Meet Jeroen and hear about his role as ideas man behind the book, The World of Visual Facilitation.
Jeroen is a visual facilitator, trainer, author, and founder of the company The Visual Connection, located in The Netherlands. After he graduated with a degree in technical business administration, he specialized in facilitating workshops and conferences, as well as training professionals in facilitative leadership. Together with his team, Jeroen facilitates organizations in strategic visioning and planning, business improvement, and team building. Since he stepped into the world of visual facilitation, visual tools have become an indispensable aspect of his work.
I’m pleased to announce that I have a chapter in a forthcoming book on visual practice!
The book is The Visual Facilitation Field Guide, and my chapter is called The Growing Edge for Visual Practitioners.
Watch my quick video below to hear all about it!
Why this new book?
The Field Guide is intended for visual practitioners to use as a sourcebook of ideas and inspiration, but it’s also intended for non-practitioners to get a sense of the depth and breadth of the field and understand why and how to partner with a visual practitioner. Over 50 co-authors, all visual practitioners or facilitators who partner with them, are contributing chapters about their own experiences and methods.
It includes sections on visual language and drawing, visual facilitation basics, roles, listening, dialogue, templates, meetings–including large-scale meetings–both face-to-face and virtual, team performance, storytelling, working off the paper and beyond the meeting, and intersections with other fields. There’s also a section of stories using visuals in action and a section about the future of the field.
My chapter is about the future of the field and how we as practitioners can build and grow our visual thinking practices in several key ways. It addresses the stumbling blocks many new and new-to-the-field graphic facilitators have in talking about the work we do and the value that we bring. This content comes from my experience of coaching visual practitioners around the globe in how to build a flourishing visual business.
Help us by pre-ordering your own copy – at a *discount*
The book is being self-published and will be available mid-year (2018). To cover the costs, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign!
The campaign opens on April 24, 12.00 PM CET, when you’ll be able to pre-order the book at a deep early bird discount. Or you can pledge a higher amount for other rewards, like a one-on-one coaching session with David Sibbet (The Grove) or Brandy Agerbeck!
Spotlight on the gifted + bubbly Heather Leavitt Martinez
with Heather Leavitt Martinez
Hear about Heather’s background as a printmaker and fine artist, how that lead to a desire to develop a ‘visual vocabulary’ that served others in their work and the power that comes from co-creating visuals with the group she works with.
Heather has great insights into how to stand out and brand yourself as a visual practitioner, how a key question at a meetup group spurred her pursuit of mastery in lettering and the key things to focus on to deliver great results for your clients.
Hear about Sam’s background in education and working in not-for-profit organisations, how drawing was originally a ‘side project’ until he found himself working ‘unexpectedly’ as a graphic facilitator (recorder). Sam has great insights into how to stay centered and present in our role when we are supporting groups doing difficult work.
To check out Sam’s website – click here and to have a look at Sam’s graphic work like the ones below – click here.
In Sam’s interview, he mentioned several people who have inspired him with their work and resources that he has found useful. Here’s the people and links to their websites and also a link to the IFVP 2016 Conference in Washington DC, USA.
NewYork in July and the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) Conference was a fantastic experience.
I ran a workshop called ‘did we hit our target?‘. The topic was aimed at those who design and facilitate workshops and group events – many members of the IFVP have this role.
I believe this is an important topic. The need to measure our impact as facilitators and recorders grows increasingly critical in an environment where project dollars remain tight. We must be able to quantify and qualify our worth. And some of the best data we have can come from our own experiences and those reported by our clients.
We explored two areas of interest – 1) how we measure the success of our efforts + 2) how we visualise that evaluation information for harvesting and communicating. The pivotal question for our session was:
How do we know if our meeting or workshop
has been a success?
I had the opportunity to discuss what evaluation methods, if any, were used by other professionals in the visualisation business.
At the start I did a quick poll on what kind of evaluations visual practitioners do after an event. Scenario A: Exit stage left with materials under your arm, waving to the client. Scenario B: Informal Harvest: how do you think that went? C: Formal, structured harvest: against pre-agreed outcomes.
The general consensus in the conference group was about 10%:80%:10%. In summary, an informal question of ‘How did you think that went?’ with the client was most common.
The group agreed that thinking more about the options in Scenario C: Formal Structured Harvest would be useful for their practice.
I presented my take on the logic model which I’ve dubbed ‘logic model lite’. At its simplest form, it covers the INPUTS (ie. what resources we invest in the meeting), our ACTIVITIES (ie. what we do in the meeting) and the OUTCOMES – short, medium and long-term (ie what results we see).
Using the workshop we were in, we ran an example of what a logic model ‘lite’ would look like. That way, participants got a feel for what information was needed and what level it was aimed at. We built it systematically from identifying the inputs, the activities involved, and then the short-, medium- and long-term outcomes. Finally we identified the matters we could evaluate the results of the workshop.
We discussed how common practice was to check if the activities and short-term outcomes were achieved. However, back to our ‘workshop as an intervention’ paradigm, further investigations could be done into the results and longer term outcomes that flow.
I shared some of the visual methods I employ for checking end-of-workshop outcomes with my participants.
These include my tried-n-true target board. I like the idea of linking people’s responses to the concept of ‘hitting the mark’.
Brian Tarallo of Lizard Brain Solutions offered his use of faces and emotions to do a visual Likert scale for feedback.
At the finale of the workshop, we checked the short-term outcomes for a measure of success. Participants reported having more structure and concepts to approach evaluation of their own workshops for the future.
During this great discussion, Tracey Ezard of Jessup Ezard Consulting recorded our thoughts. Thank you, Tracey for capturing our points and to all the participants – Lynn K., Nora H., Brian T., MJ and Lisa.
Do you want to:
Expand your professional toolkit with visual thinking skills?
Boost your effectiveness in meetings?
Add impact to your presentations?
Gain confidence in drawing and applying graphics to your work?
Be seen as a creative thinker?
If you are yes to any of these, find out more about my premium program: Essentials of Visual Thinking & Graphics Practice here.
Preparation for New York has begun in earnest! As the days tick by, I have been drawing together my presentation material for the International Forum for Visual Practitioners later this month.
The topic is ‘did we hit our target?’ and is aimed at those who design and facilitate workshops and events. The session will be an opportunity to discuss evaluation methods in this context. This is an important topic as I think an ability to measure our impact as facilitators grows increasingly critical in an environment where project dollars remain tight.
A lot of thinking has gone into evaluation methods generally for programs and projects to help people track outcomes and report (to funders and sponsors) on their successes.
In my experience, however, the types of ‘evaluation’ we do as facilitators is often more superficial. In closing a workshop, we often ask the stalwart question: ‘how well do you think we did in terms of meeting our workshop’s objectives?‘ Participant responses generally provide a summated account of outcomes. I understand this is appropriate in many cases as the resources and energy invested in gauging the outcomes of a workshop is in line with the overall investment of the event. In comparison, medium to large scale programs that span months/years may have a total investment that is tenfold of a workshop and so require more structured and probing evaluations.
That fact aside, I think we have room to improve the standards of our workshop evaluation. Before I launch with my ideas, I want to acknowledge Dr Jess Dart of Clear Horizon. Jess, through her training courses and working alongside her team as a co-facilitator on evaluation projects, taught me much of the basics in program evaluation theory and practice. She is an evaluation guru in this country and a talented facilitator and business leader.
Here’s the first key point. We need to see workshops for what they are:
If we do that, then it makes sense to spend time being clear about the expected outcomes in terms of short, medium and longer timeframes that we see flowing from the workshop. If we take the analogy of the pebble in the pond (the workshop), then we need to identify the ripples (outcomes) – what are they? how big do we expect them to be? and where do they go?
How does this thinking affect our practice?
I see three phases where facilitators translate the pebble in a pond analogy into a clear framework for evaluating outcomes. They are:
develop a clear STATEMENT of OUTCOMES at the commissioning and designing stages of the workshop
with the client, develop a shared understanding of HOW the workshop will DELIVER THE OUTCOMES expected; and
design a process to check the EXPECTED with ACTUAL OUTCOMES.
A critical tool in doing the phases above is the logic model – a depiction of how the client / participants see the change occurring as a result of a program or project. As it applies to workshop evaluation frameworks, I call it ‘Logic Model lite’ as it is a simpler beast than one developed for a large scale program.
In my next post, I’ll provide an example of a logic model ‘lite’ for a workshop and show how to develop the evaluation questions that you will need to measure your event’s success.
Need help to get your CREATIVE on?
Curious Minds Co. is a consultancy firm passionate about helping people and organisations connect with their natural CREATIVITY and achieve their business and life goals.
You can contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gear freak – chart markers & great titles for your library
I’m often asked at my training days about my tools and my reference library. They are important parts of the whole graphics practice. I say that, having had some not-so-good experiences with markers that die on the first chart in the first session of an all-day event. So, if you are starting out or just curious about what others do in their practice, here’s my ideas…
Chart markers: A graphic facilitator’s and graphic recorder’s main tool for ‘working at the wall’. I love Neulands No. 1 Markers for all round chart work. I also have a range of their Big Ones which are large and fabulous for headings and big comment boards. They are refillable and have replaceable nibs, so I recommend these also. Their extended life means greater reliability and less hassle for you. But for the absolute mainstay of your kit – THE BLACK MARKER, I love Charters markers (available from The Grove International). Their black is rich and in my mind, the best on the market.
Great titles: There are so many categories that interest me, and I don’t want to overdo the list… So I’ve reduced it to six titles in two categories. They are… (this is just like the Golden Globes!)…
Visual language books – filled with pictures, images and concept icons – my favourite three are:
Visual Thinking: Tools for Mapping your Ideas by Nancy Margulies & ChristineValenza
Bikablo: Facilitators dictionary of visual language available through Neulands (and Bikablo 2.0: New Visuals for Meeting, Training & Learning). I know that’s technically two, but heck!
Pocket pics: Difficult Concepts available through The Grove International
Visual practitioner how-to books – filled with ideas of how to run and get the best possible outcomes from meetings and events using your visual thinking techniques – my three favourite are:
Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping can Transform Group Productivity by David Sibbet
The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide: How to use your listening, thinking & drawing skills to make meaning by Brandy Agerbeck
The Creativity Formula: 50 Scientifically Proven Creativity Boosters for Work and for Life by Dr Amantha Imber
I use the above six titles regularly – dipping in when I need to check an image or source an idea from the plethora these talented people have collated from their experience. I think all six are a great addition to any practising Graphic Facilitator or Recorder’s professional kit.
Happy gear freaking*!
* term used by uni friends when we were into all things outdoors and we would spend any spare moment at our favourite store seeing what great new stuff – like freeze-dried vegemite – was available for our through-walks!
Ever been a little bored and tried doodling with both hands? How about experiementing with your ‘other’ hand to write your name? When I’ve done this in the past, I find it feels pretty weird but also interesting – both the sensation and the result. Yesterday, Dave Lovegrove* – an artist and art teacher – and I decided to do a tandem two-handed drawing exercise.
Here’s what we did:
Duration: we allowed one to two hours
Material:large scale chart paper taped to a clean wall surface and a range of drawing implements (we ended up using marker pens, ink & calligraphy brushes)
we positioned ourselves in front of the wall, standing in a relaxed posture and allowed the sounds of my farm to penetrate our ears and be a sound track to our drawing
holding a pen in each hand, we drew using both hands at once
we drew without judging what we were producing (I found closing my eyes and focusing on my body’s movement helped here)
we also tried to avoid actively drawing any particular object or subject
we allowed each hand to act in symmetry of the other, sometimes one taking the lead then the other
as we drew, we allowed ourselves to take up the whole area of white paper.
After we laid down the first layer of colours, we paused, reflected on what was emerging then took up two different colours adding to the first layer of marks and patterns we had produced.
After about 30 mins, we each selected a black marker and started to emphasise certain marks or patterns that appealed. Then using black ink and calligraphy brushes we added another layer of marks to the drawing.
The result: A large-scale image that has two distinct sides – reflecting the two artists and our different physical approaches. Dave’s side is angular and edgey and mine is rounded and swirly. The layering of colours and use of different drawing implements makes an interesting final image – there is a lot going on and the more you look the more you see / discern from the marks and patterns within the layers.
As a process, the tandem approach was great. At times, we talked as we drew, putting into words what we were experiencing. I thoroughly enjoyed the first part where we were breaking ‘new ground’ on a clean white expanse. I also enjoyed the use of ink and brushes – the marks were very definite and that was extremely satisfying. I am aware that this style of making marks and working with the patterns that emerge is a preferred way of working for me. I felt a kind of freedom from the burden of reproducing something – a representation of an object or likeness of a person.
Drawing is part of my work as a graphic facilitator and recorder. As a result, I find the two-handed drawing very freeing as an exercise in drawing movement. I get a physical ‘release’ similar to experiences I have had in yoga and other physical exercise that is akin to an endorphin rush.
Our exploration in two-handed drawing is part of my 2013 approach to expanding my drawing skills and repertoire.
Stay tuned for the 10 pens for 10 fingers drawing adventure with Dave – currently a work on the ‘drawing’ board!
Have you tried two-handed drawing? What has been your experience?
The door to my studio is handpainted red. Affectionately known as the ‘hobbit’ door because unless you are 4ft tall, there’s a good chance you’ll bang your head as you enter. I thought the door was a good image to put alongside my first post. I’m entering a new place via a red door.
Like my studio, I hope that this place will be somewhere for others to find and share stuff.
Like what you read here? Want to know more about Curious Minds Co. and the work we do? Check us out at: www.curiousmindsco.com.au