Using Visuals in Strategic Planning

Get Visual with Strategy

My colleagues at Olive Grove Consulting invited me to post on their blog. Rather than write 500-800 words, I decided to draw my post. Drawing this post allowed me to get more information out there than I ever could have done in words! This month’s focus is strategy. I share some quick, easy tips for anyone working with organizations and strategy to make their work more visual. More visual means more engagement, more creative thinking, more systemic views and more clarity.
Where is the Plan?




Video Quick Draws – Where’s the Value?

Finally took the leap into doing those video drawings that everyone is asking for. I was resistant to doing them for a long time, which is odd since I have a degree in Film/Video Production. It took one persistent client who, despite my generous offers to refer the work to highly recommended colleagues, insisted that they actually wanted my drawings. Mine.

My background and interests are more focused in group process design as a visual facilitator than they are in illustration and rendering. Many of my colleagues come from an arts or graphic design background. I do not. My pull to the work of visual facilitation was from a process perspective. My strengths are in designing and integrating visual and creative methods into group process. So, when approached to do the videos, I thought that my skills as an illustrator were not worthy of video draw projects. But this client could not be convinced to look elsewhere, so I took on the project.

The short story: I loved it! Turns out my skills as a creative writer, facilitator and storyteller were 90% of the process. In the course of six weeks, I took my client through an iterative, collaborative and co-creative process that resulted in a three minute video quick draw that they recently shared with the public in this Triple Pundit article:

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The client was very happy with the end result. We are working on more videos and they have recommended me to their colleagues. That is all wonderful. They talk about how much they love the video and our process. However, I believe that the real value they got is not actually in that three minute video. That is what they wanted, that is what they paid for, but what they really got was: Clarity!

During our first storyboard meeting, I had a wall of index cards lined up sequentially to the second draft script they had. In that 45 minute meeting, we, together, realized the focus of the video, the key message, and the arc of the story. That clarity came from seeing the sequence of images, having the script drawn out for them. That clarity will last longer than the video’s value. That clarity is what they really got for their money, though it looks like I sold them a video.

What Visual Facilitation Really Is …

Last week, I was in a room, standing next to a huge piece of blank paper, with a bunch of markers. 125 people came in the room and had a session for 90 minutes. At the end, a man comes up to me standing next to the no-longer blank piece of paper and says, “How long did that take you to do?”
Now, my mind was blank, unlike the paper. I said, “Well, this was done in real time.” But the real answer was, “It took me 45 years.” (My age.)