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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

“We need to be in the same room with a whiteboard to brainstorm!”

Have you heard that before? Let’s see if there is a better way:

On a physical whiteboard you can:

  • Easily draw shapes and diagrams
  • Group text with circles
  • Add sticky notes
  • Everyone needs to be in the same room.
  • The most senior person usually holds the marker.
  • The text on the board cannot easily be shared except by taking a photo.

With a Google Doc you don’t have to be in the same room you can all be on camera and:

  • Have everyone write, not just the person with the marker
  • Multiple people can write at the same time, versus waiting their turn
  • See what people are looking at in real-time via cursor indicators
  • Make comments that are time-stamped
  • Change hierarchy with indentation
  • Copy and paste
  • Doesn’t run out of space
  • Doesn’t need to be deleted after the meeting
  • Be iterated on before and after the meeting
  • Font is more readable than handwriting
  • Use URLs to link to external resources
  • Add screenshots and embeds from other tools
  • Doc becomes an artifact that can be linked to or embedded in other tools and platforms
  • Doc can be shared with a link for feedback from the entire company

Beat that!

The above is from the GitLab Handbook on the topic Google docs as a remote whiteboard