Drawing your way to understanding

I was reminded recently whilst watching a TED talk that the way we add value to business is by using some of our systems methods to help the organisation gain and retain insight into its workings. One of these methods involves drawing pictures.

At first glance it appears trivial but when you start looking deeper into the mechanics and the thought processes of the individuals and groups who draw the pictures you get an immense understanding of how the organisation works. One of the exercises we do is ask the group, as a warm-up exercise, to draw how they get to work. The results are fascinating. Each person focuses on different aspects of the journey; many focus on delays, environmental factors, people, and so on.

To the left is an example of one such picture.

It’s an easy exercise and once you get into it you can start exploring the things that affect your organisation – including the ones you don’t control.

This type of exercise is part of the systems thinking genre of our business and it helps to surface many assumptions and helps people to explore all the different aspects of their business and the environment they operate in. All this helps to set the scene for in-depth discussions about the organisation and the possible improvements they could make.