In June last year I smugly posted of my exploits late at night when we didn't have the energy to write up a settlement agreement - I whipped out my camera phone and emailed a photo of the completed board to all at the table as a record of where we got to - yeah I know, risky - but needs must, and it worked.
Well, if you need proof that 12 months is a long time on the net, take a look at a free service called scanR - it's tailor made for mediators and facilitators and anyone else working with groups.
At the conclusion of a long facilitation day recently I sat there and copied down the (non electronic) whiteboard and took the flip chart paper back to my desk where I laboriously produced a Word doc that I then emailed to the group for refinement of their ideas and comment. It probably took me 3 hours easy.
If I had known about scanR I would have taken pictures of the whiteboard and the butchers paper and sent those to scanR from my camera phone, in my case a Treo.
Seconds later I would have received an email with copies of my images in PDF format for me to send to the group.
Why not just take a photo and send that like I did last year? Why bother scanning it to scanR and getting back a .pdf?
Well, a photo of text is hard to read as the quality is poor and printing them wastes a lot of ink because the background of the whiteboard gets printed along with the drawings - just look at the example below.
And probably more important - making a Word doc of the board after a brainstorming session is time consuming and it looses the emotive quality that a faithful copy keeps. Plus, I'm not good enough in Word to do wiring diagrams etc - all I can do is text so a lot is missed on a typical brainstorming board.