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A Talk On Fast Innovation, All In One Great Picture

A couple weeks ago, I did a talk on "fast innovation" at IDEO. I gave the talk from a powerpoint deck, but at the same time, while the audience and I discussed the the talk, there was a guy named Kevin Bain who does this thing called "graphics scribing." On a single big piece of paper, he drew images and a few words that summarized the main points. This is the the third or fourth time I have worked with one of these scribes. When they are good, like Kevin is, the interaction with the audience unfolds in an interesting and better way than a standard talk. You see the main points unfolding all on one piece of paper, every now and then the scribe will stop and summarize what he or she has been recording so the group gets a sense of where it has been, and at the end, you've got a cool summary of the talk for the group that is all on one place.

It is hard to see the details of the picture below, but if you click on it, you can see a bigger version that is easy to read. Regular readers of this blog and my books will recognize some of my standard themes, like creativity being about doing new things with old things, small wins, and the smart-talk trap. But I have never seen them put together quite like this, and while "you had to be there" to understand the full context, I am still rather amazed and humbled what a great job he did summarizing core ideas that have taken years for my co-authors and me to develop. Kevin's website is here if you want to see a few more samples and to contact him about his "graphic facilitation" services.

innovation scribing

Reprinted from Work Matters

Robert I. Sutton, PhD is Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. His latest book is Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Survive the Worst. His previous book is The New York Times bestseller The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't. Follow him at