Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Back of the Napkin

I only got this book a week ago, and it's already got me thinking quite a bit! The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam, is a business book about solving problems and communicating using visual thinking. The idea is fairly simple--if you have a pen and paper, you can think through complex problems and present them in clear and fresh ways. Roam goes into detail explaining how our brains work visually, how we tend to think in pictures, and how this natural way of thinking can be a great way to communicate ideas. He presents a few different tools--the main one using the somewhat strange acronym SQVID--to show how any problem can be solved with a picture.

While the book is clearly marketed for the business world, I found that many of its tools and ideas are useful in communicating in ministry. If someone is implementing a change in ministry strategy, communicating a timeline of events and growth, or teaching a group of junior high students, using some of the visual thinking tools can be very helpful. I tested some of his ideas during a brain-storming session while thinking about the philosophy and methodology of junior high small groups. It was interesting to see some of the issues appear on paper--in the form of stick figures, arrows, and dotted lines--and realize some of the simple connections in a complex problem.

It's a short and insightful book that offers a whole new way of thinking and communicating. Doodling in staff meetings never felt more worthwhile!

1 comment:

  1. There a couple of blogs out there that use index cards and napkins.