For questions about visual-based consulting services and training, please contact:
To learn about or purchase visual facilitation tools, please contact:
This framework evolved from an integration of The Grove’s Organization Change Model and the Liminal Pathway Framework created by Gisela Wendling, Ph.D. By showing both the outer structure of change and the inner processes in one framework, it provides a supportive structure for change consultants who are navigating client relationships within a dynamic and fluid organizational context.
While helping write Global Work, a book that The Grove and the Institute for the Future wrote in the 1990s, David Sibbet applied Arthur M. Young’s Theory of Process to the challenges of cross-cultural learning. Sibbet designed this map around the metaphor of moving from an air environment to being underwater. The descriptions of the stages were developed in collaboration with cross-cultural consultant Mary O’Hara-Devereaux.
The Communities of Practice Model was created in collaboration with the US Navy to support internal learning networks. It is an application of the Arthur M. Young Theory of Process.
I studied with Arthur M. Young for ten years in the late 1970’s and 80’s. Upon his passing in the mid 90’s, a group of us students created this canonical poster of his theory, with some of the applications inserted, several of which were created by me during my work with Young. In 1998 I was given the first Arthur M. Young Award for practical application of the Theory of Process by the Anodos Foundation, the steward of his journals and writing. This theory has animated The Grove and my work since becoming familiar with it. For more information search www.arthuryoung.com.
At the end of the Clinton administration the U.S. Department of Education funded a project with The Grove and The Institute for the Future to create a Storymap of the Educational Technology Horizon. Technology research from IFTF was blended with input from two focus groups with educational thought leaders to create this map. Although the details are not readable here, this is an example of the kind of map that a group will use to learn about a new field, reviewing complex information and discussing key questions. The map was designed in layers with the silhouettes along the bottom representing various classes of stakeholders. The next layer of roadways shows various technologies, grouped in five categories. The bubbles above the horizon depict stories about possible uses of these technologies. Half the bubble is a real story; the bottom half is a projection of what is possible. These were organized around “free play,” “group exploration,” “individual instruction,” and “orchestrated learning,” corresponding with four learning arenas identified by the Institute for Research on Learning. The final map was created in Adobe Illustrator by The Grove’s Tiffany Forner. David Sibbet led the project, facilitated the thought leader gatherings, and was a lead conceptual designer in collaboration with Grove and IFTF teams.
Yosemite National Park is one of the jewels in the U.S. National Parks System. In 2006, with 4 million visitors a year, demand for park access was increasing while sources were shrinking. The park was very clear on its overall mission and general plan, but deciding on priorities for the near term (five years) had become essential.
Don Neubacher, the park’s new superintendent from Point Reyes, engaged The Grove to facilitate a strategic visioning and Storymapping process for Yosemite. Don sought a collaborative approach and had worked with The Grove in the San Francisco Bay Area. He understood the power of strategic visioning using visualization.
Don had his direct reports begin the process in a two-day workshop, assessing the overall needs of the park and agreeing on a general vision and “emphasis areas” for the next five years. They also brainstormed possible visualization concepts. Don then involved his three dozen branch chiefs in a second meeting to refine the vision and sign up for work on more detailed action plans for the next five years. The group worked both on the items in the emphasis areas and on the specific graphics in the composite picture of Yosemite Valley and its surroundings.
The map went through six versions in the process of getting everyone aligned. The final image combines values, issues, visions, and immediate priorities into a single visual communication: “The Stewardship of Yosemite Inspires the World.” To anchor this big picture in specific objectives, the functional leaders all signed up to develop explicit action plans for each of the emphasis areas.
The park’s internal director of communications used a report template that the leaders co-developed with The Grove. His team subsequently created a printed and digital visual plan that included all of the emphasis area action plans and received national attention.
The success of this process resulted in similar techniques being used for two big river planning efforts in the park for the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers.
This graphic vision is a very early example of The Grove’s history maps. It was created in the late 1980s by David Sibbet, before the illustrator programs were robust enough to handle this level of graphics. Everything was hand-drawn, including the little credit cards.
This history was created to support a new employee training program called “Passport to Visa.” Senior managers would come in, stand in front of the big mural, and improvise telling the story to the new employees. Since all the facts they needed were on the big chart, they could easily focus on the color and texture of their stories. The VISA management loved this history so much they gave a framed version to all of their member banks one Christmas, and they have ordered three extensions of the history over the years. The image illustrates eight layers of information. From the top, which shows external events coming in, the map includes marketing messages in talk balloons, products as credit card pictures, the main revenue line, internal organizational projects as arrows, system improvements and foundational layers, international offices as additional foundational arrows, and big eras.
In 2004, the Garfield Foundation funded twenty-seven non-government organizations and seven foundations in the upper Midwest to collaborate on helping stimulate the renewable energy sector in their region. Systems analysis led them to change their goal to cleaning up global warming pollultants 80% by 2050. The group asked The Grove to facilitate four task forces of ten to twelve people each to complete strategic plans for how to clean up old coal, stop new coal, increase energy efficiency and increase renewables. The Grove facilitated dozens of face-to-face meetings, web conferences and several cross-group meetings, all supported with Grove Storymaps™ and other materials. We also created the final reports.
The Renewable Energy Alignment Mapping Project (RE-AMP) has now grown to more than 150 non-government organizations and 15 foundations working in collaboration with one another across eight states. The Project now supports a digital commons, an annual gathering, a media center, ongoing working groups and a steering committee. In 2007 five Midwestern governors signed global-warming accords vowing to reduce pollutants in their states. RE-AMP members were intimately involved in this process.
In 1988 John Weigand, OD consultant to Skip LeFaux, President of Saturn, called to asked if I would help him create a visual history of Saturn. “I want to use it to orient the 3,000 new employees that are going to start working in Spring Hill when we open our plant” he said. but he had a second reason. Saturn management and labor were not in agreement about the vision of Saturn, and he needed a context in which they could work out their differences. Arguing over their history would be a unifying experience he surmised. A several hour video taped session with about 20 of the founders and two sessions with a small team who could correct facts and tune the messages, resulted in a draft that John could take to his management for approval. When he close the door on the meeting the place erupted, as different graphics provoked memories and arguments. When the thrashing was over they had a unified vision of their history, and a stronger sense of their future. Saturn commissioned an extension in 1992, an image of which was never taken, unfortunately.
In the early 1990s, The Grove’s David Sibbet helped to guide the turnaround of National Semiconductor (NSC) with a large-scale visualization of new CEO Gil Amelio’s vision. At the same time, he worked with the internal change team that was supporting the transformation. The Grove and the NSC team collaboratively designed a Leading Change program for the top five hundred managers, then trained the internal staff that led those programs. As the transformation proceeded, more than a dozen visioning processes were conducted for groups and divisions.
The turnaround was successful. Four iterations of the large Grove Storymap™ shown here were created, with more than a dozen supporting Storymaps used with NSC groups and divisions. NSC also successfully implemented graphic facilitation training within the corporate staff. An employee survey in 1994 found that the company had a 96 percent vision recognition worldwide among its 125,000 employees.
When the U.S. Army decommissioned the Presidio and it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the National Park Service (NPS) launched a special planning process to produce an amended general plan. They asked The Grove to facilitate a series of community visioning sessions around the San Francisco Bay Area. A long map of the total planning process was created to focus these sessions. The map illustrated the entire process through the implementation phase. Four other planning processes running in parallel were also included. Under the top blue arrow is the NPS operational planning for the group taking over the park. Next is the joint NPS/Army back-room negotiations around the actual transfer of property. Under that is the Army’s base closure process, and along the bottom is the City of San Francisco’s process for tracking and following the other processes. This long chart was put up at each of six community meetings, clarifying where each of the visioning processes fit in the bigger picture. Seeing this information integrated in one chart helped all the planners be more aware of each other’s work, resulting in highly productive alignment through the planning cycle.
When the Harvard Business Review (HBR) celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1997, the anniversary issue included a six-foot-long Z-fold map, “Graphic History of Management Thinking in the 20th Century.” A small team of historians at HBR generated the content. David Sibbet developed the design, then tested the data and design with six Harvard Business School professors. After five iterations, editors at HBR added a final gloss to conform with the HBR look. A list of the most requested articles from HBR over those 75 years is provided on the back of the map.
David Sibbet created this context map for the California ISO (Independent Systems Operators) at the height of the energy crisis. It shows how complex the environment is for anyone trying to maintain reliable, inexpensive energy. The environmental factors on the bottom right are both huge and unpredictable. The circles are all separate bodies that are significantly involved. It was a huge act of public responsibility to keep the lights on during all the political and other gyrations swirling around the ISO in those trying times. Sibbet says, “I came away with immense respect for these unsung heroes.”
The Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model® (co-developed by Allan Drexler and David Sibbet) illustrates team development as seven stages, four to create the team and three to achieve increasing levels of sustained performance. The Model is widely used with as a framework and common language for supporting a team-based culture using The Grove’s Team Performance System.
The Board of Directors of HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minnesota decided on a big goal: being the “benchmark of quality in the Twin Cities” by 2010. Yet the medical staff and quality leaders were struggling to understand how they would achieve this. Dozens of well-meaning programs were in place, but overall integration and coordination were lacking.
HealthEast’s two directors of strategic planning and organization development thought that The Grove’s Storymapping and visual facilitation services could create a chrysalis for organization change and help align the organization. David Sibbet and a HealthEast leadership team set out on a large-scale mapping process, which led to the creation of a Quality Journey Map.
The content of the panoramic image was distilled from the initial three meetings with over five dozen key stakeholders. Then it was refined by divisional leadership in two dozen subsequent meetings. A cautious CEO became one of the biggest champions as he saw his board respond to this big Storymap™.
The Quality Journey Map made it easy for managers to explain how HealthEast began, where it was going, and how it intended to get there in regard to quality. It became HealthEast’s platform for decision-making and priority setting, a tool for orienting new employees, and a vehicle for alignment across the organization.
Craig Svenson, HealthEast’s chief medical quality officer, describes, “It created in one picture frame our past, present, and where we were headed. The one picture allowed me to explain in five minutes or an hour, to whatever audience, what was appropriate for them.”
The agreements made in the process of creating HealthEast’s Quality Journey Map got everyone aligned and focused on what to measure. By 2010 they had met their goal of becoming a “benchmark for quality” for health care services in the Twin Cities area.
The Sibbet/Le Saget Sustainable Organizations™ Model, co-created by David Sibbet and Meryem Le Saget, illustrates the archetypal ways organizations sustain themselves, from startup through institutionalization to becoming forces for innovation.
The Strategic Visioning™ Process engages an entire organization in combining its best hindsight and foresight to catalyze aligned action. It uses large, graphic templates or Graphic Guides® to step groups through the development of traditional strategic analysis, creative visioning work, focused action planning, and organization-communications design.
The Grove Facilitation Model™ maps facilitation strategies to common group challenges. It illustrates seven clusters of facilitation strategies that support working with the seven group challenges reflected in the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance™ Model.
The Group Graphics Keyboard identifies seven archetypal visual frameworks that facilitators can use to organize text and images when communicating in graphic language.