Last week I was given the chance to have a go at some graphical facilitation, or what we call scribing.

Within the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) we employ specialists to perform this role, especially front of the room scribing as it involves a particularly well-honed skill of turning conversations into memorable images and rich pictures that encapsulates the experience for our participants. The reason we do this is to add to the learning experience for participants. Many of us are visual creatures and having the additional stimulus helps with processing, digesting and recalling the information. Vital if we are going to instil change within complex organisations.

I’m still relatively new to the ASE Team and as a co-facilitator, my primary role is not scribing but it is still a useful facilitation skill I wanted to experience. As someone who hasn’t picked up a pencil since my GCSEs I was dubious to see what a ‘novice’ could really do and surprised at what small things can make a big difference.

Task one was to ‘lap scribe’ (in the comfort of a clip board I can hide from everyone else) while Charlie (one of the ASE facilitators) talked about the history of the ASE; about the creation of the MG Taylor methodologies, the theories of group genius and different perspectives of stakeholders; an introduction to systems thinking and a beautiful analogy of the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park changed rivers.

Below is my capture of the conversation. Although it may well be one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments (that is one of the points of the scribe), I am surprised at how well this novice image can help me recall the entire conversation.

 Figure 1: my first lap scribe – the history of the ASE.

We went on to wall scribe.

My doodles below look rather childlike now but learning simple things like how to hold the pen properly, adding boarders and design to boring type, depicting emotion and movement were fascinating and fun. I could instantly see how I could add just small amounts to ASE experiences using these principles.

Figure 2 – experimenting with adding boarder and different 3D lettering.

The whole experience, although short, has encouraged me to pick up a pen more regularly, to feel free to doodle (despite years of being told not to at school) and to allow my brain to think a little differently about the design of something on a wall or a page.

What are your experiences of scribes? Do you have any images that stick in your mind stronger than any words? Are you a scribe yourself? I’d love to hear your views…