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15 July 2008

Don't Throw Your Napkin Away!

For the past month or so I've been slowly reading through Dan Roam's latest book The Back Of The Napkin.

It's a great read on simplifying the daunting - making rocket science available to the common man through simple doodles on the back of napkins (assuming that's all you can get your hands on...).

Seems simple enough - but he also describes the science behind the doodles. There are very specific things you draw to get very specific points across.

Who knew there could be a method behind the chicken scratch?

I love the core message:

What's the point in using big words and complicated spreadsheets if no one understands what you're talking about?
So I'm trying to learn from him and apply it in our setting. Here are some places I think it would be helpful:

  1. Meetings: On whiteboards and in handouts. Make it simple - not because they can't handle it - but because the more simple and concise it is the more likely it will be that everyone leaves on the same page.
  2. Process Documents: Make simple instructions with obvious drawings for maximum impact.
  3. Taking Notes: No better way to take notes than to illustrate from time to time. Helps flesh out the concept.
  4. For the Office Walls: People think you're smart if they see drawings posted all over your office or cubicle.
Grab the book and see for yourself.

Also - Dan just released downloadable/printable versions of the basic concepts here.

Good stuff!