September 15, 2010

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By Sam Alcorn

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Dan Roam, author of the international best-seller The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University. The talk is free and open to the public.

Roam, who has received international acclaim for his work in visual problem-solving, is the second speaker in the new Bucknell Forum series, "Creativity: Beyond the Box." The national speakers series, which launched this fall with a talk by celebrated choreographer Twyla Tharp, features individuals from a wide range of fields who can provide thoughtful and insightful commentary or interactive experiences on new ways of being creative.

Original approach 
"Dan Roam's genius is to offer a fresh way of seeing difficult problems and communicating ideas visually," said Joe Tranquillo, assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering and a member of the Bucknell Forum task force. "It's an original approach that has helped all kinds of organizations, from major corporations to schools, and we're looking forward to learning from him in person how to apply this creative way of thinking and working."

Published in 2009, The Back of the Napkin has received widespread praise and been a best-seller around the world, including in Japan, South Korea and China. It was named "Best Innovation Book of the Year" by BusinessWeek and "Best Business Book of the Year" by Fast Company. An best-seller, the book has been published in 25 languages. || See Dan Roam video

The White House invited Roam to a discussion on visual problem-solving after BusinessWeek named his visual explanation of the American healthcare system "The World's Best Presentation of 2009."

Simple picture
"There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it," Roam said. "And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem."

The founder of Digital Roam Inc., a management consulting company, Roam lectures, leads workshops and manages hands-on projects with some of the world's largest organizations. Roam said he helps teams learn how to solve complex problems by relearning how to see.

Roam discovered the power of pictures as a problem-solving tool in the 1990s, when he founded the first marketing communications company in what was then the Soviet Union. With no Russian language skills, he realized that pictures transcended the language barrier. Since then, Roam has been fine-tuning the visual thinking tools he introduced in his books, including his latest, Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures, a companion workbook to The Back of the Napkin.

Roam, who received his degrees in fine arts and biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, said it was the combination of his arts and science education that spurred his cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving.

The Bucknell Forum
Since 2007, the Bucknell Forum speakers series has featured nationally renowned leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives and a diversity of viewpoints. || Previous series events

The "Creativity: Beyond the Box" series' task force comprises faculty members Carmen Gillespie, Beth Capaldi Evans, Paula Davis, Joe Tranquillo, Margot Vigeant and Zhiqun Zhu; students Michael Davis, Class of '13, and Lindsay Machen, Class of '11; and administrators Rob Springall and Pete Mackey, chair.

Contact: Division of Communications


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