The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
The acclaimed bestseller about visual problem solving-now bigger and better "There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem." So writes Dan Roam in "The Back of the Napkin," the international bestseller that proves that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest discoveries in vision science, Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools. He reveals that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can't draw. And he shows how thinking with pictures can help you discover and develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and dramatically improve your ability to share your insights. Take Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, who figured out how to beat the traditional hub-and-spoke airlines with a bar napkin and a pen. Three dots to represent Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Three arrows to show direct flights. Problem solved, and the picture made it easy to sell Southwest Airlines to investors and customers. Now with more color, bigger pictures, and additional content, this new edition does an even better job of helping you literally see the world in a new way. Join the teachers, project managers, doctors, engineers, assembly-line workers, pilots, football coaches, marine drill instructors, financial analysts, students, parents, and lawyers who have discovered the power of solving problems with pictures.
For now I just want us to look at the big picture!” The problem was that there was no picture at all. It was as if he had said that everything in the garage was going to be rearranged, but nobody could look in the garage—all they could look at was their own little stack of boxes. It’s too bad, because the message to deliver was simple and almost entirely visual—here’s what we do now, here’s what it will look like in the future, here are the parts that will be the most difficult to change—and
this new coordinate system several times already in this book: the 6 W’s. Perhaps we’ve never thought of who/what, how much, where, when, how, and why as a coordinate system, but that’s exactly the way we’re going to use them for the rest of this book. * * * WHO/WHAT, HOW MUCH, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY * * * The 6 W’s aren’t just a set of questions we ask to define a problem. They’re also the source of every pictorial coordinate system we’re going to use from now on. * * *
required this time, etc. In other words, we still need to determine which version of timeline to create, given the specific circumstances and audience we face: a simple timeline or an elaborate one, a qualitative version or a quantitative version, one that focuses on the vision of where we’re going or the execution of how we’re going to get there, one that shows this project alone or one that compares it to other simultaneous projects, a timeline that reflects the way things could be or simply
create the original application. Two years later it cost four times that, and two years after that it had risen again—to $6 million. Boom: With the collapse of the market, development costs dropped due to layoffs, then started to rise again as the market recovered in 2004. Since 2004, development costs have risen consistently with every release. So if we go ahead with a $9 million version now, we’ll be right on track. Let’s build the same time series but show company revenue rather
solution to our problem—usually because we’ve seen it somewhere before—but it’s locked away just out of grasp. When we see our problem mapped out in front of us pictorially, the solution often jumps right off the page. Don’t worry about what your picture looks like; concentrate on what it shows. 10. Draw a Conclusion. The simple act of creating our picture is the most important part of visual problem solving: Drawing things out helps us look, see, imagine, and show ideas that would have