The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

Dan Roam

Language: English

Pages: 278

ISBN: 1591841992

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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the situation they’d like to have, and served as a starting point for imagining a better future. Then it dawned on the team that they may have gone too far in putting themselves into the picture. They had become so defensive about their own time and keeping a filter on what was coming in that they forgot to think about how to send information back out. So they took another pass at their picture, this time recognizing that every sender is also a receiver, and that the receiver—if he or she wishes

chart to justify the cost, we know they’re going to ask us to show them something we ourselves haven’t uncovered yet: How do these costs track with the overall revenue of the company? To figure that, we’re going to create another time series chart using exactly the same horizontal timeline, only this time the vertical axis will reflect total company revenue, which means we’re going to have to slide that scale from $10 million at the top (the highest ever spent on a release) to $40 million, the

are simply uninspired by our product. We’ve got to define our problem. In this case, it’s big and obvious: Sales aren’t rising, but they aren’t falling either—no, they’re just plain flat. The most reasonable explanation for flat sales is that customers just aren’t inspired by our product anymore. We can think of two possible reasons for our clients to feel blasé about us: Either our software isn’t making them happy or we’re not targeting the right clients. Both could well be true.

flexibility, we should be able to inspire Jason to buy more software. Step one of our executive pitch is ready: We’ve got the problem clearly defined and we have a potential solution ready. The only trouble is that our solution will cost $9 million. Now we’ve just got to convince the execs that it’s worth it. CHAPTER 14 WHY SHOULD WE EVEN BOTHER? PICTURES THAT SOLVE A WHY PROBLEM Why Spend the Money? We’re confident that the best way to get sales growing again is to spend the

was nothing there to read: no bullet points, no summary, no words. I knew at that moment I’d stumbled upon the greatest challenge to solving problems with pictures: Although we know how to look, to see, to imagine, and to show, nobody since kindergarten has told us how to talk about what we see. Just like singing, dancing, and drawing, we once knew how to show and tell, and we did it without bulleted lists. Not anymore. For a time, I despaired: Was there no future for anything other than simple

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