Manifesto Sketchnotes

A few weeks ago I had the honor to Sketchnote at the Manifesto Conference in SF. It was a lot of content to visually stay on top of with ~7 speakers throughout the day. 

A few observations of the speakers... (1) Overall excellent. Each talk had several salient points that were important, but all fell under a single overarching theme. (2) Origin stories make talks more interesting. It helps to set the context of how somebody came to where they are. (3) As hardwired as we are to love origin stories to start with, a general overview. Knowing what you are getting into is also helpful. It is similar to knowing what the score of a game is before you watch it... it gives you something to look forward to. 

A few observations of my sketchntotes (1) Warm-ups are so important! Unless I am drawing every day for 4+ hours a day, I need a warm-up. A warm specific to sketchnoting is the most useful as it puts you in the right zone to do real time synthesis. A good day of opportunity for this is to note the hellos and introductions that a conference starts with.  (2) Paper works better than white boards, as the drawing tools are so much better. Yes, I know you cannot erase, but working with paper feels so natural. (3) In terms of audience engagement... simply put, more people should be sketchnoting. I would glance behind me and see a sizable portion of conference attendees on their phones or even napping. Sketchnoting is such a robust way to remember what you heard, and a great resource to refer back to. 

Take a look at a few of my sketchnotes I managed to take snaps of. If you were one of the people at the conference with a big camera taking professional photos of these... can we connect? 

Typing Vs Writing... What about Sketches Vs Photos?

I just got back from a couple of weeks in the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. As you might have guessed, we visited several cities that were overflowing with tourists...  tourists snapping photos with phones, big SLRs and with dreaded selfie-sticks. 

There is research that shows writing is much better for long term memory than typing. It has something to do with the real-time synthesis of deciding what is important enough to capture and what should be left out. As typing is much quicker to record in verbatim, whereas writing is much slower and personal. I will take this a step further and hypothesize that the same holds true for photos vs sketching. Cameras capture everything in a fraction of a second. Point (sort of), click, and there you have it. Doing a sketch, you sit down, take it in and make very conscious decisions about what to record, as  you could never record every little detail... there would be no hierarchy. 

There are certainly other things to say about the depth and detail of this architecture there vs the US, but for now, I just wanted to share a few sketches.  From a technical perspective, most took between 3-15 minutes and were drawn with Medium Flair Pen. 

Designing Ritual @ Sonic Rim

Sonic Hosted a great workshop on ritual. Coming out of it... what makes a ritual a ritual? 

(1) Sequentiality //  Specific order to the steps

(2) Inclusion (or exclusion) into a group

(3) Shared meaning // by those included

Hardware Massive

Alex Witowski spoke last month at Hardware Massive in Oakland on the topic of patent law. It was a great learning experience. Personally, I have something like 8 patents and often use patent searches for inspiration. I also feel that patents are quite stifling and most of the patents I review (which are typically single use plastic things) really surprises me that they were given in the first place. But, on the flipside, a patent is a reward for your invention. 

SDN @ Sequence

Last night we looked at redesigning healthcare Petcha Kutcha style. There were some great presentations last night from some very smart designers and researchers from ...

  • Katherine Duong & Alexis Turim, Kaiser Permanente's Innovation Consultancy 
  • Emily Abell and James Taylor, Athena Health
  • Izac Ross, Senior designer at Collective Health
  • Cale Peeples, Head of Design at Grand Rounds

Back of the napkin???

Great talk given by Audrey from DesignMap about taking direction from the back of a napkin. The problem is... the napkin is too often a solution and jumps to the end of the story. She went over a few strategies for digging deeper on napkin direction and finding alignment on the problem @hand. 

Viz Noting @ Gravity Tank

Last week, former grad-school classmate from ID and current Strategist @ GravityTank, Lauren Braun, put on a great workshop. We explored some structured methods to generate ideas on the future of transportation. Some good ideas to emerge included... reserving a space on BART for an upcharge during rush hours, dynamic boarding signage to distribute passengers and organize via specific on/off stops, autopay without getting your wallet out and what about just adding trash cans to the cars/stations? 

Viz Noting @ Yelp

I noted a talk given the CMO of Lyft this past week at the Yelp Building in SOMA. All work done on a dry-erase board... oh the luxury of erasing...

Design Method Post #1 // Paper Dolling

I want to share some of the design methods I have been using and/or developed over the past few years. To start with I want to look at a method called Paper Dolling. I originally saw this method at an IDSA conference WAY back in 2002. The example used was to find insights and preferences on where to place buttons on the upcoming Playstation controller. 

HOW IT WORKS //  A sheet of button or logo options is printed out on sticker paper.
Users are asked to place the sticker where they think the new feature should go.

BEST FOR // This method works best for small refinements or exploring added features with a focus group. Also works for internal design teams to explore real world  design details.

OUTPUT // After asking a large enough sample to participate, the team has a general idea of where the feature would fit best.