Monthly Archives: November 2011

What Visual Facilitation Really Looks Like

Process Over Product – The Real Super Powers of Visual Facilitation

David Sibbet presented recently at the International Forum of Visual Practitioners, the professional association of people who draw images and words in real-time while people talk. At this conference we had 85+ practitioners there from the newest practitioners, picking up pens and walking to the wall for the first time, to some of the pioneers in the field. There was mind-boggling, gorgeous work on the walls. No doubt. In MY OPINION, the most powerful chart in that room, after three days of visual productivity was this one:

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Later when the plenary room was papered with the multitude of glorious and colorful charts generated from the conference, I did a double take in seeing this one again. My initial thought was, “What the hell is that?” It looked messy compared to some of the well executed illustrations that sat to either side of it. It is. However, this chart was, for me, the most powerful chart of the entire conference. In my opinion, this chart visually facilitated my experience and understanding of the conversation that accompanied it more than anything else in the room. Then I was reminded of the wise words I have heard David say many times about our work as Visual Facilitators: It is the process, not the product.

I think that our clients often miss this and I think many of us practitioners miss this as well. We get distracted by the beauty of the product and forget to take deeper consideration of the value it may or may not add to the process.