VISUAL WORK SPACE

2015 was a fresh start for me. After a 6 months personal recalibration following my exit from JAM visual thinking,  I had to leave my temporary Shop in Wassenaar and needed a place to work.
Like many things in my life…when i draw my problems out, stuff starts to move. I was looking for a way into a company to see how I could understand better how people work together using images or sketches…and what happens? An old study acquaintance called me and asked for some visual guidance on a project, while at the same time he requested some information about a simple DRAWING course to balance out the heavy duty text content that was filling the T-mobile website with a healthy dose of Sketching.IMG_6339

His foresight was that his department (Digital Services) could do with a little more visual power, which lead to our first meeting. After which  we quickly realised that we could help each other out. I needed a space with people and they needed someone to help them balance out their mostly textual product (content for the T-mobile website) with a broader sense of visual connection. What happend next was a great collaborative ride where I was able to put together a Training based on real challenges and relevant communicative situations.

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How to hack a table on wheels… glue clamps and industrial wheelies!
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the beginning state of the Temporary Visual Laboratory

The Mobile Drawing laboratory was born!

I was able to take over a flex space and make it my own for 3 months. The effects of adding some Drawings to the daily workplace were amazing! It started slowly with the people who already knew they wanted to do some more with Sketch noting or visual planning. Then by offering lessons in the use of visualisation the department started to warm up to the idea of drawing as a valuable tool to be using!

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My intended plan took a little longer to unfold, but Connect/Care/Create is exactly the process that was followed. The connection phase took about 3 to 4 months… after which I was getting quite familiar with the content and inner workings of this TELCO.

But this is when something started to happen… Based on the slow getting to know you phase I was able to home in on what this department needed, which was a little different for everybody. Based on their roles and responsibilities my new colleagues  exhibited 3 different thinking levels in which they thought they would benefit from being able to draw. I have been working with this theory for a long time now and was happy to see it in real life!
The strategic level demanded a way to map abstract ideas and translate them to relatable story triggers. The planners of the bunch wanted to learn the basics in mapping out stakes and showing/sharing clear goals, while all operationally focussed workhorses were interested in being able to draw people and scenarios.

Based on their preferences I constructed a curriculum consisting of 5 balances and 1 spine connecting them all to being able to use drawing in a professional environment.

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This course changed a lot of bias around drawing by really spending the time to talk about the fun & value of drawing as a thinking & sharing tool. After going through the 8 lesson course an evaluation of the entire experience resulted in one big reality check. In order to get people to invest in a course like this the timing and time spend on physically teaching people would have to be shortened.

Another essential feedback point was space in which we would be able to nurture a culture of drawing. We started to figure out what a department would need to organize an environment where the comfort to help each other out by drawing would grow in time. Giving everybody there the opportunity to see how drawing would support, enhance or even improve their primary role.

The final feedback was about material and gear. The barrier that is thrown up by empty whiteboard markers and absent wipers is not one to be underestimated. Could it be that simple??? Just give people the right gear and good material? It turned out to be a great way to get people to be enthusiastic about drawing out their challenges and build their own small toolkit of favourite pens that fit their personal needs the best.

So:

  1. Simple compact lessons – clear assignments
  2. an inspiring space with ample drawing room
  3. the right gear and materials

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