I love the idea that you can ask your most trusted clients to help you brainstorm what it is that makes you… you. And then expand that discussion to ask how you can use that uniqueness to create more magic.
That was the premise behind the Questions of Difference Advisory Board, where my role was to capture the conversation visually. I do this by drawing on a number of skills and experiences gathered over the years, including a background in marketing. I listen to the discussion, filter out the key points, convert them into images (in my mind) and then put them down on paper as simple line drawings. I also make connections as I go along by the way I link and lay down the information.
The conclusion is a visual map, such as this:
This picture maps out our exploration of how our changing world affects how we operate in the workplace and as individuals. To keep up, a brand has to continually adapt to surface changes (technology, etc) while still holding to its core values and essential ‘DNA’.
At the center of any organisation is its culture – something that can only come, bottom-up, from its teams. So how do we encourage our people to nurture this culture?
We do it by being curators rather than just leaders, by facilitating organic passion, by understanding who the influencers are and supporting them, and by making sure personal and professional values are aligned. Our potential for diversity, it was agreed, is our greatest natural resource.
But then how do we respond to these challenges in practical terms?
The answer is we do it through more dialogue, by being more thoughtful about how we use technology, understanding the problem that needs to be solved, creating meaningful, relevant reward structures, and ultimately by asking what would happen if we treated our customers as we treat our staff.
The second discussion asked how Questions of Difference can use their uniqueness to create opportunity out of this changing landscape.
For this conversation I drew a new map, allowing it to take a more linear/timeline approach than the mind-map-type format of the first.
I often don’t know what form a picture will take until I’m in the information. As I start to make sense of what’s being said I have an instinct for a framework that will tell the story best.
In this picture the top row reveals the essential Questions of Difference magic – its ability to bring about positive, disruptive, change. In doing so it creates connection and change for the organisation in the form of its people.
The central section shows its process, from acknowledging and owning the threat, through dialogue to a culture of empowerment where the whole is working well.
The final section shows the pathway, but also the flow, and how the team feeds into the process with critical interventions. Throughout, they provide a compass to navigate the client through to success.
When Charlie invited me to feedback at the end of the meeting I was able to ‘read back’ the picture to show the group what they’d discussed and what their conclusions were.
Giving information in a combination of words and pictures does several things for us. It allows us to take in the information more quickly, and then to hold it more deeply and for longer. People can also digest the detail and the whole picture simultaneously.
Recording conversations in this way excites me every time – and no one is more interested than me to see what emerges at the end o f the process!
Caroline Chapple – Graphic Recorder –http://chapplecartoons.co.uk/