Graphic Facilitation: Diversity and Open Space Technology

I was fortunate to be invited to an NGO Ashiya Kokusai Hiroba to facilitate a session on diversity using open space technology. This organization offers Japanese language and cultural classes to foreigners living in Ashiya city, and they wanted to experience open space technology for its staff members.

This was first time for me to facilitate a session in Japanese, ever. A bit nervous, but all went well thanks to collaborative and polite participants.

The dynamics of the participants was very interesting. Age between pre-teen to over 70s, with different nationalities, I could experience a various diversity in Japanese society. It was impressive to see elder participants are inspired and learning from teenagers, and vice versa.

Thank you, Masa-san, for the photos and invitation to the session. Looking forward to the next one!

Infographic: WHO Antibiotics report 2020

Thank you, Sarah Paulin and Maarten van der Heijden for giving me the opportunity to develop developing infographic/factsheet for the crucial report “2020 antibacterial agents in clinical and preclinical development: an overview and analysis”

I never realised how antibiotics is important for us, and how serious the situation of resistance. We should never take antibiotics for granted.

The goal was to develop simple, minimal, but technically solid materials.

A New Visual Thinking Approach to Evaluation: Introducing EvaluVision by Keisuke Taketani, Katherine Haugh, Yumiko Kanemitsu

(This blog was originally published at American Evaluation Association on April 9, 2021)

Greetings AEA365! We are Katherine Haugh, Yumiko Kanemitsu  and Keisuke Taketani, a group of individuals who are passionate about visual thinking and its applications in evaluation and adaptive learning. 

Yumiko is a Regional Evaluation Officer at the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme. Keisuke is a freelance facilitation and visualization expert who partners often with the Asian Development Bank. Katherine is a freelance organizational learning and visual design expert.

The three of us are thrilled by the possibilities of working at the intersection of visual thinking, facilitation, and evaluation. 

First things first, what is EvaluVision? 

EvaluVision is an approach to improving collective learning by combining evaluation and visualization techniques. It filters technical language, theories, and indicators and organizes them into comprehensible graphics that can more meaningfully and easily spark dialogue and learning. It was created by the UN with input from key evaluation and visualization experts and has been piloted and tested in Asia and the Pacific Region. 

How can you use it? 

You can check out the public EvaluVision ebook which walks you through the steps for using it at different stages of the evaluation process–from context analysis all the way through design, data collection, validation, and dissemination. 

Here are some examples of ways in which you can use the EvaluVision approach at any stage in the evaluation process: 

  • Program design phase: EvaluVision helps teams in co-creating a strategic vision for their project and a theory of change. 
  • Context analysis: EvaluVision can unpack a complex situation and clarify the relationships between different actors or systems dynamics, sourcing perspectives from various points of view to better understand the context and how that impacts the program design. 
  • Data collection: EvaluVision can be helpful to increase the quality of inputs from stakeholders, including community beneficiaries, such as through capturing stories in a graphic way or using other visual collection tools. 
  • Data validation: EvaluVision can visualize the key findings and lessons learned from the evaluation team and can use visuals to help teams co-create recommendations for collective action. 
  • Dissemination: In our experience, there is not enough feedback to community beneficiaires after evaluations conclude. Visual materials can explain the result of evaluation in a manner that everyone can understand.

Hot Tip: In our experience, every organization has at least one person who is open to using innovative methods like this one. Instead of spending effort trying to convince people who are not open to it, spend your energy working with a small group of people who are curious and open to the possibility of trying something new. Without that openness, the method is not as meaningful. 

If you are passionate or curious about working at the intersection of visual thinking, facilitation, and evaluation, please get in touch with us! You can reach out to Keisuke at keisuke.taketani@gmail.com,. You can reach out to Katherine at kat.haugh@gmail.com and you can reach Yumiko by emailing her at yumiko.kanemitsu@wfp.org

Virtual graphic facilitation

Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 9.46.49 PMScreen Shot 2020-04-13 at 11.20.57 AMI did my first virtual graphic facilitation last week, connecting around 30 participants from Myanmar, Thailand, France, and the Philippines. Here is what I learned from this experience.

Quality of conversation: In a virtual workshop, communication flows from participants to facilitators, rather than among participants. ZOOM breakout rooms made people talk more in a group but it wasn’t enough.

The virtual workshop format seems to work well for factual discussion. Sitting in front of a computer, typing a keyboard might activate participants’ operational brain. But it was more difficult to capture unspoken feelings, embrace ambiguity and uncertainty as a group.

Reading between the lines, or as Japanese say ‘reading the air’ is a key element for a graphic facilitator. Especially with an ever-challenging situation with COVID-19, sharing those feelings might have been helpful.

Lesson learned: take more time to check-in, as well as make space and time for participants to talk among themselves such as breakout rooms.

Mastering technology: Overall technology worked well despite big concerns about poor internet connection. In the case of tech failure, all presentations and activities were pre-recorded. That made the group feel safe to continue the workshop.

For me, digital facilitation is an art of multitasking. Drawing with Wacom tablet and photoshop, being a host in ZOOM, keeping time and getting the process going, listening to participants, and managing chats. At one point, we used a virtual sticky note to collect ideas as well. (We used Linoit.com as it seems to be simple and user friendly.)

As you can imagine, my brain and hands were working 120%. While I typically finish my drawing by the closing of the workshop, I just couldn’t finish it this time.

Lesson learned: work sharing. thorough preparation with co-facilitator to check every step on tech and process.

Learning from gurus: 4 weeks ago, I didn’t know anything about digital facilitation. It was a steep learning curve to deliver the workshop. Followings are three sources of information that helped me a lot:

– Unity Effect: their free digital facilitation course opened the door for me.

– Rachel Smith’s blog Digital Facilitation: Her workshop at the IAF conference in Tokyo was a turning point for me to start my career as a graphic facilitator. 7 years later, her blog helped me again to make a shift to the digital world.

– IAF virtual facilitation resource toolkit: There is plenty of resources on the IAF website. Particularly Resources for Online Meetings, Classes, and Events – Facilitators for Pandemic Response Group had full of useful tips and links.

Go Visual! Evaluation of school feeding programme in Bangladesh

I was honored to facilitate an evaluation workshop of World Food Programme Bangladesh school feeding programme.

A workshop in Cox’s Bazar, I tried to capture key findings of evaluation without using any text. Only images. Why? Participating parents from the community were illiterate. I wanted to make sure they understand what consultants say visually.

Despite evaluation findings are complex and technical, all participants, including those at the community level, had a chance to understand and give feedback to the programme.

The next WFP graphic evaluation workshop will be in Lao PDR.

 

 

Let’s co-create

Recently, several of my clients hired videographers and photographers to record the workshop.

The dynamics of graphic facilitation for me is that you don’t know what outcome will be at the end of the day. It is the spirit of co-creation. Everyone at the workshop including organizer, participants, and facilitator is all part of the process to visualize what emerges from the conversation.

Hope this short video will capture the dynamism of the interactive workshop.

 

 

 

 

Basic elements of graphic facilitation

 

Several participants at workshops and LinkedIn friends asked me about graphic recording and facilitation. Here is a brief summary of what I do. I do graphic recording and graphic facilitation.

Graphic recording is when I visualise the conversation on the spot at conferences and workshops. Graphic facilitation, on the other hand, is a mix of visualizatoin and facilitation.

Clearly graphic facilitation requires more skills and training. Personally I like graphic facilitation more as that’s where the power of graphic and facilitation comes together.

Here is the list of training I took to become a graphic facilitator:

  • Visalisation in Participatory Programmes (VIPP) in Black Forest, Germany was my first training course as professional facilitator.
  • Grove’s graphic facilitation course during International Association of Facilitators conference in Tokyo gave me a practical tips and techniques.
  • The certification course of solution-focused coaching gave me a foundation skills as a coach.
  • U lab at MIT showed me how the power of graphic recording by Kelvy Bird.

I also get inspiration from many resources. Particularly “Graphic Recording” is a great book with many examples and list of graphic recorders.

Aikido

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I enjoyed a graphic facilitation of cross-cultural communication, particularly a session on AIKIDO last weekend. AIKIDO provides so much insights about being persuasive and non-confrontational in cultures like Philippines and Japan. Thanks @spiceworx_mnl