A few years ago I was in a rather large meeting room in Louisville, Kentucky, presenting findings from an appliance study to GE marketers, researchers, designers and innovators.
It was an all morning presentation and we were showing quite a lot of films, some filmed by respondents themselves. In between the thematically divided films we were to present key learnings, insights and possible actions. So far nothing unusual.
About 10 minutes into the my presentation half a dozen senior looking people knocked and walked in. They had all been in another meeting and were running late.
"We'll sit in on this workshop so we can dip in and out..." one of them explained
They walked to the back of the room and sat down. All opened their laptops and all began to work busily away. There were occasional observations and questions from the senior group and although at first it felt odd to have people working away while I was talking I got used to it.
Through out the workshop I was surprised by how sharp their questions were. As sharp as the group at the front who were all eyes and ears from the start. But they never stopped working.
This article made me think a lot about that senior group, the way I work now and how much I might be missing out. But there is a pattern emerging. I think. And it's this: The more I multi-task, the more I also rely on collaboration to ensure depth, different perpectives and potential solutions or outcomes.
Do you multi-task? How?