Powered by Pictures

Powering the Change

We were invited in early May to be part of a very important future-building transportation energy event. With a participant list drawn from a wide range of backgrounds it would be a challenge to create a community of shared expectations, visions, and potential solutions, but complex challenges are our favourite kind, so we were delighted to collaborate. The client originally approached us for help designing and delivering a two-hour module of work to take advantage of the breadth of participant expertise, but while scoping the work, we introduced the idea of graphic facilitation and proposed the creation of an InfoMural to illustrate the possibilities of the future mobility ecosystem.

An InfoMural and live scribing can have enormous impact in an event, and is always a fantastic idea. To have someone mapping a conversation real-time can be very powerful. As a focal point in a long conversation it is useful, as a tool for making connections and links between the different topics as they are discussed it is invaluable. Moreover, to watch a conversation appear before your eyes is magical. Our scribes are experts in listening, distilling and illustrating the essential meaning of a conversation, not only to record the content but also to show how distinct ideas fit a whole. The InfoMural functions in the same way as an individual session scribe except that it weaves individual chapters together into a larger visual narrative of the full event with its own beginning, middle and end. The InfoMural can be an agent of change, providing the people in the room with an identity as participants in a larger story of transformation.

With only a short preparation time available, we knew we had to move fast, and so very quickly we took the design co-created with the sponsors and mobilized the IA team toward creating an unforgettable event. While the Collaboration Consulting team dove into designing the working sessions, the Creative Communications team began sifting through a mountain of research provided to us by the client to get our heads around what the future might look like. What will vehicles look like in 2030 and how will people use them? How will power channel to the many places people want it? Where will the power come from? We generated lots of ideas and consistently iterated until we had settled on a draft design. After a feedback session with the client and several more iterations we prepared a rendering of the InfoMural we’d use as a blueprint to build in large scale on the day. This early, intensive preparation ensured our messages were right, and allowed us the freedom to work quickly and confidently on a day where the InfoMural and graphic capture was consistently photographed and shared by participants. In the client’s communication of the event, the InfoMural featured prominently, and our work has since been shared hundreds of times on social media.

The further out into the future you look, the more difficult it is to imagine. When you try to do it with a group of people, some complain the effort hurts their brains; the larger the group, the bigger the headache. But a picture provides you with a tool to see the future, which gives the team trying to develop a new idea the ability to move back and forth between concrete direction and abstract concepts, absolutely essential when preparing for the future. With words alone, it’s easy to get tangled up in syntax, but with a picture, we can see where we are going, and imagine how to get there from here.

Innovation Arts is the globally recognised hybrid strategy and design consultancy known for its work with some of the world’s leading companies, as well as a range of global NGOs and public sector organisations. Named by GQ as the ‘management consultant of the future’, Innovation Arts has enjoyed over 10 years of helping business leaders to successfully navigate transformational change and organisational challenges within their companies. On the public stage, Innovation Arts works with organisations as diverse as the World Economic Forum and TED where they support the emergence of new ideas through creative collaboration. Innovation Arts’ head office is based in London with satellite operations throughout North America and Europe