The tech I use

I’m a fan of using technology to allow me to do new things and to make everyday stuff easier.

People often ask me about some of the specific bits of hardware and software I use, so I thought it would be helpful to create a list for reference.

Do let me know if you have any queries or would like any support with making use of similar solutions for yourself or your team.

Presenting live

Here’s what I use for meetings, workshops and conferences:

  • Touchscreen laptop: Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop. Far and away the best laptop I’ve ever used.

  • Wireless control of laptop and PowerPoint: Mobile Mouse  (the mobile phone needs to be an iPhone)

  • Wireless presenting to projector: Microsoft 4k Wireless Display Adapter Plugs into the HDMI socket on a projector / TV, and then allows you to connect wirelessly from a Windows laptop (doesn’t rely on other WiFi networks). The image quality is good (not perfect). If you get one and it doesn’t seem to work, trying changing the power source – some laptops don’t provide enough “juice”, I’ve found.
    • I then “extend the desktop” rather than have it “duplicated”, so it’s easier to control what’s seen on the projector and do prep work on the laptop’s screen. It also means I can see “presenter view” in PowerPoint.

  • Online polling and comments board:  I’ve settled with this system because it’s flexible (choose your own link for the meeting), it integrates well with PowerPoint, the mobile app allows the presenter to see results as well as control the on-screen display, and the pricing is good. Other systems I like are:
  • Personal timer. I use the Silent Timer app (iPhone / iPad only).

Working with documents

  • Showing Office documents live. I try to make things as easy to view as possible, so I’m careful to zoom in and enlarge fonts when using a projector to show a Word or Excel file. Also, I remove the buttons at the top of screen (press Ctrl-F1) or use Full Screen mode in the app.
  • Live document editing: Microsoft Office 365 (your administrator might need to enable files to be shared for editing with anyone outside the organisation – often tricky if you’re using an NHS-supplied installation of Office).
    • This can handle multiple people reading and contributing to a document simultaneously, and everyone sees everyone else’s contributions live.
    • If that doesn’t work with your installation of Office, I use Google Docs (some of the editing functionality is more confusing than Office, and you can’t draw with a touchscreen or mobile device).
  • Creating flow charts / hierarchies / other diagrams. I’ve found to be brilliant. It’s completely free, and works in a web browser (inc on a mobile phone!) as well as a desktop app.
    • You can jump into it quicky, but it has some moderately advanced functions as well such as database linking and automated script-based formatting. It’s not quite as full-featured as Visio but it won’t drive you insane or break the bank.
  • Collaborative drawing and brainstorming. I really like Lucidspark. To get all the group facilitation functions, you need a paid-for “team” account (about £30 a month for 1-3 users). It’s hugely versatile but still quick to get started, and it works really well on both PCs and mobile devices. For things like brainstorming, affinity diagrams, dot voting, driver diagrams and process maps, I haven’t found a better all-round app yet.
  • Mindmapping. I use both Mindmeister (fully online, easy for collaboration) and MindManager (desktop app, not so easy to share, huge array of functions inc pretty good export to other formats).
  • Photos, etc. I get a lot of my images from Pexels (free) or Shutterstock and Adobe (paid). I’ve also found DALL.E quite helpful for AI-created images to order.
  • Stock video footage. I mostly use Pond5
  • Statistical Process Control (S.P.C.). If you work in the NHS you can get a good Excel-based SPC tool from future For everyone else I recommend Winchart. It does things properly, allows for a reasonable amount of annotation, and includes functions to handle seasonal variations. The latter in itself makes this really stand out. The interface is quite dated, and some functions are slightly tricky to use. But it’s very cheap, and is way better than a large number of other systems I’ve seen. 

Information management

For the past year or so I’ve used Zoho One for almost everything. It’s not perfect but it’s very very good, and both cheaper and simpler than the best-known enterprise systems. (I do like MS Project and Dynamics but they’re too pricey for me). 

Zoho gives me:

  • CRM (contacts management). Groups, filtering, group emails with tracking, list management, tasks attached to a contact, link emails to a contact, link a contact to calendar entries … and more. STOP USING SPREADSHEETS FOR CONTACTS LISTS. Phew!
  • Task and project management. Create projects, milestones, tasks and subtasks. Flexible reporting. View Gantt charts inc critical path analysis, slack management and baselining. Budgeting and resource management at project, milestone and task level. Time logging at any level, with timesheets generated automatically. Time logs can be linked to budgeting, resource accounting and billing.
  • Online forms. Proper forms with extensive options. Automated responses, and options for automatic export (Eg to a live spreadsheet) or linking with CRM (eg new responses can add a new person in the CRM app, assign them to a group, create a follow-up task, etc, etc). 
  • Analytics. A database-driven analytics and charting system. Produce reports from complex surveys, imported spreadsheets, etc. 
  • Process automation. Hugely adaptable way of automating common tasks. 


There are several other apps they include which I don’t currently use.

The pricing is amazing if you go for bundles (eg Zoho One) and the customer support is some of the best I’ve encountered. They treat you like Microsoft treat enterprise customers – email is fine, but if it’s complex they’re happy to speak on the phone or do a video call and demo with you. I got myself in a twist with some data analysis and they put an analyst onto setting up the formulas for me. Brilliant.


PS they don’t pay me, I’m just seriously impressed. Having tried around 15 other systems, I’m not leaving.

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