The elegance of the sticky note for problem solving

September 4th, 2015 by John Gallagher 2 Comments

So many technological tools out there right now with the laptop, the tablet, and the smartphone, to name a few.  There are spreadsheets and slide decks and projectors and software as well.

But, there is just something about the simple elegance of the sticky note for visual problem solving as a tool.

sticky-notes

Here are 5 reasons I often like the sticky note over technology:

  1. It moves freely – Often, when coaching I build process flow maps or matrices and when a step is missed, or a better idea comes up, you just lift it off the wall and move it over, down, across and re-stick it!!
  2. It forces conciseness – Much like a Twitter post, your characters are limited if you want to be able to read it from a distance.  Verb and a noun! That’s all you need.
  3. It improves brainstorming – By giving everyone in your group one of those little stacks, you are sure to get all of their thoughts.  And, it is easier to move them into themes once you ahve the ideas.  (Refer to reason 1)
  4. It makes for a good reminder – You can’t hit ‘dismiss’ on a sticky note.  Just recently, I needed to remember to get something out of the fridge before I left, so I wrapped that sticky around the car keys and, sure enough, I would have forgotten!
  5. It is symmetrical – the 3 x 3 is my favorite, but that is the engineer in me.

This might be overdoing it, though:

sticky notes overdone

Are you a fan of sticky notes?

  • Chuck Oler

    I love the sticky note and all its inherent benefits. I hope your intention is not to deem the computer based tools as inferior and somehow in competition with the sticky note. I think each tool, when used appropriately, is of value. As I recall from our days in manufacturing, I think you agree.

  • Of course not, Chuck. I stay ‘connected’ as well with the technology ! Hope you are well, buddy.