# The Back of the Napkin: Solving Design Problems (and Selling Your Solutions) with Pictures

Apr. 1, 2009

### The Back of the Napkin: Solving Design Problems (and Selling Your Solutions) with Pictures

1. The Back of the Napkin Workshop Solving Problems with Pictures Dan Roam MIX08 :: UX03 :: March 5, 2008 :: The Venetian
2. Visual thinking: what problems, what pictures, and who is „we‟? 2 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
4. Rather than focus on this: Let‟s focus on this: 4 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
6. a) I‟m in a brainstorming session in a conference room that has a big whiteboard. I want to: 1. Go to the board, pick up a pen and start drawing circles and boxes. 2. Try to decipher whatever is already written on the board. 3. Go to the board and start writing categorized lists. Add a little clarification to what’s already up there – you know, to make 4. it clearer. 5. Forget the whiteboard – come on here, people, we’ve got work to do! 6. I hate brainstorming sessions. 6 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
7. b) Someone hands me a pen and asks me to sketch out a particular idea. I: 1. Ask for more pens, preferably in at least three colors. 2. Just start sketching and see what emerges. Say, “I can’t draw, but…” and then make a horrible stick figure. 3. 4. Start by writing a few words, then putting boxes around them. 5. Put the pen on the table and start talking. Say, “No thanks, I can’t draw”, and leave it at that. 6. 7 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
8. c) Someone hands me a complicated spreadsheet and asks me to look it over. I first: 1. Glaze over and hope it will go away. 2. Flip through the pages and see if something – I dunno, whatever – pops up. 3. Read across the top of the columns or down each row in order, to identify the categories. 4. Select a row and column at random and follow them to the data cell, then look for similar (or different) data results in other cells. 5. Look for the largest or smallest values I can find, then trace them back to identify them. 6. Notice that OPEX variance to budget is down for the second quarter in a row. 8 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
9. d) On my way home from a conference, I see a cute fellow attendee at the airport cafe, and he or she asks me what I do. I: 1. Grab a napkin and ask the waiter if I can borrow a pen. 2. Pick up three packs of Sweet-n-Low, lay them on the bar, point to one and say, “Okay, this is me over here, and this is the customer over here…” 3. Pull out a page from my PowerPoint deck – a really good page – and start walking through it. 4. Start to recite my original job description: “There are three things that I do…”. 5. “What I do? Well, better buy another round, because we’re going to be talking a while.” 6. Say it’s too complicated to explain well, but ask him/her the same question. 9 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
10. f) I‟m an astronaut floating in space. The first thing I do is: 1. Take a deep breath, relax, and take in the whole view. 2. Pull out my camera. Try to spot my house… or at least my continent. 3. 4. Start describing what I see. 5. Close my eyes. 6. Find a way to get back into my spacecraft. 10 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
11. Now comes the math, I‟m afraid… 5-14 15-20 21-30 On a napkin, write your pen COLOR, and then… 11 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
12. Napkin exercise, step 1 Draw a circle and call it “me”… 12 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
13. Step 1b Now draw another circle (more like a cloud) and give it a name, too… 13 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
16. Put into words… The challenge:  A new strategic vision  A refined company mission  A new operating philosophy  New retail fundamentals  New store standards  New customer practices  New training materials + 100 new staff every month… 16 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
18. Product development: Why are we collecting all these numbers? 18 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
25. What are the three things the CFO does want to look at? Financial Drivers Date Org Cut Unit 25 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
28. Step 3 Draw in the last circle, only make this one more of a hotdog… then add in a+ symbol… 28 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
29. Step 3 The universal visual thinking problem solving toolkit… Draw in the first set of 3 blades… 29 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
31. Step 4 Draw in the next set of blades, this time 4 of them… 31 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
33. The 4 steps of visual thinking: How can I manipulate This is what I saw, and What is out there? What do I see? these patterns? this is what I think it What am I looking at? Have I seen this before? means. Can I fill in the gaps? What are the limits? What patterns emerge? Is this what I Have I seen enough – expected… or not? Which way is up? What stands out? or do I need to go back What seems to be and look at more? When you look at this, do you see the same missing? things? 33 2008 © Dan Roam, all rights reserved
34. Step 5 Now draw in a corkscrew, and give it 5 twists… 34 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
39. SQV.. examples: Qualitativ Simple Vision e Elaborate Quantitative Execution 39 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved
40. ..ID examples… Delta (change) Individual Status- Quo Comparis on 40 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved