Using visual design to communicate content, in context

Using visual design to communicate content, in context

Younito Man
UZMO book

UZMO

Presenting, Documenting and Exploring Visually

At the start of every bikablo® basics class, we talk about what bikablo is and how it is different. Most people who attend our classes have ‘no drawing skills’ and are worried about their lack of drawing ability. At the end of two days, they are consistently surprised with the dramatic change in their ability to visualise. The reason for these results is that bikablo is a systematic approach to visualisation. In bikablo, we say that ‘visualisation is not about art, it’s about language’. And just like any language, the goal is about communicating meaning. All languages do this because they have systematic grammar, syntax and cultural nuances that allow people to have shared understanding of what is being communicated. Just like the languages we speak in, bikablo is a systematic visual language. It has letters, words, grammar and syntax that can be combined and recombined in different ways in order to communicate content in a way that is meaningful to its audience and their surrounding context.

Using visual design to communicate content in context
Younito is thinking

In his book, ‘UZMO’, bikablo co-founder Martin Haussmann provides a simple but very powerful framework for understanding, and using, visualisation as a language. It has three basic elements, that I like to represent as a Venn Diagram:

  • Content: what is being communicated i.e. the ideas, messages, concepts
  • Design: how content is being visually represented
  • Context: the surrounding circumstances and environment that could change how content is interpreted

When I communicate this idea at the beginning of a class, it’s always greeted with a few nods and a few puzzled expressions. But as we gradually build in each layer of the technique and apply it in practice, I return to this framework as a way to plan and then execute our visualisations. Through this journey of theory and practical experience, the penny drops on what this framework means and how it can be used in practice. Let me give you a simple example of how I used this recently.

The context

I was designing a 2-hr class on how to design and facilitate collaborative meetings and workshops. There would be 32 students who were coming after work and would be seated in a ‘cosy’ classroom for 2-hours. My presentation was largely based on a slide deck I had created but was organised around two frameworks that would gradually be revealed. The students would need to hold the frameworks in their mind as we progressed through the slide deck. I would need to be able to refer back to the frameworks throughout the class. I needed to create ‘signposts’ for each part of my content that would help the group remember the frameworks as I talked to them. I also needed people to be able to see the signposts from the back of the room.

Finally, this was a class that I planned to offer multiple times, so I needed re-usable content.

The content

The 5 key jobs of a facilitator

  1. Scoping
  2. Design
  3. Preparation
  4. Front-of-room facilitation
  5. Value capture

The 5 key design elements of any collaboration session

  1. Purpose (and context)
  2. People
  3. Process
  4. Content
  5. Environment

Overall there were are two frameworks each with elements, so 10 content elements overall.

Younito has an idea

The design

As you can see from the images, I created 10 physical signposts which we call ‘mobile elements’ in bikablo®. I used bold, visible lettering with an icon or container around each to anchor the meaning of each piece of content. I also used two different colours to delineate the two different frameworks. I used foam board (or foam core) for two reasons. Firstly because its smooth white surface really takes well to markers without bleeding. Secondly it is a light, stiff and relatively durable material which would last longer with repeated use. 

This is a simple example, but the framework is scalable to larger, more complicated visualisations, and indeed, to any form of design work more generally that involves content that must be communicated in a way that can be interpreted in a way that fits a particular context.

Join us at one of our upcoming 2-day classes to learn more about this framework and how to use it in practice.

The article was written by Natalia Tsygankova. Natalia has always loved words and talking to people. She has put that passion to good use and has been sharing people’s stories in the community radio, TV and print media for the last 10 years. Natalia is also a big fan of true storytelling events and regularly volunteers at the most famous one – The Moth, interviewing the winner. You can hear her own story of moving to Australia from Russia in 1999 here. Natalia believes that everyone has a story – So what’s yours? Contact her today to share your story.

How to spark the visual revolution inside your company

Younito Man
Marcel van Hove

Marcel van Hove

Co-Founder of Visual Friends

Introduction

You probably agree with me when I say you can’t change people!

Even if you have the best idea on the planet not everyone will stop working in the old way and jump onto the new idea immediately. If that would be the case all people in the Tech-Industry would be Lean-Agile-Design-Thinking-Visual Facilitators. So what can we do to inspire others and facilitate change? First, let’s talk about why not everyone follows you…

Every Person is Different

I often experience that people might not listen to me but believe in the same idea explained by someone else. The reason here is that they find it hard to identify themselves with my person but can see themselves and understand the idea through another coach. So it is not about the idea it is about the person who presents the idea. By the way, that is a great reason why it is hard to change the world alone.

Repeating a Great Idea

Another important insight is that hearing a great idea through different channels makes it easier for our brain to believe that it is true. Sadly that is true for fake news as well as for helpful great ideas like bikablo®. If you hear them more often, through different channels – they become real in our brain.

First Follower

In every job as an agile coach I tried new things almost every day. I shared the idea quickly across the companies I worked hard to inspire others but not every idea went viral. You need a first follower to validate that the idea is great. The first follower shows that it is okay to follow and to join in. A great example of what I mean is this “Dancing Guy” who starts a party in the park. Here is what happens: One dude starts dancing and another person joins in – soon everyone is dancing but it needs the first follower to validate this behaviour. Watch the full video here.

Prophet In Your Own Land

Last but not least it often helps to add an outside perspective by inviting a external person speaking about your idea. In this way skeptical people might be more open to ask hard questions as they don’t have to work with him the next day. The fresh perspective of an outsider around your idea also helps to reingnite the fire and keeps the idea alive.

Why I am telling you this?

You have learnt to draw using the bikablo® technique and if not come to one of our next training. You know now that it is so much more powerful to convey your message with words and pictures and that it enables a much higher level of collaboration because you use all four modalities to communicate. Someone speaks and you listen. But you also visualise it and if you share the pen and draw together with you actually have a kinaesthetic experience together. There is no better way to communicate and collaborate with a pen on the whiteboard. However, when you are back at your company you need to connect with others inside your company to start the visual revolution. For that we suggest three steps to spark the change:

Step #1 – Let’s run a brown bag session at your company
Step #2 – Through that, you will be able to identify your visual friends inside your company
Step #3 – Host a Lunch & Learn to connect, learn and help each other working on a whiteboard.

I hope this episode helps you to find your visual friends inside your company and we would like to point out that the first three people who book a brown bag session will get this workshop for free. Just book your brown bag session here.

 
Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Book a brown bag session

How to make contextual visuals based on teamwork, themes and bikablo® icons.

As an agile & visual coach, I am still humbled about the positive impact our visualisation methods make on knowledge workers.

The bikablo technique features a fast, unique learning experience that works in your office location and has a great impact – the Symbol Safari. So what is the Symbol Safari?

The Symbol Safari is an activity that engages a team to create incrementally build a complex visual metaphor for a specific theme.

It is a great introduction with working with a marker and also using visuals in a team to create meaning out of complexity, with the help of bikablo® icons.

Michael Saunders, meetup leader kindly introducing Martin before the visual thinking meetup kicked off.

Introducing working on the wall, using the marker and the safari instructions

Visual Introduction
We Introduce the Bikablo Method and simple colouring

Our Safari Map - the journey to exploring visualisation

We Introduce the Bikablo Method and simple colouring

Selecting Icons to associate with their word-storming around a central theme

We Introduce the Bikablo Method and simple colouring

The teams draw and then we celebrate our new visual skills with a showcase.

Symbol Safari at your organisation?? Yes We Can!

A Symbol Safari workshop is a great introduction to visual thinking and learning to draw with bikablo methods.

Our training team offers bookings for this event. We bring all equipment, all we need is a room, with a few whiteboards and lots of curious minds.

Workshop Duration ~ 2hrs
Workshop Investment: $1080.00 (plus GST)
Discount: The amount will be deducted as a discount when ordering an in-house training within in 6 month.

 

Request a brown bag?




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What does bikablo mean?

Younito Man
Marcel van Hove

Marcel van Hove

Co-Founder Visual Friends

bikablo® & the communication pilots

To understand what bikablo® means we need to go back almost 10 years. When a company — actually a consultancy from Cologne stated their first product and this company was called, it’s still around, of course, Kommunikationslotsen, it’s quite hard to pronounce I know. It means actually communication pilot.

So it’s a consultancy that works on a holistically approach to help companies to change, to go through change phases. The Kommunikationslotsen is one of the first companies in Germany who actually started with visual facilitation and they created a product which is like a pad of picture cards.

Let’s write that down. So they built this product which was like a visual dictionary and it was basically a collection of picture cards. Those picture cards were mounted together like you see here to a block. Have a look.

Bikablo 1
Younito is thinking

1st Bikablo Book

Working with a pad of picture cards

Bestselling original visual dictionary is a concise easy-to-use reference book that will guide you into the world of visual facilitation with hundreds of brilliant picture symbols. So it looks like this and you can still order it, and it’s still very valid because pictures don’t change so much. Like, you have a good dictionary in there. Right, and if you see that picture card pad, if we underline the first two letters here you would come up with a funny English term, it would be pi-ca-pa.

Okay, but the words in German they start with bild for pictures and cards we have karte and for pad we have the word block, which is similar to an English word.
So picture card block was actually here the first two letters, and that’s how the word bikablo® came up as the brand based on the first product they created. Right, but today bikablo® is much more than just this one visual dictionary.

Just recently we opened up the bikablo® academy, which is the worldwide head organisation for the bikablo® trainings. The bikablo® academy provides a training program which is quite different to many others.

A systematical approach to drawing

We provide a very systematical approach to drawing. So you don’t need to draw a straight line to come to the training. We actually teach you how to hold the pen, how to draw a straight line without a ruler and just get this out of the pen. First thing in the morning we do together. All right. So let’s capture that.

We provide a systematical approach to drawing, and if you like, there is an early bird available and you can join in either in Sydney or Melbourne. There is London coming up and everywhere in the German-speaking areas as well.

The article was written by Natalia Tsygankova. Natalia has always loved words and talking to people. She has put that passion to good use and has been sharing people’s stories in the community radio, TV and print media for the last 10 years. Natalia is also a big fan of true storytelling events and regularly volunteers at the most famous one – The Moth, interviewing the winner. You can hear her own story of moving to Australia from Russia in 1999 here. Natalia believes that everyone has a story – So what’s yours? Contact her today to share your story.

Visual Posters to assist Visual Facilitation

Younito Man

You are a facilitator. You are busy. A workshop is coming. Sounds familiar? Well Visual Friends are here to help.

As a facilitator, after you have designed your workshop you may consider how visualisation can support your event. Visual Friends are releasing a set of visual posters in the bikablo style that could help.

These are A0 size layouts that can be pre-printed to save you time to focus on content over layout.

We’d love to hear your feedback and perhaps any poster styles that you’d like to request.

All the best, the Visual Friends Team.

A simple frame holds the information together.

Download

Just one box more. A headline and a simple frame holds around your text holds your insights together. Download

Great poster template to summarise your next brain storming. By the way, let everyone think alone first then consolidate together. This creates more diversity. Download

Just add the topic you investigate together on the top and hand out post-it to cover the question mark! Have fun together. Download

Use this template to look back or plan the next actions ahead. Use the SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time based) writing for clear defined actions. Download

Ask your team for feedback after the workshop. Use Post-its and make them write! Place this flip chart at the exit of your workshop so that people can leave anonym feedback if they choose to. Download

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

John Hibble about how to become an awesome facilitator

Younito Man

John Hibble

Facilitator, Educator, Designer, Coach / Co-author, Collaboration by Design

I think I have to confess something to you guys. April this year I recorded an amazing podcast with John Hibble about his venture, The Facilitation Starter. John Hibble is an experienced facilitator with more than 10 years in the field.

After I recorded this podcast in April my life became quite busy as I started building a house in May and had a newborn baby in July. That is the reason why this podcast stayed on my hard drive for quite a while. Now it’s time to unveil this great conversation about workshop preparation from the session designed over delivering a workshop to how you capture insights.

Over the last month, things have changed slightly. I’m very happy to announce that John is also now a certified bikablo® trainer like Martin and me, and together we run as the Visual Friends bikablo® training in Australia and New Zealand.

Now let’s do the time travel and go back to April and listen to John Hibble from the Visual Friends Team.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Introduction into Symbolic Thinking (Part 2/2)

Younito Man
Antonio Meza

Antonio Meza

NLP (neurolingoistic programming) trainer and coach

This is the second part of the interview with Antonio Meza. In the first part we talk about Antonio’s life story and his career as an NLP (neurolingoistic programming) trainer and coach. We looked at the combination of NLP and graphic facilitation and how to record sessions using an iPad. In the second part Antonio gives you an introduction into symbolic thinking.

Everyone uses symbolic thinking and we don’t have to learn it. For example a person with hanging shoulders and a sad face would be seen as not resourceful while a person on top of the mountain in superman posture would be seen as very energetic. Here it doesn’t matter whether it is a real person or a stick figure drawing.

Symbolic thinking describes the process of creating an internal representation of a situation, scene or thought. We use all of our senses to imagine a situation and create our own internal representation. Every person is different so that everyone creates his own emotional reaction about the scene.

Understanding the concepts of symbolic thinking makes you a better graphic recorder as you can use those metaphors to tell more engaging stories even about the most boring topics. Just ask what the topic means for the people in your story and find the right metaphor.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Combination of Graphic Facilitation with NLP (Part 1/2)

Younito Man
Antonio Meza

Antonio Meza

Founder of Antoons

About Antonio

Antonio Meza is born in Mexico and has been drawing and sketching his whole life. He started his career as a cartoonist animating stick figures between 2 keyframes across the screen. He moved to Paris where he studied communication science and became a trainer and coach for neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

In the first part, Antonio introduces you into NLP and the science behind language patterns, body language and our eye movements. We clarify misunderstandings about NLP and talk about coaching contracts and the right coaching setting in general.

Antonio experience in coaching made him the perfect match to illustrate a book about success factor modelling which turned into the illustration of three books around the subject.

We talk about graphic recording using digital tools like iPad and ask the million-dollar question about his favourite iPad app for graphic recording on an iPad.

From here we give an introduction into symbolic thinking which we have decided to split the podcast into an extra episode about symbolic thinking.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Visualise your work and increase your happiness

Younito Man
jim benson

Jim Benson

The inventor of Personal Kanban

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to speak to Jim Benson in Melbourne. We met in a hotel restaurant and talked about why visualisation of invisible knowledge work is so powerful and why it can increase the happiness of you and your co-workers:

We start with giving you an introduction into Personal Kanban and help you to create your own Personal Kanban board. We explore why limiting the work in progress is so powerful and what might happen when you take on to much work at the same time.

Jim shares his favourite stories about “visualisation of work” from places like a hospital in Kenya to a family who uses Personal Kanban to organise the treatment plan of their elderly father.

We talk about why managing workload is so hard and what we can do about it to stay focused.

We finish with a deep dive into the psychology of happiness and why visualisation in companies can help you to stay focused and become a happy team mate.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Welcome to the bikablo® USA Tour 2017

Younito Man
Carola and Frank

Carola Keitel and Frank Wesseler

Trainer at bikablo® Cologne

About Carola and Frank

Carola Keitel and Frank Wesseler are an amazing team. They met through the bikablo® Akademie in Cologne and became a couple. Carola always had the idea of travelling the US and maybe working there one day. So when she met Frank they put their energy together as a couple and made it possible. For me, this is an amazing story where you can see what a couple can do when they combine their strength and make things happen.

Travel plan

In the interview, we talk about it in detail. How it all started with a vague idea. How the things then came together and have a look at their travel plan. After the IFVP conference in Decatur, they travel from the east coast to the west coast and run 7 training in 10 weeks. It is an exciting trip from the east to the west and I can’t wait to introduce to you now Carola and Frank from the bikablo® Akademie in Cologne.

Have a look at their travel plan:

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

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