Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 2014

These Notebooks Will Make You Rethink the Paperless Meeting

By Barbara Palmer

The “paperless” meeting has been held up as a kind of a gold standard for sustainable meeting practices, and for some very good reasons. Digital meeting agendas that can be downloaded onto mobile devices not only save trees but offer new flexibility for attendees and conference organizers.  

But Ed Bernacki’s Conference Navigator notebooks make a good case for not tossing paper out entirely. Bernacki, director of The Idea Factory, a Melbourne, Australia–based company that specializes in innovation consulting and training, has worked with banks, insurance agencies, scientific associations, and other organizations to create spiral-bound conference journals that are integrated with meeting goals and agendas.

The custom journals give attendees a place to record their own thoughts and reactions, and also offer them a variety of suggestions as well as a framework for organizing conference content. Depending on that content, attendees might find support for mapping out post-conference collaborations with other attendees, or planning the steps to put ideas heard during a session into action.

The notebooks have been a big hit with Bernacki’s clients, he said — sometimes unexpectedly so. The custom notebook he published for a symposium presented by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative was so well received that the foundation sponsoring the symposium ordered 400 more after the program was over. “One of the obstacles I now face is that some people think a paper concept is old-fashioned,” Bernack said. “But I think the Navigator is far more powerful than many digital tools to deliver on the idea of bridging the gap between ideas and their execution.”

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