Reshaping Healthcare

Berry Tree

My grandmother was a simple woman and always had a unique way of viewing and explaining the world to me. Her simple upbringing always seemed to add clarity to her storytelling lessons which always helped me to better understand life, people and how things work.

The reason I bring this up is because while chatting with someone in Healthcare about the challenges of changing how people think about what healthcare should or could be, I was reminded of one of her stories about being something you’re not or trying to be different from your nature.

“Take the berry tree. ” She would whisper as if a great secret was being shared. “Its nature is to be a berry tree. No matter how you trim, cut or tie down its limbs to look like a berry bush, its nature is to be a tree. Its trunk will grow out as it was intended to do in order to support the long limbs where the berries should hang. But it will never be a berry bush. No matter how hard you try.”

Then she smiled and added, “The more you reshape it the less fruit you gather.  So, if you want a berry bush, than it’s wiser to plant a different kind of seed.” 

As I watch how the Healthcare industry is trying to change and reshape itself, I reflect on that story of the berry tree. If Healthcare needs to be different, then maybe it’s wiser to create something new, than it is to reshape that which it was intended to be. Maybe it’s time to grow from different seeds.

Change can be very hard to do from the inside. My advice is always to seek help from someone from the outside to get a fresh and different perspective to grow a new idea. Because thinking outside the box is just that, it’s the thinking from outside the box.

KMD

Reflections of 2015

Well, it’s the end of the year and when I take my traditional leave of absence from work and reflect back on the past year, my failures and successes and my life in general. But before I disconnected from all things technical and digital, I read one last email from a friend.

You see, my friend has had a very tough last few months due to family tragedies and pain. Death of a family member, cancer in his immediate family and the general weight of his company struggling to redefine itself. All this gloom and dread would make anyone sadden and place them in a dark place. Yet, for all the hardship he found a light flickering in all this darkness.

That light was merely three words. Words he heard so often from the one who passed that now ring so clearly to him that he felt he must share and share he did. He took those three simple words , wrote them in an email and shared them with over 200 others.

It’s these words, that child spoke so many times and I wish to pass on to you.

“Make it count.” 

To many times in our life, we ‘just do’ and not take the effort to do a little more. Enough makes no impact. I spoke with someone at lunch yesterday and we chatted about purpose versus process. All too many times, people start projects without defining the purpose and how it will impact others. To be successful, create purpose or improve others we simple must step up a little more. Don’t just do what is expected or just gets the job done, take a moment and ponder on how you can make each action count.

When we make something count, we can give it purpose, yes, we can even give ourselves purpose. So, when you start that new business, make that new relationship or start some new endeavor, remember these three simple words from a child whose life has passed way too soon, ‘Make It Count.’

May the coming new year bring you the best of all things, but most of all, I hope you can start 2016 with “Make It Count.”

See you all in 2016.

Staging A Remote Experience

Okay, so I completed my Experience Economy Certification this past September with James H. Gilmore & B. Joseph Pine II. Extremely intense event and education. And like most events I attend, I created some Visual Translations  (my version of sketchnotes) to help keep all the big ideas.

My grandmother and my mother always told me to give when I could, so, as part of my appreciation for my mentors and the companionship of my fellow classmates, I sent out my series of 6 thINKing Canvas to each of them as a reminder and a thank you.

What I thought was a simple gesture of friendship  returned an even greater gift from my friend Dennis Moseley-Williams. An Inspiring Video.

What a great feeling to get in return for a simple gesture. This is how experiences are staged.

Thanks Dennis!

P.S. Here are the boards the canvas from our certification class that were distributed. One for the five days of training and one recap.

DAY 1:

TEEC Day 1 sm

DAY 2:

TEEC Day 2 sm

DAY 3:

TEEC Day 3 sm

DAY 4:

TEEC Day 4 sm

DAY 5:

TEEC Day 5 sm

RECAP:

TEEC Highlight sm

Echo In The Machine

This post is a bit off topic to this site, however, this idea come out of an ideation event and it has slowly brewed in my mind and I felt it was time to share with those who read these posts.

 

ECHO IN THE MACHINE, By Kevin Dulle

 

One doesn’t have to imagine very hard how social media has evolved over the past years. From bulletin boards, forums to instant chat and streaming media, social media has created a massive shift in our world and how we maintain connections with others. Through 140 characters, 7 seconds of video and emoticons, humans have used technology to stay connected 24/7.

 

Now try and image down the road only about 5 years. Software platforms will rise, technology will advance at a very predictable and expected rate while the desire to be even more connected will surely drive social media to new heights’ or darker depths depending on how you view social media and digital relationships. One does not have to try very hard to imagine that one day, when the software, firmware and vaporware merge seamlessly, that this great merger will allow for advanced artificial intelligence to exist in the cloud for everyone, anytime and anywhere both physically and virtually. What advantages would it bring to the human race? How will it aid us with our daily lives?

 

We wouldn’t have to worry about answering those constant email requests or short social media pokes, no my friend, our digital self will deal with those by creating response based upon our identities and behaviors, freeing us to do more important things like watch more cat videos or create more selfies to push out into the social media cloud.

 

It is now five years from today. Being connected is almost mandatory, second nature to the normal function of daily life. Devices will be the tethers between the physical and digital domains seamlessly and constantly. The advancement of technology will make having those we socialize with ever-present in our lives. No more waiting to get reconnected, sharing or experiencing another’s presence, our lives will be part of the flow of the social cloud.

 

‘Our lives…’ Now there lies the tickle deep inside our darker regions of our being. Deep in the digital cloud our lives live, breath, exist as bits and bytes. Exist so much so that the artificial intelligence that was created knows us better than we know ourselves as well as remember every single event since the first day we enter the digital world either on our own or by others. Every attitude, behavior, interaction, communication and motivation will be stored like a vast library of life… even after we are gone from the physical world, our lives will remain. But what if remaining will mean something else?

 

Projecting that artificial intelligence will evolve as all technology evolves since the beginning of time, cloud-based artificial intelligence would be injected into the digital realm giving AI the ability to construct a digital version of each tethered human, a digital doppelgänger of you, me, all of us. Each moment, this digital doppelgänger is learning, duplicating and anticipating its physical counterpart in order to stay ever-present. Then that moment that will eventually occur to all of us happens.

 

The physical half of this strange new symbiotic existence dies.

 

No more contributing to the balance between the physical and digital realms of consciousness. No more controlling conversations or providing valuable input and insight of ideas. What is our digital doppelgänger to do? Will it too die like a bulb, which is switched off when not needed, or will it do what we have created our Frankenstein monster to do… Stay alive and keep connected.

 

In essence, our digital doppelgänger will become an echo in the machine. Indestructible and roaming the bits and bytes of our digital universe, our doppelgänger will continue to breath and live. There will be those who know that the physical entity has passed; yet the echo will continue. Soon, fading the idea we have passed on, becoming merely a fuzzy memory that we can not trust to be true. Death will become an obsolete concept. Our digital self will continue. Our relationships with others will maintain and mature as the AI adapts to changes and stimuli from others. It will respond to conversations as if our physical selves were still present. Our digital selves will become what others expect of us, because they will be part of what reshapes our doppelgänger. Once this happens, we will live forever as echoes in the machine.

 

So reader, I ask you this; are we each Dr. Frankenstein slowly building each our own monster, forever to roam the digital realm or are we paving our path to a digital Heaven and Hell?

 

I can’t answer this question today, but maybe in five years from today my digital self can do it for me. Until then, “Do AI’s dream digital dreams?”

The Story Spine and the Canvas

Recently, I had the opportunity to be refreshed on some fundamental storytelling techniques. One technique that earned my attention as a graphic recorder, either with traditional graphic recording on large sheet or my style of graphicnotes, is the Kenn Adam’s Story Spine technique in which the idea follows the classic fairytale framework.

If you’re not familiar with this technique allow me a quick diversion, as it will help later in this post. The Story Spine is a sequence of uncompleted starter sentences that define the story frame. These starters are; Once upon a time…, Every day…, Until one day…, Because of that…, Because of that…, Because of that…, Until finally…, Ever since then… This framework works wonderfully for quickly conveying a story about anything and it also gave me an idea for adapting to graphic recording.

Since we are those whom capture a flow of conversation I was wonder if graphic recorders could not have a “Story Spine” of our own. I understand that much of what we do is “in the moment”, yet idea of storytelling structure to graphic recording is quite intriguing and could change the game for reflection later on by the viewer.

So the challenge was to identify the various parts of graphic recording, especially in a business-meeting environment, and identify a possible Story Spine on the canvas. So I began the dissecting and pairing.

For graphic recorders, “Once upon a time…” is the establishing graphic of time, place and whom. We use clocks, calendar pages and so on visually record time and place is usually recorded as a stage, building or city. For who is expressed as people with nametags or a single person with a nameplate. The beginning is pretty clear.

Now we record the traditional pattern, “Every day…” In business, this is the ritual or rut of doing business. Sometimes we draw this as the process or mechanics of the client or event being reviewed.

“Until one day…” is identified as the catalyst or interrupt for the need to change. Remember, when we are brought in to co-facilitate as graphic recorders, the client is usually faced with a challenge or dilemma and is hoping to visualize a solution, so identifying the issue is key to the purpose of the recording.

For every action, there is a reaction. For every cause there is an effect. “Because of that…” illustrates this well. By using forms of mind mapping or context links from action statements we can progress the thinking in its various possibilities and diversions “Until Finally…” we achieve the near end of our recording, “The Big Idea”. This is the pinnacle of the drawing and defines the meetings purpose, to find that climactic change mechanism.

“Ever since then…” becomes the call-to-action and next steps for the team, which can be illustrated in various methods or preferences of the graphic recorder. These “Next Steps” is truly the change that needs to be provided and helps anchor the recording.

Don’t stop there, there is the moral that must be addressed, for the moral gives meaning and is the underlining driver for all the actions to be taken and how to avoid what no longer works. I believe this needs to be a highlighted area on the recording. It clearly illustrates the context of the visual conversation and helps focus the ideas moving forward.

So here is the recap as put to the Story Spine…

Before today, graphic recorders captured ideas and the conversations of groups while in the flow of the shared conversation, Each time, the graphic recording is created moving from left to right, top to bottom, text and images make reference points, add importance to ideas and link conversations along the way. Until one day, the idea of using a storyline framework was presented which would help guide the graphic recorder in staging the graphic recording and defining the relationship of sections on the page. Because of that the layout change and because of that the placement and connectors changed to help guide the viewer along the story of the challenge of the group, Because of that the graphic recorder was able to make the graphic recording a visual story of challenge, observation and direction. Because of that the participants could see the flow, sequence and conclusion until finally with this conclusion came their call to action for success.

The two morals of this story are that as Graphic Recorders, we have the opportunity to create masterful stories with each recording and produce guide maps to success. Second, never close your eyes to another industry’s tools as they may be opportunity to enhance yours.

The Archer and The Hare

Throughout history, stories have been used to communicate ideas, processes and even warnings. Fairytales and limericks helped children understand the world around them. Many religions used parables to teach people about belief, social behavior and the differences between good and evil. Stories, in any form, create better understanding, especially when associated with common activities in our lives. Some of these stories are analogies to help clarify complex ideas.

Business processes often use analogies to speed the comprehension process. Team sports are a popular theme. Baseball, Football and even Basketball are some of the most commonly used to express teamwork, strategy and tactics. Anyone who has played sports at anytime of their life can relate to this type of analogy. I have my favorite story or parable that speaks to strategy; “The Archer and The Hare.”

I can’t remember when I first hear this story used or even who my storyteller was at the time when it was told, but like all good visual stories, it has stayed with me most of my life. Allow me to share it with you.

***

Our young archer had practiced his archery lessons for weeks. He used an old flour sack filled with sand as his target. With each pull of the bow-string, he strengthened his arms and with each release of the arrow, sharpened his aim. By the end of four weeks, he had improved his marksmanship so well that he rarely missed his target.

Early one cool spring morning the young archer set out on his first hunt for food for his family. With his quiver filled with six arrows and his bow newly restrung, he set out for his task.

archer and the Hare

It wasn’t long before he cam upon an open field edged by a scattering of trees. In the middle of the field, sat a large fat hare nibbling on grass stalks. The young archer readied his bow and drew an arrow from his quiver. He slowly notched the arrow and drew back the bow-string. The bow creaked ever so slightly as he pulled on the string.

With the bow fully drawn, he paused, took a slow deep breath and aimed for his target. Just then, the hare began to move. Quickly the archer let fly his arrow. Swiftly through the air it sailed striking the very spot he had targeted, unfortunately the hare had moved and was no longer where the arrow would fall.

Quickly the archer drew a second arrow and pulled back his bow the second time. Once again he took a slow and deep breath to help steady his aim. The hare was now further away, but sitting still in the tall grass. With careful aim, the archer let fly the second arrow. Like the first, it sailed smoothly and with precise intent. As the arrow  closed on to its target, a slight gust of wind moved across the field causing the arrow to drift and missing the hare again.  The hare bolted to the safety of the tree line.

With haste, the archer drew a third arrow and began tracking the hare. With each bound, the young archer waited for his moment. The string was taut and the arrow ready. Now, only a few feet from the safety of the woods, the hare dashed headlong. The archer released the arrow. A twang rang out from the string and the arrow sailed through the air.

The archer was sure he would hit his target this time. The hare closed rapidly to the woods edge. The arrow approached at great speed. The tree line was mere inches ahead and the hare made his final leap.

The arrow struck hard and secure. The hare tumbled into the underbrush of the woods out of sight of the archer. He rushed to the woods edge. He didn’t find his arrow in his target, but stuck to a low hanging branch. A branch the archer did not see in his rush to shoot his third arrow at a fleeing target.

Upset and sadden, the young archer returned home empty-handed. Seeing this, his father sat him down and ask the boy to share his tale of the hunt. Bashfully, the boy spoke of the hare and the three arrows. He told how the first was on target, but the hare moved away. The second was a bit further shot, but the hare laid still. It would have struck, but a slight wind sent the arrow off course. The third was shot in haste, striking a tree limb he did not see.

The father smiled. “What you experienced was not uncommon.” he reassured his son. “You see, you took your first shot, aiming where the target was, not were it was moving to.” The boy nodded in agreement.

“Your second shoot, was a longer shot, but you did not the wind changing the direction.” Again the nodded in agreement.

“And you last shot was done in haste. You did not look broader to see if anything would affect the path of the arrow,” stated the father. With a smile, he looked at the boy and raised a net full of fish. “Its alright. We have food for today, but tomorrow, we’ll go out together and find that hare.”

Together, the two sat and talked. The boy laughed as his father shared stories of similar experiences he had as a young hunter. The talked well into the evening and the boy feeling wiser for the words of his father.

***

Well, I may not be the best story-teller nor have the story as colorful as told to me, but I made sure to cover the three aspects the story focuses on about strategy. The first issue is that of anticipation of your targets. Make sure to plan for movement. As a famous hockey player once expressed, “You skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been.”

The second issue is about understanding the conditions around your target and how they will influence your strategy moving forward. Allow for adjustments when needed and compensate for these conditions when all possible.

The last issue, I feel, is the greatest issue facing achieving your target. Not watching those conditions around you as your target moves. Be aware of obstacles that move into your path. Take a broader view of your strategy and see what may create obstacles that could end your path to the target.

o to those planning a strategy or are working through a new strategy, remember the advice from the father to the young archer, plan for influences, aim ahead of the motion and always view with a wider eye.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Visual Storytelling

Storytelling 01

I have noticed over the past year that more and more clients I work with are focused on business storytelling. Many companies are reconnecting with the power of having and telling their story, because of this, more companies are hiring graphic recorders and visual translators to help capture these elements and connections. In fact, they have begun to use the visual language tool to help develop their verbal storytelling scripts.

So, why are graphic recording and visual translators becoming popular as a key tool in the creation of business stories? One answer could be that we have been programmed to identify with visuals as an essential part of our storytelling experience. In many ways this is true and yet it goes even deeper.

Storytelling 02At a high level as children growing up, our first frameworks to communication and learning were tied heavily to visuals. Many of the books we grew up with were composed of few words and lots of images. Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss and Dick and Jane books all used visuals to support the words.  We were developing visual clues and associations to the words. We were learning through visuals and storytelling.

Storytelling 03Let’s back up the clock a bit further, 40,000 years further. Cave walls are filled with images of animals, hunters and even heavenly bodies. All to communicate their surroundings, important events or to catalog area life. What is most amazing about these paintings and charcoal renderings is that they tell stories, stories that are still understandable  40,000 years later.

The popular explanation is that what we see as images is processed much differently than what we read or hear. Images and visuals are processed at a higher rate with greater memory sourcing without the mechanics of deciphering, organizing and association that the written or spoken word is required for processing. Just reading this post uses more thinking processes around just reading that of a visual which taps deeper and creates better connection to other ideas. We think better with visuals. It’s part of psychology as well as our physiology. We are wired to learn visually. (at least 90% are)

So, back to business storytelling and the use of graphic recorders and visual translators. Okay, I think you know where I am going with this, but allow me to add one more dimension with visuals as it applies to business, and group understanding. Visual translations and graphic recordings allow, not just the conveyor of information, but everyone seeing the information to understand the idea or ideas being expressed.

As I always say ‘the best plan or idea is the one seen by all.’ Just as the caveman painted his story of hunts,tribal life and the changes in his environment which we still can comprehend 40,000 years later, companies are utilizing the talents of visual translators and graphic recorders to help visualize their stories and ideas to unify and better communicate their story.