Using visual thinking approaches to share complex information is increasingly recognised as an really effective element of organisational engagement initiatives across many sectors. The last week has proved this!
I’ve been working at an event to visualise Interflora’s strategy, created a whiteboard style explainer video for a major aerospace organisation and graphic recorded at an NHS Neuro-Rehabilitation workshop (take a look at my Twitter feed @johnashtonuk to read some of the feedback about this).
In all cases, visual thinking approaches have helped to turn ideas and thoughts into tangible visual reality across this broad range of organisations.
To find more about how Crackerjack can help you engage your people through visual thinking approaches, please Contact Us.
If a picture speaks a thousand words, just imagine how enabling your people to think visually can help improve communication and creativity in your organisation!
Helping your people to communicate more effectively and share ideas more easily can be a key method of increasing creativity and productivity in your organisation. Put simply, the quicker your people can generate great ideas and share them with others, the quicker these ideas can be turned into (profitable) reality.
Developing your people’s visual thinking skills…
Providing your people with the skills to enable them to share their thinking visually using drawings and sketches can supercharge this ability in your organisation. A single picture could replace a multi-page report or a bullet-pointed multi-page slide show. 10 minutes around a whiteboard could develop a new product idea or find a way to save time in your production process.
Our Scribble Labs provide you with options for developing these visual thinking skills. We offer a range of workshops ranging from simply developing drawings skills through to helping people facilitate meetings using visual approaches.
Visual thinking support when your organisation needs it…
In addition to developing the visual thinking skills of your people, it can be helpful to call in additional visual thinking support to facilitate creative collaboration and visualisation of more complex ideas. This leaves your people free to get involved in the ideation and productive discussions that visually facilitated meetings can generate.
Developing the visual thinking skills of your people alongside calling in visual thinking support when you need it will allow visual thinking approaches to begin to permeate your organisation. The more people experience the visual way of working, the more they will engage with it and begin to see it as ‘the way we share ideas around here’.
Crackerjack can work with you to embed visual thinking into your organisation. In addition to the approaches detailed above, we can also help to embed visual approaches into areas such as learning and development interventions and induction programmes.
To find our more about how Crackerjack can help you embed visual thinking into your organisation, please CONTACT US.
In addition, please take a look at our 1 minute guide below to find the right visual thinking approach for your needs and use the menu above to explore the different visual thinking approaches available from Crackerjack.
Have you ever had one of those conversations that doesn’t seem to go anywhere? You may have been talking for a long time with the other people involved in your conversation but feel like none of you are really understanding what the other is trying to say.
Whilst most of the time this lack of understanding is frustrating, it doesn’t necessarily have immediate serious consequences for organisations. Time wasted, frustration and inefficiency are often the product of these type of unresolved conversations – not desirable but often not enough on their own to cause fatal damage to an organisation.
However, imagine if this lack of understanding related to the vision of the organisation. People not being able to understand, discuss and share the organisations vision (its DNA) accurately and understand what they need to do to make the vision a reality could ultimately be fatal.
The result of not understanding the organisations vision could include:
The wrong critical decisions being made.
Confusing messages being communicated to the public/customers.
Lack of engagement amongst employees.
Internal conflicts caused by differing views of what the organisations vision actually means and how it should be implemented.
So, how can people be helped to have the right conversations to enable them to fully understand an organisations vision (or indeed any other important information that needs to be communicated consistently and accurately)?
A visual representation of an organisations vision in the form of a rich picture provides a single-page engaging view of what can often be a complex story.
By showing the various elements of the vision and how they relate to each other in the form of a rich picture provides the following benefits:
Images (combined with the economical use of key words and phrases) enable your brain to process information more effectively and make linkages between ideas and concepts more easily.
Rich pictures by their nature are engaging. Initially people want to look at the picture and then they start wanting to read the detail. Not necessarily what happens when people are presented with a large PowerPoint deck or a lengthy report!
Rich pictures are accessible to all people at all levels in an organisation. They are designed to work for everyone regardless of role, length of service or seniority.
People can gather around a picture together (whether it’s in the form of a large poster, displayed on screen or used in a virtual meeting) and discuss what they are seeing. This process enables people to check and challenge their own perceptions of what the rich picture is communicating as well as beginning conversations about what the vision means in reality for them as an individual/team/organisation.
The rich picture creates a new common way of discussing the organisations vision (e.g. “You know the bit of the vision represented by the rocket ship…” etc). It is not uncommon for people to go into meetings with a copy of a rich picture for reference during meetings or events!
Of course, the whole process of using a rich picture needs to be well-managed and time needs to be made to allow people to review the rich picture both individually and as a team.
It’s also important to remember that a rich picture is not just a one-hit wonder. The rich picture will continue to provide a valuable method of discussing an organisations vision for the lifetime of the vision itself. And if required, rich pictures can be updated easily to reflect changes as they happen.
In summary, art (in the form of a rich picture) can play a hugely important role in helping organisations enable their people to understand, discuss and engage with their vision. This understanding, discussion and engagement with the organisational vision is critical. A well-designed rich picture could therefore be the artistic key to success for many organisations.
Recently, Crackerjack Visual Thinking has been working with the Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT) to visualise their new 5 year vision. The aim of the project was to create a rich picture that engages, informs and drives conversation about the IATs new vision amongst its members, other institutes and the wider industry. To create the rich picture (shown above), we used the following process:
STEP 1: We reviewed a written version of the vision consisting of a number of bullet points against each of the key elements of the new vision. We then asked clarifying questions to ensure we fully understood the new vision and how it would be used by the IAT.
STEP 2: We created an initial version of the vision rich picture and then worked closely with key stakeholders from the IAT (including its President Geraldine Walsh) to further develop the graphic.
STEP 3: The IAT vision rich picture was then shared with the IAT Executive Committee for approval. We were very pleased to hear that the committee were extremely positive in their comments about the rich picture and only minor amendments were required before the rich picture was officially signed-off.
STEP 4: The new IAT vision rich picture was launched at the IATs 50th Anniversary Conference which took place in June 2016. Crackerjack also provided live-scribing/graphic recording on the day of the conference to capture key themes and outputs from the event as they happened:
The IAT vision rich picture will now be shared both electronically and in printed format in IAT publications. It will form the basis of discussions about what the IAT does, what the result of its strategy will be and the impact this will have in the wider world.
After the conference Geraldine Walsh, President of the IAT provided the following feedback:
“John of Crackerjack Visual Thinking was employed by the Institute of Asphalt Technology to create both a rich picture of our new vision and a graphic recording of our 50thanniversary conference. It is evident from the quality of his work that he has a true talent not only in terms of creating the actual artwork itself but also in terms of listening, understanding and interpreting our requirements. His work is outstanding on many levels. Never before have I received such positive commentary on any project. Thank you John – it was a pleasure to work with you.”
We were extremely pleased to have this testimonial from Geraldine about our work.
In complex organisations, trying to understand how the various elements of the business fit together and co-exist can be challenging.
By using a visual thinking approach and working with your people to visually map your business on large wall charts, you are able to see the organisation and understand more easily how your business operates and the critical linkages that enable your business to function effectively.
Systems thinking x Visual Thinking = Organisational Clarity
Are you wanting to engage more fully with your people and help them see that their organisation wants and values their thoughts, ideas and opinions?
Do you have an opportunity to meet with your people in the next few weeks (e.g. a meeting, conference or event)?
If so, Crackerjack Visual Thinking would be happy to have a (no obligation) discussion with you to explore how visual thinking tools and techniques can help you truly connect and engage with your people.