Sketch Thinking: Learn to communicate your ideas with simple drawing techniques

Sketch Thinking: Learn to communicate your ideas with simple drawing techniques

Sketch Thinking is a collection of 36 principles and 7 group activities to help you communicate you ideas effectively.
– In Ch. 1 you will learn how sketch with Sharpies.
– In Ch. 2 you will learn how to make that sketch appealing so your good idea gets noticed.
– In Ch. 3 you will learn about a pervasive killer of creativity: bad meeting layouts and how to avoid them.

Often, one can have a group of individuals who taken one by one are brilliant, but that as a group fail in creative terms. Why does this happen? The answer is group IQ. Using the creative management process called Design Thinking can help to rise a team’s IQ. However, what happens when a team cannot sketch fluently? The purpose of this book is to gain sketching fluency so that 100% of your creative energy can be devoted to the thinking process, not the sketching process.

Why this Book?
You’ve probably heard about Design Thinking before — the collaboration method that enables teams of people to achieve high group IQ. In 2011, the University we work at let us offer an innovative course: Design Thinking. I was lucky. The syllabus we made became indexed by Google. In the following months, we were invited to give workshops at Apple, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, CEDIM MBI program in Mexico DF and at Bielefeld University in Germany.

But then we hit a wall.
However, soon enough we realized a frustrating yet recurring failure: no matter how awesome the participants were. No matter how good the team was. If they had no sketch fluency the workshop would not exactly succeed. This was particularly true in the case of engineers that possessed deep technical skills but who never had the chance to attend a sketching course. So, what? What has sketching to do with a workshop’s creative output? — You might ask. Everything!— I say. Let me explain. A Design Thinking workshop is based on brainstorming ideas and then sharing them so they can be improved by people with different perspectives than yours. This happens when an idea hops from a brain to another brain. While hopping brains, an idea might meet other ideas and improve. This is how genius ideas and Aha! moments happen in a workshop. Design Thinking fosters this activity by using a lot of sticky notes. A biologist would call such process ‘sticky notes’ based evolution. (We call it Design Thinking because it is fancier). So, what happens when workshop participants (like myself) can’t sketch at all?

I am at a workshop. I have this great idea. I sketch it and then, when time comes to share… the sketch is an incomprehensible doodle that no one can grasp. Communication fail, workshop fail.

The Solution.
The obvious solution to this problem is to teach people to sketch before the workshop! But who has the time to learn to sketch? Another alternative is to enroll on an illustration course. However, even in the case you became a pro at product illustration or drawing manga, those skills help but are not exactly what is needed for a Design Thinking workshop. A different, direct and leaner approach to sketching that did not require hours of training was needed. After months of searching, talking to art professors and ensuing despair, we finally saw the light during the summer of 2015. After a morning hike in Woodside’s Wunderlich park, we popped in the d.School hall, there, a woman in white —Alli McKee— was conducting a pilot workshop about ‘Glyphs’. This book is largely inspired by her workshop and we are deeply grateful to her.

What is Sketch Thinking?
The term is short for Sketch (for Design) Thinking. What follows is a collection of 36 tips and 7 group activities designed to help you build sketching skills specifically targeted to visual communication for workshops. The core principles of Sketch Thinking are: (i) Draw fast, (ii) Sketch ‘people feeling something’ rather than objects, (iii) Storify your message.

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