Graphic recording: How to get started

Data visualization professionals often focus on numbers, helping to tell the story of what, when, where, and how much. But more often than not organizations first need to better understand the why and how (this is known as qualitative data). Before there is a need to communicate key insights, there is always a need to communicate first about what insights will matter most to the people involved, and therefore what data to plan, collect, analyze, and present. Graphic recording is a method for using visuals to support communication and understanding during real-time dialogue. Hand-drawn illustrations allow teams to simultaneously collect, analyze, and report qualitative data about people and groups.

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What happens when we connect with "the other"

One of my favorite ways to traverse apparent divides is to attend conferences where I can meet with folks outside my own industry. What makes conferences so much richer in my opinion than other learning experiences (books, podcasts, webinars, even classes) is that they are like "microtribes." Attending them is like immersing yourself in a group that has specific languages, behaviors, and ideologies. You get exposed to a range of perspectives and ideas from different people who tend to share similar roles, experiences, and/or goals.

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Using visuals to support your writing process

Many of us are well trained in using writing to develop and convey our insights, but only some of us learn how visuals can help us organize and communicate our ideas. It’s well worth learning what you can, because visuals have many unique abilities. The best visuals balance the use of thoughtful images and words, and the best writing balances thorough explanation and visualization. Writers that use visuals to describe their ideas help their readers better understand the frameworks of thinking that inform what the writer is seeking to convey, and they make it easier for readers to share those ideas with others.

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How to use visuals for analysis and discovery

Researchers often think to use visuals to present findings, overlooking the fact that to effectively communicate they must first fully understand the information themselves. While researchers may be surprised by the role visuals can play in their process, professional creatives like myself use visuals for observation, analysis, discovery and presentation. Researchers from all fields have a long history of using visuals as tools for analysis and discovery. No matter what purpose it serves, the type of visual that is best used all depends on what is being compared.

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Ways creatives bring hope and possibility to the world - and what it takes

When I meet people and they find out I'm an artist, I often hear the same responses: "I don't have any artistic talent.” "Why did you choose a creative profession?” "How did you get to where you are?" The answers are never simple. I've learned that the journeys of creatives rarely are. I believe that, like everyone, we were told when we were young that our art was poor, self-centered, and/or pointless. Those of us who think of ourselves as creatives simply chose not to believe that. We chose to keep making.

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How committing to co-creative process is different from producing an outcome

As a designer who's deeply interested in relationships, I value thoughtful process. I am not only used to the "labor pains" that a thorough, deliberate process requires but I consider myself fortunate to experience this labor of love on a regular basis. I know from experience that intentional process always leads to the best outcomes: deep understanding and meaningful relationships. I believe these lasting solutions can only come from thoughtful processes.

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Why communication planning is different for networks: How your network can re-learn communication to make it successful

Networks are able to solve problems that individuals and organizations cannot on their own. Often when we think of them, we think about coordinated resources and activities, but we also need to think about the coordinated flow of information and ideas. After all, the reason networks are more effective at addressing large scale issues is that multiple clusters of expertise can inform one another in order to be both more efficient and more responsive to needs. To do so, they need to be in consistent communication with one another. But communication in networks is different than in organizations. When we understand this, we can recognize and capitalize upon the incredible opportunities they present.

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