I recently had an opportunity to speak with Tom Crawford, CEO of VizThink, a new online community for visual thinkers. The first initiative of this new group is a conference, VizThink ’08, which will be held January 27-29 in San Francisco, California.
The list of facilitators that Tom has already assembled for this conference reads like a Who’s Who of visual communications, including:
- Cliff Atkinson, author of the book Beyond Bullets, which teaches a methodology for adding impact to your PowerPoint presentations – without the use of those dreaded bullet points.
- Eileen Clegg, founder of the company Visual Insight and creator of large-scale, real-time murals for organizations.
- Stephen Few, author of several books and a newsletter about communicating data visually
- Bob Horn, author of Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century
- Dave Gray, founder of XPLANE, the firm that creates some amazingly lucid diagrams and illustrations that clearly and concisely explain how things work.
Tom’s attendance goal for the conference is 400 to 450 people; over 100 people have already registered. That’s great momentum, considering that the conference is still 2-1/2 months away.
The conference is the first step in Tom’s strategy to bring together a community of visual thinkers – everyone from people who do mind mapping and users of PowerPoint to business illustration and geographical mapping, he wants to bring together anyone who uses the visual arts for learning and communication.
Why bring these groups together? Tom believes that there are some great opportunities for cross-pollination between the different disciplines, which should lead to innovation. He also sees some opportunities to raise general awareness about the power of visual communication, and its ability to present information in a very intuitive format.
This week, Tom has already taken the first steps to expand the VizThink website beyond conference information, launching a wiki where community members can begin to build a body of knowledge about the various visual communication disciplines. You can also signed up to receive an e-newsletter.
I think we can expect to see some great things come from this group in the months ahead. If you haven’t visited the VizThink website yet, I strongly urge you to do so.