Last week, I was privileged to attend part of the Creative Leadership Academy held at The Boulders in Carefree, Arizona. I listened to inspiring talks by “provocateurs” Chris Waugh (IDEO) and Luke Williams (Frog Design fellow and author of Disrupt), and I participated in the workshop Cultivating a Kaleidoscope Mind, presented by Laura Seargeant Richardson and Ben McAllister of Frog Design. I also delivered the closing workshop, Visual Meetings and Teams: The Key to Practical Application of Creative Leadership.
Education Elements is a company that serves K-12 schools seeking to implement blended learning solutions in the classroom. Looking for a way to get across the central concepts about blended learning that would help potential clients understand the approach, Education Elements turned to The Grove for a memorable way to illustrate them. Together, we developed a series of three custom graphic recording movies, each about five minutes long.
Each movie answers a central question: What is blended learning? How is digital content selected? Who is Education Elements, and what do they do? The visuals that accompany the narrative help convey the main points in an engaging way, giving administrators, parents, and other stakeholders a better idea of how Education Elements can help their schools.
Recently we invited Senior Consultant Tomi Nagai-Rothe to join us for a live Facebook chat about graphic facilitation. The following is a transcript of our interview and comments from participants. We’ve also included a video that showcases Tomi’s work.
The Grove Consultants International: What is the one thing to say to sell a skeptical person on a graphically facilitated meeting?
Tomi Nagai-Rothe: People will share more ideas, see how their work fits into the bigger picture and remember what they signed up to do.
What Is Graphic Facilitation?
To begin, let me share a story that illustrates how graphic facilitation works. Recently, a rapidly growing human resource development consulting firm operating in China and Japan asked my company, The Grove Consultants International, to come to China and teach its consultants graphic facilitation. In spite of a tradition of using wall posters for communication and having a language based on ideographic characters, the firm had not made the leap to using graphics as people use spoken language—in an interactive way.
To orient everyone, I drew the chart depicted here and told a story about how a facilitator manages the four flows of activity in any group process. The top levels of the graphic illustrate the attention and intentions of the group. Next is the physical energy and movement created by the activities and interaction of the group. The third level shows the flow of information, referring to all of the things said by the participants in the meeting as recorded on charts and boards or presented in tables and graphs. The final level, bottom line, represents the flow of operations, meaning the physical and organizational mechanisms that provide the means of expression for the group.
On September 27th, David Sibbet and Rachel Smith conducted the first workshop in a series based on Sibbet’s bestselling book, Visual Meetings. Held at Fort Mason in San Francisco, this six-hour immersive workshop covered a range of topics from graphic templates and visual models to virtual work and new media. More than one-hundred people were in attendance.