Got the opportunity to support learning for three different communities of interest recently.
Community of Interest #1: Nonprofit change agents
Client: Solid Fire Consulting
Community of Interest: People who worked in the nonprofit sector who wanted to apply participatory facilitation methods within their organizations.
Event: How Can We Work Better Together? Participatory Facilitation and Leadership Methods Workshop
Goals: To help set a productive tone for the workshop with a graphic agenda, to enrich discussions with large scale visual notes, and to lead a visual goal setting activity.
How we did it: Alissa and I partnered up to weave visual thinking into the fabric of this 1 day workshop. Alissa is a veteran consultant to nonprofits. With her input I created a visual agenda so everyone could see how the day would progress (see above image).
During two discussions I created large scale visual notes, to help reinforce the sharing and learning that was happening.
For the visioning activity, I led a quick drawing lesson, to get everyone comfortable getting their ideas out on paper with pictures. Then I had them imagine a great outcome of using any of the methods they had learned during the day. Once they did that, they drew a scene that depicted that great outcome. Finally, they shared their drawings with their fellow workshop attendees and explained their drawings.
Results: People locked in the value of the experience by drawing and sharing their visions for how they were going to put what they had learned at the workshop to work at their organizations. During the workshop wrapup, a number of participants called out the visual elements and activities of the workshop as an especially powerufl part of their experience that day. Bonus—the drawing activity we did toward the end of the day energized people out of their mid afternoon sleepy slump!
Community of Interest #2: NYU alumni burdened by student debt
Client: NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program Alumni Association. Newsweek called ITP been “The Harvard of Interactive.”
Community of Interest: ITP Alums concerned about their student debt loads, and about financial matters in general.
Event: NYU ITP Alumni Association $$$ Mini Conference
Goal: Create a visual record of the conversations at this mini-conference which centered on the topic of ITP Alum’s student debt in particular, and on the national student debt crisis in general. Did you know that there is over 1 trillion dollars in student debt outstanding and over seven million people in default of their loans right now? Yikes! That’s the bad news. The good news is that knowledge is power, and the ITP alum assembled learned a heck of a lot over the course of the day. And with their data science and data visualization skills, ITP alums have the potential to contribute to general understanding and, who knows, maybe some solutions to this massive national crisis. Things got a little colorful at this event, which you will see if you look closely at these large scale visual notes.
Results: People referred to the the graphic recording (visual notes) for the rest of the day. Several people approached me and told me how much they appreciated this visual synthesis of the knotty and emotional issues that came up during the day.
Community of Interest #3: People in the NYC tech startup ecosystem
Community of Interest: People interested in working at, creating, or partnering with tech startups.
Event: NY TechDay, New York City’s biggest tech startup event
Goal: Help people who stopped by the ObjectRocket booth visualize challenges they faced and solutions for overcoming the challenges.
How we did it: ObjectRocket’s Data Services Advocate Nikki Tirado interviewed people while I synthesized their conversation into large scale visual notes. We used the notes to inform the interview. At the end interviewees got to take the visual notes with them.
Results: The visual interviews drew a crowd to the object rocket booth, gave participants unforgettable takeaways, and were tweeted and shared by multiple people, including the organizers of NY TechDay. All in all the event helped brand ObjectRocket and Rackspace as a company which cares deeply about its users.