The case for Obama using PowerPoint

Over at Boing-Boing, Steven Johnson, author of such brilliant books like Emergence and Mind Wide Open makes the case for Obama using PowerPoint.

So many of the epic problems that Obama is going to be wrestling with over the next four years involve systems of great complexity and scale: the bailouts and stimulus programs, our national energy use, the immense expenditures involved in fighting two wars, the global scope of climate change. Tufte would be the first person to argue that complex systems like these are not easily explained using sentences and statistics, particularly when we’re talking about such vast numbers. I can imagine a White House address on the stimulus package, or his long-term plan for energy independence, where instead of sitting at a desk reading from a teleprompter, he’s actually walking us through the problem and his proposed solution with a backdrop of visually arresting and memorable slides.

I agree with this reasoning. Many of the types of problems that Obama is going to be dealing with need to be communicated in medium that can be both data rich and visually arresting.  And many designers on SlideShare have shown serious problems like globalization (Shift Happens) can be communicated in a simple yet visually arresting manner.

What do you think? Does Obama need for PowerPoint (or Keynote) for that matter of fact? Please post your comments below…

  • Olivia Mitchell

    For speeches where is he is explaining technical concepts – eg: economic issues, I think the answer is yes. His aim will be to have the audience understand the actions he’s proposing. That will be much easier if we can see a simple model, or diagram or flowchart. E-learning research has shown that students learning is improved when graphical elements are added to the verbal explanation. So yes – I’d love to see Obama using PowerPoint or Keynote for those speeches. Olivia

  • Emilia Palmer

    I think that the stimulus package have helped a lot in restoring the economy. right now we can see some improvements in the economy. right now we can see some improvements in the eco-~: