I’m just back from delivering my first public Napkin Training in Amsterdam.
Thank you all who attended! It was fun, a great success, and I believe a wonderful learning experience for all — especially me.
For just over eight hours, seventy-five of us from thirteen countries shared visual-thinking lessons, stories, examples, and more pictures than we could count.
My top three lessons:
1) While local details are critical, business challenges are universal.
All participants, from small consultancies to medium-size businesses to major corporations, brought their own “problems” with them. While each problem was unique, we saw through our pictures that each is composed of the same essential visual elements: the who, what, how much, where, when, and how. By drawing these out, we found that we could clearly understand each others’ businesses quickly and clearly.
2) Europe needs — and is ready for — more visual thinking.
To an even greater degree than in the USA, visual thinking appears not to be actively encouraged in European education and business. I sensed a greater hesitation among participants to leap into drawing — with a correspondingly high sense of satisfaction and collective amazement when our pictures “worked.” Certainly there are countless historic and cultural issues at work, which will make for great thought exercises. Yet given the communication, innovation, competition, and growth challenges ahead for Europe, I strongly believe more visual thinking will become an asset.
3) Amsterdam is a great center for visual thinking.
Amsterdam is such a great city to begin with. Add in the intense visual and design culture, the openness of the city and its people, and the willingness among businesspeople to try new things, and you have a powerful mix. I can easily see Amsterdam becoming a true center of visual literacy for Europe. I can’t wait to come back and draw again.
Thanks again to all who joined me. If you weren’t able to make it, I promise to do it again.
Until then, keep drawing!