After the Brainstrom

Sometimes I see people cling to old habits, even though there are clearly easier ways to do things.  I am not talking about something that would require a new computer system and a large IT project.  Just day-to-day stuff.  Here is one example…

I love whiteboards.  I love to use them to brainstorm ideas.  Once upon a time SmartBoards were popular.  They were a way cool, but expensive, way to capture those notes on paper.  They are no longer necessary.  An average digital camera can capture a large whiteboard with enough detail to preserve and share your moments of inspiration.  I find a camera needs to be at least 5 megapixel to get the desired resolution, so cameras on mobile phones (including BlackBerrys and iPhones) are less than ideal. Like most gadget lovers I upgrade cameras frequently.  So my former primary shooter becomes my work phone.

While the .jpg files straight from the camera work fine there is a free web service that will make those images even better.  You can upload your images, which will turn them into PDF files that are much more readable. [Update: on 25 October 2009 I received an email from Qipit stating that they were shutting down their online service.]


This tip applies to those giant easel pads. Don’t carry out all that paper.  Your digital camera is a great way to capture those too.

Bonus tip: if you have a whiteboard in your office, keep whiteboard wipes on your desk.

8 thoughts on “After the Brainstrom

  1. We use whiteboards all the time, and we usually do what you mentioned. Take a picture to save it, I’ve not tried the converstion to PDF yet, but it seems like an interesting approach.

  2. Pingback: Smartphone Tip: Photograph Whiteboard Notes

  3. I notice that you really love I just read about the under 25 year old owners of that company in BusinessWeek’s top 25 under 25 article. As coincidence would have it the reason I know about is because I was reading the article to see my friend’s company, IdeaPaint.

    Similar to you article about preserving whiteboard space, IdeaPaint is a paint that you apply to ANY surface and it instantly becomes a dry-erase surface. So, the entire wall in you conference room is now a usable whiteboard.

    Pretty cool idea, check them out:

  4. Good idea with the jpeg to pdf conversion, but still it becomes too many pdfs if you have to do this on a daily basis. I prefer OneNote, you can integrate everything into it all at once.

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