Graphic Recording training coming up on Feb 7!

We had so much fun drawing on the walls at the New York Peace Institute that we’re partnering again for DRAW IT OUT!

FEBRUARY 7, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY

DRAW IT OUT!

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015
9:00AM-4:30PM
210 Joralemon Street, Suite 618 Brooklyn, NY 11201

This program is aimed at beginners and intermediates. No drawing skills necessary.

MORE INFO & REGISTRATION LINK
http://nypeace.org/graphic-recording-training/

Here’s what you can expect to get from the workshop:

  • See graphic recording in action
  • Learn concrete skills to build your visual library
  • Participate in visual exercises that you can take back to work and use with colleagues
  • Practice listening & filtering a conversation to pick out the content to graphically record
  • Practice graphic recording in real-time
  • Receive feedback about your graphic recording (optional) (time permitting)
  • Learn logistical tips and tricks for setting up your space to do graphic recording (time permitting)

QUESTIONS? Contact Christina Dizon at: cdizon@nypeace.org

LINKS to a few blog posts that capture past trainings!

http://www.visualsforchange.com/blog/2014/11/20/a-graphic-recording-training-at-the-ny-peace-institute-2/

http://www.visualsforchange.com/blog/2014/08/08/highlights-from-a-graphic-recording-workshop-at-the-ny-peace-institute/

http://www.visualsforchange.com/blog/2013/11/08/draw-it-out-for-peace-newyorkpeace-institute/

#connectionmade at Connectorcon – visuals connecting people

Connectorcon = a one day event in NYC hosted by the amazing Michael Roderick of Small Pond Enterprises. Here’s a glimpse into my experience & takeaways: Connectorcon drawn

We started with Michael’s welcome and challenges to make an impact on one person’s day! Next we jumped into How to Increase your Energy & Alleviate Performance Stress with Lara Ann Riggio (@theLaraTouch). Thanks for the brilliant tools to help us literally tap into our energy, Lara! (I’ve been walking around tapping on myself for a while now – ha!)

Ultimately this day-long experience is all about creating meaningful connections and adding to your own connector’s toolbox. There are panels, workshops, lectures and you can volunteer to help out as well. the day is full of all kinds of good ideas, conversations and CONNECTIONS with amazing people! (Proposals for workshops, etc., are currently being accepted! Check out the website for details!)

Crowdsourcing: Leveraging your Network with Jason Gardner (@JGardnerPhoto). Your photographs are amazing, Jason!!

 

Mastering your Inner Obstacles with Christina Salerno (@livingquirky). Thanks for sharing your stories, Christina!

 Connection & Improv with Chizzy Igbokwe & Chris Griswold (@chrisgriswold) was fun as we learned to laugh and think about the stuff around us that helps define our personal brand. Thanks for such a fun session, Chizzy & Chris! (Larger image coming soon! Here are two close ups.)

  

Networking Ninja Skills with Kim Nicol (@kiminicol) was a great session full of ideas for those feeling introverted & still wanting & needing to connect! Thanks for rephrasing push-ups for me, Kim! They’ll be easier forever!

It’s funny when you end up at something called Connectorcon and feel like you’re rambling on about connections…. The synergy in what Connectorcon is all about and why I do what I do surprised me at first. People ask me, why do you do what you do? I believe that using visuals in unconventional ways (whether seeing our ideas captured in images, drawing out our own ideas or drawing to gain understanding between people) bring us together. They create connections between each other and content. It’s amazing to me how color and movement make an incredible difference in our conversations, understanding of context and somehow often ask us to show up, get beyond the polite formalities and be real with each other.

My favorite talk to capture piqued my interest based on complexity undertones and painting pictures of reality that we don’t always acknowledge:

Don’t Just Connect: Coach with Tahl Raz (@tahlraz). THANKS Tahl, for making my brain spin and my markers fly in the best way possible!


I had a fun day graphically recording at the event in between making connections! There were so many amazing people there!

A HUGE SHOUT OUT and MANY THANKS to Michael, Norah (who is the rock start organizer behind the scenes!), Jeremy & others at Convene (what great space)!

RESOURCES 

ConnectorCon Speaker Profiles & linkshttp://www.connectorcon.com/#!speakerleaders-2014/c173p

ConnectorCon website & twitter (@connectorcon)

 

#ULab beginnings – reflections & sketchnotes

#ULab: Transforming Business, Society, & Self = an online experience with 25,000 people tuning in / participating from 192 countries…

The experience is hosted by Otto Scharmer & team through a partnership with MITx / edX & the Presencing Institute.

SKETCHNOTES drawn by @amanda_lyons of VISUALS for CHANGE

We’ve already broken the Presencing Institute website, ha! The first session brought up a few questions for me. How will our facilitators cultivate experiences for us and hold safe space? In such a large community – what does that even mean? How can we avoid jargon to help us actually get beyond what’s normal and into real conversations and positive actions?

The thing that stuck with me is the power of turning our perspective back on ourselves to ask questions and reflect. What do we see? What do I see? The video that they used to illustrate this point brought visuals & humanity to the idea in a way that worked well. Check it out here.

I appreciate that the interactions & conversation via Twitter (#ULab) is open & part of the bigger world. Hashtags used in combination with #ULab: #ending, #emerging, and #intention harvest global thoughts – literally. It’s great to give everyone a voice. Next can we give them a marker/chalk/pen/…? Perhaps we can start a #ULabdrawn?

@kelvy_bird brings visual elements to the #ULab team! Rock on Kelvy!

 

thoughts on a Liberating Structures workshop from the Spring!

I attended a Liberating Structures (LS) workshop this past Spring. I am excited to have LS in my toolbox!

I will say that I’m often skeptical when I come across a facilitation technique that I don’t know. I’ve always been one for using unconventional structures as I have a lot of experience in Experiential Education (i.e. facilitating leadership and life lessons – often in the woods or other potentially ‘out of your comfort zone’ spaces), etc…. Something amazing happens when true learning finds its way into the present moment. Yet, in order for that to happen we have to get beyond the boxes and labels and assumptions that are out there and in us – we have to show up as our selves, be truthful, open and see what emerges.

Often times this means radical shifts in thought and energy, inner dialogue that our work culture (or other practices) tells us is not ok and especially not ok to share, and allowing ourselves to step into space where we’re vulnerable. That can be scary. It takes guts. And it’s one of the things I love to ask people to do – find the edge of your comfort zone and check in with your guts!

The thing I’m learning to love about Liberating Structures is how they ask people to truly show up and be their best selves.

   

They create opportunities that normal ‘meeting’ structures don’t… something shifts in the room.

Liberating Structures are based on complexity theory. They are microstructures that work as things work in ecosystems. There’s science behind this stuff, and although I’m only at the beginning of exploring this science, I’ve checked in with my gut and I’m onboard. There’s something here!

LINKS & RESOURCES

1) Learn more online at LiberatingStructures.com

2) Find (or Create) User Groups! I am excited to be co-hosting LS user groups in both Philly, PA and NYC! Both groups include other visual thinking & methodologies as well, but are open communities. Join us!

- Philly LS user group: Yes, and…Philly!  Find us at www.yesandphilly.com

- NYC LS user group: ping me via email (amanda at visualsforchange dot com) or twitter (@amanda_lyons) if you’d like to receive invitations!

3) Sketchnotes from the workshop (click to enlarge):

                            

 

thanks!!!

Whoops – just found this blog post drafted and waiting to be posted!!

A huge THANKS to those who participated in my online course this past November!! I’m so excited for you to continue exploring visual thinking. Stay tuned for what’s next – a Visual Learning Journey Program is coming out this Winter or Spring!! Also, check in for lots of classes & workshops in NYC or Philly this Winter! Woohoo!

Yes, and… Philly is happening!

exploring Liberating Structures via a User Group in NYC

NYC drawn by me… inspired by our upcoming event!

I’m co-hosting. It’s going to be fun! Let me know if you can join us on Tues, Dec 16, 2014 for OUR FIRST MONTHLY GATHERING of the NYC Liberating Structures User Group!! 

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We aim to combine liberating structures with other innovation approaches — such as visual thinking, and….
We encourage you to bring friends/family/colleagues who might appreciate liberating structures as well as your stories of impact, healthy hesitation/skepticism, curiosity/questions and more! No previous experience or knowledge is needed to be a part of the group.
We intend to meet monthly-ish and to be available when needed for facilitation guidance.
DETAILS
NYC Liberating Structures User Group – DECEMBER
a monthly learning lab
Tuesday December 16, 2014
from 6.30 – 8.30 pm
at City Hunt
(4 West 38th St, 6th Floor, Manhattan, NY)
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Be well,
Amanda
PS.  What are Liberating Structures and who else is using them? 
Liberating Structures are microstructures or frameworks that make it possible for people and organizations to create and do new things, or find new ways to work, play or live better together. People all over the world are finding them relevant… we’ll let them speak for themselves. Check out the (LiberatingStructures.com) site to learn more about those behind the Structures and other user groups starting up all over!

a VISUALS for CHANGE interview in Neuland Magazine

I’m incredibly humbled and grateful to be interviewed AND translated AND published in the Fall issue of neulandMagazin. I need to learn German so I can read the article and see how my answers translate! If you read German, check out pages 16 & 17 via this link. If you are an English speaker, I’ve included the written interview below.

THANKS to Conny Wetter-Schwegler for all the kind words, and for sharing stories and laughing with me over coffee in NYC!

INTERVIEW

Amanda Lyons is an educator, facilitator, consultant, artist, visual thinker and team player based in Brooklyn, NY and is always ready to travel. She facilitates workshops, courses and trainings on visual note-taking (known as sketchnoting), conducts classroom presentations (sometimes via Skype) and also serves as a graphic recorder (visually capturing ideas from group meetings). For more bio (which they did print in the magazine), click on this link.

Conny: At first I will ask you, the question you ask your customers: What are you thinking? Are you thinking visually?

Amanda: Ha! I love that you asked me that question. Lately I’m thinking about the change of the seasons and since Fall is my favorite season where, in Brooklyn, NY, the leaves on the trees turn color before falling to the ground and the temperature drops. I’m reminded to take notice of nature and find ways to appreciate the incredible system in which we live, from a complexity point of a view. I appreciate the inter and inner connectedness. Yes, I’m seeing my thoughts visually, watching the wind move leaves in my mind. Sometimes I even think as though my hand is drawing each visual image I think….

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C: How long has Graphic Facilitation and Graphic Recording existed in USA?

A: Graphic recording and graphic facilitation have in some ways been around since people were drawing in caves to communicate. In that sense, it’s not a new thing at all and we need not be scared of it. As far as the more recent emergence of a field that is still growing today, the story goes that these practices came out of facilitators, architects and computer designers doing group work in California in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There are now practitioners worldwide. (I will also add, that if you have the opportunity to chat with someone who might be considered an Elder of the field, listen tight. The stories they have to tell light smiles and laughter, and their realizations are packed with life lessons and quite inspiring.)

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C: How long have you been practicing visualisation and what do you exactly do? Graphic facilitation and Graphic Recording or Sketching? Where do you do what you do? NY? Every where in USA? Europe?

A: I’ve been practicing visualisation in terms of using art to ask questions and push the boundaries of how we understand content basically my whole life. I do consider myself an artist as well, although a lot of people, who do what I do, do not consider themselves artists. I do not consider all of my graphic recording work artwork. Perhaps some of this seems like a battle of semantics. Yet, I feel people have assumptions about ‘art’ and easily put ‘artwork’ in a particular ‘box’ in their heads. For me, the work that I do as a visual practitioner (working with people to use visual thinking techniques, such as graphic recording, graphic facilitation, sketchnoting, visual exercises, etc) is about connecting people to each other and to the content in the room. It’s not about making beautiful art. That might happen as a side effect of the work we do together, and by all means don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing when it does. Yet, I don’t set out with that as my goal and I do the best I can to help those in the room and beyond understand the process behind graphic recording (or facilitation) and why we are using these visual techniques so that we can together meet it on a deeper level. I could go on and on….

So, to get back to your question, I started my own business revolving around change in organizations and using visualisation techniques about 4 years ago. It’s called VISUALS for CHANGE. I do some graphic recording and I also do graphic facilitation and workshop design where I help people integrate visual thinking exercises into their events. I love educating people about visual thinking. I  believe when everyone in the room is drawing we can move mountains. I love to help people see that they don’t have to be some acclaimed artist to use visuals or even draw in a boardroom! I’m also currently building a Visual Learning Journey which will be a 9 month online program where someone sets their own visualisation goal and work toward it. I’m so excited about it as I’m piloting it now and it has been a great experience so far! The beta version will be out in January 2015.

As you gathered from all my chatter, some of my work I do from my home office in Brooklyn, NY and then I go wherever the gig takes me! I love to travel and am always up for adding a few days of exploring to my work trips, especially if it is somewhere I haven’t been. A lot of my work currently happens around New York City and on the east coast of the United States but I love to travel and am happy to work anywhere else I’m invited!

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C: Did you already love visualisation when you were a child in school or at home?

A: YES! I have always loved creating, and color! Reading, drawing and painting were always part of my life in school and at home.

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C: What are people saying in the USA about visualisation? Does everybody know it or are they surprised?

A: When I first started my business 4 years ago, any conversation about my work began with me explaining or showing what it was I do. I even wrote a blog post about that conversation (http://www.visualsforchange.com/blog/2014/01/07/wait-what-do-i-do-again/). I still do a lot of explaining or showing… but more people have heard of visual thinking, and even seen graphic recording at a conference or meeting.

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C: Are there certain themes that come up throughout your work or specific content areas that you tend to focus on?

A: There are a few content areas that I do particularly like, but I also like to learn new things! I love working within education both in the formal and informal sense as well as within organizations and/or communities going through change. I enjoy work that allows me to bring together complexity theory, team building and design thinking.

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C: How do you create an environment that allows people to engage with each other and the content on a deeper level than they generally do?

A: I believe it’s really important to think about and acknowledge the people in the room.  Sometimes I use simple exercises involving movement or small group work – anything to create a new and different experience from the group’s normal. Often the simple act of drawing is something different for most people in the room so a drawing exercise often works as well! It’s amazing how people come together when asked to be part of a team and draw together.

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C: How do you see the future of  Graphic Facilitation and Graphic Recording in USA and all over the world?

A: I think in the future people will not only appreciate visual thinking as a legitimate field, but they will also know about graphic facilitation and graphic recording. Practitioners won’t have to do so much describing what it is because people will know about it already. It will be more about distinguishing yourself from the crowd. I dream that we are slowly starting to see how important visual literacy is to our learning. Then again, there are schools that are getting rid of their art classes and recess time… and that just makes me hold my breath.

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C: How was your experience at EuViz 2014 in Berlin?

A: I had a fabulous time at EuViz in Berlin and have many stories to tell about my personal experience and professional experience. For instance, I got around in flip flops because I managed to break a toe prior to my trip (and no shoe would fit over my swollen toe). I appreciated getting to know fellow colleagues who practice in Europe and don’t often make it to the US conferences. Two of my favorite parts of the conference were the opportunity to hear from the Elders of the field and how everyone participated in Open Space (a particular exercise where anyone in the room can propose and host a conversation).

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C: What was the big thing over there? What stood out to you at EuViz in Berlin? And what Impressions did you have about this event in Berlin?

A: As for what stood out to me: the design of the EuViz conference was phenomenal. As an organization development consultant and someone interested in design of meetings (and as a participant), the folks who organized EuViz did a stellar job! As I mentioned above, the sessions were cultivated in a way that allowed everyone to get something out of the conference, from the newbie to the veteran. I was struck by the incredible job the hosts did to make us feel at home – they even curated potential Berlin sights and eats in a unique, friendly and engaging way. As for Berlin itself – whoa! What a city! The variety of art everywhere is inspiring!

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C: If you had one wish, what would you wish for the World of Visualisation?

A: I wish that the World of Visualisation find its way into the work and play of many people, helping them to better connect with each other and the work that they do, thereby deepening their experiences and helping them to lead inspiring lives with stronger communities.

And, that’s me! Thanks!!

 

a graphic recording training at the NY Peace Institute

The walls of the NY Peace Institute mediation rooms are white with orange and pink accent walls to match their logo. Rooms where people bring their conflicts and mediators ‘get in the middle’ with the hopes to help people reach an agreement, even a compromise or space where people can agree to disagree. They aim to leave the room in a better mental state then when they entered.

        

I enter carrying loads of markers, big paper and a huge smile. In some ways, I’m hoping to ‘get in the middle’ of people’s fear of drawing (assumptions that all drawing needs to be beautiful) and their innate human ability to listen well while engaging their creative visual thinking abilities. I facilitate a workshop (open to all) where the aim is to enter the classroom a little unsure of ‘this graphic recording thing’, really engage with color with as many hands-on exercises as possible so that we can all leave feeling tired from so much learning but energized from the skill building and so much amazing color! These practices open us to a way of communicating that can be extremely efficient and all us to get to deeper understanding.

 

Together, we take over the white, orange and pink walls taping up paper, grabbing markers and finding our own styles. It’s space where it’s safe to make a mistake, to try out visual thinking with some likeminded folks looking to find ways to also play at work! We learn where we are and where we each want to go with our visual thinking skills. We zero in on graphic recording and sketchnoting, learning more about the process as a place to start.

           

It takes courage to step up to a blank piece of paper on the wall and capture what’s happening in the room in both images and words. A HUGE THANKS and congrats to those in the last group who joined me at the wall!!! Together we explored our own visual libraries, getting into the flow of a presentation, and lots of other tips and tricks for practicing.

ROCK ON VISUAL THINKERS! May we meet again, markers in hand near a blank wall!

Thanks for having the courage to draw!!

NEXT UP will be DRAW IT OUT, again! Module 2 of this program! Stay tuned for dates!

Interested in hosting a workshop or bringing graphic recording to your work place? Inquire away at amanda(at)visualsforchange.com!!

sitting with Buddha and my pen in Tokyo

It’s always amazing to be somewhere new. You take things in differently. We’re able to see with perspective that can be hard to cultivate at home. Then there are some places that just amaze. At the beginning of September I got to meet the second biggest Buddha in Japan, Great Buddha or Daibutsu, on a day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo. We started out by meandering through many buddhist temples and hiked through a park to meet Buddha. The hike was enlightening – I was seeing new and different plants, trees and animals. I carried a little journal and pen and so this happened:

What you can’t see in this picture is that I was looking only at buddha and not at my paper, an exercise I always loved from high school art class. The space was so peaceful and adding a little drawing felt just right!

As I was drawing, I let go of ‘what I thought buddha was supposed to look like’ and simply allowed myself to draw and pay attention to the different details in the statue. It made me think about how much we try to please our partners and bosses and co-workers based on what we assume we’re supposed to be doing as opposed to sometimes truly feeling out the moment in a moment or meeting or project and navigating from what we think is best for all.

Drawing in thought,

Amanda