A joined-up visual thinking led approach to implementing your organisation's vision
Author Archives: John Ashton
I work with you and your people to create images that start a conversation in your organisation.
If you are an organisation going through change, starting something new or simply wanting to engage people with your idea or story, I can help.
Using a combination of people development techniques, visual thinking approaches and graphic facilitation skills, I help organisations and individuals discuss, explore and visualise their thinking – increasing understanding, learning and collaboration in an increasingly complex and fast-changing world.
So, if your organisation is going through change, starting something new or simply wanting to engage people with your story, please contact me using the contact details above or visit www.crackerjackvisualthinking.com to find out more.
Before I continue, I recognise and acknowledge that the current Coronavirus situation is really tough for many many people and livelihoods and jobs are at risk (putting aside the obvious health implications of the virus). I therefore write this post with that in mind and in the genuine belief that focusing on the future can provide some potential help during these difficult times.
It’s natural and a necessity for people and organisations to be responding tactically at this time to ensure their businesses are able to operate in some way, shape or form during this pandemic. Completely understandable and a requirement of any responsible business.
However, it can be easy for business owners to take their eyes off the long term vision of their business (I know I’ve done it!). It’s also easy to forget to learn from the current situation – there are many valuable lessons learnt already and to be learnt over the coming weeks. So here are some ideas I offer to help:
Take time at the end of each day to think about:
What went well and what could have gone better?
What processes could I change to make things work more smoothly?
How could technology help me do things more efficiently?
Are there any opportunities to use tech’ to help me work even more collaboratively with my team and customers (remotely/virtually)?
Has working from home/remotely actually improved mine/my teams productivity and effectiveness?
Every few days set aside time to think about:
Is there anything I’ve learnt over the last few days that would fundamentally change my long-term vision for my business?
Is there anything I’ve learnt over the last few days which will help make my business more resilient in the future?
Are there any new opportunities I’ve identified for the business which I can plan for or take action now to achieve?
Taking the time to think about and act on the above will pay dividends for your business both now and after this situation comes to an end. You may even find that your vision for your business alters to a greater or lesser degree due to what we’re all experiencing at the moment. But it will need you to ‘look up not down’ during these tough times.
Good luck and as always if Crackerjack can be of help do contact us.
Just a quick note to say that meetings don’t need to stop during these challenging times! Work needs to continue for social and economic reasons – it just needs to be done in a different way.
There are many great on-line ways for teams to meet virtually and talk.
However, please remember that virtual meetings need the same (if not more) planning than your ‘normal’ face to face meetings! Here’s a quick checklist:
• Be clear on the purpose and outcomes you desire for your meeting
• Plan the flow of your meeting, weaving together inputs (not too many!), activities, feedback mechanisms and action planning to create a clear path towards the meeting outcomes.
• Check and re-check the on-line meeting platform you will be using for the meeting. Check that all your participants can access the meeting platform and have the log-on details required.
• Don’t forget that just like face to face meetings, introductions, ice-breakers and energisers still need to be part of your meetings. Design virtual versions of these activities for use during your meeting.
• Use pictures and diagrams to frame conversations, drive discussion and engage your participants. And I’m not talking about 80 page PowerPoint decks!!!
We hope you find the above helpful.
Crackerjack is able to offer an on-line meeting facilitation service should you need help running your virtual meetings and virtual events. Please do CONTACT US for more information if we can be of help.
David Hubbard | Managing Director | ValueLicensing
“ValueLicensing wanted to find an effective way to communicate our vision and strategy to everyone within our business, in manner that would be both memorable and unambiguous. We reached out to John to see if he could help us visualise both this and key business messages to existing and new employees.
John’s approach was to work closely with the directors and senior management team to understand who we are, what we do and why we do it. John facilitated a number of workshops during which he spent time listening and contributing to the sessions to allow him draft the first visualisation of the company strategy.
The artwork produced was excellent and John was more than happy to make tweaks until we were happy with the finished product. The visualisation was communicated to the business and was received with positive feedback from across the team and we have referred his work to other organisations.
John’s approach, professionalism, and quality of work are excellent and I personally recommend John and ‘Crackerjack Visual Thinking’ to anyone looking for ways to communicate more effectively across the business. Thank you John.”
Crackerjack Visual Thinking is pleased to share that we’ll be working with Dassault Systemes on a new visualisation project involving live real time development of a visual to aid communication between Dassault and a key client.
We’ll be creating the visual using Affinity Designer on an iPad Pro to enable quick development of ideas and sharing of the visual as it’s created.
We’re very pleased to be able share this feedback from Steve Walton, Associate Director for Strategic Consultancy at AECOM Transportation (EMIA) in relation to 2019 Business Plan rich picture Crackerjack created earlier this year:
“Back in September 2018 AECOM’s Strategic Consultancy needed a way to visualise what we do. We wanted to find some way of explaining/demonstrating what we do, and more importantly – why we do it, to any new members of our team, whether that be Graduates, or Apprentices or even more experienced personnel coming to work for us for the first time. Business process, whilst key to growth and success, is not always the most exciting of topics to learn or be told, even when you are actively supporting progress. However we felt that something a little more dynamic was required to maximise inclusion and understanding in what we do. So we worked with John and came up with a way of selling the story of what we do and why, but in a more engaging and interesting way.
The idea behind our graphic was simple enough. It was to tell a story. The story was developed so that it aligned with the corporate objectives, and the tools we have available to us. The story forms a roadmap, explaining who we are as a team, what we are trying to achieve, our vison, our values and our clients – both current and future. The graphic provides us with the ability to demonstrate what we do, why we do it, who we do it for and the value it provides to AECOM. It helps people who maybe have not been in the business long, or even visitors to our team visualise the journey we take every day.
John’s creativity to be able to visualise process and objective was critical here. John has an ability to see things which we sometimes cant, but which are always there. His approach was not one of direction, but simply to bring our story to life through his artwork. John’s work has been recognised by the wider business, and I believe this could be the start of a positive collaboration between AECOM and Crackerjack Visual Thinking.”
To find out more about our work, please CONTACT US.
Crackerjack is looking forward to beginning work tomorrow on creating a rich picture for the Office of the Police and Crime Commisioner for Norfolk (OPCCN).
The rich picture will visualise the story of the OPCCN and the role it plays in the Norfolk community. The target audience for the rich picture is broad and includes the public and key stakeholders in the work of the OPCCN.
We hope to share the final rich picture with you in a few weeks time.
To find out how Crackerjack can help you visualise your ideas, please CONTACT US.
Very pleased to be able to share feedback we’ve received from Mark Lindsay, Assistant Director of Strategy, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, in relation to the ‘Transforming Care for the Future’ rich picture we created for use across the organisation:
“John from Crackerjack Visual Thinking was commissioned to create a rich picture depicting our strategy. In doing so he engaged with the team, not only offering suggestions, but importantly he listened to what we felt was important. He then seamlessly weaved this into the working document in a very timely manner.
He was very quick to respond and worked flexibly in terms of time and method of communication. We found that most of the work could be carried out over the telephone or email, but when we requested that he visit us, John didn’t hesitate to make the long journey.
He was happy to amend the work until we were completely satisfied with the result – which we were. If you are looking to depict your message through a rich picture, then John comes highly recommended!”