Several tools in the Innovation Toolkit invite users to sketch (i.e. Mind Mapping, Prototyping, System Mapping, Storyboarding, etc.), and that can be a little intimidating for some people. While I feel pretty comfortable throwing squiggles and shapes on a page or whiteboard, we often hear comments like, “I can’t even draw a stick figure,” or “I’m no artist.” If this is you, I encourage you to sketch anyway. Here’s why:

Sketching helps the brain process thoughts in ways that talking and writing can’t. The point of sketching for innovation is not to end up with a classy stick figure or an impressively round-ish circle, but to represent the process of thought and externalize ideas. It inherently embodies qualities that are important for the innovation process. It is naturally iterative, reminds us that failure is ok (thank you erasers!), and requires us to think critically.

Remember, thoughts are messy and sketching can be too! In my opinion, the scrappier the sketch, the better. Get a minimum viable sketch out and if it represents a good idea, refine it later. You just don’t know how good an idea is until you get it out, so give yourself permission to scribble, scrawl, and squiggle and you may find yourself looking at a good idea.

Post by Kaylee White, sketch by non-artist Dan Ward