graphic facilitation skills

One Easy Strategy to Increase Authentic Inclusion at Your Next Conference

The past few weeks, a few conversations have had me taking a step back and seriously consider and appreciate a lot of things I take for granted. As you can imagine, that list is long, but the one thing I want to write about today is inclusion and accessibility – particularly for people with differing abilities (thanks Melwood for the lingo!).

A few weeks ago when I was at ASU, I met someone who has been part of the ShapingEDU community, and they told me something that stunned me. We’ve been doing webinars on the various ShapingEDU themes, aka neighborhoods, which I’ve been digitally graphic recording and screensharing during the conversations.

As we chatted, he explained he used hearing aids, and the webinars were sometimes difficult to hear or follow. He then told me this:

Karina’s graphic facilitation of meeting notes, a-has, and conversation during our ShapingEDU webinars, and our in-person Empower IT conference helps me to not only follow these lively and important discussions occurring, but also in processing the information which flows rapidly.  As a hearing impaired individual, these pieces of art...yes, they are art...continue to be instrumental in assisting me in processing the information.  These pieces are more engaging, more accurate, and more impactful that closed captioning could ever imagine, or hope to be.  Karina is a consummate communicator.  She has identified the universal language to us all, pictures.  I look forward now to any meeting which Karina will be communicating visually with the participants.  Simply put, she does amazing work!
— Casey Davis, Arizona State University

(I asked him to kindly write it down so I’d capture his eloquence, thus the shift from first to third person.)

This totally shook up my frame of reference and made me reconsider what and how I capture and being sure the context is clear for those who may not be able to hear everything that’s being said. And was a great excuse to take a step back and consider what I take for granted.

Are you considering the abilities of all your participants when designing an event or webinar? Let’s talk about creating a more inclusive environment with some visuals.

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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 Signature_100.png




Where in the World is ConverSketch?

innovation-unicorns-graphic-recording-conversketch

Boulder Colorado: At the second annual Optical Innovation Summit with leaders in the vision and eye care industry discussing innovation and offering advice for startups in the room.

menstrual-cycle-research-symposium-graphic-recording-conversketch-chris-bobel

Colorado Springs, Colorado: At the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Symposium (awwwww yeah!) learning tons about women’s reproductive health, thinking about how we talk about periods, and learning that pads and tampons are taxed as luxury items (seriously, things half the global population needs every month).

What Every Event Organizer Wants to Hear & How to Make it Happen

No matter what your job is, there’s a good chance you’ve had to organize some sort of meeting. And if you haven’t, you probably will. Whether it’s a regular small-team meeting or a massive annual conference, there’s often a lot more work put into organizing a well-run event.

So, first of all, for all you event organizers out there, I raise a glass to you and all the work behind-the-scenes or otherwise un-thanked you do!

Next, if you’re organizing a meeting/gathering/convening/conference/event/show, I want to give you something. Have you ever heard someone at an event you organized say something like…

“This was unforgettable!”

“This was the BEST conference I’ve ever attended!”

“I got SO MUCH out of that meeting!”

“I can’t WAIT to use what I learned with the rest of my team!”

...or even a simple “THANK YOU!”

These are just a few things you, as an organizer may be yearning to hear or overhear. Why? Those things mean your participants felt valued, saw something from a new perspective, that they were present and engaged, and that you’ve helped them do their jobs or live their lives better. And while there are heaps of ways you can create an event that is meaningful and participants love, I’ve got one sure-fire way to get people fired up (in a good way).

Bring in a graphic recorder.

Having someone visually scribing the content, listening for connections, or even for what’s not being said can catapult participants from looking at their phone screens under the table, to wondering how their ideas can be incorporated into the mural being created. Seeing visual summaries of conversations and discussions moves groups from “My idea” to “Our vision” and “Actions I can take”. It can give them tangible stepping stones to take what they learned and move forward, or help unravel a previously complex and mystifying topic.

So, the next time your team is starting to plan an important event, consider a graphic recorder, facilitator or scribe to support your participants, honor their time, and help them do the best thinking they can.

learn-to-draw-a-crowd-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

Want to hear “You’re the BEST organizer I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with!” from your clients? Let’s talk about blowing their minds!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Turning Dull Trainings into Delightful Drawings:  The US Forest Service has to deal with a lot of challenging situations; if you live in the Western US, you probably know about the prolific wildfires this year. But did you also know the USFS is responsible for hazardous waste spills and clean up? I’m working to help explain the complexity of Spill Response Coordinators and how they work with other agencies when things get leaky. Here's a chart from the initial brainstorming session I facilitated.

Turning Dull Trainings into Delightful Drawings: The US Forest Service has to deal with a lot of challenging situations; if you live in the Western US, you probably know about the prolific wildfires this year. But did you also know the USFS is responsible for hazardous waste spills and clean up? I’m working to help explain the complexity of Spill Response Coordinators and how they work with other agencies when things get leaky. Here's a chart from the initial brainstorming session I facilitated.

Digital Scribing for ShapingEDU : Last spring I attended the ASU UnConference for on the future of higher education, technology, and meaningful learning for students. I'm in awe of how the organizers have carried the incredible energy of the 100+ participants forward into monthly video calls with participants from around the world on topics from the in-person event. The engagement was astounding, and I got to do live digital scribing while screen-sharing!

Digital Scribing for ShapingEDU: Last spring I attended the ASU UnConference for on the future of higher education, technology, and meaningful learning for students. I'm in awe of how the organizers have carried the incredible energy of the 100+ participants forward into monthly video calls with participants from around the world on topics from the in-person event. The engagement was astounding, and I got to do live digital scribing while screen-sharing!

Editing Cave:  Working on the final video for the Wildfire Risk Management Science Team, who use advanced mapping tools to help managers and responders make safer and more effective decisions about when and where to mitigate a wildfire.

Editing Cave: Working on the final video for the Wildfire Risk Management Science Team, who use advanced mapping tools to help managers and responders make safer and more effective decisions about when and where to mitigate a wildfire.

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.

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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.

Here's What A Successful Illustrated Video Partnership Looks Like

Since the birth of the RSA videos for TED talks, illustrated videos have become ever-more popular to explain everything from complex science topics to why the viewer should hire a particular business.

Videos range in detail, quality, style and effectiveness. They’re a solid investment, which is why I’ve outlined some keys to making sure you make the most of your illustrated video partner. You can also read about how to get the most out of working with a graphic recorder here, and what the video making process looks like here.

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Know Your Purpose. This is the most important key to a successful video. If you don’t know exactly what you’re asking viewers to do as a result to seeing your video, make that a priority before moving forward. A call to action might be asking them to contact you or your organization, maybe it’s to educate them and encourage them to find out more about a subject, or to enroll in your program. Maybe it’s to consider adopting a new or different behavior. Whatever it is, make sure that is clear to everyone involved and that whenever you need to make decisions, you come back to this purpose.

Know Your Audience. Second only to knowing your purpose, knowing WHO it is you want to see this information is paramount. It’s SO tempting to say “My audience is everyone!” or “The ‘general public’”. However, it’s been proven time and again that if you’re talking to everyone, you’re connecting with no-one. In other words, when you have a specific group in mind, and you tailor your message to what matters most to them, the likelihood of getting them to respond to your Call to Action increases significantly. It’s really flipping hard. You to think about things from THEIR perspective, not what you think they want. Why should they care? What matters most to them? I work with you to understand this, and craft a story around it to resonate with your audience and make them want to know more.

Be Clear About Expectations. This include details like time frame, number of drafts and revisions agreed to, who needs to be involved in revisions, video length (for the love of all that is focused, get it to 2 minutes or less), what services you’re seeking and what your team will provide. For example, in my contracts I include 2 rounds of revisions to the storyboard, and one round of tweaks to the rough cut once I’ve filmed. I can be involved throughout the entire process and deliver a full-fledged final video, or do the storyboarding, illustration and filming, then hand off the files to your team to finish up.

Understand All the Moving Parts. Just as it’s important to make sure you’re clear on the video process, realizing all the different ingredients can help you know what you can provide and what you need in the package provided by your video making partner. Aside from the script, the storyboard and then final illustrations, the background music and voice over narration have a profound impact on the tone and energy your video has. Taking the time to engage with the right voice talent and select an appropriate music track contributes to your video’s success.

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

I see that sparkle in your eye…the one that means you’ve got a story to tell. Go ahead, click that button down there…

Where in the World ISN’T ConverSketch? (it’s been a busy week)

Filming & Editing One of Those Sweet Videos You Just Read About!

The Western US has been dealing with juuuust a couple of little  wildfires  this season. I’ve been working with a team of scientists and practitioners at the Rocky Mountain Research Station to develop a video series about helping communities become more adapted to wildfire. Video number two got filmed this week!

The Western US has been dealing with juuuust a couple of little wildfires this season. I’ve been working with a team of scientists and practitioners at the Rocky Mountain Research Station to develop a video series about helping communities become more adapted to wildfire. Video number two got filmed this week!

Graphic Facilitation in Maryland with the Board of Melwood

Melwood is a non-profit organization that trains and supports people with differing abilities to do work in landscaping, horticultural, and custodial work, as well as providing therapy and other services. We spent two days on the Chesapeake Bay being inspired by speakers and discussing the future and priorities for Melwood in the next five years.

Melwood is a non-profit organization that trains and supports people with differing abilities to do work in landscaping, horticultural, and custodial work, as well as providing therapy and other services. We spent two days on the Chesapeake Bay being inspired by speakers and discussing the future and priorities for Melwood in the next five years.

A Little Giving Back in Berthoud …

Although I'm particular about the ways I give back, infusing visual thinking and note-taking in schools is something I support. So,  last week I spent a day in the Library at Berthoud High School sharing the basics of visual note-taking with students of all ages. As you can imagine, by the end, I felt exhausted, and also energized by their enthusiasm and laughter seeing that doodling can be useful. Big shout out to Carin Barrett for making it happen!

Although I'm particular about the ways I give back, infusing visual thinking and note-taking in schools is something I support. So,  last week I spent a day in the Library at Berthoud High School sharing the basics of visual note-taking with students of all ages. As you can imagine, by the end, I felt exhausted, and also energized by their enthusiasm and laughter seeing that doodling can be useful. Big shout out to Carin Barrett for making it happen!

…And a Little More Giving Back for Public Lands

Here’s a digital video I created as a donation to the Outdoor Alliance, an organization that does work I deeply care about: protecting our public lands from being privatized. As an American citizen, all public lands are YOURS, you have a right to enjoy them! Here’s a quick video explaining public lands and actions you can take to support them.

Systems Thinking with the One Health Fellows

I’ve loved being a partner to the One Health Institute at CSU, and on Saturday the first cohort of Fellows gathered to begin their five year journey together. I am looking forward to seeing how their trans-disciplinary work moves One Health forward.

I’ve loved being a partner to the One Health Institute at CSU, and on Saturday the first cohort of Fellows gathered to begin their five year journey together. I am looking forward to seeing how their trans-disciplinary work moves One Health forward.

The Difference Between a Graphic Recorder and Graphic Facilitator (and When to Use Them)

There’s something ironic about a field that prides itself in helping simplify complex information through visuals, but there’s confusion about what exactly to call ourselves. Some say “graphic recorder”, some say “graphic facilitator”, others use the word “scribe”. You may have even heard “infodoodler” or “sketch artist” or “that person over there who’s drawing really fast!”.

Of course there are countless processes, strategies, partnerships and ways of visually supporting teams. So, to help you try to navigate the Sea of Visual Jargon to figure out what you’re looking for, here’s a comparison of the ConverSketch definitions of two of my most requested services: graphic recording and graphic facilitation.

Graphic Recorder

As a graphic recorder, my main focus is live visual capture of content discussed or presented during an event. I have 1-2 planning calls with my client to understand their goals for including a graphic recorder, and to make sure I understand expectations. I’m a (mostly quiet) partner and resource to the facilitator running the meeting. During the event, my charts tend to have more illustrations than when I’m facilitating because that’s what I’m entirely focused on. A note here: although the word "facilitation" is not in the job title here, graphic recorders are often playing a very important role in the facilitation process, supporting groups and the "official" facilitator as a partner in a very unique and useful visual way. After the event, you keep the original drawings, I photograph and edit the digital images of the charts and send you a list of suggestions for how to leverage them tailored to you based on our conversations.

Graphic Facilitator

As a graphic facilitator, my relationship with the client is more involved because not only am I capturing key content visually during the event, I’m also working with you to design the process, facilitate the event, and make sure your next steps are clear. We have 3-5 planning calls (and a lot more emails) as we co-create an agenda that will help your group reach its’ goals, think about how to make the most of the visuals, and make sure the space will support the group to do their best thinking. I often spend lots of time preparing large-scale visual “templates” we can fill in together during the meeting (although not always, sometimes we start with a blank sheet too), and can create custom worksheets for the participants. And, because drawing can be such a powerful tool to clarify and deepen idea development, graphic facilitators might design activities and processes to get the participants drawing out their ideas to build shared understanding. During the meeting, I am facilitating the process, checking in to make sure we’re on track, and capturing content visually, but often these charts have more words than pictures as I’m balancing both the capture and guiding the discussion. Again, after the event you keep the original drawings, I photograph and edit the digital images of the charts and send you a list of suggestions for how to leverage them tailored to you, along with a short 1-2 page summary and suggested action steps.

Graphic Recorder or Graphic Facilitator.jpg

To make it even more interesting, some people use these terms interchangeably (i.e. they only use graphic facilitator even if they are solely focusing on visual capture), while others like me differentiate between the two. I think it's true that any sort of visual capture is a form of facilitation. Ultimately, I like to use the language that resonates with my clients and that they’ll remember, so yes, I do respond to “the artist”, “the graphic artist”, and “the woman with witty puns”. Again, these are only two options, but they can be confusing if you're new to visual lingo.

So, ask yourself, do you need a guide for the process? Or someone to focus entirely on visual capture? Both are useful in different situations. In the end, it’s important to have a conversation with the person you’re considering partnering with to be clear on expectations and to be sure you get set up for success!

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 that I know the difference, I’d like to talk more about…

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

bikablo hosted by conversketch

Last week I had the pleasure of being a partner and host for Frank and Carola, two trainers from Germany who teach the bikablo visual thinking method all over Europe. This summer, for the first time bikablo came to the US on an 8 stop tour, including Fort Collins. The training was a success, and we are looking into partnering for future training opportunities in Colorado! Thanks to the wonderful Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House for the excellent venue!

Use These Techniques to Diffuse A Tense Scenario at Work (or at Home)

One of the exciting things about being a facilitator is that you get to work with people. And people are not always predictable, which may leave you in the midst of a conversation that heated up real quick, and all eyes are on YOU to see how you’ll handle the situation.

You’ve got to think quickly, act compassionately, and get the group back on track without saying something that will completely shut individuals or the group down. (And at this point your client is super pumped they made the savvy decision to bring in a facilitator for this meeting instead of having to be the one in the hot seat.)

What do you do? This week I’m sharing some tips from the lovely and talented Carrie Bennett on how to “Unload Loaded Language”.

  1. Stay calm!  This isn’t about you.  It’s your job to help people hear and understand one another, not weigh in on the merits of their ideas. 
  2. Dig through the negative to find what the person DOES want.  Buried in their statements is something even their “opponent” can probably support in some way (try to find the interest behind their position).  The more you know about the issues, the more easily you can do this but you don’t need to be an expert.  Listen for what’s important to people.
  3. Translate the loaded language into something more neutral. Try to preserve the interest and check back to get the speaker’s agreement before you go on.

Give it a try…how can you re-frame these statements to be more neutral?

  • Melanie is such a slob.  I can’t even work with her because I’m always having to clean up her messes.  I’m not her maid!
  • You know, these freeloaders aren’t even trying.  They’re just happy to live off the government and let the rest of us foot the bill.  If they really wanted a better life, they would get off their @$$*$ and get a job.
ConverSketch learn to draw unloading

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 a professional to help guide your group and unload things if they get spicy?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The first week of April we got to take some time off and float through Cataract Canyon in Utah. I love rafting because I get to disconnect completely, be present, and enjoy the beauty of the Canyon and my friends. I always try to sneak in a bit of plein air watercolor, and waiting for the shuttle was a perfect moment to do a quick sketch.

The first week of April we got to take some time off and float through Cataract Canyon in Utah. I love rafting because I get to disconnect completely, be present, and enjoy the beauty of the Canyon and my friends. I always try to sneak in a bit of plein air watercolor, and waiting for the shuttle was a perfect moment to do a quick sketch.

Since we got back from Cataract, it's been full on video production here at ConverSketch HQ. Here's the one I finished up last week -- and hopefully you'll get to see another one in the next post as well.

It's Coming...Bikablo + ConverSketch Graphic Facilitation Training!

Good morning!

I’m going to start off today’s email with a special announcement! This is something that’s never happened in the United States before. Something that could completely change the way you think about how you work: 

I’m hosting a 2-day graphic recording training with Bikablo®!

This summer, for 2 whole days, two very talented people from the German-based graphic facilitation training company Bikablo will be right here in Fort Collins teaching 14 lucky participants their Visual Ninja Secrets! Bikablo has been training people across Europe to be better visual communicators for over 15 years. I’m really excited because we are tailoring the session to our participants by designing time to think about how you can bring what you’re learning back to your job and life.

This is the perfect training for anyone, whether you’re a professional artist or feel “artistically challenged”. For people who shudder at the idea of drawing in front of people (gasp!) – Frank and Carola will start us off with the very basics. If you’re a practiced illustrator, learn how to leverage your skills to work fast and support groups to do their best thinking.

Spots are already filling up, so click on that nice button and get yourself signed up today!

Curious about their methods? Here’s my take on the Bikablo way to draw a light bulb:

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I’m so grateful to be re-charging in the desert with a week-long rafting trip in Cataract Canyon. You all know I believe balance is the key to successfully and whole-heartedly running a business, and that nature is at the heart of my creative wellspring. I’ll hope to share some watercolors from the Canyon next time…but for now I’m delighted to share a highlight reel from the Gates booth at ConEXPO earlier this month. Although it’s not only about the graphic recording, you’ll get a chance to see me in action getting to meet awesome expo attendees from around the world and illustrating their ideas right before their eyes! A win-win – Gates got some great on-the-ground market research data, and attendees saw their ideas come to life – something completely different than anything else at the 130,000-person Expo!

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.

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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!