The process of developing a rich picture is a fantastic way of getting people onboard with something, at the same time as generating something that they feel they have contributed to. We’ve been doing more of this over the last few months and frankly the feedback has been outstanding. This approach helps a group of people both in the development of the picture, and in the use of the result, to communicate complex things to a wide audience. It enables people to raise sensitive issues that are difficult to address when using written or spoken word – people can take ‘harsher’ messages when they’re communicated visually.
Using humour to communicate can enable people to express and talk about ‘feelings’ which otherwise often don’t have a place in a professional setting, but which obviously de-rail many ventures.
They key thing we’ve discovered is this is much more than just the creation of a Rich Picture – we’re suggesting a new approach which puts visualisation of complex problems at the heart of both diagnosing and solving difficult business issues. It doesn’t replace traditional business consultancy but it’s a critical tool in making the results more compelling and getting a different segment of the organisation involved in the development. A rich picture on its own won’t solve any problems, but using it as a mechanism to understand what’s going on, and also what the solutions are, unlocks a different approach.
We find this works best if you use the picture to talk over as you’re discussing, so literally point at particular characters when you’re talking about problems, or solutions that they’re trying to achieve, or about the process of developing it – it helps to draw them into the picture and show them how it can be a communication tool.
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How People Use Rich Pictures to Help Them Think and Act: Bell, S. and Morse, S. 2013. How People Use Rich Pictures to Help Them Think and Act. Systemic Practice and Action Research. 26, pp. 331 – 348.