I'm back from the VizThink workshop in Chicago with Dave Gray, Karl Gude and Tom Crawford. What a fabulous time, learning about visual thinking, and getting to exercise my mind and my drawing hand in new ways.
But first, go check out the 16 pages of sketchnotes captured at the workshop:
Here are a few observations on the VizThink Workshop in Chicago:
Smart Leaders — The workshop was run by great people. Dave, Carl and Tom are great guys and know their stuff. Even for a practicing visual thinker like me, I found their offerings and insights valuable and challenging.
Dave Gray is the Professor of Visual Thinking & Language, having though long and deep about the whole topic as a language and as a tool. It was fascinating to hear how he's processed visual language at an atomic level to better understand how it works and how to use it effectively. He's also a great teacher.
Karl Gude is the Professor of Infinite Drawing, whose passion for drawing and solving problems literally oozed from his pores. Karl spent 27 years in the news business, generating news graphics for AP and Newsweek on tight deadlines. It was a blast to see him getting excited as he talked and taught us his techniques for more effective drawing and communication. Did I mention he's a complete nut? :-)
Tom Crawford made sure everything ran smoothly, while quietly observing the visual thinking workshop. At the gathering afterwards, I had a chance to talk more with Tom, and he's very well versed in visual thinking. Very cool guy.
Great Attendees — Attendees were fun to be with and from such diverse backgrounds and locations. I had a blast working with my teammates on solving information challenges together. It was also great fun to see team members who don't normally use visual language finding out how valuable visual thinking can be.
Fun Socializing — It was as much fun after the workshop as in the workshop. I had a chance to hang out with a core group of leaders and attendees at Rivers, on the Chicago River. We talked in depth and shared some great stories. It was so much fun, in fact, that I barely made the last train back to Milwaukee, running down the platform, climbing aboard with a only minute to spare!
My 2 big takeaways from VizThink Workshop Chicago?
Visual Thinking Will Help Me at my New Gig — I'm convinced that visual thinking will help me take on the next challenge of my career, as art director at Northwoods Software. I'll be working on large sites, organizing information as well as design, so these techniques will most certainly help in this regard. I'm excited about sharing these techniques with my new colleagues.
I Want to Share Visual Thinking Techniques — My passion for encouraging others to use visual thinking skills has been stoked up. Seeing non-artists experieicing the joy of solving problems with visual thinking tools was enlightening, because it reminded me that it's not about drawing skills, but about communication.
If you're considering a VizThink Workshop, I highly recommend the experience. It's quite reasonable, and you'll get great new tools and ideas from the workshop.
Thanks Dave, Karl and Tom for a fun and informative workshop!