Posts Tagged ‘Google docs’

G3 — “Track Changes” and Wiki Are Sequential Griting

April 14, 2010

ICT-mediated tools are emerging which facilitate collaborative editing and authoring among a group. By our definition of “griting” these tools are griting tools. They do help a group think together.

These tools can be grouped into two: sequential griting tools and real-time synchronous collaborative griting tools. MS Word “Track Changes” and wiki are sequential or asynchronous griting tools. Editors take turns; one editor starting only after the previous editor had finished. There are many ICT-mediated tools for real-time synchronous editing; those that are web-based can enable people in different geographic locations to collaboratively edit a paper together. Some examples are: LivePad, Google docs spreadsheet, MoonEdit and EtherPad.

These griting tools use mainly text, while mind mapping and other “grawing” tools use drawings, diagrams and other images (see previous blog post on “G1 – Group Mind Mapping”). In both cases, the grawing-and-griting tool facilitates a crucial KM process: a group thinking together.

The diagram below gives you a quick birds-eye view of grawing-and-griting tools I will cover in Blog Series G. Do you have any comments, additions or suggestions?

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G2 — Live Griting the Mintues of a Meeting

April 4, 2010

The minutes (=written record, transcript or documentation) of a meeting is an example of “griting” — it is a record of a group’s discussions and decisions. In this blog series, griting is what we call a visible representation of what a group is thinking or had thought.

The group mind map described in the previous blog is mainly “grawing” (=group drawing) while the minutes of a meeting is largely “griting” (=group writing).

The common and traditional way of writing the minutes consists of:

  1. A secretary takes notes and/or audio recording during the meeting.
  2. After the meeting he drafts the minutes based on his notes and/or by listening to the audio recording.
  3. Before the next meeting, the minutes may or may not be reviewed and corrected by one or more meeting attendees.
  4. In the next meeting, the group reviews, agrees on final corrections and approves the minutes.

This common method is prone to many errors:

  • Days or even months pass between meetings. If no audio recording was made, the minutes is based on error-prone recall.
  • Reconstructing what was said and decided from an audio recording takes 2-3 times longer than the duration of the meeting.
  • If no audio recording was made, meeting attendees may have different recall of what was said and will have to spend extra time to decide what should appear in the minutes.
  • The speaker can change his mind since the previous meeting.
  • In the end, the minutes is a poor record of what had actually been said.

In live griting of the minutes of a meeting, the above errors are reduced.

In courts, special stenographic skills and machinery are employed to produce real-time transcripts of court proceedings as verbatim as possible. The main aim of a certified verbatim reporter is 100% accuracy of reporting. However, in griting the main aim is to make visible to a group what they are thinking. Griting is a tool for thinking together.

Live griting the minutes of a meeting can be implemented as follows:

  • A secretary, using a laptop attached to an LCD projector, records the minutes of a meeting while the meeting is going on.
  • The meeting attendees see on the projector screen the minutes as it is being written a few seconds after a statement is made or a decision is reached.
  • Any meeting attendee can immediately correct the record, if needed, and the secretary immediately implements the correction.
  • As the group goes through its thinking processes, the minutes gets written; constant interaction of the group with the secretary assures that the minutes evolves in a manner that reflects the result of the discussion with accuracy acceptable to the group — this is the essence of “grawing-and-griting” or G&G.

By the time the meeting is done, the minutes of the meeting is also done!

Furthermore, technology has now advanced to the point where the tool for G&G can be placed and collaboratively worked on-line. For example, an on-line meeting can be conducted among attendees from different geographical locations where everyone is talking and thinking together via a conference VoIP call and synchronously co-writing/editing an online minutes of the meeting as the on-line meeting is going on!

An inexpensive combination is conference VoIP call via Skype, and on-line co-writing/editing of the minutes using Google docs — a G&G technology within reach of most everyone to enable a geographically-dispersed group of people to think together!

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T4-2 An Inexpensive Tool for On-line Meetings and Follow-thru M&E

November 6, 2009

Do you need to conduct a meeting between people who are located at different cities in the world?

As CCLFI principals are spread around the globe (Jasmin Suminstrado in Africa and Europe, Alwin Sta. Rosa in Pacific countries, Daan Boom in Nepal, me hip-hopping across Asia and new member Ron Young in U.K. and France), we had to find and practice an inexpensive method of conducting on-line meetings. Former CCLFI Director for Operations Leslie Gopalan from Malaysia had introduced us to this tool. And of course, before we teach a KM tool to our clients, as a matter of policy, we first practice the KM tool ourselves.

Our simple formula:

  1. Create an Agenda (topics or issues for discussion or decision, lead person or responsible person, dates, any background information) in Excel file, upload it to Google docs (a free service by Google), invite members who will attend the meeting to view/edit it, and email the exact time of start of the meeting.
  2. Before the meeting time, any member can edit or add new materials onto the Google doc file.
  3. At the appointed time, members go on-line and conduct the meeting using Skype conference call (of course, every member must have Skype accounts – it is free; use of headphone is advisable to minimize audio feedbacks and ambient noise).
  4. During the meeting, each member accesses the agenda worksheet in Google docs, and anyone can edit or add new materials to record the points being raised and the decisions reached (any cell being edited by one person is temporarily locked out from the others; but once he is finished editing, the result is visible and editable by the others; members can edit different cells simultaneously).
  5. There is no need to write a Minutes of the Meeting; the Minutes is being written by everyone as the meeting progresses!
  6. The decisions reached and the actions to be taken are recorded, together with the person responsible and the deadline date for finishing the action.
  7. In other words, at the end of the meeting, the Agenda morphs into the Minutes of the Meeting.
  8. Days and weeks after the meeting, the people responsible for the different actions agreed upon must report on his progress (or problems met) by making corresponding entries on the Google docs file at any time. At any time too, any member of the team can check the progress of the others by accessing the same file. In other words, the Minutes of the Meeting next morphs into a team Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) tool!
  9. Once all the actions are done, the file can be part of the team’s work archives.

Does your team use any similar tool? If so, please describe it too using the “Leave a Comment” link below. Let us learn from each other.

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