Blog

You would probably agree with me when I say: “Steve Jobs is one of the greatest innovation masters of modern times.” After all, his successes speak for themselves.

So, if you’re looking for the next big thing, it’s worth taking the time to study his principles in order to succeed.

Today’s post will explain Steve Jobs’ approach to innovation and inspire you to: think different.

How did Steve Jobs use innovation to save Apple?

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 the company was close to bankruptcy. Other less knowledgeable individuals might have resolved to cutting costs and firing people left, right and centre to keep the company afloat, but Steve Jobs took a different approach. He chose to innovate instead.

“The cure for Apple AAPL -0.32% is not cost-cutting; the cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” said Jobs.

We all know the results. Apple is now considered as one of the most successful and innovative companies of all times. Now even more than ever, innovation is crucial for businesses looking to survive and thrive.

The golden rules of innovation

The golden rules of innovation as applied by Steve Jobs can work equally for small and big companies, even for one-person enterprises.

The best part:

Those rules can help us as individuals to achieve our goals and live more satisfying and fulfilled lives.

Visual Scribing collected some of Steve Jobs innovative insights and created an infographic that hopefully will help you to “stay hungry and stay foolish” for innovative ideas.

 more

What is visual thinking?

Visual thinking is a way to organise information in a visual way. As a matter of fact a majority of us are visual thinkers. Studies show that we understand and retain information better once we have seen it.

Albert Einstein on visual thinking

A lot of so called geniuses were masters in visual thinking. Einstein even said that words or language spoken or written do not play any role in his mechanism of thought.

Drawing is our passion. We never stop. We scribble conversations, ideas, situations. We scribble waiting in a phone queue, travelling on a train, waiting for the waiter to bring our breakfast. You get the idea. Our Creative Director and scribe David comes back from each trip with dozens of travel sketches. The great thing about turning one´s passion into profession is that you never really get tired of what you are doing.

Here are some sketches from David´s recent trip to Rome and Wroclaw:

travel-sketches-visual-scribing travel-sketches-la-capella-sistina travel-sketches-wroclaw travel-sketches-wroclaw-gnom

scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation3

Canon Future Book Forum case study

Scribing is a super effective way to enrich information by transforming your ideas into pictures. This helps you to communicate more effectively – because, you see, people remember pictures far more than they remember words. What’s more is that pictures can be shared again and again without getting lost in the piles and piles of ‘word overload’ so often present in emails, reports and other internal communications within offices.

Sharing scribed images will dramatically help maximise the impact and reach of your message – after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not only this but a scribed image can be used across all media platforms over and over again in many different formats: use these pictures in brochures, websites, social media, frame them and give them to participants as awards! The more you share scribed illustrations the more the information will be absorbed.

A great example of this was our recent work with Canon. We scribed for their Future Book Forum brochure – and had great fun doing so! Our pictures didn’t just feature pretty faces – they helped Canon deliver powerful messages in a format that’s really easy to understand. More importantly our images sparked people’s curiosity and made the whole forum much more fun. And as we all know: if things are fun, things are memorable.

Visual scribing was the perfect communicative tool for a forum that is reinventing the book itself.

So say it with pictures!

scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation-canon-book-forum scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation-canon-book-forum scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation

Remote Scribing – Visuals from cyberspace

You heard it here first! Remote scribing is now becoming more and more of a norm – especially with our clients abroad.

Eurofinance – The Economist Group case study

At the Eurofinance event – Treasure At a Tipping Point – in Vienna, we captured all the discussion remotely from London. Amazing! We followed the hashtag #eurofinance and transformed the key reactions from speakers and participants into illustrations which were then tweeted minutes later. Wowsers – it was high-octane stuff! Our illustrations helped communicate the Eurofinance message perfectly into a really fun shareable format. We therefore helped maximise the exposure of the Eurofinance brand. And most importantly our drawings piqued people’s interest and drew them in to the discussion. 

remote scribing case study

Our visual coverage of the event was then ‘shareable’ by other participants outside of the forum.

In essence our illustrations connected the speakers’ ideas to the whole World.

By the end of the day, “visual summaries” were tweeted so that everyone could have an overview of the entire event. Genius.

These illustrations are created in high resolution which means they can be used over and over again in brochures and/or on any other communication material. Importantly they can also be used to advertise next year´s event. So it’s a win-win situation.

remote scribing case study

Still not sure what we’re on about?

Remote scribing is a technique where the scribe is not physically present at the event but scribes remotely by following a live broadcast, social media hashtags or even text messages. It’s fast and it’s furious …but we love it! Contact us to find out more.

remote scribing case study

open-forum-2016-graphic-facilitation-2Above you can see the gallery created by our scribes for this year’s Bank of England Future Forum. This is a major event that connects the Bank of England to the wider public. These illustrations are really important not only because they make the financial services easier to understand, but they also stay in the minds of the viewers longer than lengthy banking text. Where people might not bother to read a document, they will always look at a picture.

bank-of-england-open-forum-2016-graphic-facilitation

what is innovation illustration

Innovation has become a key tool to ensure the success of every company. From blue-chip companies to start ups everyone is innovating. But what is innovation? According to Jamie Notter, “it´s the change that unlocks new value”.

At Visual Scribing we work with innovative companies and we´re experts in helping our clients to identify problems and find the right creative solutions.

LivinginBritain_01_visualscribing
The workplace of today spans different geographic locations and consists of a lively mix of people from various cultures, speaking many languages and following different social codes.

Even if everyone is fluent in English, business language is filled with nuances of meaning and is open to interpretation. For example, if a Brit says something “sounds interesting” he most likely means “I’m not that keen” but a German colleague may conclude that he is genuinely impressed.

There are countless anecdotes of words being misinterpreted and meanings altered and, as amusing as those stories are, retold over a cup of coffee, they can drive you crazy if you happen to lead a global team. “What you say can be magnified or minimalised based on your listener’s cultural context.” (Mayer)

Direct cultures

Erin Mayer highlights in her article on Harvard Business Network how different cultures communicate. The more direct ones use what is referred by linguists as upgraders – words that reinforce the statement, such as: this is totally unprofessional, your behaviour is absolutely wrong.

Less direct cultures

Other less direct cultures use downgraders, words that soften the criticism. For example: “We are not quite there yet”, when what you want to say is “We are nowhere near completing this”.

One can imagine all the humour and chaos created by people from direct and indirect cultures working together. Mayer gives the example of a German who almost loses his job because he misinterprets the suggestion by his British boss that he rethink the way he does something as a choice, whilst it’s more of an order along the lines “Change your behaviour right away or else”.

No one wants to be misunderstood. So how does one successfully communicate important strategies and content to an international team?

1. It´s helpful to know when to use downgraders and when upgraders.

2. Use of images can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Images support and clarify words and communicate on a universal level, transcending socio cultural differences.

Leading a global team visual scribing

Visual Scribing was invited to provide graphic facilitation for the first Bank of England Open Forum.

Canon, world leader in imaging solutions, opened the doors of its Customer Experience Center in Germany, for its Future Book Forum 2015. Visual Scribing was there capturing the key points of conversations and presentations; and translating them into a massive knowledge wall full of engaging visuals.

They say a picture is a thousand words and this is certainly true. In a time where attention spans are a rare commodity bullet pointed powerpoint presentations are becoming more and more ineffectual and, we feel, should by now be extinct. It is our strong belief that by translating messages into engaging visuals we can help facilitate communication and get your message across faster and better – people understand pictures without having to read words, and more importantly people remember pictures more than they do words. Our drawing skills and design expertise help us transform our clients’ presentations into engaging experiences. 

How-to-Transform-Bullet-Points-into-an-Attention-Grabbing-Presentation-02

A Typical Assignment

Our client had a room packed with A1 sheets covered with hand written bullet points. The result of long hours of discussion and too many cups of coffee – a terrifying vision if you are looking for a succinct message. They needed clarity – the way to obtain this is through effective visuals that encapsulate their ideas. This is where we come in!  

Our Approach

The first thing we did was to reduce the number of bullet points. We listened carefully to our client’s story – with our years of experience in communication and the fact that we were ‘outside’ the problem it was therefore easy to identify the key messages that would form the basis of our illustrations. Our objective was to create the “Patient of the Future” and explain how modern technologies can help people have healthier lives. Once the most important bullet points were highlighted we used them to create a rough layout. While our client talked we drew quick sketches generating a ‘collaborative lab’ in the room. Clients bring their expertise and we add our unique vision – and it is this combination that results in a very efficient and fun way to work. After creating the initial draft, we decided which style and colours best told the story (usually the client’s brand colours). After these

preparations our scribe drew the final illustrations on big A1 boards. Et Voila! The client loved it – it happened in front of their eyes and they were able to give us feedback there and then. These live sessions allow us to facilitate the ultimate collaborative process.

The Result

The presentation was very successful. Live scribing your bullet points and powerpoint slides is a way to create a unique and remarkable experience for your audience. Ultimately you can communicate your message faster and better.

How-to-Transform-Bullet-Points-into-an-Attention-Grabbing-Presentation-03

The concept was later transformed into a video.

How-to-Transform-Bullet-Points-into-an-Attention-Grabbing-Presentation-04

visualscribing_illustration-of-Mozart

Mozart designs with musical notes; the balance and elegance in Mozart’s melodies are an endless source of inspiration for us.

A great way to learn and improve on your creative skills is to research different areas of expertise. Our obsession with Mozart comes from the fact that in order to keep developing our skills we look constantly into other fields of art in search of innovation and inspiration. Mozart transformed the lives of many people through music. We work hard to transform the lives of people through drawings – making life easier and more fun. 

We wanted to  celebrate Mozart’s quotes in postcard format to keep his immortal art alive in people’s hearts – to transfer the musical to the visual.  The cards are letterpress printed by Blush and shared with clients. If you would like to have a printed card and be inspired by this unique combination of music and scribing drop us a line and we will post you one! :)

Mozart-letter printed illustration by visualscribing

If you can imagine Superman flying high above the planet every morning, deciding on where most urgently needs his help, it is easy then to realise that sometimes taking a step back helps us see where the real problem lies. We gain perspective so to speak. Thankfully we don’t have to wear tights and red pants in business, but ‘zooming out’ is something that can really help businesses see the bigger picture. In our case this is literal as our Rich Pictures serve to help people see where they can make changes, solve problems and increase efficiency. 

First pioneered in the 1990’s Rich Pictures are a recognised format used to engage business employees in constructive conversation. They do this by way of creating a meaningful narrative which can be used as a springboard for ideas and insights – it should be noted that leading economists view this as a crucial factor to a business’ success – being able to adapt and see the bigger picture. 

What are Rich Pictures exactly?

Put simply Rich Pictures are detailed visual illustrations of sometimes complex situations or business constructs. They serve to help people understand quickly and fully what is being communicated verbally or via text. They aim to aid people in organising their thoughts, re-organising a complicated system, or identifying a specific problem.

Using a combination of text, illustrations and symbols to visualise a particular situation, Rich Pictures have an excellent record. In one example Du Pont reported that after a session with Rich Pictures 95% of employees at a particular company said that they understood the company strategy better.

Example of a rich picture below:

example of a rich picture visualscribing

How can a Rich Picture benefit your business?

Rich pictures are excellent at engaging people from different levels/parts of an organisation by bringing them together on a level playing field. The MacLeod report emphasises the direct correlation between improving engagement (and thus understanding) and improving performance. “If it is how the workforce performs that determines to a large extent whether companies or organisations succeed, then whether or not the workforce is positively encouraged to perform at its best should be a prime consideration for every leader and manager, and be placed at the heart of business strategy.” David MacLeod and Nita Clarke

• Rich Pictures increase employees’ understanding of the business – they help people comprehend and importantly remember shared content

• Rich Pictures do this by creating collective experiences

• Rich pictures facilitate conversations between different sectors of the company which ultimately leads to a broad and shared understanding of a situation.

Why do Rich Pictures work?

Ultimately Rich Pictures are not about the pictures themselves but the conversations that result from them, whether these result in a better understanding of something or just better relationships between business members. The best type of resulting conversation is free from jargon and memorable. Importantly these conversations are also open to all members of the team – the art of illustration aids in establishing an atmosphere of equality amongst all involved in the collaborative process.

Rich Picture ­ A Combination of Images and Words

For millennia humans communicated solely via images and actions. Nowadays however, without words the message carried by a visual element may be ambiguous, but without images ideas and messages can be lost in a sea of words. Appropriate images and appropriate wording are therefore the best and most powerful medium for communication. The pictures are processed faster than the words and provide a mental ‘hook’ upon which the data can be hung for later recall. At Visual Scribing.com we are experts in creating Rich Pictures and understanding brand personalities – whether it be the use of a unique colour palette, a brand tone of voice, or a visual language. We develop bespoke solutions and tailored visuals to consolidate a unique communication experience which will help you and your business. Your Rich Pictures are guaranteed to empower your strategy which will enable your company to display its super powers. A bit like Superman. 

example-of-rich-picture-visualscribing-2

the-funny-thing-about-awkward-situations

Picture this: a client with a powerpoint presentation loaded with bullet points which were each a complaint about company employees. We nearly headed for the exit for fear of how awkward this somewhat delicate presentation was about to become! But being who we are we could not yield to a challenge (plus we’d been hired for the sole purpose of softening the blow). “How?” you might ask…

Well, in a situation like this, which could easily escalate into a colossal disaster if handled incorrectly, humour is the most important thing. Our client was quite rightly adamant that the complaints were explained without hurting anyone’s feelings. We decided the best way to solve this problem would be to hold a ‘creative lab’ with the client to make sure that appropriate and amusing metaphors were used for each complaint. In one 4 hour session together we agreed on the correct images for each complaint issue, and the sketches were created there and then. Thus the client was engaged in the creative process. This type of idea generation is fun and energising. The client loves it and we love it too. 

Once the sketches were done and approved by the client, we scanned them and started working on the final illustrations digitally. Digital illustrations are easy to edit and have a crisp finish – though they are originally hand-drawn so don’t look computer generated at all! The final illustrations were elegant, engaging and fun without being childish. We used a reduced colour palette so as not to distract attention from the message. Creativity is the art of mixing different visions and ideas to find a solution that suits everyone. At the same time it is also important to understand the universal part of communication so that the presentation can be appreciated by a large and diverse audience. The client was extremely happy with the outcome due to how effective the illustrations were at communicating the messages to their employees. 

By hiring us to create illustrations with a great deal of humour a meeting, which could have been upsetting and damaging to the company in the long-term, was in fact positive and uplifting for everyone. The illustrations we created in partnership with the client were thus a great way to take the serious edge off a subject during their presentation, and ease an awkward atmosphere. Listening to customer complaints has never been so much fun!

3-graphic-facilitation--the-funny-thing-about-awkward-situations

drawing-on-walls-visualscribing

We were invited to do what all children dream of: draw on school walls!

Goudhurst & Kilndown school is an amazing place with some very innovative ideas. Once a week all the children spend a day in the forest learning different skills. There are also school pets like chickens and ducks roaming around. Since the forest school started the teachers have noticed that the children have become more confident and independent. Teaching them in this manner is also a great way to reduce their stress levels, increase their creativity and give them new social and problem solving skills. Clearly this school is at the top of its game with their constant educational innovation! 

Goudhurst & Kilndown called us in to create a huge mural on a massive white wall (we can’t resist white walls!) to express their core values and how they are perceived by parents and children. To enable us to do this we first collected testimonials, quotes, pictures and every bit of valuable information we could before we started sketching the initial layout to be approved by the teachers. Once the green light was given, we warmed up our arsenal of pens and let our hands draw freely. Our chief scribe David had dreamt of this moment his entire life: school teachers were not approaching him to stop drawing on school tables but encouraging him to draw on their wall!

The wall drawing can be seen at the school entrance, visible for children and parents. As an illustrator it was the ultimate pleasure to visualise such a great concept!

forest school wall illustration

wall-illustration-schoolGoudhurst school

Mural illustrations create an unique creative vibe in events and ultimately inspire people.

Visualscribing.com was invited by Steelcase to create a massive mural in their “The power of place” event. An event bringing together clients and employees to celebrate the power of beautiful and functional design. The mural was composed by 60 A4 foam boards. We created a gallery of images describing Steelcase´s brand values, services and products.

mural_illustration_visualscribing_steelcase_photo2

mural_illustration_visualscribing_steelcase_photo1

Live illustration is probably one of the oldest ways of human communication. Perhaps that´s why it´s so fascinating. It reminds people of how doodles can trigger our creative energy.

mural_illustration_visualscribing_steelcase_photo3

Visuals combined in order to generate a narrative. Each individual picture was a piece of art to be given to the participants.Steelcase_livescribingEverything that was drawn live in the event was photographed and delivered back to the client in a digital document that can be shared among the participants, or used in communication materials.

Innovative ideas

A truly innovative idea is worth a lot. But it´s like finding a diamond among thousands of pebbles. How can you find out quickly which of your ideas are innovative and which are worthless?

Usually innovative ideas flow in loads. How can we found out quickly if the idea worth investing time and money in? At visualscribing.com we believe in “draw first ask questions later”. Sometimes one needs to see one’s idea on paper to evaluate it and make sure it’s truly innovative and that it’s progressing in the right direction.

The process of visualising innovative ideas quickly and evaluating them is called rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping has been used successfully in design for a long time but is increasingly used to evaluate ideas as well. Scribing helps the process of rapid prototyping, saving time and preventing you from investing time and money in ideas that are born to fail. Rapid prototyping is quick (obviously!) and interactive – it’s a brilliant way to generate a lot of fast feedback and initial thoughts, which saves  a lot of time in the long run. Rapid prototyping encourages experimentation and discussion by way of images instead of words – people are allowed to think in all sorts of ways with the knowledge that in the end there will be common understanding of the main goal. On the whole, if a solution to a problem is found quicker it is likely to be successful – rapid prototyping is one of the best ways to do this.

We were invited by Atlantic Customer Solutions to graphically facilitate an event with a group of 50 talented professionals who came together to discuss ‘Personalisation of Social Care’. The environment was buzzing with innovative ideas. Everyone wanted to contribute and to find ways to transform the future of health and social care in the UK.

Our approach

We set up a big knowledge wall using magic whiteboards. Graphic facilitation starts by choosing the right platform for the visuals to come to life. Whether it’s on paper or on whiteboard, to find the proper place and size for your illustrations is crucial to making it as accessible as possible for your audience.

Having a breathtaking and inspiring view around us at the Digital Catapult Centre, we set about illustrating the ‘big story’ of the event as a mural in real-time – the participants were therefore able to see the development second by second, minute by minute, bringing to life innovative ideas that will transform the way social care is approached. As proof we can work in any adverse conditions, our visual scribe David drew on the massive glass windows of the building and often experienced vertigo!

innovativeideas_howtovisualisethem_visualscribing_02

The drawings had a big impact and sparked conversation, discussion, questioning and photographs, and importantly captivated people’s attention.

Many of the participants walked away from the conference with a visual reminder on their mobile or tablet that would help with the development of digital solutions for our social care system.

Personalisation of Social Care event – visual scribing

photo by @paul_clarke / @MissMemarzia / @DigiCatapult

Innovative ideas mural

The ‘knowledge wall’ at the event had a longer life than just the event therefore: the discussion’s content was now on mobiles and tablets where it was tweeted, facebooked and pinned. These ideas become accessible to people who were not able to attend the event and were still talked about long after the event had finished. Or as one of the speakers tweeted “It was so wonderfully portrayed”.

Personalisation of Social Care – visual scribing

Using comics in business is a great way for companies to communicate with their employees.

Companies generate a big amount of data and the question is what we do with it and how can this information be helpful in gaining useful insights into the business? Many companies are working with new database systems and data analytics. A major UK bank wanted us to explain to their employees how their new database system works.

Our approach

It could not be done with only one image or a poster: the explanation required the use of sequential images showing the various stages of how the database works. In this case, we decided to create a comic page. Why? Because using comics in business is accessible, easy-to-understand and very memorable. We believe that great design helps to engage audiences and capture people’s attention. Having a background in branding we know how to use colors and visual elements to keep the message ‘on brand’. In this case we had to break with the playful nature of the comic, limiting the colour palette, to communicate the seriousness of the topic.

Our process

1 ) Clients usually talk us through the brief and explain the project in detail. This time, the client created a sketch which was very helpful.

2) Based on the sketch, we created the first layout with most of the artwork only in pencil and one finished frame showing the style.

using comics in business

Once the layout was approved, we moved on to create the final version. The result was an elegant ‘on brand’ comic page that explained in a simple and fun way the company’s new database system. The client was very impressed by how engaging and fun the page was. The awareness and usage of the database increased with everyone wanting to know more about it!

using comics to explain complicated processes to employees

We were approached by News UK to create an explanatory video for the print and mobile channels of their brands – The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun.

News UK studies bust a widely believed myth about the way people read online. They found out that whether people read their news on paper or glass, they tend to read it in pretty much the same way. Whatever device they´re reading on, it´s the content that matters. This insight changed the way News UK approaches advertising: it’s not about print first, or digital first. Its about putting the audience first.

Our approach

The client provided us with the script and we started our work with the concept initially by looking at the elements of the News UK logo and analysing their core brand identity. Good understanding of the brand enables us to create something that’s unique and reflects the look and feel of each client’s company. The core of the brand being the logo, we decided to use the slashes from the News 3.0 logo throughout the animation to tell the story.

The concept was then brought to life on a storyboard. Storyboards are a great way to demonstrate how stories flow – the result would translate into an engaging explainer video that would communicate the message in a clear and powerful way. This is the stage where we define colours. In this case, we decided to use a minimum colour palette of dark gray and blue – the brand colours. Our approach to visuals is that each element used on the screen has to have a function to support the story. Nothing should distract the viewer´s attention – each element should always reinforce the message.

explanatory video

Once the storyboard was approved, we moved onto creating the final artwork. Here the sketches take their final shape. We create our artwork digitally to ensure a high quality end product. And it also enables the client to use the various illustrations across different media platforms.

Voice, artwork and music come together in this final stage – animation. We created a whiteboard animation, combining handdrawn elements with motion graphics. Creating a dynamic explanatory video, displayed on the client’s home page, has resulted in an increase in sales.

“Many thanks for this, really happy with the animation. The video is loved by everyone. Great work!” Sandra Tinker , News UK

NewsUk – whiteboard animation from Visual scribing on Vimeo.

03

We´ve just got our new business cards letter press printed by Blush. They look so beautiful. Quality that you feel with your fingertips.

02[1]

02_williamblake_visualscribingAnimating Blake was fun. We felt like sending a different kind of postcard to our clients this time. The inspiration came from a great English Painter and Poet William Blake, who encouraged his fellow human beings to live a life of creativity, experiment, imagination. He himself was completely free of the conventions of his time, which allowed him to create art that seems modern 300 years later. Like a modern scribe, Blake very often combined typography with image.

We approached the project in a Blake like manner, drawing with a black pen (Staedtler 0.5) without any sketches straight onto a A4 white sheet of paper, surrendering ourselves to the spontaneity of the creative process.

That´s what the ready drawing looked like:

01

Once the drawing was done, we have scanned it and applied colour in photoshop, keeping the colour palette reduced to yellow, black and blue to keep the drawing joyful but elegant. Our unique combination of skills combining graphic facilitation with brand and print design, allows us to take a project from the first drawn line to the printed product ensuring a high quality throughout the whole process.

Our clients enjoyed the postcard a lot and their feedback inspired us to animate it.

neverstoplearining960_noborders

We were invited graphic record the Never Stop Learning event. Childhood is a magic time of discovering and trying things out. Whatever we learn as kids, creates the foundation for our future choices. 

 Someone once said that illustrators are children that never stopped drawing and we could not agree more!

Visual Scribing was invited to provide graphic facilitation for an inspiring event “Never Stop Learning” organised by and for the teachers of Never Stop Learning Hub to share exciting ways to engage and motivate students.

The key speaker Hywel Roberts “Oops, children learn accidentally”, was followed by 10 workshops and a series of micro-presentations. We agreed that the best way forward would be to draw in real time on a 3m x2m piece of paper fixed to the wall, so that the content of the conference would unfold itself simultaneously with the speeches. After the event we digitalised the mural and sent it to the organisers to circulate among the attendees via website, twitter, facebook.

Some of the feedback we got:
“The evening was captured brilliantly through the artwork of David”

neverstoplearning_01