An astrolabe is relatively unknown in today’s world. But, at the time, in the 13th century, it was the gadget of the day. It was the world’s first popular computer. And it was a device that, in fact, is a model of the sky.
As technology progresses, and as it advances, many of us assume that these advances make us more intelligent, make us smarter and more connected to the world. And what I’d like to argue is that that’s not necessarily the case, as ‘progress’ is simply a word for change, and with change you gain something, but you also lose something.
The standard way to record a meeting is to list people’s names, the topics, and action items. The visual way is to doodle a rectangle (the table) populated by figures (the participants) sitting around the table with their comments as cartoon word balloons.
We are visual creatures. When you doodle an image that captures the essence of an idea, you not only remember it, but you also help other people understand and act on it – which is generally the point of meetings in the first place.
What is it about animation, graphics, illustrations, that create meaning? And this is an important question to ask and answer because the more we understand how the brain creates meaning, the better we can communicate, and, I also think, the better we can think and collaborate together.
Why take notes? The obvious reason is to remember. Visual note-taking translates what we hear into pictures that give context, color, and meaning. By adding symbols, visual metaphors, likenesses of people, and room layouts, we add several dimensions.