White House White Board: Baby Steps in Visual Explanation

The White House recently introduced the White House White Board with a 2-minute video of Austan Goolsbee, the new Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, standing at a whiteboard explaining the differences between two competing tax proposals.

While he doesn’t actually draw anything during the video, (everything is hand drawn ahead of time,) it’s still relatively effective at showing how the two plans differ, thanks in part to some camera work zooming and panning across the board.

This is no UPS commercial, but it goes to show how effective visual thinking and visual explanation can be. And does anyone think they couldn’t draw that visual? Okay, the handwriting’s a little more legible than mine is on a whiteboard, but I could certainly draw those circles.

It will be interesting to see what else they come out with in this series. With the number of incredibly complex situations the United States and the world have been dealing with recently, I only wish they had started doing this sooner.

If you’re interested in learning more about visual thinking and the power of pictures, I highly recommend Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin. He also has a second book out, Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s high up on my list.

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