Delta airlines flight attendant Jewel Van Valin found a unique way to help passengers relax on long flights following the bleak days of 9-11. She gave them crayons and asked them to draw.
She found that the mood of passengers changed dramatically when they put crayon to paper. She's kept the drawing in flight tradition going ever since and now has 3,000 sketches created by her passengers. The Palm Springs Air Museum now has a show of Jewel's passengers' visual thinking.
The lesson for me? I spend most of my time showing businesspeople (who KNOW they can't draw) that creating simple pictures is an incredibly powerful way to discover ideas. Jewel's approach demonstrates one of the most important hidden aspects of this approach: when people think with a pen in hand, they relax. And when people relax they are able to think more openly than when stressed.
See those smiling passengers -- many of whom would rather be anyplace other than on an airplane? Now imagine what happens when you have a conference room full of smiling managers. Ideas flow. Decisions get made. Pictures work.
Thanks Damon for sending this link along.