(Contentment, as simple as flying a kite?)
Like a lot of people, I am often on the lookout for ways to be more content. I cast about me for clues from my own experience. And I pay attention to others’ experiences that I can learn from and apply to my own life to lead a life where I am content. I also read books related to the topic, and try to apply what I learn to my own life. Lately, there has been a lot of research on happiness and related areas. The more I learn, the more interested in the topic I get. Being who I am, I want to turn the concepts I learn about into cartoons, and who knows, maybe into a bigger project. For now, my working title is “Contentment Toons.” Cartoons which attempt to distill and communicate aspects of research about what makes for a contented life. I’ll be posting my rough sketches, observations, and links as I go. Here are a few visuals for now—not finished work, just notes, sketches, thoughts in process. Enjoy! And if you have a good name for this project, let me know. Contentment Toons is just a working title for now.
Many disciplines from Economics to Sociology to Psychology to Anthropology are looking at contentedness. Contentment Toons will try to distill out the key insights and communicate them visually.
Want to Rock the Whiteboard? Listen to what other people have to say about how I helped them rock.
“Very helpful. During the session we found creative solutions to the challenges posed by the path we chose. It was great!”
Carlos Guestrin, Co-founder, Flashgroup
Armed with a shared visual vocabulary, we were able to practice conceptualizing and communicating complex problems. Thanks, Jonny!
Colleen Wheeler, Web Strategist, Wheaton College
I plan to apply what I learned for an upcoming presentation. I would recommend this to anybody who needs to sharpen their communication skills.”
Kathee Kuvee, Technical Writer–Gem Group
“Helped me to “feel” how different it is–more collaborative, more fluid, more generative, less argumentative–to draw as you’re working together to plan or conceptualize a project as opposed to just using words.”
David Wedaman,Director for Outreach, Brandeis University
“Having your coworker draw out the situation will allow you to reflect upon it in a new and more objective way. Take turns and see what you come up with. The reason why this technique works is because it boils down issues to their core parts, forcing you to stay focused. ”
Cat Robinson, Graphic Design Fellow—GovDelivery
Chances are, you are surrounded by whiteboards wherever you work, but do you use them to their fullest potential? Do you ROCK the whiteboard? I can get you rocking with my 1-day workshop.
Who this is for:
This is for anyone who wants to use the power of visualization to:
…And think better, using that simple yet powerful tool, the whiteboard.
Why is a whiteboard such a powerful tool?
The humble whiteboard is amazing thing. Using a whiteboard helps you and your team harness power of images to solve problems and communicate ideas. A couple of things make a whiteboard a particularly fearsome tool for collaboration:
1. It is a shared display. That means a group can look at it at the same time and build a shared understanding.
2. It is as easy to edit, erase, add marks, highlight. That ability to easily modify the contents of the whiteboard invites participation. Your visuals can evolve as your group’s understanding evolves.
3. To quote brain scientist John Medina “You get 3x better recall for visual information than for oral. And you’ll get 6x better recall for information that is simultaneously oral and visual.” A whiteboard lets you present your visual information while you talk, giving whoever you are presenting to that 6x advantage in remembering what you said.
But, but, but…I can’t draw!
I hear this a lot. And the truth is, our culture and educational system does a lousy job building peoples’ drawing skills, and maybe you did not get the coaching you needed to become confident at drawing. Just answer two questions for me: Do you have a hand that is capable of holding a marker? Can you look both ways before crossing the street and then walk across it without getting run over? If you answered yes to these two questions, I can get you over the drawing hump no problem. Using simple shapes and marks, we will be able to whiteboard just about anything by the end of the workshop. This is not about “art.” This is about thinking and communicating.
How is this going to work
1. This is project based. Bring a project you are passionate about and we will apply the power of the whiteboard to help you work on your project.
2. This is social. The real power of the whiteboard is its usefulness as a collaborative tool. You will help other participants visualize their projects and they will help you by visualizing your projects. People working with people=social and social learning=fun + effective.
3. This is hands-on visual listening. The visual part of whiteboarding is one part of the equation, listening is the other part, the hands on creating is another part. When you visually reflect someone’s ideas for them by really listening and then turning that into something on visual the whiteboard, they will love it, and vice versa when they return the favor.
4. We will do a lot of listening, drawing, and presenting
After the workshop:
You will take home my booklet covering the techniques and approaches that we use during the workshop
It takes repetition to really learn something. I am giving you the opportunity (should you choose to take it) to lock in your learning by giving you seven days of homework which I will give you feedback on. Simple 15 minute assignments that you will draw and then post to our…
Enroll in the post-workshop online discussion group where you can post your homework, ask questions, give and get feedback. I will be there chiming in. The group will be active for two weeks after the workshop, just to lock in the learning.
Class size limit: 12 people, max. I want to give you individualized feedback, so I’m keeping the workshop small.
Lunch! Busy brains and bodies gotta eat! Lunch and snacks will be supplied.
(That’s me. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. )
And Who the Heck Is Jonny and What Qualifies Him to Teach This?
I am what is called a “Visual Practitioner,” someone who works with people and companies to do things better through harnessing the power of visual thinking. I wear a few hats. For one of my hats, I help turn conferences into powerful learning experiences by drawing huge illustrated notes in real time of the ideas bouncing around the room. Clients from Stockholm to Vegas engage me to help their conference participants have powerful learning experiences.
Another hat I wear is my teacher hat. For the last two years I have been teaching workshops in the Masters of Design (MID) program at University of the Arts called “Hands on Visual Listening” that helps those students use collaborative visualizing to work better with their clients and each other.
One last hat: pitch visualizer for startups. That means I help startups visualize their pitches to funders by interviewing them and whiteboarding our conversation as we talk. That helps them “see” their value proposition and visualize how to communicate that value to potential funders. Clients include InsuranceZebra (which just got $1.5 in funding. High five!) and Alphalab, Pittsburgh’s premiere tech company incubator.
OK, I lied, one more thing: I love fostering learning communities! And I love Co-working! And I love Indy Hall. I was proud to be part of the Indy Hall community before I moved to Pittsburgh, and still make it a point to stop by when I am in town. That’s why I am so excited about doing this workshop at Indy Hall on Nov. 19.
Sounds great! Can we talk numbers here for a second?
Sure. The daylong workshop, lunch, resource booklet, homework assignments, and two weeks of online community sharing is is just $129 for Indy Hall members and $179 for the general public. That is less than half the cost of comparable workshops.
What’s the catch?
So what’s the catch? I want to use this workshop to help me promote future workshops. That means I (or someone I contract with) may be taking photos and possibly video during the workshop with an eye toward using said photos and video to promote future workshops. That means that media of you and your whiteboard work may be shared online, in print, and in other media. Of course some people are happy to get exposure and share this way, so this may be a bonus! So if you are OK with people possibly seeing you and your whiteboard work, and want to take advantage of the learning, then jump on in! And if not, I look forward to catching you at a future event.
My guarantee: I am so confident you will find the workshop useful and valuable, if you take the workshop, do all the homework (these are 7 brief assignments the two weeks after the workshop), and feel like you did not get your money’s worth, I will refund your money, no questions asked.
So, are ready to Rock the Whiteboard?
If so, sign up via the link below.
Once you have signed up, I will send you a quick questionnaire so I can learn more about you (and your lunchtime dietary preferences) and I’ll see you at 9:30, Monday, November 19 in the workshop room at Indy Hall. Supplies will be provided. Bring a camera (or camera phone) so you can document your work!
When: 9:30AM-4:30PM Monday, Nov 19.
Where: Indy Hall in their new workshop room.
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22 North 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Questions? Email me at jonny (at) envizualize.com or give me a call 646-209-7204.
RSVP for Show-n-Tell #6, coming your way the first Friday of November, at 5PM at catapultPGH.
What: Pittsburghers sharing their stories and obsessions every first Friday at the catapultPGH coworking community space.
Cassidy Krug will talk about her adventure competing in the 3 meter springboard diving competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Cassidy is back in Pittsburgh after her Olympic stint, and is exploring what’s coming next in her journey.
Designer Minette Vaccariello will talk about the Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh’s oldest and biggest independent craft fair! Minette is one of the folks behind the event, and she is also a designer and creator of amazing shoulderware at Raymin. All that, plus she has been heavily involved in the Penn Avenue corridor in Garfield/Friendship catalyzing design projects to make the street welcoming and nurturing to all who live and work near it.
Brian Shope is a social media consultant who recently completed graduate work in Southern California examining the intersection of spirituality, religion, and web 2.0. Brian will discuss how social media is shaping culture from hierarchical, to flat and communal. He will also tie in the organizational ramifications for business or non-profit work. Cool stuff!
Alex Leeson-Brown is a designer who recently packed his bags and moved from Nottingham England to Pittsburgh. Alex will give an intro to what makes him tick, what fascinates him about design right now, and where he thinks his design interests may lead him in the future.
And as always, Jonny Goldstein of envizualize will emcee and capture the event with large scale visual notes.