Defining Style

As the calendar moves from 2012 into 2013, I took a moment to reflect on all the changes in my life, work and achievements. Many things have changed over this last year, many that affected my view of communication. The biggest impact has been in my visual thinking style. Which events or interactions may have influenced my style is unclear, but I have noticed that my style has become more illustrative and storytelling in my canvases. I have migrated away from the more technical diagramming format and more to the graphic illustration of pen and ink. Possibly because of my background in art and architecture. Whatever the reason it has led to a question of style; what are the various formats and how do they differ?

Before we can define the various styles, a description of the key elements must be expressed. These two elements will define the framework that will help outline the various styles of recording. In any process of visual recording, graphic scribing and even graphic facilitation, the process focuses on two key elements at work; content capturing and presentation format.

Content Capturing:

Content is that which is communicated or presented within a session. It is the conversations and ideas that are shared by participants and facilitator. As the recorder, one must decide which content will be capture and to what level of detail to create the best impact and convey the best idea or ideas. Capturing can be as simple as high level ideas or as detailed as verbatim. At this point, it is the role of the recorder to decide how accurately content is recorded. Is it to be precise or interpreted?

Presentation Format:

Format of presenting is the manner of how the recorder chooses to convey the content. As the conduit from conversation to document, the recorder chooses a format that best compliments the content. This presentation format can range from very technical in design to that of a highly creative or artsy in nature.

Pure technical conveys information in predefined formats with less fluidity in the imagery, rather uses consistent images patterns such as flow charts, spreadsheets, graphs and diagrams. In most cases, technical presentations rely on common accepted frameworks to create structure and rigidity in the delivery.

Creative or artsy allows for full freedom of imagery and use of canvas. No limitations or expectations guide the hand of the recorder. As implied by the name, the artsy format can be abstract, simple, elaborate or many other possible methods. As an example, I prefer the more artistic imagery of pen and ink as seen in many of my works.

Along the Axis:

We now have two elements to define our axis; content capturing and format of presentation. With each of the elements we have introduced a range of variables. For content capturing two variables have been defined, that of precision and interpretation. With format of presentation a set of variables has be established; technical and artsy. Combining these elements with their variables to the axis, it expands from an axis into a basic 2×2 grid. This grid offers a guide to the various methods recorders may use when creating their canvases. Yes, the grid can even be broke down into smaller regions since the variables are graduating in endless variations. But to keep it somewhat simple, I rely on the basic 2×2 grid for simpler explanation.

On the Grid:

On the grid, there are four basic regions defined which I labelled; Creative Canvas, Idea Flow Chart,  Conversational Wall and the Note Taking Sheet. Each region has graduating levels and offers many possibilities within its framework as you migrate from one region to the next. Each region in the grid is merely a description, never meant to be a definition.

To better understand the grid and where your style or the style of a recorder may reside, allow me some examples of extremes. In the region of Creative Canvas which resides in the upper left hand quadrant, the variables of artsy presentation and interpreted content exist. This can be conveyed as more graphic in format and less about transcription of words or text.

In this quadrant, if we located a pin in the further most upper left corner one could imagine a cave wall where Neanderthal man drew his stories of great hunts, battles fought or unusual animals encountered. No words only images are used, but the story is still told. These stories have remained understandable across time and the barriers of language.

In the opposite, lower right hand quadrant exists the Note Taking Sheet. This quadrant combines the rigid control of technical with precise content capturing. Here one could see boxes of text defining ideas. In the extreme case down into the very lower right hand corner one could imagine a transcript from a conversation such as court case or a secretary’s dictation. In this quadrant frameworks and text reside predominant as the method of recording.

I could continue on with multiple variations with subtle changes and nuances, but I think you get the picture. If not, allow me to present in a method of Interpretive Artsy style which would exist in the Creative Canvas quadrant.

Defining Styles Grid


I hope this post helps the recorder discover their style as well as those who seek the talents of a recorder to better understand the multiple formats of content creation and delivery.

As a side note, I see my style bordering along the line between interpret and precise, but always in the artsy columns. I have drawn a pin to illustrate this on the canvas above.

What’s your style? Where would you stick your pin?

Until next post, keep your ideas visible so that others may see and share.

Part Four: Peaking Behind the Curtain

Well folks, four weeks has passed since my experience with Jim Gilmore. The fourth panel is now available for your thINKing pleasure. This final panel takes us from book #15 through book #24. Without going into many written details, I will let this panel speak for itself as is the nature of graphic scribing and visual thinking..

Books 15_24I will add this note; much of what is transcribed here reflect the major elements that construct the content of “The Experience Economy.”

Oh Chit!

Okay, I need to warn you, there may be a heavy pun activity around this post. And that ain’t no chit, that’s a fact.

Instead of me trying to find a worthy person to share my good chit with, I decided to follow tradition of ancient nobles and lords and allow all to challenge in the social arena called Twitter where all can see your Chitty attempt. Only the determined may try, and only the worthy may win any chit. I will not randomly pick the user of my extra chit, rather it will be determined by that person who is deemed first to correctly tweet the solution of my secret chit stash.

Here’s how the chit plays out. Below is a graphic that has various types of clues and possibly some misleading information. (you know it will) Decipher the clues and find the correct sequence of the thinkAbout Chit Code.

Rules: Yes, there has to be rules…

1. Send your solution via Twitter in this way @IdeaFreak & @JoePine (Solution sequence) followed by “I want to #SendTheFreak”.

2. You must be the first correct tweet with all the information as described above, with the correct sequence and you are serious about using the Chit Code to attend thinkAbout 2012 in San Francisco. If correct, I will ReTweet a reply with congratulations so that all can see your effort.

3. The prize is only my Chit and NOT the attendance fee to thinkAbout, travel or hotel stay. The prize is only the Chit which gains you access to this special closed function hosted by B. Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. See the webpage for details: thinkAbout.

4. The contest ends at 11:59PM CST on September 12th, 2012. If no one has solved the code and used it by that time, the contest ends and you will just have to wait until next year’s event to try again.

5. Once you have been confirmed that the solution is correct, call the number provided on the thinkAbout information page and make your reservation with the secret Chit Code and we will see you at thinkAbout in San Francisco, California on September 19th – 20th, 2012.

Here’s the puzzle: Bit there were no winners this year.

Obstacles of Life

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost gifted us with these wonderful words which we use in reference to life, careers, business and many other challenges. As an idea guide, I follow this same thinking by attempting to visualize what obstacles we can face as we travel along our selected path. Many times I hear wonderful goals and expectations without the pondering of the obstacles that may impede our journey.

Just seeing the obstacles is not enough to ensure a successful journey, we must contemplate the effects on our goals if we can not overcome these obstacles. How will our path change or be diverted at each unsuccessful hurdle?

The next time you create a plan for the future, try listing every obstacle and how you will overcome them and what will be your course change if you can not prevail.

Visualizing the solution is the first step towards success.