Sunni Brown

Author, Chief Infodoodler, sunnibrown.com
Austin, TX, United States

About Sunni

Bio

Sunni Brown was named one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business" and one of the "10 Most Creative People on Twitter" by Fast Company. She is founder of a creative consultancy called SB Ink, an international speaker, co-author of Gamestorming, author of The Doodle Revolution and the leader of a global campaign for visual literacy. Her TED Talk on doodling has drawn more than a million views on TED.com. Her work on visual literacy and gaming has been featured in the New York Times, Oprah, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, the BBC, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and more. She lives in Keep Austin Weird, Texas.

Languages

French, Spanish

TED Conferences

TED2015, TED2014, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011

Areas of Expertise

Visual Thinking, Gamestorming, Graphic Facilitation, Closet Comedian, writer, Creative Direction, The Doodle Revolution

An idea worth spreading

VISUAL literacy may become as important as literacy in the future. The re-uptake of our native visual abilities is one of the best things we can do in service to learning and solving global, sticky problems.

I'm passionate about

Visual literacy, storytelling, subatomic reality, how the mind learns, survival strategies for getting through life and the development of higher E.Q.

Talk to me about

Emotional intelligence, whole-brain learning, perception vs. reality, the definition of sanity and your dog.

People don't know I'm good at

Because I don't suffer from an overdose of humility, most people know what I'm good at. The only exception: singing.

My TED story

My company was invited to participate as visual thinkers and graphic facilitators at TED 2009, TEDActive 2011 and TED Global 2011 and I was a speaker at Long Beach in 2011. I and was thrilled to be there, of course, and it was simultaneously the most nerve-wracking experience of all time.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

95168
Sunni Brown
Posted about 1 year ago
Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
Nathan, with respect to your comment that doodling has a time and place, I hear you. The reason you may have experienced doodling being inappropriate (either in your own behavior or in the behavior of your students) is because most doodlers remain "untrained." In other words, doodlers often lack the discipline to link the content and direction of their work TO an external auditory source. So absolutely, doodlers can get lost in thoughts. One of the efforts of The Doodle Revolution (a movement and a book coming out next year) is to cultivate greater skills relative to the circumstances, setting and goals of the learning experience.
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted about 1 year ago
Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
Aneesah, thank you so much for the information about Barry's course. I've long appreciated her work and am thrilled to see the Unthinkable Mind course. Yay! (But I wish I hadn't missed it the first time around.)
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted over 2 years ago
Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
Davin, as much as I love a lively conversation, I'm not comfortable with either of your assertions below: 1. "If your doodling while something else is going on it's NOT POSSIBLE that you're actually paying attention to what's going on." 2. "People that doodle during a lecture in class are NOT going to be hearing everything the teacher says." Both of these assertions are wildly inaccurate and they contribute to exactly what the Doodle Revolution is working against. You can see from the myriad of experiences expressed by people on this blog alone that doodling helps people focus and listen and think better. Learning through auditory instruction is debatably the least effective method of learning, so for many people coupling listening with a tactile and visual component is what makes the distinction between them hearing and absorbing nothing and them hearing and absorbing a notable amount of information. For you, doodling may not be an effective tool but for millions of people it is a tool that has amplified their experience of learning, creating, building insights and getting ah-has. I train people to link listening with doodling specifically BECAUSE OF the powerful cognitive effect it has when they do.
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted over 2 years ago
Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
Libbey, I love your response and I thank you for taking the time to defend the Doodle. There is so much misinformation about visual language (what it is, where it is appropriate, what it's doing to the learner's mind) that part of my journey in educating people necessarily requires responding to critics like Brubaker. And he's playing an important role in helping me sharpen my case and respond to the resistance that others will also have. I'm so glad you found the content valuable. Please know you'll find a supportive partner in me for anything you and your daughter explore as you uncover what makes her tick as a learner. THIS sister won't write either of you off as flaky, no matter what learning approach you choose. Sincerely, Sunni
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted over 2 years ago
Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
Benjamin, thank you for your comment. I'm aware of the critiques for all of the major learning style theories and used the VARK four for shorthand due to the length of my talk. When the book comes out, I'll address all of those things. Regarding your hypothesis about doodling distracting people from learning, there is an inordinate amount of evidence that it, in fact, does the opposite. One of my goals is to train doodlers to track auditory content while doodling. Not ALL learners respond to the deliberate combination of auditory and visual content, but I've taught hundreds of adults and have noticed that this practice of focusing on what they're hearing heightens their absorption, recall and understanding of that information. So the idea that doodling distracts people from learning is one of the myths the Doodle Revolution will overturn. I hope you explore more of that information as you go forth and be fantastic! Best, Sunni
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why is visual literacy discouraged in most cultures & WHAT CAN WE DO to change that?
The fact that it's not KILLS me. Business is operating in a hyper-competitive, global, socially-connected, incredibly complex space and YET here most of us are, trying to talk and inspire people using slides with clip art. I can't tell you how many business ideas are a direct result of sketching. Without them, we wouldn't have the Internet (thank you, Al Gore!), or the telephone, or moving pictures.
95168
Sunni Brown
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why is visual literacy discouraged in most cultures & WHAT CAN WE DO to change that?
A visual auto-correct, hilarious! My first concern would be that it would start to homogenize visual representations, which scares me. But regarding a lexicon, I do have my own "graphic vocabulary", pieces of which I use to quickly convey something people are describing in a conversation. I encourage all students of visual literacy to start to develop their own lexicon for the purposes of rapid sketching or prototyping. There are books available for this purpose as well and Google Image search doesn't hurt to see what the collective societal metaphors are.