I read the chapter in Dan Roam’s book ‘The Back of the Napkin’, called ‘The 6 Ways of Seeing’. Roam counts these as who, what, how many, how much, where and why. He uses mental imagery to explain the idea that even when you are imagining everything in your head, a scene at a park with a dog, your friend and a couple pushing a pram, your head is evaluating the imaginary situation subconsciously. This is ‘looking’. Knowing the dog has four legs and the pram has three and that the grass is green. ‘Seeing’ is looking further at what is happening. Why is it happening?
Roam also gives a good example of getting our ideas out visually, whilst commenting on ‘seeing and ‘looking’. He talks about a woman named Lila who was taken on to help a small chocolate company expand. She had to find out what training needed to be carried out, how much was needed, how often, what levels of employees needed what information and many more specifics. Instead of spending hours reading the old manuals that had confusing titles and walls of thick text she decided to gather a handful of employees to talk about and map out visually all the things she needed to know. They made charts for who needed the training and when, why, how much, where and what the content would be (The 6 ways of seeing). Lila used whiteboard sketches and images to make her groups collective ideas more understandable and thought provoking. This was a great way to cut to the chase and problem solve collectively as a group. By using the images and charts it was a lot more effective for the group to get through the workload whilst understanding what was going on.
Roam believes that by using the 6 ways of seeing you can become better at problem solving. This can be translated into sketching and using visuals and drawings to problem solve. Designers who can visualise the problem and can clearly see, not just look at what is going on in front of them are usually better at finding a solution to their problem.