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Drawing is Thinking

Monday, November 23, 2009 by Slaughter Development

A video of the famed graphic designer Milton Glaser is floating around the web lately. The title and the topic is powerful: “Drawing is Thinking.” The full clip is less than five minutes and is embedded below (direct link) 

Glaser may not be well known outside artistic and design circles, but he is famous for the “I ‘heart’ New York” logo and several renown posters, logos and other creations. But it’s his commentary in this brief lecture that is most profound:

For me drawing has always been the most fundamental way of engaging the world. I’m convinced that it is only through drawing that I actually look at things carefully. The act of drawing makes me conscious of what I am looking at. If I wasn’t drawing, I get the sense that I wouldn’t be seeing.

This is good advice for anyone interested in art, but also for someone pursuing business process improvement. The single biggest factor in changing workflow and productivity is to favor diagrams over documentation. Writing down a sequence of steps or a plan of action is helpful. But unlike written documentation, pictures tend to communicate action and fluidity rather than rules and rigidity. Representing work as a diagram is the foundation of Slaughter Development’s Business Process Modeling service which makes use of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). The Methodology Blog has covered the topic of diagrams before. Whether you are trying to prepare for the new year, plan a major event, or understand the spread of disease, pictures have power. According to Milton Glaser, perhaps the reason people are afraid of making sketches is based on an unfounded fear:

Curiously, people think that the difficulty of drawing is making things look accurate. But, accuracy is the least significant part of drawing.

Don’t be afraid to draw pictures because they won’t be flawless. Perfect is the enemy of good. An informal picture can be changed, improved, and understood by anyone. If you’re ready to learn how to diagram what you do, contact Slaughter Development. We help organizations put pen to paper and draw the future of their business.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Salesforce and BPM - Earlier this month, announced a new feature for their product suite. You can now visually design processes for your business. Read on »
Productive Event Planning - Many people have worked long hours on event planning. If you’ve struggled to process registrations and track down attendees, take four minutes and five seconds to watch a video from Cannonball Communications. Read on »
Seven Weeks, Seven Productivity Tips - Go look at the calendar. It’s mid-November, which means there are a mere seven weeks left in 2009. Now is the time to look forward and prepare to make 2010 your best year yet.
Read on »
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