Perhaps you’ve heard of graphic facilitation, but you don’t know what it is. Perhaps you’ve seen it, but you don’t know what it’s called, or what to type into Google to find it again. Believe us, we know that the terminology surrounding what we do can be hard to pin down.
Graphic facilitation is probably the most established of the many phrases that (loosely speaking) are used to describe an artist capturing information in visual form. But there are a lot of alternatives - scribing, graphic recording, infodoodling to name but a few – and, if you’re being picky about it (we are, it’s our job) there are subtle but important differences between them.
So, graphic facilitation usually refers to the use of graphics to facilitate a conversation or process. For instance, if you and your team have a problem to solve or need to make a plan, you could thrash it out with the help of a graphic facilitator (you might want to take a look at our InkTanks). The aim of graphic facilitation is to use images to prompt productive conversations, offer fresh perspectives, and pick new pathways through problems. It’s a technique that, when done well, can change the way groups think, communicate and collaborate.
The term graphic recording is sometimes used interchangeably with graphic facilitation but, if you ask us pendants, that's something a little different, too.
A graphic recorder doesn't try to influence the conversations around them, as a facilitator does. Instead, they aim to keep pace with it; documenting its content with speed and visual clarity. Some people call this 'visual minutes'.
Graphic recording doesn't allow time for interpretation. It simply documents discussions as they happen, providing participants with a focus and an orderly record of what has been said. Sometimes, graphic recording is all that's required and, of course, your wish is our command. But at Scriberia, we can offer something more than that; something that we believe has a lot more value for our clients.
Scribing might look a bit like graphic facilitation or graphic recording to the uninitiated, but the thinking behind it is very different. Rather than acting as impartial recorders, we believe there are real benefits to allowing our scribes the freedom to interpret the content they work with.
We choose our team, not only on the basis of their artistic ability, but on their ability to think. To be a great scribe, capable of producing work that is consistent, highly original, meaningful, and rich in content and context, these skills are of equal importance.
Many practitioners in this fledgling field believe that interpretation has no place in it. But we disagree. Our ability to interpret content is what gives our work the strength and depth our clients need. So, if you’re looking to bring all the benefits of a first class creative mind to your next meeting, pitch or live event, then what you’re looking for is scribing.
What's Wrong With This Picture? How doodling helps shape the unseen, abstract principles in order to create real meaning. ----Brian Tarallo What if you could see an idea? What if you could hold an idea in your hand and shape it until it became solid and defined? Until it becomes so clear that other people could understand it just by seeing at it? If you've ever had the feeling that you KNEW something but just couldn't find the words to explain it, you can imagine how powerful seeing an idea would be. Now: what if I told you that nearly everyone is born with this ability to see ideas, that YOU have it, and yet for some reason, you are told by your teachers, bosses, and maybe even your parents... ...to knock it off? Up to now, you've seen me taking visual notes of the amazing talks we've heard today. You probably had a few reactions: “What the heck is that guy doing?” Or maybe, “Oh, I get it: that’s pretty cool.” And maybe, “Hey, I think I could do that!” Well good news: I’d like to
Neuroscientists and other researchers who say doodling can help people focus, ease impatience, vent emotions and even generate bursts of insight or new ideas. WSJ columnist Sue Shellenbarger joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Sunni Brown
“Visual thinking is the foundation for being creative and solving some of the most complex problems,” explained author and founder of Innovation Studio Lisa Kay Solomon. Solomon and Emily Shepard of The Graphic Distillery discussed the key role of visual thinking in innovation at a recent Stanford GSB Mastery in Communication Initiative talk. Below, they share five visual-thinking based skills that disruptive innovators must master:
1) Observe Set your phone down and actually pay attention to what’s going on around you. You can’t come up with new ideas unless you observe the world with fresh, empathetic eyes. Keep a design journal and document what you observe at least once a week.
2) Question Once you have a look around, review your design journal and ask: “What’s going on here?” Questions allow for space in the brain. If you’re not curious about something, then there’s nowhere for your observations to go. As an innovator you should ask questions to nail down the problem you’re trying to solve.
3) Associate Combining ideas leads to new insights. In the book Where Good Ideas Come From, author Steven Johnson proposes that innovation comes from places where half-baked ideas can bump up against other half-baked ideas and together create something even better. Doodling is a way to cultivate these seeds of ideas.
4) Experiment Visualization makes your ideas tangible and concrete. “If you can’t draw your ideas in stick figures, you don’t know what you’re saying,” says Solomon. Drawing by hand is a method of prototyping that allows you to test out the core essence of your idea in a low-res way before you spend more time on it.
5) Network Get access to people in diverse universes to expand your opportunities and areas of expertise. What are some big areas missing from your knowledge bank? We often end up just having a deep network of people like us instead of a diverse network.
Half the human brain is dedicated to the task of attaching meaning to visual signals, and we've been underusing it. But now it's time for pictures to have their day, as simple text struggles to interpret the huge amounts of data we ingest daily
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