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Google Ventures On How Sketching Can Unlock Big Ideas

Jake Knapp, author of “Sprint,” reveals a four-step process for sketching your way to greatness.

Imagine you’ve got a great idea. You’ve been thinking about it for weeks. You go to work, describe the idea to your teammates, and . . . they just stare at you. Maybe you aren’t explaining it well. Maybe the timing isn’t right. For whatever reason, they just can’t picture it. Totally frustrating, right? It’s about to get worse.

Now imagine your boss suggests an alternative idea. It just popped into his head, and you can tell right away that the idea isn’t thought out and won’t work. But all your teammates nod their heads! Maybe it’s because the boss’s idea is vague and each person is interpreting it in his or her own way. Maybe everyone is just supporting him because he’s the boss. Either way, it’s game over.

Okay, come back to reality. That was an imaginary scenario, but it’s the sort of thing that happens when people make decisions about abstract ideas. Because abstract ideas lack concrete detail, it’s easy for them to be undervalued (like your idea) or overvalued (like the boss’s idea).

Sketching is the fastest and easiest way to transform abstract ideas into concrete solutions. Once your ideas become concrete, they can be critically and fairly evaluated by the rest of your team—without any sales pitch.

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