If you’re a fan of the “Big Bang Theory,” then you know what great powers a whiteboard has. It can help you work through everything from quantum mechanics to string theory to the algorithm for making friends without worrying about having to recharge a battery.
If a TV show about super nerds isn’t enough to convince you of the importance of whiteboards, then consider the fact that tech giant and probable world dominator Google uses whiteboards on campuses worldwide, including two 30-foot monoliths at the Mountain View, Calif. headquarters that are packed with cartoons and from employees.
Whiteboards are a fast, user-friendly way to share ideas and information and they can help your business grow. Here’s why you should invest in a few:
1. They’re inexpensive: You can pick up a medium-sized dry erase board for around $50. Larger models can run you upwards of $500, but that’s still much less expensive than the investment you’d make on an interactive whiteboard which requires a computer, projector, software and special stylus. For optimal interaction, you’ll want a special interactive board which can cost between $1,000 and $2,000. High-tech presentations don’t come cheap. But in the event you do want a more high-tech approach to brainstorming, whiteboards can be used as a projection surface. Look at that! They’re multi-functional, too.
2. They’re collaborative: Whiteboards are the perfect tool for allowing everyone to share their ideas, visions and solutions because the only thing a team member needs to plug in to a presentation is a dry erase marker. They make it easy for large groups to see the scope of a problem without having to huddle around a small screen or meet remotely from different locations. Plus, as opposed to the more built-in formality that comes with a meeting that’s run via a computer screen, the low-tech nature of a whiteboard might actually help people feel more comfortable speak up about more fun, crazier and more outside-of-the-box ideas.
3. They’re tangible: As much as we all love surfing the internet and interacting with our friends via social media, there’s a lot to be said about face-to-face, real-time interaction. The same can be said for writing or drawing out your ideas. Since writing by hand engages more parts of the brain than typing, the simple act of putting marker to board can help clarify ideas, find answers to questions and makes you more thoughtful. While more research is needed, some scientists believe that writing by hand helps children learn better than by typing, according to .
4. They’re convenient: There’s no need to log onto a computer. They’re easy to roll around to wherever you’re meeting (or better yet, just use whiteboard paint to create an entire wall’s worth of a writing surface). If you wrote the wrong thing, they’re easy to erase and start over. Plus, they’re easy to clean and maintain.
5. They get your blood flowing: If you work in an office, chances are you spend most of your days sitting in a chair in front of a computer. All that sitting isn’t helping your health at all, and it’s probably not helping your creativity. When you’re using a whiteboard, chances are you’re standing and moving around, getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping, which helps fuel your brain and your next big idea.
6. They’re inspiring: By keeping whiteboards in prominent places throughout the office, you’re offering employees a blank canvas to sketch out your company’s future. What’s more, everyone else can see multicolored plans, schemas, sketches, webs, flowcharts, etc., which means they can both add their own two cents and improvements and feel inspired to do do their own great work. If all these multicolored plans, schemas, sketches, webs, flowcharts, etc. were only visible when someone turns on a computer then you’re risking missed opportunities for grand “light bulb over the head” ideas.
Shop for Whiteboards for your office at Arnolds.
Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/Flickr