When I was a kid, I remember that when we got tired of playing football and riding our bikes, or during school trips, we played ‘Broken Telephone’, also known as ‘The Telephone Game’ or ‘Chinese Whispers’. The concept of the game is weird and super funny by definition, and there were times that the results were hilarious. A “candy crunching coconut lover” could easily become a “daddy munching crocodile liver”.
Professionals, especially in the tech industry, play more or less the same game these days. They are just more sharply dressed and in worse lit rooms but with equally hilarious results.
The main issue is that these results do not come intentionally which makes it not as much fun when compared to the kids’ game.
Actually, the loss of information or knowledge, when transferred from one person to another, is one of the biggest and probably the oldest problems in human history, and it’s still not solved.
Although we are considered to be the highest species in terms of intelligence — and have formed languages and evolved them for thousands of years to help us shape and share ideas — it looks like in the last couple of decades we, in the western world at least, are taking backwards steps in our communication skills.
Mind sharing process
Sharing ideas or knowledge with others is a linear process. I’m not a scientist but here is a diagram that I drew to show you what I have in my mind (see what I did there?).
One of the biggest truths ever told was that ‘the medium is the message’. Of course, it can be interpreted in many ways but the bottom line is, in this case, it shows how much the initial idea can be influenced even by the first step.
Add to the above the fact that, as in every linear process, every step from one point to the next hides potential fails and errors and you’ll see the hundreds of opportunities for this to go wrong.
It’s an inevitable constant game of Chinese Whispers.
If you work in the tech industry, no matter the role, you probably have found yourself participating in a number of workshops looking quite similar to each other. White walls, a whiteboard, lots of sticky notes and markers and a few people, some of which you may of never met before.
These types of workshops are what most of us use to share knowledge and ideas between members of teams participating in any project. No matter the quality or quantity, the result is always a specific amount of handwritten sticky notes, scattered around walls, boards, notepads and screens. This always makes absolute sense at the time for everyone in the room. It was a battle, but now everyone in aligned and they’ve agreed on what to do next. Even if they have made a clear list of next steps, the problem hides in the word “time”.
The moment they leave the room the shared knowledge starts leaking. The only point of truth are these sticky notes.
A common truth
If you’re still reading, it means you get it, right? We’ve all been there. We’ve all spent hours trying to translate this gathered knowledge from stickies to a digital format that makes sense and can be used by the team to work on.
There are more than a few very smart and well-crafted tools out there that help professionals to do many things, from running a workshop to manage a project to matter how complicated it is.
The pain that persists though, is the gap between the moment you finish a workshop to the moment you can actually start working on the next stage of the project
Is there a solution?
During the past few months, I had the pleasure to work with a great team of brilliant people working on this problem. And now, I’m really excited that we have an early release on our hands and we are able to share it with you all.
So, we’re building Brill™, an app that will help you save time on processes to spend more quality time on your actual work. It’s all about efficiency.
Brill is coming to challenge data input via digital devices. In this early (Alpha) release, you can use a slick combination of voice recognition and ingenious UX to help everyone digitize their notes and lists faster. You’ll also be able to export them as CSV or simple text but soon to your preferred software too.
We have some more ideas for the future but you can definitely help us. If you’re into it and want to test an early iPhone version, just give us your email on brill.app or send us an email. We’d love that!
UPDATE: 👾 Brill in now on App Store! ⟶ http://bit.ly/brill-app
Hopefully, we’ll be able to help solve the huge problem of information loss — even just a little bit.
Keep in touch!