Post2Post Podcast: The Back of the Napkin

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Welcome to the first stop on the March 2008 Post2Post Virtual Book Tour! It’s a pleasure for me to be hosting Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures.
The Back of the Napkin Cover

The Back of the Napkin is Dan’s first book, and it is a truly extraordinary inaugural effort. This is not your typical business or management tome, because it is filled with hand-drawn illustrations that add considerable richness to the core message Dan wants to convey: all of us, regardless of drawing ability, can use simple images to solve problems and communicate ideas to others.

From an innovation perspective, this is an extremely valuable book. As Dan and I discuss in our interview, the drafting of a simple, rough image on the back of a napkin is akin to (and sometimes functions as) a prototype of an idea, a tool that makes it possible for an organization and its stakeholders to better understand the true potential of that idea. With innovation as the central organizational capability of the 21st century, the need for association staff and volunteers to engage in visual thinking will only grow in importance, and The Back of the Napkin is an excellent resource for every leader seeking to develop this critical capacity.

Please enjoy the podcast. It’s a long one, roughly 53 minutes in length, but I think you’ll find it rather inspiring. Throughout our conversation, Dan’s passion for the subject matter really comes through, and his excitement is contagious.

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions for future podcasts. I’m working on scheduling some great podcast interviews for the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Download the mp3

The Back of the Napkin Links

+The Back of the Napkin website (extremely cool!)
+The Back of the Napkin blog
+Dan’s ChangeThis Manifesto, “The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking” (825 KB PDF)

Check out more from Dan tomorrow on The Center for Graphic Facilitation Blog and follow the rest of Dan’s schedule this week on Idea Sandbox!

Jeff De Cagna

Jeff De Cagna is chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, and a contrarian thinker on strategy, business models, governing and the future of associations.


  1. Great interview, Jeff… Great answers from Dan. You could hear the smile in his voice when he was describing seeing his book in a bookstore for the first time on the “new and notable” table.

    Thanks for asking interesting questions. – Paul

  2. Great interview Jeff. I haven’t gotten around to reading “The Back of the Napkin” but it’s on my list.

    Have you read “A Whole New Mind”, by Dan Pink? I subject matter seems to gravitate in the same direction as what Dan Roam was describing.

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