Don't dismiss doodling – in the right hands,it can be a serious and useful tool that should be deployed whenproblems are most messy and topics most serious, says businessowner, author and leader of the doodle revolution Sunni Brown


Many of you may recall the story of the now-infamous 'Davosdoodle'. For those who don't, let me summarise. In 1996 in Davos,Switzerland, the world's most pre-eminent leaders gathered at theannual World Economic Forum. They were discussing weighty topicssuch as the end of easy oil, global pandemics and what was at stakein Iraq. When a press conference came to a close, event workersgathered the remains of the day and found something that turnedinto a scandal: a doodle left behind by then-prime minister TonyBlair.


Unfortunately for Blair, the scribbling was psychoanalysed bygraphologists – people who study handwriting and relate it topsychological states. From their analyses came assertions thatBlair was “aggressive” and “unstable”, among other unflatteringthings. But when the dust finally settled, a truth no oneanticipated emerged about this doodle. It didn't belong to Blair.It was by the Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates. Thisdiscovery led to backtracking about the conclusions drawn, andreignited an old debate about graphology as a pseudoscience.

A rootless stigma

During this rather childish mania, the press missed somethingimportant. The rhetoric surrounding the fiasco had a built-inassumption that is negligently off-base: it was inappropriate forBlair to have been doodling in the first place. Time and again Inoticed the covert messaging: leaders do not doodle. When solvingserious problems, to draw is to trivialise. It's unacceptable tosketch when complex subject matter is being dealt with. Read SunniBrown's complete article.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.