Rapid Problem Solving With Post-it® Notes By David Straker Da Capo Press, 1997

Hang around long enough with designers, and you’ll realize that sticky notes are useful for more than note-taking; they can also be a useful thinking tool. More than that, they can be a useful group thinking tool: They allow a team to use the walls of a room as a shared cognitive artifact. The team can think better together if they have a way of externalizing information, and stickies are ideal — when used properly. This slender book teaches you how you use sticky notes properly.

It’s divided into three parts. The first shows you key principles for understanding problems, such as chunking related concepts, basic information organization patterns, etc. The second part explains the mechanics of using these principles with sticky notes. This includes several “tools” (techniques for thinking with stickies):

  • The Post-up

  • The Swap Sort

  • The Top-down Tree

  • The Bottom-up Tree

  • The Information Map

  • The Action Map

Finally, the third part of the book shows you how to use these tools to solve actual problems. It does this by offering a simple framework that allows you to tackle common project problems.

I’ve often described Rapid Problem Solving with Post-it® Notes as an operating system for stickies. It’s short, to the point, actionable, and game-changing. It’s one of the books I’ve gifted most.

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