facilitating collaboration through drawing

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I'm an illustrator and I get really jazzed about illustration in its various forms. At least in all the forms I've run into so far. Years and years ago, there was a technique called a "chalk talk" used in meetings- a big pad of paper replaced Powerpoint. The term "chalk-talk" derived from an early 20th Century vaudeville act but I don't go back quite that far… The idea, though, is very similar to visual note taking that I've been seeing in videos lately. It fascinates me as a dynamic form of illustration; though I'm not interested at all in the "performance" aspects.

Cole posted about similar visuals being created during Berkman Center sessions, and over the past year, RSAnimate videos have brought similar concepts to a very wide audience. At first I thought the work benefited from long preparation and early access to the script, but then I discovered that in many cases it happens spontaneously—live—actually being used to record meetings visually and enhance group involvement, collaboration and understanding. I shared my first attempts at visual note taking. Didn't take me long to see that I sucked, and there was a lot of practice enhanceable skill needed for this.

I'm checking resources. cognitiveMedia offers a yearly internship in London, Sunni Brown is working up a course on Visual Notetaking. The Grove has videos to view and resources to purchase. I have their catalog and if I ever get to the Bay area, I'll consider a workshop. I'll continue to look for info, and continue to try what I can. At our last staff meeting I gave visual note taking a shot- learned a lot in the process and would share the results here, with some analysis, if we had a scanner.

I've placed some links here, in case anybody is interested in looking into some of this. Mostly, though, it's an aggregation of information for me…

• The Grove Consultants with David Sibbet, author of Visual Meetings.

• Sunni Brown author of "Gamestorming" and facilitator/graphic recorder.

• cognitive media are the creators of the animations for RSA.

• Sketchnotes and SketchNote Techniques are sets of slides on Slideshare.

• Luke Wroblewski points in his blog to Jim Hauden's session at vizthink '08 which now has an info packed website.

• The Joy of Sketch: explorations in hand crafted visuals is an article by Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path.

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While on the vizthink site I caught a great video from SXSW'10 on visual note-taking. The panel is Austin Kleon (the blackout poet), Mike Rohde, Sunni Brown, and Dave Gray. They mention a seminal book called The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam. I never heard of him.

Sunni Brown adds that "if you see these things being created, you can see they aren't that sophisticated they just look that way at the end." whew. Like restaurant food.

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