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The Back of the Napkin Workshop Solving Problems with Pictures Dan Roam MIX08 :: UX03 :: March 5, 2008 :: The Venetian
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 2 Visual thinking: what problems, what pictures, and who is ‘we’?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 3 Rather than draw this: Let’s draw this:
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 4 Rather than focus on this: Let’s focus on this:
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 5 Exercise 1: the Who is ‘We’ self-assessment
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: Go to the board, pick up a pen and start drawing circles and boxes. Try to decipher whatever is already written on the board. Go to the board and start writing categorized lists. Add a little clarification to what’s already up there – you know, to make it clearer. Forget the whiteboard – come on here, people, we’ve got work to do! I hate brainstorming sessions.
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: Ask for more pens, preferably in at least three colors. Just start sketching and see what emerges. Say, “I can’t draw, but…” and then make a horrible stick figure. Start by writing a few words, then putting boxes around them. Put the pen on the table and start talking. Say, “No thanks, I can’t draw”, and leave it at that.
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: Glaze over and hope it will go away. Flip through the pages and see if something – I dunno, whatever – pops up. Read across the top of the columns or down each row in order, to identify the categories. 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. Look for the largest or smallest values I can find, then trace them back to identify them. Notice that OPEX variance to budget is down for the second quarter in a row.
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: Grab a napkin and ask the waiter if I can borrow a pen. 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…”  Pull out a page from my PowerPoint deck – a really good page – and start walking through it. Start to recite my original job description: “There are three things that I do…”. “What I do? Well, better buy another round, because we’re going to be talking a while.” Say it’s too complicated to explain well, but ask him/her the same question.
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: Take a deep breath, relax, and take in the whole view. Pull out my camera. Try to spot my house… or at least my continent. Start describing what I see. Close my eyes. Find a way to get back into my spacecraft.
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…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 12 Draw a circle and call it “me”…  Napkin exercise, step 1
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…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 14 So, which problems shall we look at…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 15 What’s the business strategy challenge?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 16 Put into words… The challenge: ,[object Object]
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…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 17 How about a napkin map?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 18 Product development: Why are we collecting all these numbers?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 19
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 20
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 21
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 22
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 23
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 24
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 Cut Org Unit
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 26 So, what might *that* look like…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 27 Or, when executed in Expression Blend…
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…
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…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 30 3 parts or ourselves to improve
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…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 32 Let’s think about ‘process’ for a moment…
2008 © Dan Roam, all rights reserved 33 The 4 steps of visual thinking: What is out there? What am I looking at? What are the limits? Which way is up? What do I see? Have I seen this before? What patterns emerge? What stands out? What seems to be missing? How can I manipulate these patterns? Can I fill in the gaps? Have I seen enough – or do I need to go back and look at more? This is what I saw, and this is what I think it means. Is this what I expected… or not? When you look at this, do you see the same things?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 34 Step 5 Now draw in a corkscrew, and give it 5 twists…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 35 *whew*    Time for a break on the islands…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 36 How about ten apples?
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 37 Meet the SQVID… a.k.a ‘The 5 focusing questions’
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 38 Two ways to use the SQVID
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 39 SQV.. examples: Qualitative Simple Vision Elaborate Quantitative Execution
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 40 ..ID examples… Delta (change) Individual Status-Quo Comparison
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 41 Step 6 Now draw in the last set of 6 blades…
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 42 The 6 ways we see:
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 43 <6><6>
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 44 Framework 1: “Portraits” for WHO / WHAT problems
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 45 Framework 2: “Charts” for HOW MUCH / HOW MANY problems
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 46 Framework 3: “Maps” for WHERE problems
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 47 Framework 4: “Timelines” for WHEN problems
2008 © Dan Roam    THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN   all rights reserved 48 Framework 5: “Flowcharts” for HOW problems

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The Back of The Napkin (Dan Roam)

  • 1. The Back of the Napkin Workshop Solving Problems with Pictures Dan Roam MIX08 :: UX03 :: March 5, 2008 :: The Venetian
  • 2. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 2 Visual thinking: what problems, what pictures, and who is ‘we’?
  • 3. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 3 Rather than draw this: Let’s draw this:
  • 4. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 4 Rather than focus on this: Let’s focus on this:
  • 5. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 5 Exercise 1: the Who is ‘We’ self-assessment
  • 6. 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: Go to the board, pick up a pen and start drawing circles and boxes. Try to decipher whatever is already written on the board. Go to the board and start writing categorized lists. Add a little clarification to what’s already up there – you know, to make it clearer. Forget the whiteboard – come on here, people, we’ve got work to do! I hate brainstorming sessions.
  • 7. 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: Ask for more pens, preferably in at least three colors. Just start sketching and see what emerges. Say, “I can’t draw, but…” and then make a horrible stick figure. Start by writing a few words, then putting boxes around them. Put the pen on the table and start talking. Say, “No thanks, I can’t draw”, and leave it at that.
  • 8. 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: Glaze over and hope it will go away. Flip through the pages and see if something – I dunno, whatever – pops up. Read across the top of the columns or down each row in order, to identify the categories. 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. Look for the largest or smallest values I can find, then trace them back to identify them. Notice that OPEX variance to budget is down for the second quarter in a row.
  • 9. 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: Grab a napkin and ask the waiter if I can borrow a pen. 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…” Pull out a page from my PowerPoint deck – a really good page – and start walking through it. Start to recite my original job description: “There are three things that I do…”. “What I do? Well, better buy another round, because we’re going to be talking a while.” Say it’s too complicated to explain well, but ask him/her the same question.
  • 10. 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: Take a deep breath, relax, and take in the whole view. Pull out my camera. Try to spot my house… or at least my continent. Start describing what I see. Close my eyes. Find a way to get back into my spacecraft.
  • 11. 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…
  • 12. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 12 Draw a circle and call it “me”… Napkin exercise, step 1
  • 13. 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…
  • 14. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 14 So, which problems shall we look at…
  • 15. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 15 What’s the business strategy challenge?
  • 16.
  • 18. A new operating philosophy
  • 22. New training materials+ 100 new staff every month…
  • 23. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 17 How about a napkin map?
  • 24. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 18 Product development: Why are we collecting all these numbers?
  • 25. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 19
  • 26. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 20
  • 27. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 21
  • 28. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 22
  • 29. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 23
  • 30. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 24
  • 31. 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 Cut Org Unit
  • 32. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 26 So, what might *that* look like…
  • 33. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 27 Or, when executed in Expression Blend…
  • 34. 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…
  • 35. 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…
  • 36. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 30 3 parts or ourselves to improve
  • 37. 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…
  • 38. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 32 Let’s think about ‘process’ for a moment…
  • 39. 2008 © Dan Roam, all rights reserved 33 The 4 steps of visual thinking: What is out there? What am I looking at? What are the limits? Which way is up? What do I see? Have I seen this before? What patterns emerge? What stands out? What seems to be missing? How can I manipulate these patterns? Can I fill in the gaps? Have I seen enough – or do I need to go back and look at more? This is what I saw, and this is what I think it means. Is this what I expected… or not? When you look at this, do you see the same things?
  • 40. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 34 Step 5 Now draw in a corkscrew, and give it 5 twists…
  • 41. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 35 *whew* Time for a break on the islands…
  • 42. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 36 How about ten apples?
  • 43. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 37 Meet the SQVID… a.k.a ‘The 5 focusing questions’
  • 44. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 38 Two ways to use the SQVID
  • 45. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 39 SQV.. examples: Qualitative Simple Vision Elaborate Quantitative Execution
  • 46. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 40 ..ID examples… Delta (change) Individual Status-Quo Comparison
  • 47. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 41 Step 6 Now draw in the last set of 6 blades…
  • 48. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 42 The 6 ways we see:
  • 49. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 43 <6><6>
  • 50. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 44 Framework 1: “Portraits” for WHO / WHAT problems
  • 51. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 45 Framework 2: “Charts” for HOW MUCH / HOW MANY problems
  • 52. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 46 Framework 3: “Maps” for WHERE problems
  • 53. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 47 Framework 4: “Timelines” for WHEN problems
  • 54. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 48 Framework 5: “Flowcharts” for HOW problems
  • 55. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 49 Framework 6: “Multiple-variable Plots” for WHY problems
  • 56. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 50 Step 7 Done: our very own visual thinking universal problem solving tool kit!
  • 57. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 51 Step 8 Give it to a friend, and help them see the power of visual thinking, too.
  • 58. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 52 Speaking of airplanes…
  • 59. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 53
  • 60. 2008 © Dan Roam THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN all rights reserved 54 Dan Roam djroam@gmail.com Office: 415-695-0231 Mobile: 415-823-5794 39 Romain St. SF, CA 94114 www.digitalroam.typepad.com www.thebackofthenapkin.com