Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Doodling in the workplace

October 4th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Sunni Brown wrote a book about ‘games’ at work. She is a creative person who is interested in encouraging creativity in workplaces.  Here is a fun video where Sunni outlines her ideas about doodling in the workplace.  She shares information on how people take in information and how doodling is related to this process.  She is not the only one to support the idea that drawing encourages learning and creativity.  There is a great deal of work that looks at the role of drawing and knowledge creation.  A small industry has been created around books that encourage visual meetings and visual representations of business plans.  There is also a market for consultants who encourage innovation largely by teaching employee to flex their visual representation skills. 

This is consistent with the idea that if someone has the opportunity to work with information, play with it, consider it, try it out, they are able to deepen the level of processing of that information.  Deeper processing allows for integration with existing knowledge sets and possibly the building of new and novel connections – creativity.  I often talk about this ‘playing around with information’ as being a social process.  People learn when they interact with other people around the new ideas or concepts (e.g., debates, discussions, simulations, games, role plays).  Sunni proposes that a similar process can take place when the learner doodles.  I love the idea.  How great to be able to look up from my papers after 3 hours of a meting that will not end and announce that I am productively doodling!  And that any moment now it can be expected that I will arise with a genius solution to the problem at hand!  Too optimistic? 

The notions that working through ideas whether orally (socially) or visually (doodling) can deepen learning is intuitive.  There are still some questions left unanswered – does the doodling have to be relevant?  What role does time play?  Do some people have a greater propensity to doodle?  And to learn from doodling? 

I look forward to a world where we can all doodle free from prejudice and judgement. 


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