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SKETCHING AT WORK A Guide to Visual Problem Solving and Communication for Managers, Consultants, Sales Professionals, Trainers and Facilitators

Martin J. Eppler Roland Pfister


SKETCHING AT WORK Martin J. Eppler, Roland Pfister

© Martin J. Eppler & Roland Pfister, =mcm institute, January 2011 To order your hardcopy (color) edition of Sketching at Work log on to: www.sketchingatwork.com Text Review: Justin O’Brien, Ronald Hyams Design: www.BELAU.biz


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

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1. INTRODUCTION: THE BENEFITS OF SKETCHING FOR BUSINESS 5 2. CASE STUDY: A STARTING EXAMPLE OF SKETCHING IN BUSINESS

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3. INSTRUCTIONS: SIMPLE SKETCHING GUIDELINES

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4. OVERVIEW: WHEN TO USE EACH KIND OF SKETCH 22 5. TOOLBOX: USEFUL TEMPLATES FOR SKETCHING

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6. PERSPECTIVE: HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN SKETCHING TEMPLATES 98 7. EXAMPLES: A GALLERY OF BUSINESS SKETCHES 110 8. EXERCISES: KICK-STARTING YOUR SKETCHING SKILLS

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Bibliography About the Authors Visual Index

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PREFACE

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.� Leonardo da Vinci

We live in times of polished presentations, flashy fliers, glossy brochures, and refined workshop methods. Yet many of us feel that this way of rigid rituals and one-way slide presentations is not always conducive to communication, information sharing, consensus building or creativity. Nor does it create the kind of energy and commitment that most managers (or sales staff for that matter) would like to generate in their communication. So it is not surprising that for some time now a counter trend is emerging in business collaboration and communication: the practice of personally engaging live sketching is replacing polished, but often boring and unproductive slide presentations. There are numerous, documented benefits of live sketching for management which you will find in Chapter 1 in overview.

Reaping these benefits may sometimes seem difficult, as managers, consultants, trainers, or sales professionals are not familiar with the basic shapes and forms needed for ad hoc drawing. To address this need, we have written Sketching at Work which should provide help and inspiration to speak, coordinate, and guide with the help of diagrams and visual metaphors. In the book, we have compiled simple and yet effective and versatile sketching templates that can be used in many business situations. The book is thus an easy reference guide and source for ideas for your next peer discussion, team workshop, sales encounter, negotiation, or management meeting. We hope that you will try out these forms first-hand, and discover for yourself how easy and effective this visual way of working really is. Martin J. Eppler and Roland Pfister, January 2011 4


1. “The mind does not think without a picture.” Aristotle

INTRODUCTION: THE BENEFITS OF SKETCHING FOR BUSINESS Why should you be interested in sketching for your daily work? One of the main reasons may be the high number of benefits that such analytical (as opposed to technical or artistic) hand drawings can provide for collaboration and decision making in management. These benefits have been discussed and demonstrated in various research projects on the topic of sketching, primarily in the areas of design, engineering and psychology. Below, we review these benefits and show how they are relevant to business and management. We first discuss the benefits of sketching in general, and then focus more specifically on sketching as a collaborative practice in management.

in flux and iteratively refine them. This tool of thought has been used by many great minds to develop their ideas and understanding. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was an avid sketcher. In his diary he notes that sketches often let him discover things he didn’t know he knew or detect new emerging patterns that lead to new ideas. Charles Darwin used conceptual sketches to develop his theory of evolution (as documented in his sketchbook and diaries). Sigmund Freud relied on sketches to refine his theories on psychoanalysis and psychopathology. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein used sketching as a way to refine, illustrate or clarify his thoughts. So if da Vinci, Darwin, Freud, and Wittgenstein used sketching to increase their creative and conceptual skills, why shouldn’t you make use of this powerful thinking tool as well?

Sketching in general, according to design guru Bill Buxton can be considered a tool of thought that enables the mind to capture things which are 5


But sketching helps to achieve much more than just a common focus. As meeting participants comment on each others’ sketches and remarks, they start to converge in their interpretation processes, clarify basic assumptions, stimulate different perspectives and extrapolate trends into the future. Through their playful, collaborative, and informal mode, sketches contribute to a truly open dialog that is characterized by the suspension of one’s own beliefs and assumptions and by an active engagement with the viewpoints of others.

Sketches therefore are: C aptivating: The moment you start drawing, people give you all of their attention. A utomatic: Simple sketches are automatically understood, even by a diverse audience. R evisable: Sketches invite modifications and thus support creative group work and rapid improvement cycles. M emorable: Sketching creates memorable experiences – sketches are remembered much better than bullet points. E nergizing: Drawing activates people’s creative and analytical potential and keeps them focused and engaged. N atural: Everybody knows how to draw simple sketches and can thus participate in sketching or extend an existing one.

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For business contexts, diagrammatic sketches are probably the most suitable ones, although they are not as engaging or concrete as visual metaphors or people-focused drawings. It is thus up to the drawer to decide which kind of sketch suits the current situation, target audience and his or her specific objectives. Generally speaking though, diagrammatic sketches are great for analysis or planning purposes (i.e., analytical tasks), whereas metaphoric sketches are a great way to engage people and create memorable visuals. Configurational or people-focused sketches are well suited to depict relationships among key

players in a given context. In this book you can find a majority of diagrammatic templates, plus a few based on popular metaphors. Only the social network map is based on stick figures. Of course, these three main forms of sketches can also be combined freely. Figure 6: Conceptual, metaphorical and configurational sketches

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communication or presentation tasks (such as the mountain trail metaphor). As you can see from the table, many of the sketching templates help with analysis and planning tasks. A few of the sketches can be used for more specific purposes, such as running a meeting, persuading a prospective client, or to communicate memorably.

Table 1: An alphabetic overview on the sketching templates and their main (•) and secondary (•) uses

Agenda Clock • Argument Sketch • • • Bridge • • Causal Map • Comic Sketch • Concept Map Decision Tree • • Empathy Map • Evidence Pyramid • • • Fish Bone • • Flow Chart • • Flow Sketch • Funnel Goal Chart • Meeting Agenda Tracker • Mind Map • Mountain Trail • Negotiation Sketch • Paths to Success • Risk Fuse • Risk Map • Root Cause Iceberg • Sales Balance • Scenariogram • Sketch Marks Social Network • Spectrum • Stakeholder Map • Stakeholder Ranking • Strategy Canvas • Sweet Spot • Swim Lane • • SWOT • Synergy Map • • Timeline •

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COMMUNICATING

ANALYZING

SELLING

MEETING

PLANNING

Template / USE

• • • • • •


ARGUMENT SKETCH Analyzing, Meeting, Selling

WHEN

There is a need to evaluate solutions to a problem or question.

WHY

To establish an overview of the pros and cons of a solution’s possibilities

HOW

State Problem. List all possible solutions. Define their pros and cons and provide facts to support the reasoning. 1. In the left margin, place the problem or question in a box. 2. Consider all possible solutions to the problem and connect each one with an arrow to the box, the stronger the arrow the greater the impact. 3. Link pro and con arguments to each solution. 4. If useful, add facts with additional arrows to prove each argument.

WHAT

A problem is analyzed in terms of the pros and cons of its options.

WHO

Consultants, Strategists, Project Managers, Facilitators

WHAT ELSE

Evidence Pyramid Example p. 111

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FUNNEL Communicating

WHEN

There is a need to show the selection or elimination process that converts several inputs into an output

WHY

To explain how selection or modification enables inputs to be transformed into a higher valued output.

HOW

Draw an inverted pyramid with an open tube. Divide the pyramid into the number of steps needed. 1. Draw a funnel as an inverted pyramid with an open tube. 2. Divide the funnel into different levels based on the number of steps that  need to be shown. 3. At the top of the funnel, write the input factors, e.g. Candidates, Leads, Ideas, etc. 4. At the bottom of the funnel, write the desired outcome or output. 5. In between describe the steps needed for the transformation or selection process. 6. If useful, add selection or elimination criteria on the side of the funnel.

WHAT

The funnel metaphor is used to select or eliminate inputs to improve the ultimate output.

WHO

Marketers, HR Staff, Analysts

WHAT ELSE

Workflow, Bridge

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


MOUNTAIN TRAIL Planning, Communicating

WHEN

There is a need to define the steps and obstacles in reaching a medium or longterm goal.

WHY

To illustrate what needs to be done to achieve a common goal.

HOW

Draw a mountain peak by drawing three diagonal lines converging at the top. Draw a curved path to the top. Place the milestones and obstacles on the path. 1. Draw a mountain with three converging lines. 2. Draw a small flag at the crest of the mountain. 3. Draw a curved path to the top. 4. Position and label key milestones along the path. 5. If useful, place barriers as obstacles or gaps along the way.

WHAT

A medium or long-term goal is broken down into milestones through a mountain trail metaphor.

WHO

Consultants, Strategists, Project Managers, Facilitators, Trainers

WHAT ELSE

Bridge

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PATHS TO SUCCESS Planning

WHEN

There is a need to find new, creative, ways to overcome obstacles and reach a goal.

WHY

To create new options, innovative ideas and alternative plans.

HOW

Draw the status-quo and the desired goal as two points. Place large obstacle blocks between them. Draw multiple pathways to the goal. Discuss new options to achieve your objective. 1. Place the status-quo at the  lower left. 2. Place the goal at the upper right. WHAT 3. Define obstacles in between and label them. 4. Devise or discuss paths from the status WHO quo to the goal. 5. Consider indirect ways and proxy goals WHAT ELSE



Innovative ways to overcome obstacles and reach the desired goal. Consultants, Strategists, Managers, Facilitators, Coaches Decision Tree, Mountain Trail, Example p. 114

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ROOT CAUSE ICEBERG Analysis

WHEN

There is a need to find the root causes of a problem.

WHY

To Identify the invisible causes of a problem by tracing back to its root causes.

HOW

Draw an iceberg in water so that the tip shows the problem and below the waterline shows its causes. 1. At the top third of the page, draw a wavy line representing the waterline. 2. Draw a triangle, representing the iceberg. Make two-thirds of the iceberg below the waterline to signify that  most of the problem is invisible. 3. Label the problem above the waterline. 4. Below the waterline, define the problem’s causes and root causes. Use arrows to connect the problem with its causes and root causes.

WHAT

The iceberg metaphor is used to analyze the hidden “root” causes behind a visible problem.

WHO

Project and Team Leaders, Analysts

WHAT ELSE

Causal Map

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


Vision-driven Strategy: Instead of defining a specific plan, the entrepreneur makes his or her vision known to all employees and encourages them to work in this direction.

Ideology-driven Strategy: There are no clear plans or objectives, but rather a strong corporate ideology that Invisibly aligns the actions of all employees in a certain direction and sanctions deviating Initiatives.

Fluctuation: As one CEO is replaced by another, strategic plans are frequently changed, leaving the organization with little opportunity to fully implement any of them.

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Corridor Strategy: The strategy is defined as a corridor of feasible actions. Within this corridor, strategic initiatives may run in parallel as long as they adhere to the defined strategic guidelines.

Imposed Strategy: The original strategic plan is replaced by another during the implementation phase, for example because the company has been taken over by another one with a different strategic agenda.

Strategy as Joint Iteration: Employees and management develop the strategy together and frequently review its progress to make  adjustments based on the acquired     experiences. 

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


Stakeholder Ranking: This coordinate system helps to rate and compare stakeholders of a strategy, issue, or project, and visualize their mutual relationships. Key stakeholders are at the top right-hand corner.

  

  

Spectrum: This one-dimensional axis sketch shows different possible organizational forms for an e-commerce division to support a carve-out decision.

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Sweet Spot: This Venn diagram captures the key features of competing products and relates them to current and future needs of customers.

    



Strategy Canvas: This line or profile chart helps to compare the strategies of two Airlines along key features to spot innovation or differentiation opportunities.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

We would love to hear from you regarding your experiences in using some of the sketching templates documented in this book. Please contact us at martin.eppler@unisg.ch with your questions, comments, ideas or suggestions for other useful sketching templates that should be included in future editions of the book.

Martin J. Eppler, Prof. Dr. sĂŠs. is a full professor of media and communications management at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), where he is also the managing director of the =mcm institute, Institute for Media and Communication Management (www.mcm.unisg. ch). He conducts research on knowledge management, knowledge visualization, and knowledge communication. He has been a guest professor at various universities in Asia and Europe. He has been an advisor to organizations such as the United Nations, Philips, UBS, the Swiss Military, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Swiss Re, Daimler and others. Martin J. Eppler studied communications, busi-

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ness administration and social sciences at Boston University, the Paris Graduate School of Management, and the Universities of Geneva (PhD summa cum laude) and St. Gallen (Masters, Steinacher price). He has published more than 80 academic papers (in journals such as Organization Studies, LRP, Harvard Business Manager, IEEE Transactions, The Information Society, European Management Journal, Information Visualization, and others) and eight books, mostly on knowledge communication, management, and visualization. His research has been featured in magazines such as BusinessWeek or the Harvard Business Review.

Roland Pfister, lic.oec. HSG is a researcher and management trainer at the University of St. Gallen, =mcm institute, Institute for Media and Communication Management. He holds a master degree in business for small and medium sized enterprises from the University of St. Gallen. After finishing his master thesis on human resources management, he has worked for two years as an IT consultant in the field of core banking applications for Accenture, a major consulting company, and another two years as a Senior Business analyst for Credit Suisse. In his research, he examines the impact of quantitative and annotative visualization on communication in management processes. The sketches in this book were hand-drawn by Roland.

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SKETCHING AT WORK Martin J. Eppler, Roland Pfister

We have now finished the new release version of Sketching at Work. It is available through www.sketchingatwork.com The release version contains better guidelines and tips, new examples, a section on strategy visualization, as well as exercises and suggestions to start out sketching at work. Thank you all for your great interest and useful feedback to earlier versions of the book.


Sketching at Work - A Guide to Visual Problem Solving and Communication