Here we are, the cream of the regenerators. The creative inspirations behind Boho Britain. Renaissance man and woman, breathing new life into our towns and cities.
Chris Yapp, who’s a big cheese at Microsoft, moves from conference to conference explaining how here and now could be the new renaissance - a period in history when the pace and scale of change is so vast and all-encompassing that we could leave a legacy that will last hundreds of years.
On the other hand, we might be remembered as the generation of the Powerpoint presentation. Our lasting contribution might be that we swapped the traditions and skills of thousands of years of oratory for slides that perform pirouettes on their entrance and somersaults on their exit.
If we’re remembered at all, our successors will speculate about why the global intelligentsia chose to explain their mission through a succession of quickfire bullet points delivered at a pace designed to frustrate even the most fluent shorthand scribe. They will wonder why, in a world that is growing increasingly sensitive to the vast range of styles and types of learning, the gurus of knowledge and best practice chose to stand woodenly flicking slides at serried ranks of respectful listeners whose memories of the occasion are, sadly, not recorded.
In our Powerpoints we distill years of experience, months of intensive research, the pure spirit of lifetimes of striving for a better world. And the result? A hotchpotch of words and pictures that gather mental dust in some forgotten filing cabinet of our minds while we get on with the challenge of the day job.
Bill Gates has a lot to answer for. No wonder he’s resorted to philanthropy: if he believes in an afterlife, he must fear hell will be an interminable presentation. It’s been rightly observed that when all’s said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.
I must confess that I too am guilty: I’ve religiously compiled my slides in the hope that they will somehow win over an audience that my stumbling words can’t. But it’s been a case of the Heineken effect: the only parts they reach are the ones you’d rather not.
Those who have sat through many regeneration conferences will know that this is the way the world ends: not with a bang but with a Powerpoint presentation.
Julian Dobson, editor
- New Start Online Online magazine