Never believe it’s not so
Some problems don’t take very much brain work. It’s not difficult to figure out when we need a hug, a glass of wine, or…the vacuum cleaner. There are alerts when your car’s oil needs changed, a stench if the milk is off, e-mails when bills comes due. Recognizable issues revisit, we are familiar with them. They require responsible action, but not creative thinking, and mindless solutions can be combined. I could get a hug, run the vacuum, and drink wine all at the same time. We solve issues by what we already know, drawing from experience and knowledge. And if there is no fast fix, we can research what already worked for someone else. Advice from others, a Google search, or YouTube, give us answers. But that’s at home. At work, we have different issues—with an equal expectation to get them resolved fast. Challenges, complexities, the need to stay ahead, the need to innovate; each require time and effort in new thinking. But busy people with full workloads may not have the capacity, know-how, or readiness to think differently.
I grew up watching I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched and my daughters and I each read the Harry Potter books. Now I don’t have a blink-and-nod move or a nose-wriggle, and I don’t wave a wand. But I do have magic markers. I am in the field of design, creative problem solving, graphic recording, and visual facilitation, and for business, working visually definitely has some magic in it.
Graphic Recording is large-scale note-taking, done live at meetings, workshops, and events. We set up on the side of the room and start with a blank surface, capturing highlights from presenters and dialogue from participants. The result is a colorful, playful, visual ‘map’ of words and sketched images. It’s fast, it’s loose, and it's different from typical handouts and PowerPoint slides.
Where is the magic? It’s live work, so it serves as entertainment. You watch it develop: black-and-white becomes color, a blank page becomes illustrated. On the surface, you have an artful summary of notes, but there is a power beyond the page. Graphic Recording delivers a big picture view, and therefore, an overall perspective in one place. As people review and reflect on the content, they gain insight and see connections that aid decisions.
Visual Facilitation has similarities to Graphic Recording, but the artist leads or co-facilitates up front. It's process work. It's interactive. We involve and unite participants, directly asking them for input.
Where is the magic? The magic does not come from the person drawing with markers. The magic comes from the group. The exchange of information, questions asked, the dialogue; is all part of an active way of gaining ground. The answers appear. Understanding happens. Healing happens. Actions gets clear. We make visible whatever comes up. People get heard. As they are ‘saying’, they are also ‘seeing’. Visual facilitation has the power to create alignment, understanding, and commitment, all necessary for a positive work culture, and progress toward change.
Creative Problem Solving is a structure for the process of creative thinking. We use tools and exercises to enable teams or individuals to drum up new ideas, evaluate them, and work towards development and implementation. Guiding the process helps people know where to start. Playing with ideas is empowering, and there is a freedom in it. Your brain is actively involved, creative, and collaborative; a bit less corporate, and more entrepreneurial. It’s a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-down-to-business way of working but with a shifted focus from what your daily grind normally is. Your standard routine of work is interrupted by collaboration and by questions. Thinking becomes explorative, connective, even refreshed. There isn’t one right answer, and you need to be open to discovery.
So where is the magic? It depends on what you need but here are some outcomes: You get unstuck. You find a plan. Gaps, limitations, possibilities, opportunities all become visible. Problems are reframed and seen from multiple perspectives to gain solutions. Your understood your audience better and think of new ideas for success. And, the group involved in the process has ownership, so they are already part of the momentum for change.
Innovation and creativity are not linear, predictable, or consistent, yet we need to corral new thinking to progress forward. With the types of visual work I described, thinking and problem-solving get captured. There is a visual record of your active, creative mental work. So you can step back and think about your thinking. You can review shared discussion. You can harvest ideas. You can make realizations and discoveries.
In summary, markers in hand, I ‘draw’ and interact with paper, but when I interact with your team, I ‘draw’ energy, thoughts, and insights from participants. That is where the magic is. Working visually brings magic forth from your team. It engages people and stimulates thinking, providing tangible results you can see. You don’t have to save creative consultants for some special event or annual meeting. Make use of their skills more often. Get visual practitioners into your work life to drive everyday progress.
Why hire me? I’m a unique blend of Visual thinker-Design thinker-Problem solver. I love to simplify and communicate content... and get to what matters—for you and/or your audience. If curious, check out my visual work and design at Visualtranslating.com.