There are some beautiful practitioners out there, and I do recommend you spend a little time googling if you are interested.
I am a firm believer that we can all use this technique, and the best meetings I participate in and facilitate utilize these concepts.
Meetings, the most prevalent form of group communication, are striving to address the following:
- Diverge – moving from having fewer concepts to having more concepts
- Converge – moving from having many concepts to focusing on a few concepts deemed worthy of further attention
- Organize – moving from less understanding to more understanding of the relationships among concepts
- Elaborate – moving from having concepts expressed in less detail to having concepts expressed in more detail.
- Evaluate – move from less understanding of the value of concepts for achieving a goal to more understanding of the value of concepts for achieving a goal.
- Build Consensus – moving from having less agreement among stakeholders to having more agreement among stakeholders.
- Focus: through their visual, updated presence, the tools focus all participants on the issue at hand. Everybody knows what is discussed and can see the progress of mutual understanding and consensus through the image.
- Coordination: The tools provide a step-by-step structure to organize the interaction among meeting participants. This prevents circular, unfruitful debates.
- Documentation: The achieved results of the knowledge transfer are instantly documented. This saves critical follow-up time in ensuring the minutes are accurate. You know they are accurate before you leave the meeting.
- Consistency: By constantly seeing what has already been shared, commented, agreed or rejected, the participants can make more consistent contributions and comparisons.
- Accountability: Because the participants know that their contributions are captured visually and documented electronically, they behave more responsibly, and mutual accountability is fostered.
- Traceability: After the interaction, the tools allow to re-construct the interaction and the flow of ideas. The development of an argument can be better understood, even if one hasn’t participated.
I’ll start adding pictures of my visuals to this thread.
How do you use visual mapping? What are your favorite techniques? Do you have any good examples to share?