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Author's profile photo Somu Arumugam

Sketch your Ideas and win your audience

SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL), Whitefield, recently ( July 25th 2017) hosted a creative session @ SAP startup studio.

It was inspiring to take a session surrounded by startup minds in this setup. All 24 participants are from various levels at SAP labs, Bangalore, Seems like they have concerns with their ppt presentations. I would share the topics which were on our white board discussion. I would like to thank P.B.Karthikeyan for being the brain behind this workshop. We started the session with a quick team activity to customize the agenda to best fit the participants interest.

Overview :

What we do in meeting rooms?

Every day we either give a presentation or be in a presentation meeting. How much we succeed in communicating complex / new ideas within our group or external clients?. Many a time the challenge is the familiarity of the Power point elements used.

Interesting facts around cognitive psychology: An average human attention span was only 8 seconds for a slide / web screen (were as a goldfish can pay attention for 9 seconds). If you are designing your presentation to share with a group, you must communicate effectively, or risk losing your audience with laid-back attitude.

Lets see how we can override this with simple doodling skills.The conference room  was set before hand with cards for each participants. As they join the activity after the pencil holding exercise they are asked to think about the associated elements connected with those labels picked from SAP terminologies. I shared some doodles how i would start for any concept building in a free flow style. (No eraser is used in this part ) This may help the presenter to think from the audience perspective. Participants are asked to try various types of strokes and shapes with in a time limit. Which gave importance to basic forms of their elements which they want to represent rather than concentrating on details. Slowly the pencil noise overtook the environment noise which was just unique and brought smile on every one`s face. The artist know when it is over. Yes you need to know when to stop.

What percentage does ppt presentations will ditch us?

A study says more than 50% content are familiar to the audience as they are exposed as the audience them self have used it in their presentations!. This may also test the presenter`s authenticity.we started capturing the challenges while doing ppt presentations.

Visualization is nothing but sophisticating basic understanding of Action, Cause, and Impact.

I took some minutes to establish the key concepts around

Primitive shapes and Identity,

Shades and Time,

Perspective and eye Level ,

Overlapping lines and Connection,

Consistency and simplification.

Primitive shapes are the heroes.. 


Our brain can be more familiar to primitive shapes and associate faster. Hence you would see the most iconic characters are in most simple forms.

I requested the participants to split in 2 teams to stimulate their competitive creative urge. They are instructed to think wild and spell it to the other team member. The doodle needs to communicate and the best team wins. This created comfort in ciaos with doodling. Later participants are regrouped to pick a new SAP concept and given opportunity to build a presentation for their clients , were the other team acted out like clients. Original sketches are much appreciated by both the sides which often was very rough but had the basics in place. Teams were communicating with lines to each other made the room look more productive.


Use the right metaphor

The topic then touched about natural shapes and man made shapes and how each other support in communicating ideas.

We still use redundant contents for representing different concepts / ideas why?

  1. Floppy disk for Saving any thing on computer.( Younger generation may not even seen this..

2. Bulb for ideas


The science behind that could be, human perceptions are tough to change from initial image to a new image. How to draw things which are not single entity but a whole process in itself? How iconography helps in associating elements in the discussed context



Focus on concept not on beauty!!

Both the teams were in good shape after 40 minutes, with their original content to be presented with a new heterogeneous group. The presentation took place for 45 mts and the result is evident, Both the team leads grabbed their audience attention span for nearly 18 mts to 30 mts which is more than average.

Discussed topics helped the participants in five ways.

  1. Quick and simple sketches can create anticipation with in the audience.
  2. Drawing definitely helps to emphasis on the specific point which the presenter is explaining 
  3. Great flexibility to add more elements or less when it is adequate.
  4. Improve authenticity on the presenter itself and which reflect on the content they present. 

Four above points serves the purpose, to give your audience a sense of personalized attention and fee to explore openness.

Audience are tend to do multi-tasking and lose interest or distracted really easily. so practice simple sketches to keep them on the same page. When you are holding your pencil every day for a small duration you can Start with different strokes and primitive shapes which can slowly grow as simple characters which can communicate and engage your audience. Cheers and have fun with your doodles!!

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      Author's profile photo Venu Janardhanan Sureshan
      Venu Janardhanan Sureshan

      Good one Somu

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I find it fascinating that goldfish have longer attention spans than humans, on average!

      Author's profile photo Pradeep AB
      Pradeep AB

      It was a good session somu. Even though not good at tried sketching with pencil after long time . A picture is worth a thousand words

      Author's profile photo Somu Arumugam
      Somu Arumugam
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Pradeep for sharing your views on the session.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Awesome Somu !!! Now I am in a deep regret for not attending this session 🙂 ...

      Author's profile photo Somu Arumugam
      Somu Arumugam
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Upen,

      There is a session coming up on September will share the schedule in a while. 🙂