“Why use messy pen-paper-and-checkers-pieces – can’t you do it on the computer?”
At a Brown Bag Seminar at the World Bank, Regina Birner (IFPRI) and I presented how we used Net-Map to understand innovation systems in Ethiopia. As for the quasi inevitable question afterwards… see above. “Inevitable” not because it was the World Bank but because it is such a common question that people ask when I do a presentation about Net-Map. Funny though, the question rarely comes up with groups or individuals who participate in Net-Map activities. Nancy White (check out her cool blog), who attended the World Bank event, made a good point about why messy can sometimes be more than perfect: Drawing something on paper and playing around with checkers pieces invites everyone to participate, to draw and change and debate. If you come with a fancy computer tool that’s a completely different story, that looks like you are the expert and the glossy pictures you draw don’t look as if they are up for discussion.
That makes me think: Isn’t it funny how – as a society – it seems like we have agreed that everything is better and more professional if it is done on the computer?
Filed under: open questions