Ossifying Ourselves with Diversity and Variety

Mark McDonald from Accenture used the phrase “ossifying ourselves with diversity and variety“ during his presentation at Fusion2015.

Ossifying: To become set in a rigidly conventional pattern.

I had one of these experiences at the conference. My colleagues Tom Lenz and Clare Jones joined me there. We all bring slightly different perspectives, so there is great shared learning when we can aggregate our thoughts and observations. At this conference, we decided to use OneNote in a shared OneDrive folder so we could each take notes and share them in real time.

office-419965_640Clare mostly typed on an iPad, as Tom did occasionally, too. I used a stylus to test the recently released ability to draw or write within OneNote. I also took pictures of key slides or the speaker with my phone or tablet and added them into the note. This often created a mess—different text boxes, overlapping type with handwriting, misaligned oversized photos, etc.

Mark McDonald is both a passionate speaker and he talks fast. Having difficulty keeping up, I decided to resort to handwritten notes, the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. Then, I had to find a way to get these into our shared folder. Here is the process I developed:


This whole situation was far more complex than anyone had intended. Was our quest for real-time notes and the diversity and variety of methods necessary? No. Perhaps our desire to always use the latest technology has become too rigid of a pattern. Perhaps a simple approach (pen and paper note taking, with everything gathered and shared at the end of the conference) would have been satisfactory. We may have even distributed the notes on paper (gasp!).

In our efforts to leverage technology 24/7/365, we need to be careful what we wish for. The latest and greatest isn’t always the shortest or fastest distance between two points.

4 Comments on “Ossifying Ourselves with Diversity and Variety”

  1. Matt Garadis says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great post.

    BoxNotes provides real time note taking collaboration with others on any device (images, tables, etc all available). No stylus support though, nor is it available offline. I found with my iPad mini I can keep up with most conf speakers / meeting speakers using the typepad – but that may not be the case for others. Handwriting still remains the quickest way for me to document what I hear, but the value of online documentation has been helpful many times over recently. Best to you – Matt

  2. Michael says:

    I still like good old hand written notes, more of a personal feel that seems to retain and connect the material to my memory better for some reason.

  3. Jeff Dotzler says:

    Great post Mark. This is an eternal struggle for me. At a recent conference I hand wrote notes, then used the new photo feature in OneNote to take a picture of my notes directly into OneNote. It seems to be the best of all worlds!

  4. […] recent post demonstrated a difficult method to share notes. I want to contrast that experience with a very […]

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