Monday, February 15, 2010

Unfolding the Napkin

This is a cross-post from my "Be Bold, Be Gentle" blog. I think this book is valuable for pastors and Bible teachers also, because we're in the communication business. -- Glenn

One of the most intriguing and useful books I've read in months is Dan Roam's Unfolding the Napkin. The subtitle gives you the value of this book: "The hands-on method for solving complex problems with simple pictures."

For years I've been an inveterate doodler. One friend at work jokes with me that "it hasn't been a meeting until Glenn gets up to the whiteboard. Maybe he likes to sniff the dry-erase markers."

The book is actually like a workshop. It's helpful to practice the drawing process along with the author.

The primary methodology is built on the FACT that our minds like pictures. Pictures communicate. Pictures are memorable. Pictures -- especially simply pictures -- engage our intellect and imagination.

I really liked Roam's process of breaking down problems into 6 elements (who/what, how much, when, where, how, why) and then using a SQVID process (it's an acronym) to figure out how to work through problems and present solutions to different types of stakeholders. Brilliant stuff! I think even a lot of the Ph.D.'s I know would appreciate this, and I'm confident that most teenagers would instantly get it.

Roam also gives at the end some very practical advice about tools. Nope, you don't need elaborate software, even for a computer intensive group that loves complicated software.

For me, this goes back into the reread in 2 months pile after I've practiced with pictures.

If you're a leader or teacher, you need this book. What I should say is, you need this capability to use pictures to communicate and solve problems.

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