Graphic facilitation — drawing out a challenge, situation or process on a whiteboard with simple shapes — is a powerful tool to help teams gain clarity, make better decisions and take productive action on challenges and opportunities.
By making ideas and information tangible, the graphic recorder — the person at the whiteboard capturing it — helps the team to build shared understanding and consensus, see connections between elements of the challenge at hand and identify new opportunities and possibilities that previously weren’t visible to the group.
20 valuable business uses
As a tool for analyzing and solving large, complex business problems, graphic facilitation is very powerful. But what can you actually DO with it? I posed this question to Peter Durand, the founder and CEO of Alphachimp Learning Systems, which publishes the Become a Rockstar Scribe e-course (click here to read my review of it). He suggested 20 incredibly useful applications of this type of visual thinking:
- Visual introduction (as individual, team, company, project)
- State of the union (current projects, successes and challenges)
- Product development (brainstorming, market assessment, customer cases)
- Project/product/company roadmap
- Vision or mission for a small company
- Visual synthesis of any meeting
- Conflict resolution and negotiations
- Visual project management
- User requirements (gathering, categorizing, relating)
- Scenario planning (“What If?” storyboards)
- Risk assessment (beyond SWOT)
- Backcasting (X years from now, how did we get here?)
- Modeling (drawing out all parts, players, inputs, and outputs)
- Rapid prototyping (iterate versions of product/project)
- Timelines (parallel tracks for technology, society, science, politics)
- Process diagrams (sales, production, procurement, deployment)
- Mapping (goals, roadblocks, accelerators, challenges, milestones)
- Network diagram (people, projects, products, places)
- A day in the life (of a customer, consumer, employee, leader, competitor)
- Metaphorical thinking (our market/company as a coral reef, farm, city or jungle)
If you’re a leader or manager, chances are you need to be able to do many of these types of multi-faceted thinking and planning projects. Become a Rockstar Scribe can give you the skills you need to tackle them from a visual perspective, while participating in the online forum gives you a unique opportunity to ask the Durands and fellow students questions like, “How do I use graphic recording to do risk assessment?” This combination of learning and community can arm you with powerful new skills that you can put to work in your job – increasing your value to your employer.
Deadline for discount extended one week
Now that you can see the “bigger picture” of how graphic recording and facilitiation can be used, I recommend that you invest in this worthwhile training program. I have convinced the good folks at Alphachimp to extend the $200 discount on Become a Rockstar Scribe for one more week, until Thursday, December 20, 2012.
Be sure to use the coupon code of MINDMAP to obtain the discount!
Photo: graphic facilitator and IFVP member Alece Birnbach