Friday, September 23, 2011

Transform Reality With Prototypes Rather Than PowerPoint Slides

In the book, Flow, the author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that any activity that transforms the way we perceive reality is enjoyable. That is why some people seek reality transforming substances such as drugs, alcohol and other chemicals. This kind of transformation is addictive and destructive. The author says that there is a healthy way to transform reality. Artists and scientists transform reality by either creating something new or by discovering something new that transforms what we know as reality.

I see some parallels in the business world. One set of colleagues rely on a series of slide presentations to transform reality temporarily. Most of them are terrible at it. Even the ones that are good at it, end up getting a temporary high and get addicted to it until it ruins their thinking and reputation. Another set of colleagues transform reality by acknowledging problems, creating something new and painting a vision of how things can be to customers and colleagues.

I decided to join the latter group. It has served me well. Making things that solve customer problems and showing them to people has made my job very enjoyable. Over a period of time, my skills in this area have improved significantly that now-a-days I almost always never use slides with just text and images. It is usually a story accompanied by something I created.

I wrote about this approach that worked very well for me in the book Look and Flow

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