Visual thinking solves your business problems


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!

Authors@Google: Dan Roam

YouTube video

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:
    – what,
    – where,
    – how much,
    – when,
    – how,
    – why
  • 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:

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!

2 Responses to Visual thinking solves your business problems

  1. It’s a really splendid book – I just finished it myself. In fact, I’m sat here thinking of creating a series of pictures to illustrate “the main problems in small business” when I came across your blog entry while researching!

    Thanks for the video of Dan talking about the technique – it’s brilliant. I am definitely the “black pen” person, which are you?

    Cheers!

    Lee

  2. jeroendemiranda says:

    Hi Lee, thanks for the comment! I am a black pen person also! Regards, Jeroen

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