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Have you ever been faced with an issue where you had to work together with someone to accomplish some task?
Ever been frustrated when you explain what's needed to be done and they seem totally incompetent at what seems to be an elementary explanation of what you need?
Try explaining to someone how you make toast and see if they can draw it out. You would be surprised at how different we all think.
I was introduced to this a long time ago in a summer camp for the science and math nerds like myself who wanted to get ahead in school. (Yeah, I'm one of those and proud of it!)
But I had forgotten about it until it was presented to me again in a Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within Seminar in Dallas in 2014,wherein Tony had us have pair up and explain to each other, back to back, a photo of something. (Maybe it wasn't at a Tony event, but something very similar to it.)
I was so detailed about what I was seeing, I'd say things like:
- About 1/4 of the width inside from the left, draw a line down the page.
- About halfway down that line, draw a circle with about an inch diameter.
Things like that. The outcome?
Something kind of similar but with a few jarring differences …
… and then I was again reminded of this same process when I was watching this video:
Got A Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast
The simple exercise in this video is where you have someone draw out how they make toast with no words – kind of like charades!
And from Tom Wujec‘s findings, this simple process reveals unexpected truths about how we solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work.
It's truly incredible how much of a difference there is between people and how they not only explain a problem, but how their minds work in formulating a process, what's required, and how intricate the issue is in one's own mind.
The fact that there are so many different ways to explain how to make toast? Shows that there is so much to learn in the ways of communication, problem solving, and the like.
What I found interesting about this is that when people have too few steps (nodes) or links, information may be missing. But if there's too many, things become cluttered and chaotic.
— when you want to communicate something visually, have between 5 and 13 nodes
— we intuitively know how to break down complex things into simple things and bring them back together
— break down a problem onto Post It notes so you can work out the issue better
— people build on top of each other's ideas, and when you work in a group you integrate the diversity of each individual's point of view (sticky notes help because it's not one person drawing on a board but everyone's ideas all together … it's fluid)
— there's a visual revolution taking place
— those who see their worlds in moveable nodes and links (you'll have to watch the video for that explanation) have an edge of overcoming issues than those that think statically
— one company reclaimed over $50 million in revenue by following this process for their business
I also found it really interesting that in this experiment, if the groups did their test in complete silence, they did it better & more quickly. Talking gets in the way!
So next time you're confronted with an interesting challenge, remember what design has to teach us. Make your ideas visible, tangible, and consequential. It's simple, it's fun, it's powerful, and I believe it's an idea worth celebrating.
If you would like more information on this process, be sure to check out DrawToast.com!
I hope this video helped shed some light on why it is that people can be so frustrating when they don't follow your instructions on how to make toast. 😉
So remember! How do you fix any problem? Tell me how you make toast.
So! How do you make toast?
Has there ever been a time that you were explaining something that seemed trivial to you but became difficult for someone else to understand what you needed? What did you do to come to a resolution? Did you communicate and clarify? Or did you just do it yourself?
If you just got fed up and decided to do it yourself (which I've done on many an occasion) you need to start thinking outside the box.
And I know something that can help you do that! Check out the presentation below for more information on how to improve your brain to allow you to think more clearly, more creatively, and be more successful in just about everything you do. ^_^