Latest client feedback about a rich picture created for the Strategic Consultancy team at AECOM Transportation (EMIA)

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.

Running a 2017 Kick-Off event in January? If so, read this! #engage #communicate #visualthinking

Are you running a kick-off meeting in early 2017 to get you and your team ready for the year ahead?

Being clear about what you want to achieve in 2017 and how you are going to do this is vital to the success of your organisation.

60 page PowerPoint presentations and over-long speeches are not the best way to engage with your people and communicate key messages!

Getting your people really thinking, talking and identifying the actions they need to take to achieve the organisations goals in 2017 will provide you with a much better chance of success.

To do this effectively we recommend the following steps:

  • Think about when and where you get your people together. If it’s going to be a face to face event, remember that the venue and room play and important role in how energised people feel and how engaged they are with the event.
  • Identify three or four clear organisational aims for 2017. Any more than this and people won’t have the time to really think about the role they play in achieving each of these.
  • Don’t just tell people the information! Help them discover it themselves through activities and discussion. Learning information rather than being simply told it is proven to be the most effective way to really understand and retain information. A graphic facilitation approach which combines facilitation with visual thinking techniques can be ideal for this type of activity.Graphic facilitation involvement
  • Think visually! Wherever possible and practicable, use images and diagrams to complement the other materials you will be sharing with your people. Rich pictures provide a great way of sharing complex information and graphic recording can capture the key thoughts, ideas and comments that emerge during your kick-off meeting.
  • Follow-up after the meeting. Be sure to set up channels that enable people to continue the conversations started at the event. Also ensure that you find a way to visually show the organisations progress against the 2017 goals.
  • Plan ahead! Toward the end of 2017, arrange another event to celebrate success and gather learning’s from the work undertaken in 2017. These can then be used to inform your plans and kick-off meeting for 2018.

We hope this advice is helpful to you. If you would like to discuss any of the above ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

John Ashton – Crackerjack Visual Thinking

Great feedback about our #Quality #Improvement Toolkit from Oxford University Hospitals #NHS #engage #communicate

Earlier this year, Crackerjack was commissioned by Belinda Boulton (Director of Transformation for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) to design and produce an on-line interactive service improvement guide for her organisation.

The ‘Oxford Quality Improvement Toolkit’ brings together numerous quality improvement tools, templates and techniques into one simple to use practical guide that is accessible across all platforms and devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.


The toolkit is designed to support anyone (from front-line staff to senior management) who wants to make an improvement in their part of the organisation, whether that’s making a change to a single patient process through to managing a major change programme across a team or department.

We were extremely pleased to receive the following feedback from Belinda on completion of the work:

“We knew what service improvement information we wanted to convey. However, we weren’t sure about how to present that information in such a way as to engage our colleagues and enthuse them in relation to our service improvement goals. John Ashton from Crackerjack Visual Thinking listened to our ideas and explored with us the nature of our audience and what would give them an affinity with the ‘Toolkit’. John helped us to bring our ideas to life in the form of an interactive ‘Oxford Quality Improvement Toolkit’, an on-line guide which brings service improvement tools to life. The work was delivered to time frames and exceeded our expectations.  We are looking forward to working with John in the future on other projects.”

To discuss how Crackerjack could help you in your work, please contact us, call +44(0)775 282 6227 or visit

What’s your plan for this week? #achieve #visualthinking

Monday morning’s here again!

Do you plan for the week ahead? I don’t mean just ensuring that you know when you’ve got meetings in your diary this week!

Have you taken the time to think about how the actions you take this week will enable you to achieve your personal and professional goals?

If not, here’s a visual template for you to complete that will help you quickly get the big picture on your week ahead. Just click on the picture to download it. Hope you find it helpful!

Plan for the Week Small

Crackerjack Visual Thinking

Can you sketch your organisations business model in 5 minutes? #businessmodel #businessmodelcanvas

Here’s a visual thinking approach to checking the logic and clarity of your organisations business model:

1. Print off a copy (as big as possible) of @AlexOsterwalders Business Model Canvas from the Business Model Generation website. This will give you a great framework in which to visualise your thinking about your business model.

bm canvas

2. Use minimal words and lots of pictures to complete the canvas in a maximum of 5 minutes.

3. Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I manage to draw my business model in 5 minutes?
    • If not, why not? Is it too complex and/or does your business model lack clarity?
  • Now I’ve drawn my business model, can I see anything I’d like to change about it?
    • Could anything be done more efficiently?
    • Could anything be done by a third party more effectively?
    • Are there any opportunities I’m missing with my current business model?
  • Would other people be able to understand my business model using only this sketch?
    • If not, why not? Is it too complex and/or does your business model lack clarity?

Visit and to learn more about how visual thinking can be used to help you think differently about your business.

A pen and paper – one of the most powerful business and thinking tools available… #visualthinking

Crackerjack Visual Thinking believes that the combination of a pen and a piece of paper is one of the most powerful business and thinking tools available.


The visual thinking approach is fundamentally based on using these simple tools (or their iPad style equivalents!) to create visual images that communicate ideas, facilitate discussion, engage thinking and provide a catalyst for co-creation between people.


The visual thinking approach enables organisations to experience increased creativity and innovation – ultimately leading to growth and success.

To find out more about visual thinking please visit or call John Ashton on +44 (0) 775 282 6227.

Holiday’s help you refresh your view of the familiar

Whenever I return from a holiday, I’m always struck by how I notice even very small changes that have occurred in the area in which I live. It could be that someone has painted their door a slightly different colour, or that someone has planted a new plant in their garden.

I then wonder if I would have noticed these small differences if I hadn’t had some time away from where I live?

It would seem to me that familiarity can make us less likely notice the changes around us.

Putting this into a work context, do we need to find ways of having ‘holidays’ from the projects we are working on in order to better understand what might have changed since we began our work?

Sometimes recognising these changes (however big or small) could provide us with vital information that will allow us to refine and further improve our work.

So, why not give yourself a ‘holiday’ from your work (even if it’s not two weeks in the sun!) and see if you can spot what’s changed since you went away?

Happy holidays!

#change #visualise #holiday

Visual Thinking + Design Thinking = Innovation

I was graphic recording at an large event yesterday where one of the key themes of the day centred around design thinking and its ability to drive innovative (and sometimes unexpected) solutions in organisations. Of particular interest to me was the use of visual thinking techniques including graphic visioning, graphic recording and sketching during the design thinking process (including developing customer/client ‘personas’ and during the ideation and prototyping phases of the process). Great to see visual thinking playing a key role in helping organisations innovate via the design thinking process!!! #designthinking #visualthinking #bizitalk #communication