Canadian Law Blog Hall of Fame

2015 Canadian Law Blog Finalist

2014 Canadian Law Blog Finalist

2013 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

2011 Canadian Law Blog Finalist

2010 Canadian Law Blog Finalist

2009 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

2008 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

2007 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

2008 InnovAction Awards

  • Categories
  • Archives
    April 1st, 2008

    ♫ Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
    First from him, now from you!
    Is that all you blighters can do?
    Don’t talk of stars burning above;
    …If you’re on fire, Show me! ♫

    Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe, from My Fair Lady.

    Simon Chester, a good friend of mine, put me onto The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking – the “lost chapter” from The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam.

    In a nutshell (and I recommend reading the ‘lost chapter’ – it doesn’t take long!) Dan states that we need to ‘rediscover’ the art of visual thinking that we first started to use in Kindergarten – and somehow lost along the way to higher education. His thesis is one to which I can particularly relate , as I studied mathematics before law – and math is heavily reliant on manipulating symbols. The symbols used in math – from algebraic operators to integrals and others – comprise a formal symbolic language that is capable of expressing very complex ideas in a simple and straightforward fashion that is understood by those trained in the notation.

    But Dan Roan’s point is that symbolic language (i.e. pictures!) are capable of being used by everyone – and indeed, should be! He states that you should start out by deciding which of the Basic Six” pictures (Who/What, How Much, Where, When, How and Why) is the best one to fit your thoughts – and then anthropomorphize everything – thereby “drawing” people into the problem-solving process.

    Litigators have know for some time that graphical evidence is worth its weight in gold when it comes to persuading the trier of fact. Marketers know that brands that have a strong visual element are easily recognized by shoppers (just think of the NikeSwoosh” or the Macintosh Computer Apple“). Computer desktops are littered with icons that stand for common applications that we all use every day. Drawing on the “right” side of the brain, pictures and symbols can awaken different pathways in our minds and delve deeper into our consciousness. They can help us reach down and grasp logical relationships that may not be apparent by using words alone. And they can serve as a shorthand for expressing ideas and communicating the need for action.

    So the next time you need to work on a problem, rather than using words, draw a picture and show that you are on fire!


    This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 at 10:09 pm and is filed under Business Development, Change Management, humour, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    2 Responses to “Draw Me a Picture!”
    1. Robert Dawson Says:

      Mindjet makes great “visual thinking” software for both Mac and PCs: . Tablet PC users will find the software especially responsive.

      Mind-mapping is the trendy word that covers the topic, and Buzan’s “The Mind Map Book” is one of the popular books on the subject.

    2. admin Says:


      I couldn’t agree with you more! And Microsoft has released Visio 2007 (
      that allows you to communicate information in a graphical format.

      And OneNote from Microsoft
      is another way to work on a tablet PC.

      And of course, Google has SketchUp
      that allows 3D images to be created by anyone – for free!

    Leave a Reply