Jun 27, 2012

Visualization with a Whiteboard

Toyota is famous for intensive visualization (見える化) of information in their factories. They think that visualization is necessary to find and solve problems quickly. ("Data visualization drives Toyota's product development")

In Japan there is a proverb "百聞は一見に如かず", which means, "One look truly is better than a hundred words." Sometime we thought that we understood each other by just talking each other, but after that we often found that we misunderstood each other. Verbal communication is imperfect.

Whenever I hold a business meeting, I must use a whiteboard. I bought a portable whiteboard, and when there is no whiteboard in a meeting room, I bring it.

I summarize what participants say with bullet points and charts during meetings. It's helpful to understand each other and make the meeting more efficient.

At the end of the meeting, I write the conclusion of the meeting and confirm it with the participants on the whiteboard. In a meeting without a whiteboard, we often feel that we have reached a conclusion, but in fact it isn't certain. Writing down the conclusion on the whiteboard makes everything clear.

After that, I take a photo of the whiteboard and send it to them by e-mail. We can skip taking minutes of the meeting. This way is simple and easy.

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