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Graphic facilitation

The artist as an interpreter

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What is it?

Graphic facilitation means using imagery to boost collaborative processes. Visualisation helps understanding and memory, and so does participation; using a graphic facilitator during working sessions such as brainstorming sessions, workshops, debates or staff training means using both these mechanisms.

 

It also helps to harness collective intelligence by enabling new perspectives and fostering new forms of interaction.

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Why do you need it?

All companies need effective collaboration to thrive. It can be difficult to change habits, come up with innovative ideas or improve procedures.

 

A graphic facilitator can play a pivotal role in jumpstarting these processes. Whether they act as a moderator, commentator, observer or analyst, the visualisation they provide of the topics discussed can be hugely effective in overcoming misunderstandings, revealing hidden connections – or in adding the pinch of creativity needed to come up with new solutions.

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What will it look like?

Graphic facilitation can be used both in off- and online settings. The way the interact with participants or audiences depends on the role assigned to the facilitator:

 

  • ‘Recorder’: the graphic facilitator records the content of discussions or presentations in the form of drawings. This helps to make them concrete and can often replace a lengthy explanation.
  • ‘Commentator’: rather than drawing what he hears, the facilitator’s drawings are inspired by the discussions, becoming  a live commentary that will in turn inspire new thinking among participants. Witty, ironic, touching or irreverent – expect the graphic facilitator to  trigger emotions and provide food for thought.
  • ‘Analyst’: in this scenario, the facilitator interprets interactions and draws the connections and conclusions he detects, effectively becoming part of the discussion.
  • ‘Moderator’: This graphic facilitator is effectively chairing or leading the discussion, jotting down words, pictures and charts as the discussion proceeds.
  • ‘Leader’: If illustrator(s) and participants are jointly creating visuals, such as a live fresco, the facilitator makes sure everyone gets involved and helps to orient the joint creation towards the predefined goals.
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