Over the past 10 months, a group of IT engineers and UX designers have been elaborating sophisticated software and screens to help us facilitate our events and ultimately help our clients think, work collaboratively and reach the best decisions for their organisation.

As we move towards working in a digital space, we think about how this new format will intrinsically affect our ways of working in the ASE.

Will we, ASE knowledge workers and facilitators, be naturally drawn to and quickly at ease with this new medium?  And more importantly, what will be our clients’ ‘natural’ and instinctive reaction towards this environment?

In the ASE, we are strong believers in the power of taking notes, drawing, sketching: scribing! It frees the mind, opens new ideas, can communicate with very little to a larger group. But for anyone who has never written on a Smart Board, the experience is very different to writing on a piece of paper or on a vertical standing panel. The digital ink takes a second to show on the screen, affecting the texture, the touch and your handwriting itself. It is through practice that one becomes at ease with the new tools.

As a scribe myself, I often wonder: will I belong to this new generation of digital scribes, or will I cling to my coloured markers and pencils? And will our clients write their notes as freely on screens as they would on physical panels?

While visiting Turin over Easter, I wandered around the Egyptian Museum (which houses the second largest Egyptian collection in the world after Cairo’s Museum) and rediscovered the legacy of Egyptian scribes and texts.

During the Egyptian royal dynasties, the role of the scribe was crucial as a silent but powerful witness of the country’s evolution. He had the privilege to capture the events and words spoken around him. They believed in the mystical powers of writing that transcended the daily life. A man had no existence in real life, but more importantly in the afterlife if his name wasn’t engraved on stone.

Furthermore, they believed that wishes of a better afterlife could only become true if they were represented in writing. You will often find heavily painted or engraved sarcophagi with elaborate stories depicting premonitions of the dead’s new life ahead. To erase those stories would have been to destroy those people’s identity and their existence. In their world, writing brought life.

Since then we have walked quite a long way; writing and drawing is no longer considered mystical, but it is still partly true that an idea can be brought to life by its inscription.

So what will we bring forward in this leap into digital scribing? Will we cherish our pencils or venture into a new language to bring our ideas to life?