Graphic Facilitation at World Cafés

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, graphic facilitator, graphic recorder, Graphic Recording, visual facilitation

I’m standing at a wall of paper, my arm raised and ready to write. The conference room behind me is arranged with ten round tables, eight people huddled around each. The eighty participants have deliberated at their tables for the last half-hour, scribbling down their thoughts and prioritizing. Now we’re ready for the report out. “Here’s what our group decided….” A woman at the first table stands up. She takes a deep breath and I know what’s coming next. There is no valve on the faucet of World Café report outs. “We need more accountability in our teams and understanding of our roles and particularly the funding process and how it connects to our work and applications for grants and better transparency and…” Most graphic recorders have been in this situation – capturing a waterfall of overlapping ideas, some of them redundant. As we scramble to keep up, the graphic recording becomes a Jackson Pollack of words scribbled quickly without clear organization or legibility. The fast pace of World Cafés also offers little time for participants to digest what is said or offer additional thoughts. However, graphic recording can work incredibly well at World Cafés…. it just requires a bit of graphic facilitation. Rather than being a passive capture of the discussion (graphic recording), graphic facilitation comes in with a plan, organizes the content, displays it for everyone to review, and welcomes additional thoughts or ideas. So how do you integrate graphic facilitation with a World Café? 1. Plan in Advance As with any conference or meeting, advance planning is a must to ensure graphic recording or graphic facilitation isn’t just a “fun add-on” but rather an integral part of the meeting discussion and outcomes. In the weeks or days before a meeting, we discuss the best layout for the graphic recording, appropriate imagery or metaphors, and how best to organize the content. How much time is planned for each breakout group discussion? How much time for report outs? Who are the participants and what perspectives do they bring? Will participants have the opportunity to interact with the graphic recording? 2. Prepare the Breakout Groups The most successful World Cafés allow a large group of people to delve deep into a topic and come up with a variety of ideas. But it’s also valuable to take the discussion a step further by having groups prioritize their ideas. What are the top three items they feel need to happen first? In order to keep each breakout group focused on the goals, provide flip chart paper and assign a recorder to each table. This helps ensure all the details are written down, which are then collected after the report out and can be integrated on the graphic recording. Or, instead of flip chart paper at each table, consider a visual template to help keep groups on track! 3. Graphic Facilitator Drops In on Groups While each table discusses their topic, the graphic facilitator can roam around and drop in on...

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The Art of Listening like a Graphic Recorder

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, graphic recorder, Graphic Recording, scribing, visual facilitation

  “How do you know what to listen for?” It’s a common question I hear as a graphic recorder, and one that’s not always easy to explain! But over the years I’ve found there are key attributes to the art of listening in graphic recording or graphic facilitation. These listening skills can be applied to a wide variety of situations beyond graphic recording. Discussions between co-workers; conflicts between spouses; reading the news and wanting to understand the full perspective… strong listening promotes deeper discussions and solution-finding. So how does a graphic recorder listen? Listening starts before the meeting. Understanding the bigger systems at play – the context – allows you to listen with a broader perspective. Prior to a meeting, I research the topics being discussed, the culture of the organization(s), and the “bigger picture” beyond the meeting such as overarching goals of the organization, external pressures, etc. This pre-research forms a foundation for open and deep listening – it influences the choices I make when graphic recording, the images and metaphors I use, and the overall layouts and frameworks for the charts. Listening requires neutrality. Having said that, no one can truly be neutral. But a strong listener aims to set aside his or her personal opinions in order to be as open as possible to understanding the speaker and recognize how the speaker’s viewpoint fits into the bigger picture. I have graphic recorded many meetings where conflict bubbled – no, geysered! – to the surface. And sometimes my opinion is in direct conflict with what a speaker is saying. But my opinion doesn’t matter – I’m there to listen and organize the discussion so people can work through challenges. If I’m unable to set aside my opinions, then I should not be graphic recording the meeting. Listen beyond the loudest voice in the room. Sometimes listening to what is unsaid is more important than what is said. I once graphic recorded an executive meeting for a large company. Of the thirty people in the room, one man spent the majority of the time expressing his opinion. He had a clear idea about a direction for the company. However, it was evident through the body language around the room that the majority of people disagreed… or at the very least had opinions that were going unsaid. I knew there were ideas being held back, so I saved ample space for them on the graphic recording. Mr. Soapbox’s opinions were not captured as large and as bold on the graphic recording as his voice would have the room believe. When he said “we need to cut costs on this project,” and people shifted in discomfort, I added a question mark: “we need to cut costs on this project… ?” Later in the day someone spoke up, gently challenging him, raising a counter-argument. The space I held for the rest of the group soon filled...

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Interactive Graphic Recording

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, graphic recorder, Graphic Recording, scribing, visual facilitation

Meetings can be host to a large number of participants from various industries, backgrounds, and perspectives… how do you encourage people to engage with the topics being presented instead of being idle observers? How do you capture the thoughts of 200+ participants? Or 400+? Graphic recording enhances meetings in many ways – from capturing speakers’ presentations to designing custom graphics to help guide a discussion. But graphic recording can also be interactive, even with a large number of participants! Gathering Group Ideas This spring I was invited to Toronto to graphic record IBM’s conference on HR and the Cognitive Era. With three hundred participants, IBM wanted to gather key themes and ideas on this “new age” of business – how artificial intelligence influences work in HR. We set up the engagement graphic recording in a common area where people could reflect on it over coffee and lunch. Throughout the day, participants submitted their ideas on a note card, which were then sifted through and organized into key themes. We weren’t looking to capture every last comment, as many ideas overlapped or could be consolidated into one. Over the course of the conference, I filled in the graphic recording until we had a clear overview of people’s thoughts! Graphic recording by @drawingoutideas: How does cognitive HR change the purpose of your work? -AG #HR #PowerUpHR pic.twitter.com/tEYkgN5xLa — IBM SmarterWorkforce (@IBMSmtWorkforce) May 17, 2016 Hands-On Approach Pretio Interactive is a Victoria tech start-up known for their innovation and creative approach to work. Last summer they hosted a networking event, Spring Into Start-Up, for the Victoria tech sector; about ninety people from various tech backgrounds were invited. Pretio approached me about having an interactive graphic recording… something people could physically touch and engage with while showing the “big picture” of the local tech scene. Our hands-on approach was a huge hit! Each attendee first took a polaroid of themselves (holding their favourite tech-themed object!). The polaroids were then attached to the border of the graphic recording and ribbons were used to connect the person to different parts of the tech landscape. The resulting 4ft x 10ft graphic was an impressive perspective on the tech landscape. People were excited to see how their ribbons overlapped and sometimes surprised by who shared their connections. A true networking event! (I was also honoured to be selected by Tectoria as “Tectorian of the Week” for my work at this event!) Tips for a Successful Interactive Graphic Recording Prepare prompt questions in advance — “what excites you about ____?” “what are you concerned about?” Know what information you want to gather from people and have these questions displayed on the graphic recording or on a sign board next to it. This helps focus participants when you want to curate feedback from a broad audience. Assign a Helper — the graphic recorder’s strength is in synthesizing the information and organizing it into...

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Graphic Recording in Health Care

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, graphic recorder, Graphic Recording, Healthcare, Patient Journey Mapping, visual facilitation, Whiteboard Animation, Whiteboard Videos

Health care is evolving with the needs of people and changing technologies. Sometimes progress is slow, other times it’s more immediate. But no matter the pace of change, it’s crucial the health system adapts so it’s sustainable and provides quality care. Graphic recording and other visual communications are powerful tools when integrated with health care planning or public engagement/appreciative inquiry. As a graphic recorder, it requires a keen sensitivity to the topics being discussed, a full-system perspective, and understanding of medical terminology and patient experiences. With this in mind, there are many ways graphic recording and visual communication is helping to shift the health system: Patient Journey Mapping Prior to starting my business five years ago, I spent 5 ½ years in health care. I began in mental health and addictions – specifically the assertive community treatment teams (ACT teams), which provide intensive outreach services for homeless / hard-to-house people with complex mental health or addictions. Some of the clients had experiences not unlike the patient journey of “Mark” below.   (click to view enlarged image) Patient journey mapping is effective for plotting a patient’s experience in the health care system and identifying gaps in care. We focus on what happens 80% of the time to patients in similar situations in order to have as accurate an understanding as possible. The patient is always at the centre of the mapping process, with health professionals providing their perspectives in order to help clarify the map. Health professionals include everyone the patient has contact with: family physicians, pharmacists, intake admin, outreach workers, counsellors, etc. The map is created in real-time with the patient and health care providers in the room. The first iteration is often post-it notes, which are shifted around on the map until a clearer, sequential journey emerges. The completed map is central to future planning and elimination of gaps in care. It’s the catalyst for change and is reviewed regularly to ensure planning is aligned. Patient journey map in progress during a day-long session. Public Engagement/Inquiry After my time with the ACT teams I moved on to working in community health engagement and system-wide integration. This included on-going consultation with community health networks and examining the bigger picture of health care to identify major gaps or disconnects. Community consultation is essential in understanding how people are or are not being served by the health system, which requires an open and honest dialogue. Graphic recording helps create a safe environment to have these discussions – everyone feels their voice is heard when it’s captured in full view of the room. The graphics also translate complex diagnoses or health experiences into a visual summary that people are more likely to understand and connect with. This is especially important in reducing stigma and building new relationships to facilitate further open and honest discussions.   We are all patients of the health care system – it is important the community voice is central to how the health system can improve. Public Education Reducing the...

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