All posts in “Visual Thinking for Business”

More than pretty pictures

By Katherine Woods

The wave of interest in visual working has crescendoed in the last ten years. I attribute this to many factors including: the increase in global working, in which pictures paint a thousand words; the use of iconography in the electronic devices we use every day; the popularity of books by David Sibbet and Dan Roan, who have made this way of working accessible to business people.

The downside I see in the appeal of visual working, is that visuals are often used without understanding the implications of the choices being made so. To the untrained eye, it’s all about pretty pictures.

There are three dimensions to working visually

  • The process by which the image is created
  • The underlying metaphor and architecture of the image
  • The way in which the image is used, once it is created

Within each of these dimensions there are multiple choices, which means there is a broad range of different results that can be achieved by combining them. In this article I hope to shine a light on the first dimension, by looking at the different ways graphic images are created and the impact this has.

I have summarised this into four discrete areas, yet the reality is that within each field there is a variety of application. For example within graphic recording: some recorders work privately, on sketchbooks; some work publically on large charts; some work completely real time; some do the outline real time and complete in the studio; some work in colour; some in black and white. These variations in each area mean it is more of a spectrum than four clear choices, but I hope this segmentation starts to shine a light on the options available.

 

In the complex, fast paced, global world we live in, I believe that visual working has huge potential power. The key to unlocking this power comes from consciously and intentionally choosing the right visual tools for the right jobs. I hope this article has shed some light on this field. In the mean time, if you are interested in finding out more about this area of work, get in touch.

 

Can virtual meetings be visual?

Virtual working is more the norm. Do it well!

Virtual working is more the norm. Do it well!

With the growth of tablet technology we are absolutely able to support your virtual meetings with visual communications and graphic recording. Having visual virtual meetings will not only make that individual meeting stronger but will help address some of the stress of the global versus local issue.

Virtual meetings can work for worldwide organisations or for smaller organisations that have chosen to work in distributed teams and work group. Virtual meetings are becoming a norm in many companies. Doing it well is not yet a norm, which can undermine successful conversations and overall communications. Continue Reading…

What word sums up high-quality graphic recording?

There is a lot of focus within the graphic recording community about what constitutes good recording and what do we call ourselves and what do we really offer our clients. These are all important conversations and we support those discussions. That said, I helped train Meeting Magic’s Advanced Facilitation workshop these past few days. Interestingly, none of those topics came up from our clients. But there was one word we kept hearing and talking about.

Complexity! Continue Reading…

Visible or invisible. That is the question.

The best graphic recording is there to serve the group. Scribing in meetings is there to add value to your conversations, strengthen commitment to outcomes, and support the group getting to action. Graphic recording is there to help you get your job done.

A recent question we’ve been addressing is how visible is the graphic recorder? How ‘up front’ should the recording itself be? Is the chart front and center for the group to engage? Is the chart in the back of the room capturing a record, much like taking visual minutes of meetings?

This is all important stuff to work out ahead of time with the meeting sponsor, leader or facilitator. We have a series of questions we ask before the meeting. How will you use this graphic recording going forward or is it only to be used by the group in question? What is the role of the recorder in this session? Why are you including graphics in this meeting? Will this specific chart be used again by this group?

Key questions that impact the group and their work are important for the graphic recorder to engage. Planning ahead for including scribing in meetings will create time and thought for how to best utilise graphic and the recorder. Waiting until the last minute to have recording as an add on might add a pretty picture but risks making visual thinking an afterthought rather than a key component to having a successful meeting.

To learn more about making your work visible and knowing how and where to place your graphic recorder, give us a call (+44 (0)1628 471 114 or email us to begin a conversation about graphic recording in your meetings.

What to do when transparency and clarity go opaque.

We frequently see rows of binders on shelves in our clients offices. The titles reveal a lot. These range from ‘Strategy 2020’ to ‘2013 Business Review’ to ‘Regional Action Plans’ and etc. etc. etc. What happened with these reports? Who created them and why? How much time and resource was spent creating these reports? Are they still being used and referenced? What was learned? What was not learned?

Equally, groups and organisations are increasingly talking about transparency and clarity in their work and with their stakeholders. Continue Reading…

How do you sustain institutional knowledge?

One of the major challenges organisations face in our modern, fast-paced, ever-changing world is sustaining, and indeed, improving institutional knowledge. How do individuals, groups, teams, managers and leaders stay on top of the mountains of information, conversations, data and input in a way that helps the organisation stay in touch with what it knows.

One answer is reports. Another is white papers. Another is keeping mounds of card deck presentations. And so it goes. Keeping it all together and in a way that is useful is nearly impossible, it would seem. Continue Reading…

What’s happened to leadership and why am I so flustered?

Leadership used to be a rung on the ladder of success. People aspired to leadership, especially after working hard in the trenches learning a thing or two developing skills and knowledge and even a bit of wisdom. Being the next great leader who would change the world, or at least one small bit of it, was a goal that demonstrated initiative and desire for advancement. Continue Reading…

Why WHY? It’s a loop.

We live in a HOW world. How do we do this? How do we accomplish that? How can I get work done now? How can I project manage this, that and the other thing? From how of learning to the how of work plans and actions. How dominates the landscape and drives most business decisions.

But there is a huge gap in that landscape.

Continue Reading…

When you add graphics to a meeting are you just jazzing up command and control or are you collaborting...really?

Katherine Woods #