Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Back of the Napkin

Presentation: The Back of the Napking Presenter: Dan Roam

We can solve our problems with pictures. When someone thinks visually, they are able to become much more clear about what the problem is about.

Which problems are we talking about? – we can solve any problem we can think of.. If we can articulate it, we can solve it.

What pictures are we talking about? – simple shapes + stick figures + smiley faces

Who is “we”? (Who is going to do this?) – us. You.

75% of your brain is processing vision. - Tells us that vision is pretty important if we are using that much of our brain to process. After kindergarten, we quit teaching pictures.

Help us discover ideas. If can spend a few seconds mapping out with a picture, you will discover ideas in that kernel that we wouldn't have discovered if we do bullet lists, etc. - Triggers different parts of the brain.

Fastest to develop the idea. Once you have created the picture, can share with others. Can this work virtually - heck yes! (Many synchronous meeting tools allow you to collaborate in this way. Elluminate for one).

3 fundamental unwritten rules of visual thinking
- Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it.
+ Whoever draws the best picture gets the money
+ Explain something that may be complex in the clearest way. This is not about oversimplification.

Examples: - Creation of SW Airlines - Cuban Missile Crisis - Laffer Curve

(So I've got Mark O's live blog going in one of my other windows and I keep hearing the typing clicks and switching over to see what he is typing.)

(Oh yeah - best us of tablet EVER for a presentation. I wish / hope someone is videotaping this....)

There is a broad range of abilities and talents and ways we think about pictures. - In any given business meeting / setting there is a spectrum.
- 25% Black Pen people - can't wait to run up to whiteboard and start drawing.
- 50% Yellow Pen people (highlighters) - the folks who will stand up and go to the white board and clarify the ideas already drawn.
- 25% Red Pen people - the person who is thinking the whole drawing thing is BS and that the folks at the whiteboard are oversimplifying / misinterpreting the problem.

The Red Pen people probably HAS the greatest grasp of the problem.

The way to get the Red Pen people to participate is to piss them off so much that they erase everything and draw it themselves (because the rest of you morons just don't get it).

Powerpoint is just a tool (hammer) (Here here!!!)
- Enables us to be lazy and turn off ways to process the information differently.
- From a cognitive perspective, if you need to convey information in real-time, this is the WORST way to do it. People will get the first and maybe second page to start. By page 7 , forget the first 2 pages. No time to digest the information.

The napkin sketch is the future. - Think and practice "how do I explain my concept in a picture"
- Replaces the elevator pitch (picture worth ......) Pictures transcend language and culture.

How to create an eNapkin (to share)
- Take 1 laptop computer running PowerPoint.
- Take 1 meeting tool - WebEx, Adobe Connect, GotoMeeting, Elluminate etc
- Take over the desktop and put PowerPoint on the meeting
- There is a great online drawing tool in PowerPoint (that most Microsofties don't know about)
- Go into presentation mode. Icons at the bottom. Look for the pen.
- Can switch the host in the meeting tool and allow them to move.

(If the video doesn't work I will try to post it separately)

Unwritten rule number 2 - The more human the picture, the more human the response.

Certain types of pictures work better than other.

6 ways we see (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
- Eyes are pulling zillions of points of data and brain is processing.
- Both a serial and a parallel process.
- the "What" pathway. The part that is able to process what objects are. That is Brent.
- the "Where" pathway. Tells us where things are. That something is about 3 feet down, slightly to the right.
- the "How Many" pathway. Tells us the number of things. There are more than 3, maybe more than nine, therefore "a lot". Mostly process small, medium or large.
- the "How" - We see the passage of timme through the change of location of the objects we see. We can start putting together how the world work.
- If I ask enough times and can put together cause and effect - can think about causality.

So any problem can be broken down into 6 pieces Then draw the solution
- Who/What - draw the person or thing
- Where - Map
- When - Timeline
- How - Flowchart
- How Much - draw a chart
- Why - (multi-variable plot) diagram with multiple dimentions of data mapped on top of each other

Some examples - the Wong Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale.

Those loops / cycles - tend to be a bit more confusing. Do a timeline, then add a hook at the end.

3rd unwritten rule - problems have multiple layers.
- We are in a position to slice the cake
- We can slice it horizontally and vertically - through our pictures.
- Different pictures for different problems.

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