thought leadership

How to Explain the Value of the Graphic Recorder to the Folks Making the $$$ Decisions

Are you planning an event that you think could use some graphic recording, but the decision isn’t up to just you? Here’s a few ways you can help your team or leadership understand why it’s a great idea to get visual.

Start Planning Early: We all know there’s a million ways to spend an event budget. Make sure to reach out to your visual partner early on so you can be sure to have engaging, thought-provoking visuals to support your group!

Thought Partner: Find a visual practitioner who can help you understand your options about what’s possible and will help you craft custom elements and even processes that will make the most of your time together.

Science Rules: Graphic recording and facilitation isn’t just mesmerizing and fun, there’s a heap of science behind why it works! For example, did you know that the brain processes a visual 60,000 times faster than text (Semetko & Scammell, 2012)? Here’s a blog I wrote about the science behind graphic recording. And here’s a list of my favorite resources online and published, and if you want to geek out even more, ask me about my master’s thesis work around using graphic recording to help communicate complex science.

Money Matters: …and not just the operating budget for the event. Think of the value of the time (and salary!) of each person in the room. Why WOULDN’T you pull in someone who can help you make the most of your participants’ time? Bringing in a graphic facilitator to design a custom-tailored process or capture content visually can support your people as they make connections more quickly, think big, and collaboratively!

learn-to-draw-cash-money-graphic-recording-conversketch

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Now you’ve got ‘em all convinced, let’s talk about your event!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

  Boulder:  Working with startups and seasoned executives in the optics business to co-create and brainstorm ways to foster success on the leading edge of the industry. Thanks to  Sanitas Advisors  for the photo!

Boulder: Working with startups and seasoned executives in the optics business to co-create and brainstorm ways to foster success on the leading edge of the industry. Thanks to Sanitas Advisors for the photo!

  Windsor:  Supporting the Town Board and municipal leadership as they envision and plan for their future!

Windsor: Supporting the Town Board and municipal leadership as they envision and plan for their future!

My Biggest Takeaway from a Workshop in Visual Practice Might Surprise You. It Sure Surprised Me.

As a visual practitioner, I attend a LOT of meetings and workshops. Last week I flipped from business-as-usual (I mean, as usual as it can be for a visual practitioner) to step into a workshop as a participant rather than facilitator or recorder.

Hosted by Kelvy Bird and Alfredo Carlo, I found myself surrounded with people who I consider thought leaders and experts in the field. Over the course of a few days, I’ve begun to make a profound shift in the way I approach this work, and on a deeper level, provided conditions for me to examine how I show up in this world and what that means for the work I do for my clients.

The Visual Practice Workshop exceeded my expectations and pushed me to think more critically than I have in a long time, which means it’s going to take more than the couple of days I’ve had to process. I expect that what I’ve learned will be infused in these emails/posts moving forward, and I’m excited to catch and ride this wave of learning and pushing myself.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to what the things I’ve learned and explored this week mean for my clients. Applying new models to facilitate understanding of the group and their ideas, moving into a deeper practice of partnership with my clients, and cultivating/holding awareness in and around my groups are filling my mind and heart with potential.

For now, what has settled in most deeply is the power of Breathing. Probably not what you were expecting, right? Me either – life is funny that way.

ConverSKETCHes_2_Breath.jpg

Whether it’s taking a deep breath at the beginning of a session I’m scribing to truly listen to the bigger message before jumping in, or taking a deep breath to allow myself the time and space to think at a more systemic level about ConverSketch or the challenges my clients are tackling, or reflecting on the cyclical nature of systems and what we can learn from them. There is much to learn from breath and I’m ready to dive in with you!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, partnership and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Interested in testing out how to apply some new approaches to this work?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 

 Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

 Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other  finished PSA’s here.

Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other finished PSA’s here.

Annual Gratitude Shower of Goodness

Hi Blog Readers,

I am SO GRATEFUL you're here!

This is one of my favorite posts to write, because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that having an Attitude of Gratitude makes life absolutely splendid (also, if you click that link you can learn to draw a turkey!).

Time and again, when I’m focused on appreciating, that’s when I tend to attract exactly what I need. And the more I practice being grateful, the more I want to give!

There are a limitless number of ways you can cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude. Sometimes I make a list (love those), sometimes Spencer and I will go back and forth sharing things we’re grateful for when on a long drive, and sometimes I think about it when I’m exercising or painting.

This year, I want to give you a little Gratitude Doodle. You can write, draw, doodle, leave it blank and just think about what you’re grateful for… this downloadable image is for you (right click, save and print!)!

conversketch-gratitude-visual-fun-sheet

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to thank your people? Let’s talk about how to use visuals to create meaningful gifts for speakers, employees, bosses, and more!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The Studio

This week and last have been full of a big studio project for Colorado State University’s new Women and Philanthropy initiative. I’ve been listening to focus groups of women of different generations (Traditionalists to Generation Z) and capturing them visually. These illustrations will be used to show themes and inform the University about how women want to give back!

New Mexico

Today I’m headed to Albuquerque to graphic record for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce Summit – they’re all about providing resources to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare hubs to support breastfeeding mothers.

How to Make the Most of Working with a Graphic Recorder

So you’ve decided to bring in a graphic recorder to support your team to be more focused, creative, collaborative and engaged? High five to you! You’re making an investment that will not only elevate the group during the meeting or event, but can also have long-lasting positive impacts.

Here are some tips I’ve compiled from working with my wonderful clients over the past 5+ years that can help you get the most out of working with a graphic recorder.

ConverSketch_how-to-make-the-most-out-of-working-with-a-graphic-recorder

Plan Ahead.

Graphic recorders know when and where they can be most useful for the group, or the kind of visuals that a group might need to do their best work. Bringing in a graphic recorder while you’re still developing the agenda means they can help you know the best places for them to fit in. It’s important we know your goals for the event so we can make sure our visuals help the group move in the right direction.  We want to be helpful and supportive to your planning and facilitation team, so making sure we know the right people to figure out logistics and how to collaborate with the facilitator(s) can be powerful.

Be Creative.

When planning ahead, it’s fantastic to have ideas of how you envision a graphic recorder working with your team to help your group. It is also great to come in with an open mind; brainstorming with your graphic recorder might lead you both to realizing they can do something you never dreamed of before!

Visibility is Key.

Whether the recorder is working large-scale on paper or digitally on a tablet, make sure they can be seen. Setting them up at the front of the room with decent lighting (one time while working in a theater the lights went down and at that moment I was glad I keep a headlamp in my purse) and/or projecting their work on screens enables participants to see what they’re doing. Building in time for folks to walk up and check out what the recorder is working on, or for them to walk the group through what they’ve created is also a quick and powerful tool to help people make connections and see the big picture.

Think Long Term.

This is often where people get stuck. The graphic recorder rocked out during the event, people loved it, shared it on social media, and…went home. How can you keep people looped in and excited about what they did or learned at your event? Before you even have the meeting, working with your graphic recorder to develop a long-term engagement strategy leveraging the graphics can unlock the key to momentum and keeping the group moving forward. Work with your graphic recorder to think about what your engagement strategy is after the event and how can the charts created can be used to help you and your people into the future.

For more ideas and tips, be sure to check out this article from the fantastic team over at ImageThink.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

How can we make the most of working together?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 Atlanta with Gates

Atlanta with Gates

Graphic facilitating a retreat for CIRES Education and Outreach group in Boulder

...and right now I'm getting ready to head to Colorado State University for two days at the AgInnovation Summit!

What They Don't Tell You About Storytelling

Storytelling is a deemed an “irresistible” and powerful tool for strategic thinking and marketing in business these days.

Good stories need to keep our attention -- which is a rarity in a time of sensory overload and instant gratification – by creating some sort of tension that ensnares the emotions and intrigues the audience. Good marketing uses the power of story to go beyond what a company does or makes to share a deeper understanding of the companies’ Why.

But just because we’re telling a story, does that mean the strategy is working?

Over the past year, I’ve been drawn to the concept of storylistening, which embodies what graphic recording is all about.

Taking a moment to reflect, “storytelling” assumes that if we speak a story, people will listen to it. But people are busy, they’re not going to listen to you unless they have a reason.

During strategic planning or visioning, successful processes allow space for leaders to listen to the past, connect it with the present, and create space for people to see the future. Using graphic recording supports the group to tell a story that helps everyone see the Vision, to own it, live it and make it happen.

A good storyteller tells a tale with the audience, reacting and shifting the story as needed. Listening, visually capturing, synthesizing and adjusting with the group is one of my favorite parts of graphic facilitation. Sometimes it looks messy, but if it helps the group tell and listen to their collaborative story, then we’ve done good work together.

How can you give people a reason to listen to your story?

conversketch-graphic-recorder-good-stories

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to get everyone at your company telling the same story? Already have a story, but want to spice it up and share it with the world?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The American Society of Safety Engineers

 I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

Fort Laramie Illustrated Video

The first Drawing Connections to Climate Change video is now out! Find out how a National Historic Monument in Wyoming is feeling the impact of a changing climate, and share your ideas to create a different future! CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

What do Romance Novels and a Piano Have to do with Endless Creativity?

One of my favorite things to do while in traffic is to listen to “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”. Somehow, no matter how stuck I am, I end up laughing and feeling good. And when someone like Nora Roberts is interviewed, in addition to adding a few years to our lives from laughing so much, we’re also blessed with some casual little Insight Blasts from a creative genius: she’s had 198 books on the New York Times best-seller list.

When asked about writer’s block, or feeling like she’s run out of every possible romance or thriller story possible, Nora blithely responded “Well, there’s 88 keys on the piano, but do you run out of music?”

88-keys-to-creativity-from-graphic-recorder

Another way of saying this, from Hugh McLeod:

hugh mcleod creativity is a drive

It takes more than just sitting down for 5 minutes and expecting something brilliant immediately that will be perfect for your Instagram feed. It’s about taking time and being present with your work. And it’s about setting high expectations for yourself and holding yourself to them.

Of course, it’s a balance between knowing when to take time away from a project, and when to push through because you need to put in the work to become amazing at what you do. And you want to be amazing because you’re the ONLY person on this planet who can give what you have to give.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Looking for someone to capture your team's creativity?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Thanks to you, the only available spots for the Bikablo + ConverSketch training are on the Waitlist. If you’d like to be added, please let me know ASAP.

 A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of capturing presentations of young philanthropists at Berthoud High School as they presented about various non-profit organizations in the community doing work to support youth. They had visited with each organization and then had to decide if and how much funding from a grant they wanted to allocate. I  graphic recorded , and to my delight, the teacher shared with me they had the illustrations made into plaques for each of the organizations awarded funding!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of capturing presentations of young philanthropists at Berthoud High School as they presented about various non-profit organizations in the community doing work to support youth. They had visited with each organization and then had to decide if and how much funding from a grant they wanted to allocate. I graphic recorded, and to my delight, the teacher shared with me they had the illustrations made into plaques for each of the organizations awarded funding!

5 Insights from 5 Years in Business: Happy Birthday ConverSketch!

ConverSketch turns 5 tomorrow! I enjoyed reflecting last year on my top 4 Wisdom Nuggets from 4 Years, so this year it’s baaaaaaack as 5 Insights from 5 Years in Business.

1.       Trust yourself and the Universe. I’ve found through trial and error that trusting my gut instincts really is worthwhile. If you have a big or small decision to make, learning to trust your intuition can save you time and energy. If something doesn’t work out how you expected, try asking yourself “What can I learn from this?”

2.       Focus on what you want…Be very clear with yourself on this one, because I know from experience what I focus on is what I attract to myself. There is no right answer here. Some people want to work hard, hustle and build an enterprise. Some want a small business they can run from anywhere. Some people want the flexibility to work at 2 am when a stroke of brilliance strikes and not have to show up at 8 am. Whatever it is, be clear with yourself and others.

3.       …then actually DO it. Often it doesn’t take much time to get a significant amount done on a project. Research shows that checking email compulsively can actually have a negative impact on your IQ and creativity. I personally have found that not checking email first thing, and instead setting aside some morning time to do something creative, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, helps set the tone for the rest of the day. Dedicating a chunk of time to focus solely on one project without distractions, then giving yourself a mental break can help you get heaps done before noon! More on this and a tool I’m testing to help you in the next email (insert mental image of me rubbing hands together with anticipation).

4.       Be authentic. As a graphic facilitator, it can be easy to slip into an overly formal relationship with clients. I’ve found that being myself, cracking jokes while also honoring the vulnerability and dignity of the people I’m guiding through a process helps them be more real with each other and get more real work done. Please remember…YOU are a GIFT to this world. Nobody else can do the things you do the way you do them.

5.       Maintain an attitude of gratitude. I think this is foundational to the success of anything a person does. When I’m rooted in a space of appreciation, I find that’s when the Flow happens – creativity, business, generosity from others…The most beautiful thing is, there is no limit to the amount of gratitude you can feel and share!

I’m so grateful for each of you. I love reading your emails and reflections, answering other questions and sharing resources. Without you, my fabulous clients and conspirators, ConverSketch wouldn’t be much of anything!

Click on the image to see the larger version.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Ready for an authentic, trusting, action-oriented, gratitude-filled session of graphic recording?!
 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

After Kenya, 2017 has been off to a rockin' start. I've had the pleasure of creating and implementing graphic facilitation processes for clients and taught a two-day intensive facilitation course for graduate students in natural resources here in Fort Collins. I'm also at varying stages of video production for the CSU Alumni Association, the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program, the WiRe wildfire research team and others. Next stop: San Diego!

Reflection & Vision - A Custom Tool to Help You Design Your Life

Hello and Happy Holidays friends!

I hope so far yours have been filled with laughter, light, and lots of merriment.

It’s wild to think that this will be the last email to you all in 2016. Last year at this time I wrote about the power of having a clear vision for the next year(s), and how I like to create a Vision Board each New Year. I’ll definitely be taking some time to be intentional, plan and set goals for 2017.

One thing we may not take enough time to do for ourselves is to look back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Making time to think about what I’ve done helps keep me energized. In the day-to-day, it’s easy to be caught up in what’s next, what didn’t get done, which graphic recording or video client I need to communicate with, what deadline is around the corner. It’s all important. And so is wrapping your head around what you’ve finished, nailed, achieved, sailed beyond, and rocked. Reflection can also be a time to learn from your year – things often go differently than we plan and sitting with and open mind and reflecting on what you’d do differently helps you improve and refine your work.

So go ahead, pour yourself some tea (or wine) and take some time to reflect on what you’re proud of in 2016, and visualize the year ahead. I’ve created this custom, printable template to help you get started, or feel free to create your own from scratch!

Right click then select download to save and print your own!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to create a beautiful, visual plan of action for 2017 with your team? Click the button to find out how we can work together to create a vision and strategies that you'll actually want to look at every day.
 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

As you read this, I’ll be on the first leg of a two-week trip to Samburu, Kenya. This will be my fifth time taking students from Colorado State University to a rural community where we’ll be helping Unity Women’s Village with whatever small building project they need, teaching in schools, listening to students’ stories who are attending high school through scholarships, and discussing conservation with young girls in the community. Mostly though, we’ll be learning, building relationships, and thinking about some of the world’s most intense challenges: poverty, access to health care, women’s rights, access to clean water, culture and technology, equality…the list goes on. We will have irregular internet access so thanks in advance for your patience until January 13. To keep friends and families in the loop, the students be posting stories and photos to this blog most days. Happy New Year!

Four Tools Guaranteed to Send Your Team into Decision-Making Bliss

I hope this finds all you folks in the US happy and rested after the Thanksgiving holiday.

My last newsletter focused on suspending judgement while brainstorming to facilitate innovation and creativity, with a promise to follow up this week with ideas to help you or your team make decisions and select the best ideas to move forward with. Okay, maybe you won’t end up completely blissed out if you use these ideas, but at least you’ll have a darn clear picture of what’s important to your team. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?

A graphic recorder can often visually reflect where there is energy or consensus in the group through the illustrations they create, but what if you don’t have a graphic recorder, or the group is having a difficult time deciding?

My first step is usually to have the group create Clusters. When brainstorming, I like to have participants write ideas on sticky notes – one per note – and post them on a wall. This makes it easy to move the ideas around into different themes or categories, which can then simplify or reduce the number of items you need to decide on or prioritize. Be sure to clearly delineate and name the clusters.

Great, now we have a ton of awesome clusters. What now? Now, my friend, you have options (ironic, more decisions for you to make).  Here are some of my favorite decision-making and prioritization techniques, in no particular order, and with endless opportunities to tweak to fit your needs or group.

1.       The Dot Vote: A Classic. Chances are, you’ve used this at least once in your life…If the words “dot vote” make you want to run screaming from the room or throw the device you’re reading this on against a wall, please move on to Idea 2 immediately. However, it’s used often for a reason; it’s quick, can be used in groups of all sizes, and forces people to make tough choices. I usually give people multiple dot stickers so they can give their votes some weight: if you really love an idea, put as many dots on it as you’d like. If you are interested in several, spread your dots around. The caveat is that dot voting might mean an idea that will more heavily affect a minority of the group might get overlooked, even with weighted dot voting.

2.       Five Finger Vote: A la OGSystems Visioneers. This is another quick, weighted voting technique. After generating a list of clusters or key ideas to vote on, discuss them to be sure participants understand each one. Go through them one by one and ask participants to hold up fingers for each as follows:

0: Strong Preference Against (could not accept this idea)

1: Preference Against (accepting this idea would be a compromise to better alternatives)

2: Casual Preference Against (could accept this idea, but other alternatives are just as good)

3: Casual Preference For (could accept this idea, no better alternatives)

4: Preference For (would support this idea, and not prefer another idea)

5: Strong Preference For (could not support another idea)

Count the total for each option – the idea with the highest number of votes is the winner.

3.       Selection Chart: Another Classic. When I need something more analytical and number oriented, creating a chart with options on the left column and criteria for ranking across the top can be useful. Decide on a scale for weight (i.e. 1-5, 5 being most important), and go through each option and give each criterion a number based on how important it is. Again, add up the scores for each option and you’ll get a winner and see distribution of importance. Bonus: You can do this individually first, then come together to discuss patterns or differences across the group.

4.       Decision Trees (for inspiration & humor try this one): A la Dan Roam. Start with an important question, such as “Is dropping our price a good option?”. From there, ask and draw another, related question like “Is our market price sensitive?” decide yes/no, and if yes, ask another question, such as “How is our price relative to our competitor?”. If no, try another option since price isn’t a factor. And so on.

Now get out there and make a blissful Selection Chart to decide which of these tools you’ll use next time your team needs to make a decision.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Need someone to help your team make some decisions...then actually move forward together? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

I'm proud to announce a new explainer video is out in the world thanks to the new One Health Institute at Colorado State University! Click the image above to learn how CSU's Dr. John Spencer is partnering with researchers and practitioners in Brazil to work toward ending leprosy!