by Jeroen de Miranda
The Back of the Napkin is a great book on Visual Thinking. It is written by Dan Roam.
Watching this video of his presentation at Google, you will learn how to use this method to solve many different business problems.
I highly recomment reading his book if you want to get a real understanding of Visual Thinking!
Some highlights of this show:
- Who can use this: anybody!. Dan classifies people into three catagories:
– ‘black pens’ (start to draw right away),
– ‘yellow pens’ (drawing comments on drawings of others),
– and ‘red pens’ (do not want to draw; but often turn out to have the best ideas. You have to challenge the ‘red pens’ to start drawing).
- Core idea: reduce complexity of a problem by slicing it into 6 slices: the 6 ways we are seeing:
– how much,
- Use the corresponding drawing:
– what: portrait representing a person or object
– where: map
– how much: chart
– when: timeline
– how: flowchart
– why: multi-variable plot
- Talking while drawing leads to better understanding of a problem
- Dan gives examples of his work with Microsoft
- Dan uses a drawing to give an explanation of the strategy behind the Yahoo takeover over by Microsoft
More resources on Visual Thinking:
- Another great resource on Visual understanding – also look at http://www.gapminder.org
- Earlier post, containing some presentations explaining the concept in more detail
I have used visual techniques in several workshops that I have facilitated; I now intend to extend my workshop tools by using these ‘Back of the Napkin’ techniques!