Sketchplanations

Explaining the world one sketch at a time

Sketchplanations

Explaining the world one sketch at a time

T-shirts make a team - Sketchplanations

T-shirts make a team

"Whatever your current T-shirt budget is, double it," said Tom Kelley in his book The Art of Innovation. He was talking about what makes 'hot teams' through his experience leading the global design company IDEO. I'm still amazed by the power of wearing the same thing to instantly unite a group. From the dressing up of bachelor and bachelorette parties, to putting on a shirt for a sports team, a demonstration, a company event, or just a night out, wearing the same thing feels good and brings people together like little else can. Order a print
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Passing on an inside bend - Sketchplanations

Passing on an inside bend

We all know that racing drivers overtake on the inside — it's the shorter, faster route. It was only relatively recently that I've found how useful it can be on a long drive too, not for racing, but for using the bend on a multilane road for easier, safer overtaking. Perhaps this scenario will resonate: after cruising at a steady speed for miles of a long journey you slowly catch up with a car traveling just a few miles an hour slower. You're not driving fast enough to zip by them, but the difference is enough to slow your steady progress on a long journey, and if you're driving near the speed limit anyway you probably don't want to accelerate much to overtake. On a multi-lane road like a motorway or freeway — not a single lane road where you'd be overtaking with reduced visibility on the corner in the opposing lane — timing your overtaking so you're on the inside of a bend and the slower car is on the outside allows you to get round the slower driver in a shorter time and without needing to travel nearly as fast. And the converse is also true: if you've timed your overtaking when approaching a bend where you'll be on the outside you'll find that you'll have to go a lot faster to get round or perhaps that your intended overtaking is actually not getting you past at all. Order print
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Umbrellas and funnels - Sketchplanations

Umbrellas and funnels

Much of the success of a good manager or leader is making sure your team can get the right work done. The demands on a team, say a product team in a tech company, increase as organisations grow. Before you know it there are requests from all sides that can sap a team's time, energy, and ability to get the key work done. Todd Jackson, former product manager of Gmail, memorably shared that a manager can be an umbrella or a funnel. The umbrella protects their team to let them get work done and the funnel lets everything pour through. All of us want autonomy to choose our own actions but none of us want to be overwhelmed. Be the umbrella. Order print
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The curb-cut effect - Sketchplanations

The curb-cut effect

The curb-cut effect illustrates how when we design to benefit disadvantaged or vulnerable groups we end up helping society as a whole. Angela Glover Blackwell explains how campaigning by students with disabilities in Berkeley in the early 1970s led to adding curb cuts to the Berkeley sidewalks to make access easier for those in wheelchairs. Yet it wasn't just people in wheelchairs that it helped. Curb cuts also made life easier for people pushing children in strollers, people using trolleys for deliveries, people pulling a suitcase, those wheeling bikes or on skateboards, and it also helps save lives by guiding people to cross at safe locations. Another example is adding closed captioning to TV that helps anyone watch in a noisy bar, a waiting room, or watching an airline safety video. Or a classic example of universal design in the OXO Good Grips range originally made to be comfortable for holding a peeler even if you have arthritis. It's also a useful analogy for "how laws and programs designed to benefit vulnerable groups, such as the disabled or people of color, often end up benefiting all," (PolicyLink) whether that be increasing broadband access, improving public transport or taking cuts out of curbs. Here's a short, fun video of Gary Karp explaining the curb-cut effect. Thanks to my patron Quintin Balsdon for sharing it with me. Order print
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