See What You Say

There’s such a tendency these days to measure all aspects of the customer experience. Measuring what’s happening doesn’t make the difference. Designing and adjusting the experience does!

One of my favorite techniques for getting people engaged is to have a graphic facilitator draw the conversation as it happens. When participants in a design session literally see what they are saying, their brains remember more detail and everyone quickly share the same mind’s eye picture of what’s really happening in the conversation.

I recently did that with a client in Europe and, with their permission, I’m showing you some of the session work.

The picture below shows the third workshop session (of four) in the day. We’re using the images created in the first two sessions to bring everyone up to speed. By pointing at the various elements on the paper, orienting everyone takes just a few minutes.

As a team, we work through the details and come up with ideas which the graphic facilitator records for everyone to see.

For the keynote session, the graphic facilitator also captured the flow of the conversation. Looking at both finished drawings helps everyone convert strategy into specific, actionable ideas without losing sight of the big picture (or the brand).

At the end of the day, we did a wrap up for the entire group. The graphic facilitator added  color to the drawings, bringing  emphasis to key points. We took pictures of some of the small elements and projected them on screen so even people in the back of the room could see clearly. As we walked through the presentation of the day’s work, we captured that story on video. It will be used in the field to energize the managers who couldn’t make it to the meeting and to inform the next detailed design session.

Jorn Nielsen (right) is the graphic facilitator. He’s based in Copenhagen and runs his studio, Creative Support, from there. He’s a joy to work with a great ‘mind’s eye’ interpreter. His ability to turn words into pictures people can use to remember complex chains of events and details is amazing.

Mike Wittenstein (l) and Jorn Nielsen (r)

So, the next time you’re doing an experience design project, find yourself a graphic facilitator so that others on your team can see what you say!

About the Author:

Since 1998, as IBM’s eVisionary, he has been designing and developing experiences that differentiate brands and deliver bottom-line results. Mike has worked on over 700 client engagements in 26 countries. He understands first-hand the value of properly translating across cultures. As a facilitator, Mike has been used as a board-level facilitator by LeasePlan (Europe and Mexico), Habasit, TELUS (Canada), PartnerTech (now Scanfil), Meeting Planners International, the Institute of Management Consultants and other organizations to develop strategy, articulate vision/direction, and encourage alignment. Mike founded StoryMiners, one of the world’s first experience design consulting agencies, in 2002. The firm is known for its ability to find the essence of a company, brand, or service and translate it into a compelling experience that helps clients shape their futures. The value of his work is estimated at over $1.6 billion in sales won, expenses cut, and brand value added. Mike is the world’s only working speaker, consultant, and experience designer to have earned the top designations in his chosen fields (CSP, CMC, CCXP). Mike earned his MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He works in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and gets by in Russian ;-)