Squiggle birds

Squiggle birds is a quick exercise that you can use to get people stretching their visual thinking muscles. It takes about five minutes and quickly, clearly demonstrates how little effort is really required to make meaningful, easy-to-read images. The main point of the demonstration is that our minds are already pattern-making machines, and very little drawing is actually required to convey an idea. The mind will fill in the rest.

I learned this exercise from my friend Chris Glynn, a fine teacher who teaches fine things.

If you like this exercise, there are a lot more on my visual thinking page.

Konica Minolta interview

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Paul Chaplin of the Konica Minolta Business Innovation Group. This was one of three interviews on innovation. The published interview, which is edited, can be found on Vimeo.

Below is the unedited interview which goes into more depth.

Seven questions with Dave Gray


“Dave Gray has an amazing workspace, a small building that sits behind his lovely house in St. Louis County. It’s the perfect place to create, which he does in a variety of disciplines. It’s so nice that he insists that we meet in person on a perfect March afternoon, rather than trading emails with these questions, asked of visual artists on Look/Listen every other week. It turned out to be the right choice.”

The most important thing for me is to have a quiet place with a door you can close.

Read the interview in St. Louis Magazine.

Connected company webcast

Connected Company webcast for O’Reilly media. From the description of the webcast:

“It’s getting more and more difficult for companies to handle complexity: increasing customer demands for more customization, more convenience, lower costs and faster innovation. At some point the machine breaks down and companies just can’t handle it. The connected company has the same kinds of dense, dynamic, and complex properties of well-designed cities: fast pace, high energy, rapid innovation and high productivity. And some companies are doing this today. Learn more in this webcast presented by entrepreneur and author Dave Gray.”

Government is a service

The purpose of government is to serve the people. Thomas Jefferson and Mao Zedong may not agree on much, but they do agree on this.


“The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“We serve the people… If, in the interests of the people, we persist in doing what is right and correct what is wrong, our ranks will surely thrive. ~ Mao Zedong

Government is a service.

And we deserve better.

Read my full post Connecting government.

How to know what to draw

I have taught a lot of people how to draw their ideas. One of the questions that comes up over and over is “now that I can draw my ideas, how do I know what to draw to get my ideas across?” In other words, “I have a communication goal, how can I figure out the best way to draw that?”

It’s not just how to draw, but what to draw. In this video I share a simple three-by-three matrix that can help you determine what kind of drawing will best serve your business purpose.


1. This video is the second in a series that begins with “Visual thinking basics.” View that video here.

2. In the video I mentioned a webinar by John Kotter which you can view here.

Visual Thinking basics

In this video, I share some basics of visual thinking that should get you up in running in about 20 minutes. This video is a bit long, so I added a table of contents so you can quickly navigate to the points you are interested in. The table of contents is available by clicking the icon to the right of the volume control. Let me know about your sketching challenges and I will try to help you through them in future videos.