What are you doing right now? If you’re at a table eating a meal, you may want to consider using your napkin as a creative problem solving tool! Author Dan Roam has written two books that show how casual writing and drawing on napkins aids in the problem solving process.
The first book, The Back of the Napkin, shows how you can solve problems and sell ideas with pictures, and his second book published in 2010, Unfolding the Napkin, gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it. I totally get what Dan is talking about. Some of my most creative ideas came out of doodles on napkins and I have a stack of napkins to prove it.
The power of the napkin is all around us, all we have to do is look. For example, Daniel Libeskind, architect of Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum’s crystal addition came up with his revolutionary design doodling on a napkin while at a family wedding. In a classroom setting casual drawing, or doodling as some people call it, is often misunderstood. When my son was in elementary school, he would embellish his schoolwork with drawings. Every workbook page had drawings in the margins. Only a few of his teachers understood that this creative outpouring actually helped him to figure out math, science and english problems. Most saw the drawings as distractions from the work he was assigned. If Dan Roam’s books were available then, my son’s drawings might not have been seen as a waste of time, but as a valid way of figuring things out.