Paper as an information sink

As things stand, there is a clear cost to using paper: information passes from paper to our brains, but to use that information later, to store it, to find it, to share it or reuse it, we need to revive it, to rescue it from its paper tomb. The result is that information stored on paper is more easily lost and more easily damaged than those supposedly fragile bits. In the business environment, paper is an information sink: anything stored on paper means inefficient processes totally out of date with the times we live in, just like those faded newspaper clippings gathering dust in a folder somewhere that nobody in their right mind would consider sorting through: there is no Google Paper available yet.

Today’s business environment needs to be paper free, meaning no more assigned desks where people can leave stuff piled up at the end of the day. On a personal level, it is amazing how much more productive we are when, for example, instead of taking notes with a pen and paper, we use tools like Evernote, Keep or others, that allow us to cross reference, index, use search terms, and access what we’ve written quickly and easily.

Eliminating paper is vital for an efficient office and for helping us to access information when we need it. Continuing to read books is simply clinging on to supposedly “romantic” habits, the result of which is simply that we lose information, we forget things and we don’t know how to find something we’ve read that might be of use to us. The digital transformation doesn’t begin in a company until everybody working there realizes that getting rid of paper isn’t some dramatic gesture, a fashion, or some sinister Fahrenheit 451 plot, but is instead an absolute necessity.

If you really want digital transformation, try to stay away from information sinks. Let’s be honest, these days, about the only place we really still need paper is in the bathroom.

(En español, aquí)