US army wages war on PowerPoint

Army PPT.jpgThe PowerPoint programme revolutionised business meetings in the early 1990’s. No longer did people turn up with a few notes, and spend 15 minutes drawing out ideas on a flip chart or acetate. Instead, they collected their thoughts beforehand into a well-worked-out proposal.

But PowerPoint has also had unintended consequences. The above slide, from the US Army’s Afghanistan strategy planning, is typical of these. As the US/NATO commander General McChrystal commented when it was first shown, “when we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

Many Generals are now rethinking their use of PowerPoint. General McMaster, who banned its use in his Iraq campaign, told the New York Times, “its dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and control.” He believes that overuse of PowerPoint not only ties up valuable resources at operational level, but also stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

One Response to US army wages war on PowerPoint

  1. Barbara 3 May, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Paul, you might be interested to see the response to this by PA Consulting who produced the Powerpoint presentation, in today’s Times letters:

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