Diane Bleck is on a mission to unlock Insights, Inspiration, and Ideas for companies large and small across the globe. As an Innovation Strategist, she leads and facilitates workshops with leaders across business functions to create award winning content that inspires team to take their business to the next level. And in her spare time she has created The Doodle Institute where she is the mentor and coach for almost 4,000 students around the world teaching them how to DOODLE YOUR DREAMS.
With a background in theater performance, set design and costume design, Diane took a detour in the mid-1990s Ernst and Young was looking for creative artists to add creativity and innovation to their strategic planning department.
“I was just sharing what I drew in my journal. Then somehow, people think it’s awesome,” she says. “All I’m doing is trying to understand it myself… I’m still just a girl who loves to doodle.”
Twelve years ago, at 28, Diane was at the IAF (International Association of Facilitators) “with a booth and a freak flag,” telling people they should be doing graphic facilitating. She even built software to photograph the conference content and time stamp the conference agenda, but she was ahead of her time, and “lost her shirt” on it.
Then she got into e-learning, and how to use whiteboard animation, illustration, and infographics, to sell to big companies.
For a time Diane and her husband — who was her business partner — had the largest network in the world of graphic facilitators, with nine people on staff, and 20 people on virtual staff. Companies like ESPN, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Disney, called her previous company, AlphaChimp Studio, whenever they needed an artist at their event.
Then Diane got divorced, split the company, took the graphic facilitation network… then let go of it, and built The Doodle Institute.
Now she prefers to do graphic facilitation with small groups, working with top executives to help them map out their process step by step, rather than standing a corner doing graphic recording (being the silent partner, capturing the event with her face toward the wall).
Infographics are great… but if an infographic is done so polished and so slick that the regular person looks at it and they tune out because it’s too much information, it’s not a good infographic. An infographic really needs to clearly show you what is the information and provide you an opportunity to decide what to do next, or to form an opinion about the information.
Sometimes I feel dumb if I don’t understand it. Like, who’s this infographic for? Infographics are to make easy. They’re to take complex and make easy… We can have a bunch of data, but if we don’t understand the data, we can’t make a choice.
On Visual Thinking & Learning to Doodle
Visual thinking is a powerful tool for critical thinking, problem solving, and strategic planning. I don’t say it’s a powerful tool for looking cute on paper. I purposely make my drawings incredibly simple, so it feels only one step up from what you can draw at the whiteboard, and if you want to learn to draw like this, I can teach you how to look as awesome as the Doodle Girl on the whiteboard. And in most cases, you’re going to start drawing what you think of as better than me, which is awesome, because that means you’ve created your own person style. Which is what every artist wants.
On the Word “Doodles”
People often use the word “doodle” derogatorily. I started calling my daily art practice a daily doodle practice very intentionally in order to disperse the gremlins. If I think of my art as “just doodling,” then it wouldn’t be important or worthy enough for my gremlins to get their undies in a bunch. Diane has taken the opposite tack and proudly claimed the word “doodle.”
When she was in her 20s, she says, “I remember thinking I can’t wait till I’m in my 40s and someone actually respects what I do…”
She remembers being called “doodle girl” and thinking that wasn’t really the nicest term. So she decided to reclaim it.
I thought, “You know what, I’m going to use this term, and I’m going to empower myself with this term. And I’m going to actually spin this term so that when you meet me in the hall of an executive building and I’m fully dressed in my business attire and you say, ‘Who are you?’ I will say, ‘My name is Diane Bleck, I’m a visual learning expert, and if you ever have a complex idea you want to bring to life, remember to call me, I’m the Doodle Girl.'” And I leave them with the Doodle Girl. And so if they say to someone, “Where’s that doodle girl?” everyone in that building knows they’re talking about Diane Bleck.
Diane has also broken doodle down into:
- Every day
That’s just a taste of our conversation. Listen to the episode for more goodness.
21 Doodle Days – Free course! Learn how to use doodles every day to unlock your creativity at Home, School and Work. These 21 lessons are designed to encourage you to “lean in and listen with a pen”.
Diane’s Doodle Summit
As you know, I am a passion pluralite. Also known as a multi-passionate, Renaissance soul, scanner, or multipotentialite.
In other words, I have a ton of different passions and interests.
If that’s you, too, then this week’s Something Cool is for YOU!
Multi-Passionate Must-Haves is a bundle of 17 hand-picked books, courses, and resources (including my own Erase the Chaos Toolkit) that will help you build a life and career around your MANY passions.
This year, the products in the bundle address three broad topics: work, creativity and fear. These tend to be areas of challenge for multi-passionates.
The only catch is, the bundle is only available through midnight PDT on Thursday, so if you want it, grab it now.
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.
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