Power of the doodle, and why it's so much more than distracted drawing
Published Monday, May 4, 2015 10:25AM EDT
Doodling has long been considered a bad habit of distracted workers, but author and artist Sunni Brown says that's a misconception.
In fact, Brown argues that doodling can help workers and learners retain 29 per cent more information.
"It helps you retain content, it helps you see it in a different way, it helps you come up with ideas and be more creative." Brown said. "That’s why I’m a big advocate of doodling, even though historically it’s not been the most popular."
In the past, Brown has used this philosophy working with companies such as Disney, and Google to help employees tap into their creative potential. She also works with students and educators, and has written two books, "Gamestorming" and "The Doodle Revolution."
Now, she is teaming up with Microsoft to spread her message as the company launches a new tablet aimed at students.
Brown demonstrated both the tablet and her doodling-abilities on CTV’s Canada AM on Monday, showcasing what she calls a "visual alphabet" of lines, shapes, and symbols. She also shared some more complex information visualizations to show how images can communicate ideas.
According to Brown, doodling is a "native language" for most people and comes naturally to children, but many people move away from this way of thinking as they progress through school and careers. Brown works with clients to help them reconnect with their ability to visualize ideas.
"Most of us spend most of our time in a verbal and text-based world," she said. "And so, I teach visual thinking around the world and what I notice is that doodling is actually a native language and once you tap into the power of it, it releases a lot of thinking capacity."
She stressed that doodling isn’t just for trained artists, and it’s not about art, but about communicating and understanding ideas.
In 2011, Brown gave a popular TED Talk on her doodling philosophy.
In the talk, she told the audience, "My friends, the doodle has never been the nemesis of intellectual thought. In reality, it is one of its greatest allies."
Since then, she said, she has started to see a shift in attitudes towards doodling.
"I now talk to students and teachers who understand that it’s not about being distracted," she said. "It’s about being more fully engaged in the material."