Tag: Visible Futures

19
Dec

Envisioning Futures Program

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Working in collaboration with a leading global financial services corporation based in San Francisco, Humantific has created a repeatable Future Envisioning CoCreation Workshop that is being rolled out to hundreds of employees in the next 12 months. As global markets remain turbulent adaptive organizations are investing in proactive envisioining that maximizes collective brainpower.

Making extensive use of visualized customer research and future horizon trends, Humantific designed the learning experience, the data/information fields, the envisioning exercises as well as the skill-building program within.

Physical experience future envisioning gives employees the opportunity to step away from their daily activities, deliberately focus on the future and make constructive use of their own marketplace observations while engaging with colleagues from many disciplines. Its also an opportunity to do common-language cocreation skill-building across the organization so it adds multiple levels of value simmaltaneoulsy.

We can’t tell you what exactly happens in confidential client sessions but we can say that each is focused on generating scores of constructive outcomes that are directly useful to the company in various ways.

Connecting the dots between new generation leadership, proactive envisioning and everyday innovation, many organizational leaders are looking for ways to make innovation real, inclusive and actionable by design rather than by accident.

To inquire about Humantific Academys innovation skill-building programs and or culture building services send an email to programs (@) humantific (dot) com.

Related:

Humantific at ICADE MBA Program

BRAINBOOM! in Madrid: It’s a WRAP!

 

 

 

 

22
Feb

Elizabeth Pastor teaching in Madrid!

Humantific CoFounder, Elizabeth Pastor is in Spain teaching Complexity Navigation this week! Elizabeth has become a faculty member at Istituto Europeo di Design (IEDin Madrid and now teaches there once a year in the Master of Design and Innovation Program.

From the IED website: “These…Master’s programs, conceived as research laboratories, prepare professionals to overcome the challenges of a global, interconnected market through the perspective of New Visions, New Leaders.

After seeing the impact last year when Elizabeth taught the basic skills of Humantific’s Complexity Navigation to one class of graduate students, the directors of the IED asked her to come back to teach all students in the program at the outset of the term as part of a new set of graduate level innovation skills.

Most of the skill-building that we do at Humantific is done in the context of business organizations, with organizational leaders. That full 3 level version of the Complexity Navigation Program combines skill-building in Strategic CoCreation, Design Research and Visual SenseMaking. We are finding that a new generation of leaders understands the usefulness of having hands-on Complexity Navigation skills in the context of a continuously changing world.

For more information regarding the Complexity Navigation Program send an email to programs (at) humantific (dot) com.

30
Jan

Lost Stories Information Design History

In a competitive business marketplace, not everyone wants to acknowledge that each generation tends to learn from, build on, or divert from the previous generation’s ideas and output. We see this phenomenon clearly evident in the various streams of Visual SenseMaking history.

Predating the important work of Isotype Institute are numerous landmarks in the history of Statistical Graphics, which later evolved into Information Design—some aspects of which evolved into “Information Architecture” and then in a different direction “Visual SenseMaking” today, a subsubsetset of which has evolved into Data Visualization (long story for another day). Some historical landmarks are well known to many, while others remain off most radar screens, especially to new generations. Particularly online, we notice a general lack of historical awareness and crediting in many current data visualization, design and innovation-related discussions.

At Humantific, we have significant interest in the forgotten stories, lost stories, and off-the-beaten-path landmarks of sensemaking and changemaking history, as they have the potential to inform present day understanding significantly. We try to gather such stories and make them part of the collection that we share here publicly. One such landmark publication is Willard Cope Brinton’s 1917 book, Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts.

Willard C. Brinton (1880-1957) remains a relative unknown, one of several largely unsung, historical visual thinking pioneers. No entry for Brinton appears on Wikipedia, for example. Who he was, what he did, and why it was important is one of many stories buried in the history of Information Design.

Published in black and white when Brinton was thirty-four years old, the 371 page Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts is an impressive, early survey of what would today be considered to be bare-bones statistical diagrams and graphic techniques that existed at that moment. Now scarce in original form, this early volume is recognized as the first American book focused on graphic techniques geared for a general audience.

What a rockin’ idea it must have been in 1917 to do a “visual thinking techniques” book! From the book’s introduction: “As far as the author is aware, there is no book published in any language covering the field which it has been attempted to cover here.”

In the book, Brinton refers to himself as a “Consulting Engineer,” and member of the Society of Mechanical Engineers. He had an office here in New York City! He was Chairman of a committee on standards for graphic presentation formed in 1914, as well as a fellow of the American Statistical Association.  An engineering approach is clearly evident, as is the focus on building diagrams based on data, statistics, and facts. Notably, Brinton’s orientation in the book is one of advisor and commentator on the assembled work of others—an orientation that can also be seen, much later, in the work of Edward Tufte.

Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts contains numerous gems, including one particularly significant page in 20th century information design history. On page 39 (shown middle above), one can see an important design idea that Isotype is often given credit for originating. The evolutionary notion of repeating figure icons, rather than increasing their size, to depict size of a group became part of Isotype’s now well-known visual language style. Rumor has it, that Brinton’s book was in Otto Neurath’s 1920’s library. Ninety+ years after it appeared in Brinton’s book, this design idea, in refined form, is still very much in use today.

The truth is, much of the early writing on the subject of Statistical Graphics tends to be tactical; Brinton writes, in his comments, on a particular diagram by others: “This is an admirable piece of presentation even though the lettering and drafting are not quite as good as they might have been if more care had been used…” This kind of tactical commentary on now-out-of-date techniques makes up a large part of the book. Even today, many techniques in any technology get dated very quickly. It is often hard to know what has legs, and what will be gone tomorrow.

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At Humantific, we are generally less interested in rapidly dated tactics, and more interested in broader considerations. What we do is look at historical Information Design materials through a time-oriented viewing frame, a simple 3-part lens that we call SenseWHEN. Apart from technique considerations, we want to know: WHEN was the focus of the picture being viewed? Was the goal to create a sensemaking picture of  Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow? We also want to know, at what scale were the views taken? Is this a picture of a person, a product, an organization, or a society?

Utilizing these simple viewing lenses, we notice that much of Information Design history, including that appearing in this early book, has been focused on creating sensemaking pictures of Yesterday and Today. Most often, these are pictures that can be constructed from data sets and facts. Much less frequently in that history, do you see pictures of Tomorrow. This is an entire subject unto itself that we will be writing more about, as it connects directly to what we do at Humantific: How can pictures of Tomorrow be cocreated in real time, by humans from multiple disciplines? It remains a subject that is near and dear to us. It certainly does connect to the history of Information Design seen here, but is rather different in orientation.

If Brinton preceded Neurath’s Isotype, you might be wondering: Who preceded Brinton? In his later, much more graphic, 1939 self-published book entitled Graphic Presentation, Brinton acknowledged that he did not know of the earlier groundbreaking work of William Playfair (1759-1823) when he was working, in 1912, on Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts. Brinton dedicated his 1939 book to Playfair, who is credited with creating some of the earliest examples of diagrams in his 1786, 1801, 1805, and 1822 books. William Playfair was also an Engineer, making pictures of Yesterday and Today.

For those who might not know—yes, before Playfair, there was Joseph Priestly (not an Engineer) who made timelines of Yesterday and Today. On and on it goes…:-)

Images Source: Brinton, Willard Cope. Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts. 1917. Diagrams by Willard Cope Brinton & Others. Humantific Collection, New York.

Related:

Data Visualization Meets CoCreation

Humantific: SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

Humantific: The OTHER Design Thinking

Making Sense of Early SenseMakers

 

16
Dec

Visual SenseMaking Glimpse Rocks!

Humantific CoFounder, Elizabeth Pastor taught a Visual SenseMaking Workshop at Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid on November 22. Open to the public and co-sponsored with IED’s Masters of Design and Innovation Program, this Glimpse session was designed to be a quick introduction to the subject of Humantific’s Visual SenseMaking. The session, which was sold out, focused on how it differs from other visual thinking approaches and techniques, and how it applies to real world creative problem solving. Through several lessons and exercises, the participants learned:

  • To develop their own toolkit to communicate ideas visually
  • Techniques to build your visual vocabulary and construct visual models
  • Basic frameworks for visual modeling applied to specific scenarios

Stay tuned for news about more Glimpse sessions in New York and San Francisco!

Interested in Future Workshops?
Humantific conducts cross-disciplinary innovation skill-building on an ongoing basis with organizations globally. If you would like to consider bringing Humantific to your organization to help with your innovation skill-building and strategic thinking for leaders, contact us: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

See more:
Humantific’s Visual SenseMaking Workshops
Humantific at the BBC
Humantific Strategy Session

26
Sep

Humantific Teaches in Madrid

Humantific Teaches in Madrid:
IED’s Masters of Design and Innovation Program

Elizabeth Pastor, partner and co-founder of Humantific, taught at the European Institute of Design Madrid this summer. She held a one week workshop on innovation and visual sensemaking at the Masters of Design and Innovation program, the most advanced level of education at the European Institute of Design Madrid.

The program was a success and the school’s director, Dario Assante, has asked Elizabeth to further the collaboration with the program and participate in future years. The skills and tools that were taught in the workshop are part of from Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program and provided a solid structure and guidance for masters students who are given a fuzzy challenge to untangle and innovate on, during their one year program. She will be participating in the beginning of the program next year to provide the tools early on in the student’s journey through complexity.

See some student feedback:

“I found the whole process extremely interesting. Beginning with a fuzzy idea and ending with a concrete solution was fun and done in a structured process. Also the innovation profile was enlightening and on a personal level it was eye opening.”

“Visual modeling does help a lot to present/clarify the ideas not only to your audience, but most importantly, to your own self!!”

“I learned good techniques to work in teams, understood the importance of ‘No judging’, and the good results that the concepts of ‘diverging’ and ‘converging’ give.”

“I think this way of problem solving improves the relationship between people as much as the work itself.”

“We are more used to thinking in thoughts or words although our work is very visual. Thinking visually adds the most necessary element.”

“After this course, I want to be an Information Designer!”

“I like the structure, the dynamics, and the efficiency of solving problems this way. I am going to apply this to my projects in school and at work!”

“Elizabeth was great!! Clear, professional, communicative, inspiring… great facilitator and educator!”

More about the workshop and program from IED’s Website:

 

SenseMaking, Humanizing Organizations

IED Master Madrid launchs the new Masters of Design and Innovation

27
Jun

Thinking Made Visible Research

We are delighted to see so much interest in Humantific’s Integrative Thinking Research Initiative. Much to our surprise viewers of the Design Thinking Made Visible Project story have exceeded 15,000.

Posted for public viewing the research outcome included these findings:

Integrative Thinking Research: 10 Key Findings:

Finding 1
This research predates and debunks the widely publicized 2009 academic theory that thinking attributes (reliability & validity) can be rigidly pre-assigned to individuals or teams based on discipline labels such as design, designer or business, business manager. (This is a nice way of saying this was already known prior to 2009.)

Finding 2
Some students of design schools have the same thinking preferences as some students in business schools and vice-versa.

Finding 3
Professors and students are generally unaware of how radically different design process approaches are from one person to another.

Finding 4
Many students of design/innovation are not accustomed to externalizing their thinking process.

Finding 5
For numerous students in this study design thinking jumps off from a framed problem defined by a brief. Often there was no process activity upstream from the brief.

Finding 6
Design Thinking processes often appear very different visually while similar fundamental steps can often be found within. Some steps appear universal, other situational.

Finding 7
Most Design Thinking processes seen here have assumptions embedded that outcomes will be product or service creation.

Finding 8
Most design thinking process models seen in this study contain no reference to behaviors.

Finding 9
This research makes visible why the orchestration of design innovation work remains complex and a key challenge for teams and organizations.

Finding 10
This research suggests that real tools and visually sharable results are extremely useful in moving understanding of Integrative Thinking beyond stereotypical notions of design thinking and business thinking.

You can see these findings on pages 119-129 inside the Design Thinking Made Visible Project.

For “What is Integrative Thinking” see page 13-29
For “Humantific’s Innovation Harmonics” see page 18-29
For “Integrative Thinking in History” see page 131-135

Humantific has numerous streams of Thinking Made Visible Research in progress. Not all Humantific research is public. We often work with business leaders seeking to create private internal research projects focused on better understanding various aspects of their organizations “Innovation Brain”.

If your business organization or school would like to participate in one of our public or private streams of Thinking Made Visible Research send an email to thinkingresearch (at) humantific (dot) com.

10
Nov

Future Envisioning Financial Services

Financial services giant Wells Fargo recently partnered with Humantific to create an innovation envisioning experience for hundreds of stakeholders to proactively explore possible future customer experience scenarios. Like much of the strategy work that Humantific does the mechanics of this on going project remain highly confidential so we can only describe the project in general terms here.

Humantifc was asked to create an envisioning skill-building experience that 500 Wells Fargo employees could participate in over a period of several months in San Francisco.

To create the jump field we combined present and future research made visible. In constructing the future made visible fields Humantific worked closely with Institute of the Future and the Wells Fargo experience design leadership team in California. 

In each envisioning session Humantific teaches a common language set of cross-disciplinary cocreation skills that connect directly into the forward looking Wells Fargo strategy.

The purpose of the workshop series is to proactively envision possible customer experiences, products and services in the financial services industry of the future. Although we are often asked to focus workshop designs in particular direction the skills that we teach in the Complexity Navigation leadership program can be applied by leaders in any changemaking context. 

The outcomes of the multiple envisioning sessions will inform future strategies and customer oriented value creation at Wells Fargo. The first round of sessions have been so successful Humantific has been asked to create a 3 day version with much more strategic cocreation skill-building added.

Complexity Navigation is a new generation leadership program that applies to all industries challenged with effective change making.

12
Sep

Making Research Actionable

Humantific is at work on several projects that involve integrating human-centered research into the continuous innovation process inside large global companies. While savvy organizational leaders have for some time been well aware of the power of using research based insights in the context of product, service and organizational change many have discovered that having mountains of data is not enough if the goal is action. Insightful leaders are figuring out that without a deep understanding of and appreciation for the cognitive needs of diverse individuals who will use the research, and without understanding the broader inclusive co-creation process expensive research will remain underappreciated and underutilized. Humantific is often asked to help by providing three key interconnected strategic services: conducting human-centered research, making that research understandable to diverse audiences and facilitating co-creation across multiple disciplines using the research as fuel for innovation. We do this with the Humantific toolbox, by applying hybrid methods from the emerging/converging fields of design thinking, innovation acceleration and transformation science. To engage with Humantific in New York or Madrid contact: projects (at) humantific (dot) com.

31
Jul

Visual SenseMaking for Leaders

Humantific will hold its first OPEN Visual SenseMaking for Leaders Workshop in October, 2008 in New York. Previously only available as part of the Complexity Navigation Program (seen in the photos above) this new condensed Introduction to Visual SenseMaking is designed as a one day session for business leaders who have to explain complex ideas, stories, strategies, products, services, change initiatives, etc, to diverse audiences; investors, partners, employees, customers, etc. Participants are introduced to the power of visual thinking and learn some basic methods for making visual sense of complex situations. This one day workshop is ideally suited to business executives, team leaders, project managers who want to tap into Visual SenseMaking as part of their design thinking toolbox. Space is limited. If you would like more info about this or any Humantific learning program send an email to programs (at) humantific (dot) com.