international facilitator

Analog or Digital? How to Use Your Tools for Focused Creativity

Hey!

Have you ever noticed sometimes it’s just easier to be creative with specific supplies? What I mean is, have you ever tried starting a project on the computer, but it just hasn’t made sense until you picked up a pencil and started sketching or writing by hand?

Last week I learned about a podcast called “Hurry Slowly from Jocelyn K. Glei. When I saw one of the episodes was an interview with Austin Kleon, I had to listen.

The whole 45-minute conversation is worth a listen if you find yourself interested in art, creative process, the role of movement in creativity, and design. If, however, you only have a few moments and I’m lucky to have gotten you to even open this email, here’s a quote that eloquently summarizes the phenomenon I mentioned up there at the top:

“The notebook is the place where you figure out what’s going on inside you or what’s rattling around. And then, the keyboard is the place that you go to tell people about it.”

How do you think best? What sparks your creative flow? What tools do you use that really bring you to a space that facilitates joyful creation?

For me, it’s a handful of markers and a massive sheet of paper. The large scale helps me feel open to make connections and include all the ideas floating around, make connections, then pick the direction I want to focus in on.

What about you?

conversketch-learn-to-draw-a-pencil

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 couple of helping hands (and markers) to get your creative process flowing? Let’s talk about your ideas.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

New Mexico  - Two weeks ago I graphic recorded for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. Healthcare professionals from clinics and hospitals around the state shared about how to support new moms and babies to be healthy starting from that very first hour.

New Mexico - Two weeks ago I graphic recorded for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. Healthcare professionals from clinics and hospitals around the state shared about how to support new moms and babies to be healthy starting from that very first hour.

Vacation Time!  I took last week almost entirely off and enjoyed hot sprints, mountain biking, and thanksgiving with loved ones.

Vacation Time! I took last week almost entirely off and enjoyed hot sprints, mountain biking, and thanksgiving with loved ones.

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!

How to Stay Relevant & Infuse Generosity Into Your Business

Howdy!

Can you believe it? It’s been a year since I started sending out these little nuggets of creative inspiration. And I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a single one I’ve scheduled since I started.

I’ve chosen to hold myself to high standards. Even though writing isn’t necessarily my favorite thing, and there were days all I wanted to do was tell y’all that sometimes…well, sometimes you’re just not feeling creative. Peace out.

But there was something else that kept nudging, even when it would have been easy to blow off an email. I remembered that I respect and admire each of you, and I want to give you this small gift of an email every two weeks. I know you are all busy and your inboxes are packed, so I make these as succinct, engaging (and clever) as I can for you. Maybe a pun will brighten your day, or maybe you needed a little reminder to make space for creativity.

Not only that, but I’m doing some pretty cool work that I want to share with you. Developing new techniques, styles, processes to support your work, and products to show appreciation or refine your vision for the future and what you can do to get yourself there.

So what can I share with you this week? As usual, what I’ve figured out by trial and error ahem, experience. Be consistent. Here’s how:

Remember why/who you’re doing this for. If it becomes just a chore, that will become apparent in your work. If you’re having fun and sharing for the love of it, that will shine through too. As good ol’ Paul Simon said, have a good time (with it).

Make your commitment known. Social science shows that when you verbalize something you aim to do in front of others, you’re more likely to actually do it. Chalk one up for social norms.

Give yourself time for iterations (who does this sometimes? Karina raises hand). This is secretly a two-for-one. A) Schedule time to write, brainstorm, plan. If it’s not in my calendar, it’s not real and I’m more likely to blow it off or get distracted. B) Don’t expect to write it perfectly the first time. If you do, great! Use that time you expected to iterate to go for a bike ride or something. If you need that time, know that you’re still a creative force to be reckoned with, sometimes it takes time and breaks to be able to really tap into that Creative Genius. Which is a beautiful segue to…

Know that despite what everyone’s social media feed is telling you, creativity can be a slog (term coined by the amazing Marie Forleo). By that I mean it can require tenacity: moments of blinding clarity and creative genius peppered among many sessions that may feel mediocre. But all that purposeful action will yield improvement, if only you give it time and energy to germinate and bloom. So Hug the Slog, love the journey and put your time in. Because forever is composed of nows (yeah, that’s Emily Dickinson, via the incredible Em Shepard).

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

I read every single one of your emails, appreciate the feedback and requests that have helped me learn and grow as I figure out this newsletter thing. So, as this next cycle of ConverSketches unfolds, I’ve been developing topics and doodles that I really, truly hope will help you make sense of the world and have a little more fun with it too.

If you liked this tip, it would be AWESOME if you shared it with your friends!

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



Creativity is a drive. I'm real good at helping you or your team see where you can focus & leverage your energy. Click on to talk about your ideas.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

My newest  explainer video  collaboration is out! Click the image above to find out how dliberative dialogue and facilitation can shift the conversation from adversarial and argumentative to curious and productive. Thanks to  Creek Consulting  for the inspiration &  Wes White  at Shadowlands Media for the excellent production.

My newest explainer video collaboration is out! Click the image above to find out how dliberative dialogue and facilitation can shift the conversation from adversarial and argumentative to curious and productive. Thanks to Creek Consulting for the inspiration & Wes White at Shadowlands Media for the excellent production.

How to Improve Your Memory In A Single Meeting

Hey hey visual people!

Before I get into the simple beauty of drawing connections and boosting memory, I want to share a little somethin'. 

I meant to snap a photo of my 2016 Vision Board for you in the last newsletter and just spaced it. So here it is for you today! I hung it on the wall by my desk where I can see it every day.


Right. On to the memory boosting goodness!

Have you ever been taking notes in a meeting, and things are really getting good, your team is grooving and getting creative. Then someone says something that totally relates to that idea you were just talking about...who said that? I could swear I just wrote it down here...

And then it's lost. 

That insight, that connection nobody had seen or thought of and you did, just floats away because you were trying to keep your idea in mind, find what it was that it connected to in your notes, and also trying to follow the conversation that continued to move on.

Today I want to share with you some visual tools you can use to draw connections, both on your paper and as a frame of mind. 

By using the simple shapes below, you can transform your notes into idea-connecting, memory-boosting, creativity-enhancing gems that will help everyone be on the same page and remember what you talked about.

When I was in college, before I knew about graphic recording, I learned about taking notes using mind maps. You start with a central idea in the center of the page and draw a circle or rectangle around it, then write sub-topics around it, connecting them to the main idea with lines. Each sub-topic had supporting ideas, written around them, etc. At the end of an hour-long class I'd have a page full of notes in a web, with concepts connecting through lines and circles. 

I'll never forget the impact this had on my studies. One day during a test, as I read a question, I could literally see in my mind the part of the page the answer was written on. I was able to visually recall the information in the mind map, which I had never been able to do taking normal, linear notes.

Now, imagine getting even more creative and venturing beyond circles and lines. What kind of mental and emotional impact could that have on your meetings?


(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version)

I also want to challenge you to be someone who is looking for connections, trying to see larger patterns and how ideas fit together. Think critically. Take chances -- you won't always get it right, but asking those clarifying questions will make your team's ideas all the more clear and strong.

Do you have other memory-boosting tips that have worked in your meetings? Come on over to the blog and share in the comments so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

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 a professional Idea-Connector in your next meeting or event? Click below to get in touch!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

One Health OHSAC January 20 2016_small.jpg

Tomorrow and Friday I'll be working with CSU's new One Health Institute to develop a purpose and decide where to focus as the institute takes root and grows at the University. Here's a glimpse of what the Strategic Advisory Committee discussed to prepare for the event.