A Sketch Tells A Thousand Words
Can you draw? I suspect a vast majority of
Well don’t worry, you might not be able to draw, but anyone can sketch!! Visualising ideas and insights through the use of sketching is a very powerful technique that helps support thinking and true understanding. It’s a great and refreshing alternative to PowerPoint and I actively look to include sketching into my everyday work life.
I joined SAP in April 2012, and was very quickly introduced to “Design Thinking with SAP”. In the simplest terms, it is a mindset or approach and a set of tools that seeks to solve problems using the combination of Design Thinking and Business Thinking to create value. I will post more about Design Thinking and my experiences going forward, but if you want to find out more now this video is a good starting point:
Sketching is just one of the six core tools that we use for Design Thinking;
Sketching is often known as the king of Design Thinking tools, because it is simple, portable, and can clarify meaning beyond words. We use this heavily to create artifacts that steer the direction of our interactions in a Design Thinking framework.
Why use sketching?
The great thing about sketching is that you can actually get new understanding and meaning emerging from the process itself (as opposed to ‘drawing’ or diagramming an existing thought). It is utterly superior to PowerPoint – because you can share back and forth on ideas very easily. When you’re sketching, if helps you to focus on what’s important – you can’t sketch every detail – it forces you to be far more focused on what’s important to your customer / stakeholder and you’ll give them room to make the connection between your important points and their context.
It’s not about being Leonardo da Vinci!
It’s about creating quick, simple, accessible sketches that everyone can understand, leaving space for others to add their own sketches; see my two happy customers below, and also my 5 year old son Luke’s picture (He wanted to have a go after seeing me sketching on my iPad – I left space for him to add his own sketch!)
Prior to joining SAP I was working for DHL (The shipping / logistics company); working in the logistics industry pretty much demands the need for sketching and whiteboarding to convey complex models and support discussions with internal and external stakeholders at all levels.
The example sketch below is showing a 4th party logistics (4PL) model – whereby a customer has outsourced their entire supply chain to Logistics Provider (e.g. DHL) who operates a control tower approach to provide central management of an end to end supply chain from raw material, ocean carrier, supplier, truck carrier, manufacturer, airline carrier, wholesaler, truck carrier, retailer, express parcel carrier to end customer.
My Sketching Inspiration: Lateral Thinking & Sketching
A couple of years ago I saw Edward de Bono present at a Gartner conference in London……. He got up on stage and proceeded to turn on an Overhead Projector and got out a pile of transparencies… (transpararent sheets) Initially I was a bit skeptical and thought this was a bit of an old fashioned approach…. However each of his transparencies were blank and he proceeded to draw a large number of simple sketches to support each of his points. It turned out to be one of the most memorable , compelling and inspiring presentations I have ever seen!! Very interesting insights regarding the way we think and how our minds work! Below is a link to one of De Bono’s conference keynotes:
Give sketching a try today – you will be amazed by the impact it can have on your everyday work life! Most of all – Have Fun!!