i sometimes stumble upon those great quotes, which instantly spark images in my head. they want to be visualised and shared. but then i try and it never is as great as i would wish it to be, so it lands on the “i will do it better one day” pile. that’s it. from today on i will visualise and post instead of postponing. this is the only way to actually get better. insecurity, you are uninvited here.
enjoy the quote by gustaw mahler. or georg lichtenberg as some claim.
it’s been a couple of inspirational years now that i’ve worked based on theory U. preparing a sample workshop for an IT customer i discovered yet a new aspect of it.
the very core of the theory is the trinity of open: mind-heart-will. it is only based on them all that true innovation can be born. each of them is guided by dragon: open mind has the voice of judgement protecting the access, open heart is shielded by the voice of cynicism and open will is safe with voice of fear at the gates. working with project managers we were wondering how can one support your team members if you loose them to one of the beasts. as you can see in the very centre of the visual, it is with listening, love and courage. honestly i have to admit, that this bit never resonated with me that much. it seemed too…what shall i say? i mean “love”? in business context? seriously? but then. in the evening of the sample day i had a situation with one of my relatives. they were unhappy, felt under-appreciated and were very annoyed with everyone and everything. i gave it a shot. i thought: which is the voice speaking now? what does it block? what does it need? and you know what, this very simple equation was actually helpful. cynicism needs love and it blocks open heart. no rocket science, but sometimes emotions have this internal gravity which makes me loose the ground under my feet. this one gave it back.
curious to talk to the project managers next time and check if they had a chance of prototyping in their corner.
the first book i illustrated is out. printed on real paper, available in real book-stores. a whole new chapter starts with this step.i am being called an “illustrator” now as well.
here you can read me writing about the process.
i am very pleased with the result. the drawings look neat and simple. those two are my favourite ones:
but you know me, i am a results person, definitely, but with a great passion for process. and how did the process look like? honestly – many more nights at the desk than i assumed. drafting, prototyping, drawing, redrawing, correcting, changing, consulting. the cycle of creative processes of:
this is great! –> something’s fishy –> this sucks! –> i suck! –> this is not so bad –> this is great!
i went through oh so many times. the toughest one was simon. i just couldn’t get his story. it seemed like the text said, he fell into a crevasse, while climbing a glacier, because his line broke. me myself, a glacier climber, thought i was on the safe side, so i drew:
turned out i was almost right.
i have been almost right probably 10 more times.the people at the publishing house i though are gonna come after me at night with their dogs :) but they didn’t. they were nice and supportive.
finally i got it and we were all satisfied.
i have always been a person who though of herself “i cannot draw”. school & co. definitely supported my conviction. but then surprisingly in my mid-thirties with visual thinking i have found a way around me not knowing how to draw. still if you ask me to draw a cow or a shoe you might see me running away. but with a lot of practice and a lot of passion i have found my style. i became a very curious observer – copying, searching, appreciating shapes and their representations. i always carry a sketch book on me. i draw whenever i wait, i travel, i have nothing to do. i draw all that is around me. i learn how to draw if you hold the belief you cannot really draw. this is what visual thinking opens up for me. and you know what – there are people who enjoy my style.
i guess what i am saying to myself and all of you reading this – do not let yourself be discouraged. this notion of “no matter what you want you can become it” is getting bigger and bigger in the world. i believe you can become (almost) all you choose to. so choose bravely. and choose wisely.
this is a loaded one. what you will find here is:
– what is a stammtisch?
– about self-organised meetings a trainers’ network, held in an open space spirit, with the whole group being the facilitators
– a bit about my community work with fellow facilitators for a collective growth in poland
– generally it is all about a somewhat curious birth of a curious facilitation school in poland
– it also includes a declaration of love and a declaration of purpose to and by Progressive Partners
– and lisa heft inviting herself as a pre-conf for the WOSonOS15.
yes. it is a bit of a box-in-a-box story on how big dreams materialise when you let them.
– entering, the city feels heavy…
– why am i really here?
– sometimes one sentence can make all the difference / an ode to whatever happens is the only thing that could have – and making it so!
– on access queen and what a difference it makes to be invited to hold a role.
– a word or two about the frame / invitation
ps. what happened at the end of the event was bigger than our fantasies could ever get. our (sylwia myszka + mine) invitation to organise the next european learning exchange on open space (LEXOS) in 2015, which we expressed a year ago in utrecht on the last european LEXOS got elevated to poland hosting the next WOSONOS. thank you agnieszka wawrzyniak for not becoming realistic about your dream :) and a big “thank you” for the community for sensing and responding to the OST energy in poland.
below you can see me trying to talk some sense to aga (“c’mon, the WOSonOS is in europe now, next year it will be on another continent”, “others have expressed their invitation way earlier”, “it sometimes takes years for the community to accept an invitation”, “we have been inviting for a year now to the next LEXOS”). luckily – unsuccessfully.
and a documentation of the work in progress & the astonishing result.
–SAVE THE DATE–
10-13 september 2015,
place: poland, most probably krakow.
visual facilitation is not about only drawing. it is not a modern name for making a comic based on a situation. it is way more. it means working with a powerful combination of words, shapes and colours for recording and organising the communication and creation flows in conversations inside an organisation, a group or even in one’s own note-making for a deeper understanding and a more participatory access.
i use visual facilitation for example when developing a concept with our customers and planning an event together. visual notes take good care that all details are transparent and we are all on the same page of what needs to be done during which of the steps of large group events.
i also find visual facilitation helpful for preparing instructions for people in a large group, in small groups or even individually. this gives them something to check with, whether they understood the instructions and what the consecutive steps should be and allows participants to relax deeper into the participation in an actual dialogue.
visual facilitation allows you to put many things that belong together on one piece of paper, in a neat and clean way. below the example of a training schedule for a five-day event, including the every-day structure, topics addressed during each day, the two major focus forces and a symbol, explaining the dynamics of what the training refers to, in this case: increasing creativity in teams.
second example is a schedule of a one day event on mindfulness, including the WHAT, the HOW and the WHY of the session.
sharing my practice: what i use to organise my notes is a frame with two boxes: the lower, outer edge box includes the date, the upper inside box the setting (customer / event / theme). this helps me find in my notes what i am looking for easily.
if you want to see more examples of really diverse visual facilitation styles and some works of truly great visual practitioners, join me on a sentimental journey back to this july in berlin, on EUVIZ – european conference for visual thinkers, practitioners and facilitators. a rich HARVESTING archive you can find here.
now it’s your turn. just grab a pen and paper, listen to someone talk about a matter that intrigues you and – go visualise!
in july 2013 the city of leipzig was organising a 10 day residential for 100 young artists from 10 countries. i was invited to design the scenarios and implement collective sense-making sessions of their shared experiences as well as to facilitate the intercultural learning in the group.
we used world-cafe to have people start engaging and connecting based on topics that matter for them.
i introduced the claes janssen’s “four rooms of change” model at the very beginning of the gathering, hoping it would support people in going through rough times keeping a learner’s attitude and curiousity. i have been approached a number of times during the residential by the participants saying how helpful it was.
at the end of the event we used it to evaluate where the group was in their forming stages during the time they co-created.
later in the project we run (for me by now the largest) BARANGA session with 100 participants playing cards on 25 tables. BARANGA is a cultural role-playing game which gives you a first-hand experience of the confusion we are a subject of when not understanding that we do not understand the rules and believing we are communicating clearly and following a common sense. the participants did get upset and even close to mad during the experience. this provided a great basis for rich learning in the debriefing phase…
this was the longest continuous intervention i ever facilitated with a large group. i have to admit it felt great and right in so many ways. i would enjoy the chance to facilitate more large-group events supporting collective learning, deep dialogue and creativity.
open space was a initiating element of a long-term strategy for change in the leadership culture of a corporation in the FMCG sector. the CEO, supported by the HR and other strategic departments agreed, that they do not want to introduce a model or any other kind of a ready solution they would implement in the whole company. they wanted to ask their people what works for them in their own leadership and the of their seniors and what they would need to work successfully in their teams and as a whole. 300 managers, including the whole board of the organisation were invited to spend a whole day discussing in small groups issues they find burning for the organisation and ones they are willing to share the responsibility for.
before we started the tension was high. the head of the HR department approached me with a lot of worry, whether the issues people will bring in will be sufficient and whether they will be appropriate. i guess we all know the moment, in situations where you decide to open up the discussions on strategic and hot topics, because you deeply believe the way of involving everybody in creating the fundament for it is the right thing, but just before it starts you get cold feet and want to call the whole thing off. holding the space it those moments i hold very precious.
after the introduction people did not wait even three second but jumped to their feet to write down their issues. they were cueing to the microphone for 40 minutes straight and raised exactly 100 issues, which made us run out of polish alphabet (which we used to mark the break-out spaces) and have to go for letters with diacritics, like “ą” and “ę”.
as we were doing the set-up one of the technicians brought in a large ladder, to help us hang up the title of the event. once we were done and cleaning up the space they wanted to take the ladder, to which i asked: “do not remove it, please. it will make for great pictures of the perfect circle.” and it did come in quite handy. the hired photographer spent basically the whole introduction to the open space occupying the very top of it.
(you have to admit this really does not look like 300 people, now does it? this is why i like the circle so much. it is simple and elegant, and so much more)
very fast we all were able to see how well the method resonates with the crowd. people would bring up brave issues like: “what do i do if i am a boss of a team, in which i have better experts than myself? how do i fill the role of being a good boss?” or “how to be a good boss with people i personally do not like?”
people were great and bold about advertising their sessions. here a session on “how to delegate and not abdicate” with an add on of “great conversation! going strong already since 12:05”.
card-board boxes as walls allowed participants to be flexible on the size and setting of the group.
a report of over a 100 pages was produced the same day and sent as an e-documentation to all participants the very next morning.
but the work was not done. together with a great colleague of mine, gilbert brenson lazan, we facilitated a harvesting session for the HR department, using ToP elements. this resulted in a list of action recommendation for the board, one of them being an in-house leadership academy.
ps. if you are more a fan of videos – here a report from an OST event for an innovation hub – TECHNOPARK in gliwice, silesia, poland.