Doodle Thinking

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How might we encourage millennial fathers to get inspired and do more and think bigger?

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The Challenge

In my early fatherhood journey, I began to see that being a father who constantly helps kids cultivate curious and creative mind is tremendously important but not as easy as I initially dreamed. Moreover, if you are a type of father who prefer following conventional wisdom, the chances for children to think differently and creatively may decrease.

The Insight

Since my wife has been pregnant our most precious little one, Irene Kang, my journey on Doodle Thinking got serious. But the concept has been incubated in my head over the last three decades since my father taught be the initial concept since I was a 5-year old boy. It started from unproductive doodles and I was trying to be little productive to inspire people around my world, particularly daydreamers and night thinkers to keep challenging the status quo.

Doodle is a universal language. No one owns it. It is nothing special but I wanted to talk about it seriously by combining it with the designer’s problem-solving process. The Wall Street Journal also talked about the power of doodle, saying “doodling can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information. A blank page also can serve as an extended playing field for the brain, allowing people to revise and improve on creative thoughts and ideas.”

Doodling has many points of resemblance to the designer's problem solving process against ambiguity. Doodling begins at a subconscious level but when you get to a certain point of the process, you will find yourself thinking what this scribble could turn to be. If it does not go as you initially plan, you may consider a different route to make your art piece still alive. You start with no pressure but you often see yourself being obsessed with how to solve the problem. You don't even realize you are getting comfortable with ambiguity. Your anxiety about ambiguity remains subordinate to the process. It helps people get comfort- able with ambiguity in many situations and build their own creative muscles.

Problem solving skill is part of a creative muscle. The more you use it, the more confident you become. It is action-oriented but requires lots of thinking to solve problems within a design constrains. In other words, Doodle Thinking is the easiest way to learn the designer's problem solving mindset.

The Solution

While incubating my initial thoughts, I tried to keep my mind on the mantra “Don’t be afraid to do more, think less.” So, I soon started doodling based on inspiration from my wife and my baby. I was not sure where this journey would have taken me to first. When I had more than a dozen of pieces that I would be proud to share with bigger audiences, I realized that each of my visualized thoughts could be connected to form a short fatherhood story. In order to avoid delays in action, I chose to use self-publication platform and Amazon as a main channel to share my story.

"Our First Dance" helps visualize the story of how your little one positively changes your life. The book consists of creative doodles on random shapes and words that many millennial fathers feel during their pre- and post-daddyhood journey.

Doodle Thinking is a natural process of creative thinking and a way to improve your capability to think and communicate. It enables you to draw what your creative side imagines and connect back to what logical side thinks. Doodle Thinking allows you to think without limits.

My hope is that fathers can use this book as a guide to tell kids about their own daddyhood journeys, and show how the simple act of Doodle Thinking can unlock creativity. And, after enjoying this story with your kids, I hope you will be inspired to allow your creative side to externalize your thinking process.

The Impact

First off, on a personal level, it drives me to keep my “Don’t be afraid to do more, think less” attitude in my everyday as an author who firmly believes the importance of the attitude in innovation. The publishing journey has been full of a learning curve of entrepreneurship, including logistics, promotions, networks, revenue streams and so on. More importantly, by doing first and thinking later, I achieved one of my life goals and it enabled me to think about the next steps for bigger impact.

On a business level, the book received positive feedback from both professional book review companies and children’s book bloggers. Moreover, the hardcover version has ranked No.66 on Amazon's Best-Selling books in Mystery & Wonders category in March 2017. Depending on weeks, the book gets more sales and steady sales.

How might we amplify the concept via a family app?

View Doodle Thinking Prototype (WIP)