Breakthrough sometimes comes from unexpected places…

IMG_3894-Joe's Notes Page 1 of 7

Last weekend, I did a mounting and framing course at the DCA in Dundee.  It was a brilliant course, well taught by Lesley Kamel.

During the weekend, I decided to take visual notes of the training, and I tweeted a couple which some appreciated.  And, some of my fellow participants found the illustrated notes helpful so i thought I’d upload them onto Flickr using a Creative Commons licence so others could use them if they wish.

The link for the set is here:

The whole experience made me think about learning a new skill while honing an existing skill – integration.  In my work with leaders and leadership teams, I seek to simplify things as far as possible.  As Einstein said, ‘I like things to be as simple as possible, but no simpler.’   What struck me in taking my notes is how powerful a simple image is, along with clear, key words, to capture the essence of something.  And I often make visual notes like this when listening to a speaker.

I’m in the process of completing a very complex piece of work, and doing this illustration helped me a lot.

I had been writing reams and reams, and getting lost in the complexity of it all.  I needed a different approach.  What if I START with distilled visual notes like these?  That is the end result – clarity, clear flow, connections and interconnections.  Then work backwards to the report?

So thats what I’m doing.  I went back to the end to start!  I begun my report with an illustration.  I have been able to focus on the key vital elements of the work – which I’ve now translated to a mind map, which will become a document.

Never thought I’d learn that at a practical art class!

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2 comments… add one

  • Joan

    Hi Joe,

    Google a gentleman called David Sibbet. He is a Master at this graphic facilitation to support whole systems moving forwards. I had the privilege to work with him over many years. He has an organisation called Grove based out in San Francisco and a couple of books – his latest is Visual Meetings. His blogs are always worth a read

  • Thanks Joan,
    am familiar with his work and have the book you mention.
    I’m not really a graphic facilitator, but I do use images, sketches and illustrations at times when with clients. Mostly I use it for visual note taking – tho I have also illustrated a few books for my friend Dick Axelrod.
    will check out the blog tho.
    thanks again for taking time to post.

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