Summary of Got a Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast

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What do making toast and deciphering your organization’s most challenging problems have in common? Tom Wujec, a pioneer in the field of collaborative visualization, explains why a study in which subjects diagram the process of making toast provides tremendous insights into tackling problems using visualizing processes. getAbstract toasts this leader of the “visual revolution” for introducing a radical new approach to addressing “wicked problems.”

About the Speaker

Tom Wujec is a fellow at Autodesk, which manufactures design software for engineers, filmmakers and designers.



A seemingly simple three-part design experiment helps people comprehend difficult problems and exposes how individuals reason and work together. First, researchers give each participant a sheet of paper and a felt marker and ask them to draw the process of making toast. Each submission is unique. Some drawings are overly simple. Others are too complex. Certain participants focus on specific details, such as the mechanics of the toaster, the personal experience or the entire chain of events beginning with growing the wheat to make the bread. Yet despite these differences, all diagrams share two characteristics: “nodes…the tangible...

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