Doodles and Data - Doodling in Meetings

For as long as I can remember, I have always doodled, especially when I have to process information or to think through some issue whether work-related or personal. I found myself doodling in meetings that had a lot of information involved and realized that I could revisit almost the entire conversation looking at my doodle whether it had any notes on it or not. 

My doodles have their origins in henna designs. I learned how to apply henna growing up in India when I was in middle school. Prior to that my doodles where geometric designs with interesting angles, which I still doodle but rarely. There have been studies and research done regarding doodling, learning and creativity.  This (http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/doodling-improves-learning/) article is a good read and has references to studies, articles, a Ted talk (below) and even a section on how to doodle. 


If someone would like to try this, I would suggest that they would start doodling when thinking through a problem or a solution. Administrative meetings are another way to dip ones fingers in doodling during meetings. Start with doodles that come easy to you: geometric shapes, objects, animals, birds, faces, flowers, etc.  All you need is a pen/pencil and paper.  I usually doodle in my notepad especially during meetings or on post-it notes. Start at a corner, an edge or sometimes right in the middle of the page. The doodle doesn't have to be "complete". You stop doodling when you are done with your meeting or when you are done thinking through the issue.  Then look at the doodle later that day and then a few days later to see how much information and data you can recall of the meeting or your thought process. It may surprise you. 

Wash, rinse, repeat. 

Eventually, you will do it mechanically in pretty much all meetings you attend or when you are thinking through something.  I never plan on what exactly I'm going to doodle.  I start and the doodle just flows. My doodles have a pattern to it and sometimes symmetry.  Doodles make even the most boring meetings fun.  Sometimes I doodle just for fun and they really help me and my brain take a break, especially if I'm stressed out or working long hours.  I hope that you will give it a try and find that it adds fun, creativity and richness to your daily life, besides the functional task of encapsulating all the data and information in your doodle.

My Doodles...

I did the doodle below during a NVISIA senior leadership team meeting back in May 2015 at The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva.



The doodle below was done at the Aliant Energy Center in Madison when I had a training session for State employees and contractors.



This doodle below was when I had to think through the bridging strategy between a financial system package application and the other legacy applications at a State agency.



Finally, the doodle below was drawn during a data conversion meeting for a large project at a State agency.


Topics: Tips, Creativity, Learning

Written by Naveen VK

Naveen is Principal Architect and she has been with NVISIA for 14 years.

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