As we worked to find out more about the origins of meetings in our History of Meetings research poster, we realized that though the reasons, and settings may have changed, the underlying way people met was pretty well consistent across the board. They come, they meet/discuss/brainstorm/share, they assign next steps, they leave (and repeat).

Within this basic formula, it was usually the tool used to facilitate the meeting that provided the most insights about the meeting. The tool can reflect the culture, time period, social status, and any number of other things. From collaboration contraptions to time-keeping devices, from long-distance gadgets to simple note-taking utensils, we compiled the increasingly changing landscape of today’s meeting tools into groupings to better understand what’s out there.


We realized that in a world rich in social media and communication technologies, it’s not unusual to collaborate, conduct meetings, and have discussions with others without ever meeting in person. So, we conducted a survey last year amongst participants in Southern Ontario, aged 18 and up, to find out if there was a definitive preferred tool or method that people use to meet. As you can imagine we had varying responses, but check out some of our findings…

In spite of a multitude of tools available, 70% of participants still preferred to meet face-to-face instead of by email, phone or using other online tools or methods.


When participants were asked what social network they used most for sharing ideas and collaborating, Facebook far surpassed any other social network — surprise, surprise! But when they were asked what online site they used most for collaborating, interestingly enough Microsoft Live beat out Google Apps.


In the world of meetings, with a multitude of tools available at your fingertips and with Apps quickly becoming the be all and end all, we can only imagine what’s coming next… beam me up, Scotty.

Got a meeting tool that you’d like us to add to this visualization? Leave a comment or send us an email to chat about it.


At Pivot, we love visualizing design research because it helps us understand our changing social, cultural and technological landscapes. If you wish to find out more about this observation or how we can work with you to use Pivot’s design research methods, please drop us a line at We’d love to hear from you!

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