PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff

Doodleslide: Conversation with Gavin Wedell

Gavin Wedell is a business educator. He specialises in training business-academics in best-practice educational techniques. During his career he has designed and facilitated management development programmes for leading global corporates. He has received numerous awards for the innovative nature of his learning programmes.

In this conversation, Don discusses Doodleslide, a PowerPoint add-in that includes a collection of doodles and over 50 slide templates.

Geetesh: What motivated you to create Doodleslide, and how do you use the doodles and templates in your own presentations??

Gavin: I was studying my MBA degree at the University of Cambridge during 2011, and got fidgety in class. I began drawing pictures based on the ideas that I was learning about from my professors.

When some of my classmates saw the doodles, they asked me for copies. It turns out that these doodles were easier to understand than the course’s PowerPoint slides or lecture notes! I then showed some of my professors the images. They were astonished how hand-drawn ‘doodle’ images can convey a message so clearly and efficiently.

I’ve always loved using PowerPoint in novel ways. As a corporate trainer and facilitator, I wondered whether there might be interest in using doodles to make PowerPoint presentations more compelling, interesting, and engaging. So, after finishing my MBA in September, I did some research into the types of PowerPoint presentation templates and artwork that were available. I found that the vast majority of them were not only outdated and boring-looking, but also ignore basic educational principles.

I decided to do something about it — so I worked hard to create the Doodleslide add-in. It is the result of a three month collaboration between myself, forty MBA collaborators (who suggested what doodles would be needed), two artists and two Microsoft Certified Partner software developers.

I use the doodles in the business education workshops that I run. My interest is in improving the quality of business education. I recently ran a series of workshops for faculty at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, focusing on best-practice learning techniques. The doodles have been extremely useful in being a real-life example of how presenters and lecturers can make their presentations engaging and interesting.

I have also used the doodles to create business videos that I’ve posted to YouTube, including this short introduction to ‘Change Management’, which was created entirely using PowerPoint.

I’m currently writing a book on PowerPoint best-practice, tentatively called ‘The Presentation Manifesto’!

Geetesh: How has the user feedback been for Doodleslide, and are you looking at evolving this further?

Gavin: The response to Doodleslide has been really encouraging. People who use PowerPoint in corporate settings are finding it extremely useful in getting the attention of their audiences who are used to extremely bland ‘vanilla’ type presentations. Educators are also finding it to be an extremely useful way to capture their students’ attention, simply by showing this template slide as a ‘curtain warmer’ whilst their students enter the room or lecture hall.

I am certainly looking to evolve the add-in further and am currently beginning to collect feedback on ways that it can be improved. An additional function that I would like to create will focus on presenting numerical data in a more engaging way. Stay tuned for Doodlegraph!

See Also: Doodleslide, the Indezine Review

Categories: add-in, cartoons, graphics, interviews, powerpoint, templates

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