David Sibbet | Graphic Facilitation
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Imagine a three channel, six city, tele-computer-graphics meeting with over 40 people involved and lasting four hours. I can and actually helped facilitate one recently when a consumer goods company from France decided to review its plans for talent management in Asia with its teams in Tokyo, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore and San Francisco in a virtual rather than face to face setting. Here’s a picture of our video link (I was represented only by my graphics).

French Company's Virtual Victory—Six Cities Without a Hitch!

 

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I woke up this morning thinking about freedom and independence, not just because it is the celebration of the United States freeing itself from England, but also because it is the anniversary of my freeing myself to create my own business.

DSFirstLogo - Reflecting on Independence DayThat was back in 1977 when I set up a personal consultancy focused on organization development, communications, and graphic & design. My logo was a bright yellow spot, looking a bit like a light bulb. Here’s the image. (Note: I don’t live on 6th Avenue any more.)

Looking back the feeling of excitement about declaring “independence” didn’t last very long. I wasn’t very “free” in those early days, in the ways that mattered most. Deciding to be “independent” I was also deciding to take on a new set of responsibilities. I now had to do my own marketing, selling, writing, fulfillment, invoicing, and all the other things that make a company a company. My little startup was really nothing more than idea, and the next three years were a slide into challenge after challenge as I struggled to figure out how to run a business.

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This post links you to a video about my presentation on Visual Meetings at a recent TEDxSOMA event at the ParisSOMA loft, South of Market Street in San Francisco. ParisSOMA is a shared workspace for young entrepreneurs, very much in the spirit of the TED events. Its motto is “ideas worth sharing.” My Parisian college Meryem Le Saget introduced me to the sponsor Clement Alterseco, President of FaberNovell in Paris, several months ago and it led to the invitation.

My own ideas, formed over the 38 years I’ve been a visual practitioner, are condensing into a book for Wiley & Sons on the subject that will come out this summer. This 10-minute fly-over is a fast-paced review of what feels like a real revolution in how we communicate in organizations.

SunWheel - Visualizing SustainabilityMerc Martinelli—CEO of a new startup, Verdafero, focusing on green business.—sent me a link to an incredible website that has collected 138 illustrations of sustainability concepts. See Computing for Sustainability’s Visualizing Sustainability, a full panorama from simple to complex, mapping onto every conceivable base map. Here is a sample; visit the website for lots more.

I’ve contended for a long time that a sustainability mindset requires systems thinking, and that systems thinking requires visual thinking—even if the display is just between your ears. You can’t understand relationships if you don’t have some display structure to illustrate the elements that are in relationship. This collection is a great testimonial to that assumption.