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Clay Shirky-Observations From Shanghai

August 13th, 2015 · Uncategorized

Renowned tech author (and my former professor), Clay Shirky moved to Shanghai last year and has been studying Chinese strategies of censorship and propaganda using social media. Clay discussed civic media in China, and what it might mean for other countries to provide a model of high communicative freedom and low political freedom. I captured the highlights of the talk with some large scale visual notes at Civic Hall. Fascinating stuff! The tension between the Chinese government’s desire to keep its elites happy and its economy humming, and its fear of losing control create a volatile, ever shifting media landscape in this dynamic rising power.

Clay Shirky Observations From Shanghai 1

Clay Shirky-Observations From Shanghai

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Visual Interviews of Civic Hall Members

July 20th, 2015 · Uncategorized

To get to know people at the new coworking community I joined, I’m doing a series cartoon interviews with my fellow community members. The community is called Civic Hall, a nexus of people interested in the possibilities of using technology to foster civic engagement.

About me: I’m a cartoonist, graphic recorder, and professor based in NYC. I help make events rock by capturing the ideas swirling around rooms and harvesting the juicy bits as large scale visual notes that everyone can see. I love teaching and mentoring folks and indulge this urge as an adjunct professor at ITP at NYU and University of the Arts Design for Social Impact program.

Civic Hall Toons #1: Coss Marte
Coss Marte, CEO Conbody, prison style fitness program

Civic Hall Toons #3 : Celine Gruenberg
Celine Gruenberg, Civic Hall Intern, NYU student, sunset appreciator.

Civic Hall Toons #3: Rasmi
Rasmi, Microsoft Civic Tech Fellow, cosmology fan

Civic Hall Toons #4-Jonny Goldstein
Jonny Goldstein (yes, that’s me), visual problem solver, envizualize.com

Here’s an example of some work I did to support a civic tech event a few weeks ago at Brooklyn Law School. The event was about using civic tech in university classes and brought together faculty from NYC and Boston to share experiences and tips with each other.

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Civic Tech in the Classroom at BLIP Clinic

June 18th, 2015 · Uncategorized

I was part of a really fascinating workshop a few days ago at the Brooklyn Law and Internet Policy Clinic about using Civic Tech in university classrooms. Folk from NYU, M.I.T., Brooklyn College, Pratt, Parsons, the New School, and many other great institutions discussing the promise and challenges of this emerging movement. What is Civic Tech? Here’s one take on it from Matt Stempeck.

One of the favorite examples I heard was one speaker who discussed how he used NYC civic data in a stats class and had his students look at what fire hydrants were responsible for the most parking ticket revenue. One hydrant in the Lower East Side garnered $55,000 of tickets in one year! Many other fascinating examples and areas of exploration in this rich day of conversation.


Civic Tech in the Classroom--Intros

Lighting Talks, Part 1

Civic Tech in the Classroom--Lightning Talks, Part 1

Lighting Talks, Part 2

Civic Tech in the Classroom--Lightning Talks Part 2

Report Back from Breakout Groups

Civic Tech in the Classroom--Report Back from Breakout Groups

Set on Visual Notes on Flickr

Set on Drive

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Helping Communities of Interest Learn, Share, and Dream

May 5th, 2015 · business, edtech, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic facilitation, graphic recording, information design, Information Visualization, large scale visual notes, partnerships, presentation design, public speaking, sketchnotearmy, storytelling, technology, visual sensemaking, vizsales vizmarketing vizpersuasion, workshops

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

Client: ObjectRocket/Rackspace
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.

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Playing with Expansive, a social whiteboarding app for iPad

March 31st, 2015 · business, edtech, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic recording, information design, Information Visualization, large scale visual notes, presentation design, sketchnotearmy, Uncategorized

Sketchnotes of the Initiafy pitch

I recently tested out a social whiteboarding app called Expansive, creating real-time sketchnotes during pitches by startups. The pitches were delivered at a Digital Irish event, a regular meetup of Irish expatriate tech entrepreneurs in NYC.

Expansive is an iPad app, which is designed for multiple collaborators to contribute at once. In this case I was working on my own. I added a few touches afterward, but most of what you see here was done as the speakers presented. I projected my iPad screen as I worked, so people could see the notes develop as I created them. Expansive is very easy to use, and a lot of fun. I enjoyed testing out Expansive—if you want to learn more, visit expansive.io for a free download.

Sketchnotes from Cool in Your Code pitch

Sketchnotes from Jon Axelrod introductory remarks

Sketchnotes from Pocket Anatomy

MatchPad pitch–sketchnotes. This one got away from me a little bit. Expansive lets you zoom in and out as you work, and it has a (theoretically) infinite canvas size. I lost track of my layout in the sketchnotes above in the course of moving around. Next time I might put in a few marks ahead of time to give myself some spacial reference points.

Sketchnotes from Jobbio pitch.

Thanks to Digital Irish for hosting me

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UX SketchCamp NYC 2015 Resources

January 26th, 2015 · Uncategorized

Had a blast at UX SketchCampNYC last Saturday. Thanks for coming out and adding to the energy!

The snowstorm is cutting my time short today, so I’ll post a more extensive set of links and some photos and pics of my graphic recording from UX SketchCampNYC as well in the next couple of days, assuming I have electricity and internet access :).

Quick links:

Envizualize.com—Hey you are here already, but I might as well post my own site.

Pics from the event (more to come):


The IFVP is the global professional association of graphic recorders and graphic facilitators. They produce an an annual conference with is a very powerful experience for anyone interested in the field.

If you would like to be put on the mailing list for NYC chapter IFVP events, email me at jonny(at)envizualize.com and I’ll send your info to the local event coordinator.


The Doodle Revolution, by Sunni Brown

The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide by Brandy Agerbeck

Graphic Facilitation, by Dave Sibbet

The Sketchnote Handbook, by Mike Rohde

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Value Proposition Design, Envizualized

October 23rd, 2014 · business, coworking, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic recording, information design, Information Visualization, large scale visual notes, presentation design, public speaking, storytelling

Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur gave a talk about their book, Value Proposition Design, from their home base in Europe via video conference to a rapt audience of entrepreneurs and business people at New Work City in lower Manhattan last night. Above is my visual capture of the key ideas they discussed. Can’t wait to get the book!

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