planners are envisioning having staff do the typing of session notes. In other words, convenors would, as always, be responsible for seeing that the notes are taken. Convenors would then hand them off to staff to type up after their sessions.
My instinct is to advise against this and invite these folks to take responsibility for seeing that the notes are entered themselves. My client is skeptical that any sessions would actually make it into the computers this way.
Has anyone dealt with this sort of issue? Any thoughts?
I have had the experience and you are RIGHT Peggy!!! Having SECRETARIES DO THE NOTES IS DISASTER. don't UNDERSTAND. can't FIND THE perpetrators, can't read the stuff. Further more typing it in is part of the experience. Real creativity takes place when you have a pile of notes and know that YOU have to do it all. It is called EDITING. Getting out the good stuff. I thought those sorts of dinosaurs died some time ago. Certainly should now. Strike a blow for freedom. Tell 'em to type their own stuff. Or if it isn't important enough to be included, forget it. Save everybody a lot of eye strain. Harrison Owen
Hi Peggy: I have had secretariestype up notes and find that the end result is not nearly as satisfying as when people do it themselves. I wouldnt classify them as disasters however, in my experience anyway... --ChrisCorrigan?
OK -- so I over-reacted. And truth to tell I guess I have never been as Draconian as described. But i do find the typing of reports to be a useful, contributory part of the process, not only by creating the record, but also in the process itself. Folks who type together stay together, or something like that. I have noticed great conversations happening at the computers, yielding wonderful new ideas that simply would not have appeared had not the "principals" been on duty, so to speak. There is also the "edit" function. When folks have to re-produce a mound of newsprint, they look for what is important. It is also for this reason that I avoid laptops in sessions (outside of the fact that they tend to go on walkabout). When a laptop is in the session there is an awful tendency to do a core dump -- garbage, side trips and all. Getting every word is beside the point, I think. Getting the essential ones is useful.
I am reminded of an OS I did with the Advisory Council of the AARP (American Association of Retired People). The average age had to be well over 80, and most of the folks (this was 10 years ago) had never been up close and personal with a computer. The staff was definitely worried about this typing business. And frankly so was I -- but I shouldn't have. Towards the end of the first day, I came into the NewsRoom? to discover this marvelous elderly lady at a machine. She had to be well over 85, and by the luck of the draw, she had posted THE ISSUE -- the real hot one, about which a lot had been said. And she was supposed to type it all? She was certainly trying! She held a magnifying glass in one hand in order to see the screen, and typed away with one finger. When I saw what she was doing, I felt more than a little ashamed of myself, and in fact offered to help -- something I would never do normally. She turned her head quickly in my direction and said firmly, "Young man, I will type my own report." I find this story useful when executive competence or ego is questioned in the matter of report preparation.