Activity Goal

Express facts and information through visual storytelling with a group of individuals who are not familiar with lateral thinking as a means of problem solving.

How might we introduce design thinking tools to individuals who are not familiar with creative problem solving?

Activity Details

In this activity, each participant recreated the story of an experience they have had in the workplace as it pertains to a challenge we previously defined. In this case, the challenge was focused on workplace communication.

The challenge will occur when the team is asked to reflect on the low points in their timeline and uncover what was learned at those points and how it can better our collective experiences.

Step 1: Draw a line that represents a beginning and end point of your choosing. 

Step 2: Add milestones to your timeline in the form of markers and dates/times.

Step 3: Add a dynamic line of ups and downs to the timeline. Don’t plan ahead what your line looks like! Talk yourself through good and bad experiences to create a history of communication that is filtered through emotion. 

Step 4: Add icons to the peaks and valleys to bring the storyteller deeper into understanding. Aim to create meaning that brings the timeline to life.

Step 5: Draw value from the high and low points. Derive takeaways that force each participant to think creatively about their experience.

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The visual storytelling activity was intended to have each participant reflect on communication within their job function and create a timeline of their personal experiences. Considering that each member has been a part of the team for a different length of time, I expected the “stories” told to vary in perspective. The result of the activity is entirely visual. The artifacts communicated about the individual and entity they work within.

The reason we tell visual stories is not because it’s fun, but because we want to draw value and meaning out of our experiences. Ultimately, we tell stories so we can advance our work and bring people together.

David Hutchens